Dean 2004, Obama 2008, Sanders 2016 and white liberals

Just a few quick notes on the current campaign through the eyes of a white liberal who has never felt the Bern.

On fundraising through February 2016:

Sen. Bernard Sanders may have lost a majority of states on Super Tuesday, but he continues to pull ahead of Democratic presidential primary rival Hillary Clinton in the money race.

The Sanders campaign announced Tuesday it raised $42.7 million in February, and the Clinton campaign announced Wednesday morning it raised $30 million during the month.

On the primary campaign demographics in 2016:

There are three times as many nonblack voters as black voters in the Democratic primary electorate. To cancel her strength, Mr. Sanders would need to win nonblack voters by about 20 percentage points, since Mrs. Clinton leads by more than 60 points among black voters.

And now backing things out a bit.

The Dean campaign in 2004 was overwhelmingly white liberals who were looking for a cause.  The Dean campaign was the first time I showed up on an FEC report.

The Obama coalition in the 2008 primary was a combination of white liberals and the African American community plus not getting crushed among the other major groups within the Democratic primary electorate.  The Sanders coalition is primarily white liberals and rural Democrats.  The Clinton 2008 coalition was moderate and conservative Democrats, Latinos and a bit more female then the party as a whole.  Her coalition in 2016 is her 2008 coalition plus the African American bloc.

What we are seeing is the limit of white liberal power within the Democratic coalition.

It is more than sufficient to fund campaigns but it is insufficient to create a durable national majority.  White liberals by themselves are a much larger, and far less crazy analogue to the Paulbots of the Republican Party — more then sufficient to generate a lot of money and advance ideological arguments.  It is well connected to to privileged positions within the media and discussion ecosystem and due to its demographics plus committment of its members, it can fundraise efficiently on the internet at small to medium donor levels.  Internet fundraising allows for a fairly low burn rate on the part of ideological and aspirational campaigns to tap this set of small donors.    These are two very strong political assets.

However white liberals alone or with minor coalition partners, are not able to form a majority within the Democratic Party.  .  White liberals get a whole lot closer to forming a majority than libertarian dude bros but they cap out significantly short of a majority.



Wednesday Evening Open Thread: Proof of Concept

Another casualty, per the Washington Post:

Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who briefly led the Republican presidential race before his campaign began an extended public implosion, told his supporters in a statement Wednesday afternoon that he does not see a “path forward” and will not attend Thursday’s debate in Detroit.

But Carson did not formally suspend his campaign. Instead, he said in the statement that he has decided to make a speech about his political future on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, just outside Washington.

“I do not see a political path forward in light of last evening’s Super Tuesday primary results,” the Wednesday statement said. “However, this grassroots movement on behalf of ‘We the People’ will continue. Along with millions of patriots who have supported my campaign for President, I remain committed to Saving America for Future Generations.”…

Obviously it’s no longer the place to get the first look at America’s Next Right-Wing Nut Job Figurehead, but has anybody got a good link for not-completely-insane reporting from CPAC?

And what else is on the agenda for the evening?

And Now For a Non-Panicky Post

I really am Henny Penny, and I know this, so bear with me as I have my public emotional breakdowns this primary season. Here is some good news:

After Hillary Clinton built a commanding advantage in the Democratic race on Super Tuesday, some liberal forces that had been more sympathetic to Bernie Sanders appear ready to line up behind Clinton with an eye to the bigger looming challenge: Donald Trump.

Though voters in dozens of states have yet to cast ballots and Sanders has amassed a significant campaign war chest on the strength of his grass-roots appeal, Democrats appear more eager than ever to close ranks at a time when Republican divisions are only deepening.

Even as Clinton was sweeping to victory in delegate-rich states Tuesday, building an advantage Sanders is increasingly unlikely to reverse, some progressive groups began to realign their messages., which has formally endorsed Sanders, spent as much of its statement on Tuesday’s primaries warning about the threat posed by Trump as it did praising the potency of Sanders’ message.

“If Trump is the Republican standard-bearer, it will be crucial for progressives, and all Americans, to unite to defeat a man who represents the antithesis of everything our nation stands for,” said MoveOn’s executive director, Ilya Sheyman.


Goal Thermometer

We’re Not Ready For Trump

The Democratic party is simply not ready to confront the Donald. Not even remotely. Two things that should scare the bejeezus out of you. First, these obviously educated but very stupid people:

Sands, who teaches English to refugees and described herself as a big supporter of refugee resettlement, said that even though Trump is a “big jerk, brash, over the top and egomaniacal,” he was also a “big-mouth pragmatist who can get things done.” She also said that he was a moderate who “doesn’t go around hating people” and called him a “brilliant communicator.”

“He tends to be flamboyant and, like New Yorkers, talks in hyperbole,” Sands said. “He exaggerated it to get attention, because a moderate cannot run in the Republican Party.” Sands believes that the media has “distorted” Trump’s statements and are making him out to be someone they want him to be.

“He’s not one of them,” Sands said. “He’s a Rockefeller Republican. There aren’t any more of those around.”

Ok, anecdotal. Second, this:

With Super Tuesday victories in his back pocket, Trump at a press conference in South Florida pledged to expand the base of the Republican Party, calling himself a “common sense conservative” while assuring voters he considered women’s health issues “very important.”

“Planned Parenthood has done very good work for millions of women,” he said. “But we’re not going to allow and we’re not going to fund, as long as you have the abortion going on at Planned Parenthood. We understand that, and I’ve said it loud and clear.”

“We’ll see what happens,” he continued, “but I’ve had thousands of letters from women that have been helped. This wasn’t a set-up, this was people writing letters.”

Of his tack on Planned Parenthood, Trump conceded it was “not a perfect conservative view,” but offered a counterweight by promising to be “more conservative than anybody on the military, on taking care of our vets, on the border, on the wall.”

That’s the terrifying thing about a shameless demagogue who is unhindered by the truth and unmoored from any principles. He can and will say anything. He doesn’t give a shit. He will, without flinching, weave from left to right on any and all issue. So what do these things have to do with each other and why does it show we are unprepared.

Well, there’s this:

Payday lenders have been gunning for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since the day President Barack Obama tapped Elizabeth Warren to set up the new agency. They’ve had plenty of help from congressional Republicans — longtime recipients of campaign contributions from the payday loan industry. As the CFPB has moved closer to adopting new rules to shield families from predatory lending, the GOP has assailed the agency from every conceivable angle — going after its budget, attempting to tie its hands with new layers of red tape, fomenting conspiracy theories about rogue regulators illegally shutting down businesses and launching direct attacks on payday loan rules themselves.

To date, the GOP blitz has resulted in a few close shaves for the young agency, but no actual defeats. But the industry has cultivated a powerful new ally in recent weeks: Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).

Wasserman Schultz is co-sponsoring a new bill that would gut the CFPB’s forthcoming payday loan regulations. She’s also attempting to gin up Democratic support for the legislation on Capitol Hill, according to a memo obtained by The Huffington Post.

Trump is lying when he claims he is self-funding his campaign, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that Trump is now going to quite easily pivot to the left and cherry-pick Bernie’s arguments about Wall Street, and Trump will use them to bludgeon Hillary. And given that DWS and the DNC just rescinded the Obama era rules regarding the DNC receiving money from lobbyists, and well, you can see the problems. And it doesn’t matter that Trump wines and dines and lives with the folks he is going to use to smear Hillary, he doesn’t care. He’ll be screaming about her speaking fees, mark my word.

He’s just going to scream that the whole thing is broken and that he can fix it, and point to the parts the DNC keeps breaking and saying there is really no difference between the two parties. And on the surface, it looks like he is right.

Today’s Smart Read…

…comes from Thomas Edsall at The New York Times

He answers his question “Why Trump Now?” by looking at the material reasons for working-class white disaffection, not just with the post-civil-rights Democratic Party, but with the cabal to whom that group turned in increasing numbers from 1968 forward.  He writes:

The share of the gross national product going to labor as opposed to the share going to capital fell from 68.8 percent in 1970 to 60.7 percent by 2013, according to Loukas Karabarbounis, an economics professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Even more devastating, the number of manufacturing jobs dropped by 36 percent, from 19.3 million in 1979 to 12.3 million in 2015, while the population increased by 43 percent, from 225 million to 321 million.

The postwar boom, when measured by the purchasing power of the average paycheck, continued into the early 1970s and then abruptly stopped (see the accompanying chart).

In other words, the economic basis for voter anger has been building over forty years. Starting in 2000, two related developments added to worsening conditions for the middle and working classes…


Read the whole thing.

If you’re too busy the TL:DR of those two developments are the interrelated facts that from the year 2ooo, upward mobility reversed itself, with more people falling into the middle class and poverty and fewer making it up the ladder — and the impact of China and its increasing integration into a world-wide free-trade regimen.  Edsall’s reporting on the China development — with its accompanying misreading by free-trade elites — is particularly sharp.

Add to that, as Edsall does, the TARP bailout after the elite-engineered collapse of 2007-8 and the Citizens United decision and you have specific and plausible reasons for Republican working class voters (and everyone else, of course) to see their chosen political leaders as shills and swindlers:

By opening the door to the creation of SuperPACs and giving Wall Street and other major financial sectors new ways to buy political outcomes, the courts gave the impression, to say the least, that they favored establishment interests over those of the less well off.

Edsall’s conclusion?

The tragedy of the 2016 campaign is that Trump has mobilized a constituency with legitimate grievances on a fool’s errand.

The crux for this year is exactly that:  Lots of Americans have been screwed — systematically, with comprehensive effect — for decades.  The material losses they – we — have suffered are real.  The responses Trump offers, such as they are, may be hopelessly at odds with any actual redress of those wrongs.  But any campaign (are you listening, Hillary?) that ignores the fact that two generations of Americans now have seen the basic expectations of life reversed is going to have hard time winning, just by pointing out that Trump’s bloviating won’t help either.

Image: David Vinckbooms, Distribution of Loaves to the Poor, first half of the 17th century.