Trump’s Opponents Need to Stop Playing into His Hands

What gives terrorists power are the reactions they are able to elicit from their intended targets: hysteria leads to poorly-calibrated reactions that can be exploited to the insurgents’ advantage.

For instance, it is beyond the capacity of Islamic terror groups like ISIS to, themselves, meaningfully challenge the prevailing global order. However, they have been able to very effectively goad Western nations into undermining their own values, norms, institutions and interests—to curb their own freedoms, rights and civil liberties–and in the name of fighting terrorism, no less!

What does any of this have to do with Trump? A lot, it turns out.

Continue reading “Trump’s Opponents Need to Stop Playing into His Hands”

In the Trump Administration, Principled Civil Servants Like James Comey Are Critical

Let’s be clear about one thing straightaway: James Comey did not sabotage Hillary Clinton. If that had been his intention, it was well within his power to outright destroy her candidacy. In the wake of Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s improper meeting with former President Bill Clinton, the Department of Justice was scandalized. Under pressure, Lynch pledged to follow through on the FBI’s recommendation, whatever it was. The decision about whether or not the FBI would recommend charges was ultimately Comey’s to make, and his alone (indeed, Lynch was so vulnerable after her impropriety that she couldn’t even bring herself to order the FBI Director not to inform lawmakers about the discovery of new emails; she was in no position to deny his recommendations on prosecution). If Comey were out to sabotage Clinton, he would have recommended charges; the DOJ would have had little choice but to proceed with prosecution. Regardless of how the case ultimately fared in court, it would have certainly persisted throughout the entire election cycle—utterly decimating Clinton’s prospects.

Instead, Comey declined to recommend charges– despite the FBI having uncovered serious violations of protocol which would have likely landed a lower-profile civil servant behind bars. This decision outraged Congressional Republicans, and even many within the FBI, who accused Comey of playing politics on Clinton’s behalf.

This was not the only time the accusation was made: as the media began combing Wikileaks-released emails that strongly suggested inappropriate relations between the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton’s State Department, and wealthy foreign donors (the latest of many apparent Clinton Foundation violations, see here, here, here, here, here, or here), Comey refused to so much as comment as to whether or not the FBI was considering an investigation into the Foundation—prompting a Breitbart conspiracy theory that he was on the Clinton payroll as well.

To assuage concerns about a possible FBI bias towards Clinton, he assured lawmakers that if new information arose which seemed pertinent to the investigation, he would notify them promptly. And multiple times after closing the investigation new evidence was found—and each time, Comey notified the relevant lawmakers. And after considering the new evidence, reiterated his recommendation against prosecution—despite enormous pressure to reverse course.

Continue reading “In the Trump Administration, Principled Civil Servants Like James Comey Are Critical”

The “Emerging Democratic Majority” is on the “Wrong Side of History”

“What is at stake in the conflict over representations of the future is nothing other than the attitude of the declining classes to their decline—either demoralization, which leads to a rout….or mobilization, which leads to the collective search for a collective solution to the crisis.  What can make the difference is, fundamentally, the possession of the symbolic instruments enabling the group to take control of the crisis and to organize themselves with a view to a collective response, rather than fleeing from real or feared degradation in a reactionary resentment and the representation of history as a conspiracy.”

Pierre Bourdieu, The Bachelor’s Ball (p. 189)

“We’ll let you guys prophesy/ We gon’ see the future first.”

Frank Ocean, “Nikes” (Blonde)

 

In 2008, Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama outperformed his predecessors John Kerry and Al Gore with virtually every single demographic group, handily defeating his Republican rival John McCain.

This success spread to down-ballot races as well: Democrats expanded control over the House and the Senate; they controlled most governorships and state legislatures nationwide.

Many progressives came to believe that these results were not a fluke, that Obama’s coalition represented the future: an “Emerging Democratic Majority” that stood to reshape American politics as we know them.

The logic was simple: most of those who are young, college-educated, women or minorities lean left. Older white men lean right, but whites were declining as a portion of the electorate due to immigration and interracial unions. Therefore, as the older generation passes away and a younger, more diverse, and more educated cohort steps into the fore, America will become more progressive in an enduring way.

Right now, these predictions are not looking so good. In a virtual inversion of 2008 (only worse), Republicans comfortably control both chambers of Congress. They also dominate state legislatures and governorships nationwide —bodies which arguably matter more to people’s everyday lives than the federal government.

Meanwhile, Democrats lost perhaps their best chance in a generation to fundamentally reshape the Supreme Court. And the new Republican Administration seems committed to rolling back many of the signature accomplishments of the most impactful Democratic President since LBJ.

In the midst of such a bleak reality, it may be tempting to hold onto the faith that the Emerging Demographic Majority thesis remains essentially sound: Trump is an anomaly, certain to self-destruct, ushered into power as a final, desperate act of defiance by a segment of the population that knows its time is up.

However, in this instance, optimism would be ill-advised: the electoral trend actually seems to be going the opposite direction. If anything, it seems as though progressives may be on the “wrong side of history.”

 

Continue reading “The “Emerging Democratic Majority” is on the “Wrong Side of History””

Trump’s Victory Should Not Have Been Surprising

As an epistemologist, I generally avoid predictions in favor of trying to determine what is known and how to build upon or utilize knowledge. But when I do feel compelled to go on record with predictions, it is generally with a sense of urgency–to draw public attention to an approaching black swan.

Black swans are phenomena which seem inconceivable relative to prevailing assumptions and beliefs. Black swan events arise when our conception of the world becomes untethered from events “on the ground.”

In this election cycle, the broad consensus was that Trump was an amusing epiphenomenon with little staying power and few prospects. By contrast, since the declaration of her candidacy, there was a pervasive assumption that Hillary Clinton would coast to victory. This cycle seemed to turn conventional wisdom on its head at every turn, but nonetheless, as Americans went to cast their ballots even the most rigorous and gutsy of poll analysts predicted less than a 30% chance for a Clinton loss (and even this was viewed by many as being far too generous to Trump).

To be sure, prediction is a perilous game. But one of the biggest problems in the way we rely on predictions in our public discourse is that pundits are rarely held to account for their reliability. And even in those rare instances where someone actually issues a mea culpa for grievous errors, little seems to be learned in terms of how to approach subsequent developments.

For instance, “no one” saw it as possible that Trump would win the Republican nomination—even down to the final moments. When he did win, there was a lot of handwringing about humility and lessons learned—but then almost immediately the same narrative emerged again: Trump stood no chance at winning the general election. And not just he, the Republican Party was finished, perhaps for generations, as a result of his candidacy. Things look very different today, with the Democrats standing on the brink of irrelevance, while the signature accomplishments of their most charismatic and transformation leader in generations seem set to be erased.

The centerpiece of the Democrats’ (over)confidence was their supposed “electoral firewall”—a safeguard they were so sure of that they scarcely even bothered to reach out to these constituents who were supposed to serve as their last line of defense against Trump (ensuring that even in the unlikely event that they lost the popular vote, they would win the Electoral College). How’d that turn out? Clinton is shaping up to lose the Electoral College by a larger margin than those who were defeated in 1996, 2000 or 2004.

How could this happen?” was the refrain on November 9th. Here’s how: Continue reading “Trump’s Victory Should Not Have Been Surprising”

Why Conservatives Must Reject Trump’s Homonationalism

In a RNC nomination acceptance speech widely maligned as dystopian, Donald Trump received rare mainstream media praise for asserting:

 

“Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist targeted LGBTQ community. No good. And we’re going to stop it. As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.”

 

While heralded as a “watershed moment” for the Republican Party, many failed to take note of what was not said in Trump’s speech. For instance, there was no call for the RNC to revise or reconsider its party platform, described by the Log Cabin Republicans as being “the most anti-LGBT” in the party’s history.

In order to realize his convention pledge, Trump would later propose the U.S. resort to “extreme vetting” of aspiring immigrants to prevent anyone harboring “bigotry or hatred” towards gender or sexual minorities from entering the U.S. However, there was absolutely no mention of restricting American citizens from going to other countries with the explicit purpose of spreading ideologies which the policy would construe as homophobic or misogynistic.

That is, in both cases Trump declined to challenge his supporters on their own attitudes or behaviors—instead, the “gay issue” was raised primarily as a means of attacking foreigners and, especially, Muslims.

In social research, this phenomena is referred to as Homonationalism: a bad-faith embrace of LGBTQ advocacy to justify hatred, discrimination or violence towards some “backwards” other. Before LGBTQ issues became the humanitarian vogue, “women’s empowerment” occupied the same position—with people who were, themselves, staunchly anti-feminist calling for war against Muslims for the sake of “liberating women.”

However, conservatives in the U.S. should beware of jumping on this particular bandwagon—because if the GOP follows Trump down this path, it is they who stand to lose the most in the long run.

 

Continue reading “Why Conservatives Must Reject Trump’s Homonationalism”

Racially Profiling “Jihadists” Sounds Like Common Sense. Here’s Why It Doesn’t Work

Over the weekend there was a series of bombings, and attempted bombings, in New Jersey and Manhattan (where I live). Authorities have identified and arrested one Ahmed Khan in connection with the attacks, which injured dozens of people in the New York area.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was quick to seize on this incident as further proof of the need to “profile” people for terrorism. Verbatim:

“We’re allowing these people to come into our country and destroy our country, and make it unsafe for people. We don’t want to do any profiling. If somebody looks like he’s got a massive bomb on his back, we won’t go up to that person … because if he looks like he comes from that part of the world, we’re not allowed to profile. Give me a break.
Fox & Friends, 19 September 2016

Following media outcry at his remarks, Trump would (dubiously) deny that he was calling for racial profiling. However, the candidate has previously, and very explicitly, suggested the need this very tactic—for instance, in the wake of the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando:

“But look, we have — whether it’s racial profiling or politically correct, we’d better get smart. We are letting tens of thousands of people into our country. We don’t know what the hell we’re doing.”
Hannity, 17 August 2016

The intuitive appeal of this strategy is obvious: it seems like a “certain kind of person” tends to commit these acts—let’s pay closer scrutiny to “those people” and we can probably nip a lot of attacks in the bud. In fact, the solution sounds so straightforward that many perhaps wonder why on Earth this practice is not already central to our law enforcement and counter-terrorism portfolio. I will briefly answer that question below:

 

Continue reading “Racially Profiling “Jihadists” Sounds Like Common Sense. Here’s Why It Doesn’t Work”

(Why) I’m No Longer Bullish on Donald Trump’s Prospects

On June 16th 2015, Donald J. Trump descended by escalator to denounce the Chinese, deride Mexicans as rapists, and announce his bid as the 12th Republican presidential candidate of the 2016 election season. At the time—and for months to follow—most pundits dismissed him as a bad joke: a pseudo-candidate with little staying power, and virtually no chance of winning the nomination, let alone the presidency.

I had a different reaction. Having spent the preceding months warning progressives about the perils of dismissing and denigrating white people—when I heard Trump speak that day, I knew I was listening to the party’s likely nominee. And over the course of his campaign, as it became clear that Trumpism (e.g. skepticism towards international trade, hostility towards immigration, scaling back foreign intervention, and taking an ambivalent stance on traditional wedge issues) held wide appeal—even beyond the Donald’s “core constituency“—I grew convinced that Trump would not only win the Republican primary, but would beat Hillary Clinton in the general election. I forcefully argued that case five months ago, urging Democrats to settle on a better candidate.

Today, however, I am convinced that Trump will likely lose. To be sure, he could still get an uncomfortably large share of the vote—some simply in virtue of being the Republican nominee, some as a protest against Clinton, and some who are true believers in his dystopian vision. But barring a large-scale domestic terror attack perpetrated by undocumented Mexican immigrants who converted to Islam—Trump’s chances to prevail in November seem bleak. There are basically three major reasons for this:

 

Pivoting…The Wrong Direction

John McCain and Mitt Romney began their races as moderates with wide appeal across the aisle—but over the course of the primary, they were forced to swing far to the right on key issues in order to secure the Republican nomination, leaving them virtually unelectable in the general race. By contrast, Trump distinguished himself early on as a gleeful violator of Republican orthodoxy, eager to pillory the party establishment for its hypocrisies, failures and growing irrelevance. He won the Republican primary largely by running against the party itself—this left him well-positioned for a general election bid.

Trump did not have to shift to the right to win the nomination, nor would he have to shift to the left to win the presidency: he simply had to continue running against political orthodoxy and the political establishment (unpopular in both parties) while gentrifying his rhetoric, demonstrating a loosely “presidential” demeanor, and developing a basic competence about a few major issues. I believed he would accomplish this—in no small part due to his own repeated assurances that his primary performance was largely an act and he would have no problem rebranding for the general election. He hired Paul Manafort to oversee his transition—a brilliant move.

But then, rather than elevating or moderating his approach to assuage skeptical Republicans, appeal to swing voters, and woo disaffected Bernie supporters—Trump grew more parochial and extreme after winning the primary (and especially after the GOP convention)…in defiance of his own campaign’s advice. He has recently confirmed (implicitly and explicitly) that he has no intention of softening, moderating or elevating his discourse. Ever.

But perhaps most bizarrely, Trump has begun pivoting ideologically—towards the right. His running mate, advisors, and suggested appointees increasingly reflect banal Republicanism rather than representing a challenge to the status quo. This kind of pivot is not only totally unnecessary (given he has already won the Republican primary…precisely because of his heterodoxy), but is obviously counter-productive for a general election bid.

In other words, Trump is outright refusing to change those aspects of his campaign which have proven counterproductive while senselessly erasing the very features which could have made him compelling in a general election.

 

The Media (Over)corrects Itself

The mainstream media enabled Trump’s rise to prominence for the sake of short-term ratings, and as a byproduct of their broader business model which seamlessly (and shamelessly) integrates news, entertainment and advertising. However, shortly after Trump secured the Republican nomination, the media suddenly realized that their golem was poised to become the most powerful man on Earth—and planned to treat the press just as savagely as he treated the Republican Party.

Now, they are not just unwilling to give Trump a pass on his gaffes, but they have turned hostile to the point of intentionally misrepresenting his words and actions. This constant bad press has helped drive down his poll numbers and ratings, thereby empowering even more media criticism.

And to make matters worse, even when the press narratives seem to be favorable for Trump, the candidate himself tends to derail that momentum. For instance, mainstream media began looking into documents suggesting inappropriate relations between the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton’s State Department, and wealthy foreign donors (the latest of many Clinton Foundation scandals, see here, here, here, here, here, or here). It was a potentially disastrous story for Clinton—playing into concerns that many voters on both sides of the aisle have about Clinton’s trustworthiness, transparency and sense of impunity. If the story gained enough momentum it could have even provoked another damaging months-long Congressional inquiry.

All Trump had to do was stay out of the way—or better yet, fold the story into his stump speeches and interviews as another example of “Crooked Hillary” beholden to big money and foreign interests. But he never mentioned the latest Clinton Foundation scandal in any meaningful way. Instead, at a rally, Trump “joked“ about how if Clinton wins, gun owners could assassinate her in order to protect their 2nd Amendment rights. The resulting controversy turned off many undecided voters (most Americans tend to favor stricter gun regulation and frown upon assassinating elected officials) while completely swallowing the oxygen of virtually all other would-be stories…including the Clinton Foundation emails.

 

His Own Worst Enemy

Most metrics and models suggest that Republicans should win this election cycle. And there are many respects in which Trump began this race much better positioned than most “typical” Republicans to emerge victorious in November—particularly in an election cycle when both parties’ bases seem desperate for radical change.

Trump is losing because he consistently undermines his own success. Most likely this is a result of profound incompetence—but it’s perhaps worth noting that since the beginning of his campaign there have been persistent rumors that he never actually believed he would win the Republican nomination, nor did he want to; that he has no desire to govern as president, and is looking for a graceful way to escape his out-of-control publicity stunt. There have been suggestions that he may drop out of the race before November to avoid defeat, or refuse the position even if he wins. On the far end of this spectrum are insinuations that Trump is actually a Clinton ally who set out to sabotage Republican prospects in what should have been an easy race for them (given the fundamentals and Clinton’s huge unfavorables).

But regardless of the reason for his meltdown, its outcome seems clear: Donald J. Trump seems unlikely to be elected President of the United States of America. But it’s not all good news…

 

Post-Trump Politics

From the time Trump hired Paul Manafort through the end of July, Trump’s poll numbers had been on a stark upward trajectory—even to the point where he began leading Clinton in national polls and in most swing states. His precipitous decline began as he cast his campaign chairman aside.

What does this mean? It means Manafort’s strategy was working. It means the primary thing driving Trump’s unpopularity is the style, rather than the substance, of his message. It means a more disciplined, informed, and nuanced candidate could actually win by running on Trump’s platform. It mean’s Trumpism is likely here to stay—and at some point, a more effective version of Trump may well win the White House…and be much more capable of realizing his agenda than the Donald could ever be.

Moreover, as in 2008, there is going to be a large swath of Trump voters who will flatly reject the legitimacy of Clinton’s election (if she wins). They claimed Obama was not born in the U.S., and was therefore ineligible for the presidency. For Clinton, the accusations will be twofold: First, she rigged the election. Second, she should have been legally disqualified from running due to her gross mishandling of classified information (but was protected from prosecution by Obama, of course). All of this dovetails nicely with already well-established Clinton conspiracy memes, meaning the extremism, polarization and obstructionism of the last 8 years will also be sticking around with this large subset of voters—who will continue to act as spoilers for many critical policy issues. And just as criticism of Barack Obama opened the door to mainstreaming racism, so too will Clinton’s election elevate misogynistic discourses under the pretext of political debate.

And then, of course, we are left with Hillary Clinton as president.

She is investing heavily in trying to woo disaffected Republicans into her coalition, and signaling a willingness to waffle back on her trade and energy policies. It is likely that she will attempt to hold together her burgeoning coalition through 2020 by means of more classic Clinton “third way” politics. If you were hoping she would follow through on her progressive Sanders-driven campaign commitments—don’t hold your breath.

The DNC Convention’s militant nationalism (to say nothing of her endorsement by prominent neocons) is a taste of what’s to come on the foreign policy front: expect direct U.S. involvement in Syria to promote regime change; expect needless escalation with Russia, a squandering of the Iran deal, a major escalation by Israel against Palestine because Netanyahu knows that Clinton will not meaningfully check him. For starters.

And to top it all off, an economic recession is likely in the cards for 2017 no matter what happens at the ballot box. In short, when the American people finally get past this horrific election there will be little reason to celebrate: the next four years are going to be rough.

 

Published 8/19/2016 by The Huffington Post

Who Cares About Bernie Sanders’ Historic Candidacy?

In March 2016, the Green Party nominated Dr. Jill Stein as their candidate for President of the United States. They have had female vice-presidential nominees on every single ticket since 1996, and ran all-female tickets in 2008 and 2012. But unfortunately, the highest the Green Party has ever performed in a general election was in 2000, when they garnered nearly 3% of the popular vote. The party was relegated to obscurity thereafter—decried as spoilers who bear responsibility for the election of George W. Bush and everything that followed.

And while both the Democratic and Republican parties have previously nominated a woman to be their vice-presidential nominees (Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin, respectively), Hillary Clinton is the first woman to appear at the top of one of the major party tickets—making her the first viable female presidential candidate in U.S. history. The U.S. has lagged far behind many other countries in achieving this milestone. For perspective, there have been 11 women from Muslim-majority nations that have served as PM or President, and about 1 out of every 10 contemporary governments has a female head of government or head of state.

The significance of Clinton’s achievement transcends mere symbolism: As a black man, the presidency of Barack Obama has impacted me in ways that are hard to describe, despite frequent political differences. Similarly, while adamantly opposed to Hillary’s nomination, I appreciate how meaningful it could be for a generation to grow up experiencing a woman as the “leader of the free world”—even more so at this moment, when women seem poised to simultaneously head up Britain, France and Germany as well (the implications of the fact that most of these are center-to-far right leaning politicians is a matter for a different essay). However, throughout this political season I have also found myself both perplexed and outraged by how little discussion there has been about the historic nature of Ms. Clinton’s principal Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders.

Now, with the Democratic primary officially concluded, following Sanders’ concession to Hillary Clinton and his full-throated convention endorsement—it is worthwhile to take a moment to reflect on just how significant his campaign has been, and what Sanders’ supporters can take from it going forward.

Continue reading “Who Cares About Bernie Sanders’ Historic Candidacy?”

One Thing Trump Gets Right About Muslims, Terrorism (Kind of)

Let’s start with all the usual caveats: while there may be, abstractly, a lot to like about Trump, in reality, he is proving to be a demagogue. Moreover, both he and his advisory team are painfully ignorant about Islam—and as a result, most of his policy proposals and rhetoric about Islamic terrorism have been ill-informed and counter-productive.

But for all that, Trump has repeatedly emphasized a point which many of his rivals and critics are perhaps a little too eager to gloss over—namely that in many instances, a would-be terrorist’s family, friends or religious advisors know that their loved one is heading down a dark path, but fail to report it.

Trump’s insinuation, of course, is that the reason friends and family fail to report it is because they are, themselves, sympathetic to ISIS or al-Qaeda and want to see terror plots succeed. And certainly, there are instances of this: the San Bernardino attacks were carried out by a husband and wife, the Paris attacks by two brothers and a couple they were friends with, the Boston Marathon bombings by the Tsarnaev Brothers. Often people travel to ISIS territory with their lovers, siblings or best friends, and typically people are brought into ISIS’ orbit by someone they know who has previously committed to the group.

Nonetheless, according to the New America Foundation’s records, 84% of disrupted jihadist plots were foiled as a result of someone “seeing something and saying something” (28% of the time information was volunteered by concerned family, friends, other community members; 47% of the time intelligence was provided by a paid informant; in 9% of cases authorities were given a tip by a stranger who observed suspicious activity). For comparison, only 42% of non-jihadist terror plots are disrupted by this kind of reporting—meaning the social networks of Islamic extremists are relatively more cooperative with authorities than those of non-Muslim extremists (about twice as cooperative, in fact).

However, these statistics just reflect the 330 Muslims (and 182 non-Muslims) who have been indicted over the last 15 years for supporting terrorism. There are thousands of other ISIS sympathizers within the United States—and law enforcement agencies are hungry for more fine-grained information to determine which of these are most likely to act on their convictions (or are actively plotting attacks). In order to close this intelligence gap, it is critical to understand why family, friends and associates who may be deeply concerned about a loved one’s trajectory are often also reluctant or unwilling to cooperate with authorities.

 

Continue reading “One Thing Trump Gets Right About Muslims, Terrorism (Kind of)”

Why 2016 May Be Donald Trump’s Race to Lose

As the 2016 presidential primaries got underway, there seemed to be a couple incontrovertible truths: Hillary Clinton’s nomination was inevitable, and Trump stood no chance (it was going to be Jeb or Rubio). Yet, here we are six months before the election, and Trump has seized the Republican nomination while Clinton is still working to box out Bernie Sanders’ insurgency (without losing his voters, who it turns out, may be ripe for Trump to peel off after all).

Nonetheless, the prevailing narrative is that while there is now a chance that Trump could actually win in November, it’s basically Hillary Clinton’s election to lose. Pundits focus on “fundamentals,” like Hillary’s superior fundraising, analytics, or ground game; however, these haven’t proven terribly predictive this cycle. And by focusing on conventional elements, analysts seem to be overlooking novel dynamics which are likely more important—specifically, the public’s persistent and negative perception of Hillary Clinton, the incumbency handicap, and a phenomenon I call “negative intersectionality.”

  Continue reading “Why 2016 May Be Donald Trump’s Race to Lose”

Bernie Sanders is more electable than Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump is going to be the next president of the United States, and he will have the Democratic National Committee to thank for it. Much has been made of the “math” of the Democratic nomination, and how it favors Hillary Clinton—in large part due to her huge lead in unpledged “superdelegates” (whose decision will determine the election, given that neither candidate is likely to reach the requisite number of delegates to win outright). But for a moment, let’s set aside the math of the Democratic primary, and look at the big picture: What matters for the general election is who can win swing states and ensure high voter turnout and enthusiasm in solidly blue states. In this regard, Bernie Sanders is clearly the more electable candidate.

 

Swing States, Blue States

The 10 closest races in 2012 were in Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina. Six of these have voted so far in primary contests. Of these, Sanders decisively won 3 (New Hampshire, Colorado, Minnesota), and they virtually tied in 2 others (Sanders narrowly losing Nevada and Iowa). So in terms of swing states, the edge appears to be with Sanders.

As for solidly-blue states, only a handful have voted so far, but the outcome is clear: Bernie Sanders decisively won Vermont and Maine, pulled a huge upset in Michigan, and virtually tied Hillary Clinton in Massachusetts. Clinton has not decisively won even one single solidly-blue state. Instead, virtually all of her pledged delegate lead comes from handily winning in solidly red states which she (or any Democrat) would be highly-unlikely to win in a general election.

Nonetheless, the constant presentation of these numbers (superdelegate votes almost always included in media analyses of the race) reinforces the notion that Clinton is the more electable candidate, and pushes many into her camp as the best choice against the Republicans; this further expands her lead and reifies the perceived electability disparity, ad nauseam. Hence the narrative that Bernie Sanders is the ideological candidate who inspires, and Hillary the pragmatist who can win. In reality, Bernie is both. However, barring a major grassroots revolt, Hillary Clinton will seize the nomination. And she will lose to Donald Trump.

 

Continue reading “Bernie Sanders is more electable than Hillary Clinton”