Wednesday, June 08, 2016


As I write this, it's about 8:30PM in California, and primary results aren't fully in. I'm morbidly curious as to how the race will go for the Democrats. Hillary already has the minimum number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination; the issue is whether the citizens of Cali will give her their mandate. If they don't, this will be more fuel for Bernie Sanders, who will probably use the upcoming Democrat convention to pull for superdelegate realignment toward him: he is, after all, polling much better against Trump than Hillary herself is. There's also the shadow of a possible indictment of Hillary thanks to Emailgate, but I'm not holding my breath. She's a Clinton, and thus immune to justice. The Department of Justice is currently headed by Loretta Lynch, who was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee (with Dem votes dominating GOP votes, 12-8). Hillary has powerful people in her corner who aren't shy about their biases.

This hasn't stopped online righties from speculating about Dem contingency plans. The consensus opinion is that, if HRC were to be indicted, and if she were therefore to withdraw her name from the running, Joe Biden would be wheeled out, and Elizabeth Warren would be his running mate, thus reincarnating the unsuccessful Mondale/Ferraro ticket from the 1980s. According to current polls, however, Biden would stomp Trump's ass. Despite being as goofy and gaffe-prone as Dubya was, Biden is in the country's good graces at the moment, partly thanks to sympathy for his bereavement (he lost a son, Beau, over a year ago), and also thanks to the aura of nobility that surrounded him when he publicly declared he would not run for president. I have no idea whether any of this contingency planning is more than just hookah-smoking in dark parlors, but a Biden-Trump race would certainly be a lot more interesting than the race that's likely to happen.

June 7 marks the end of the primaries for the Republicans; there's one more event on June 14 for the Democrats (District of Columbia), but the next twelve hours will pretty much wrap things up for both parties. Other states having primaries tonight (aside from California) are Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota for the GOP; for the Democrats, the list is the same, with the addition of North Dakota. None of these states represents anything of consequence compared to California, but I'll be tracking their results all the same.

So for now, the outcomes of the primaries are a confirmation of the months-old prediction* that the race would come down to Trump and Hillary. We now shift our focus to the GOP and Democrat conventions, where shenanigans are likely because neither party is particularly happy about its own front-runner. I'm not expecting Trump to budge, but I'm intensely curious to see what Bernie plans to do. He's a tenacious old bastard.

UPDATE: with 75-99% of the precincts reporting in, Donald Trump is, of course, landsliding, as he's the only GOP candidate still in the running. Hillary, meanwhile, is stomping all over Bernie. With 74% of precincts reporting in Cali, she's 57% to Bernie's 42%. Bernie has apparently had trouble, this whole race, with appealing to anyone who's not young and white, which explains his wild success in nearly all-white North Dakota (64% to 26%) and his failure in minority-heavy California.

*Don't deny it: this prediction is months old. Once it became clear, months ago, that Trump was the GOP leader, this was the bet that most people were placing.



King Baeksu said...

Hillary Clinton during her Tuesday night speech: "Vote for me because I have a womb."
Donald Trump during his Tuesday night speech: "I am going to put Americans back to work again."

Clinton seems to hope that by emphasizing cultural issues and identity politics, people won't notice how disastrous her neoliberal and neoconservative policies will be for the nation.

Meanwhile, Trump downplayed cultural issues and identity politics and focused mainly the economic. What was interesting is that he actually embraced Sanders' position on foreign trade, which largely jibes with his own. He also specifically reached out to the African-American community, and people of "all backgrounds." (The liberal media will largely ignore such statements, of course.)

The fight, in other words, is between social identity and national interest. Or, if you prefer, between people who want to feel good about themselves and people who want to feel good about their nation. Perhaps this seems a bit simplistic, but it was certainly how the coming campaign was framed by both candidates tonight.

In any case, when Clinton claimed to want to "take on Wall Street and fight for Main Street," for example, it was so transparently false that only a fool would take such statements at face value. She also literally implied that she would "build a bridge" to Mexico (i.e., instead of a wall), in effect arguing for continued Open Borders. It's hard to see how that will be in the interest of native-born American workers, but I guess we're not supposed to notice that because Hillary has a womb and so if we vote for her, we'll all feel so good about ourselves that it won't really matter.

Hopefully people will have learned their lesson after the failed Obama Presidency: Many people also voted for feelings in choosing Obama, and yet the record is clear. He is undoubtedly on the side of Wall Street, not Main Street. A vote for Hillary offers much more of the same. In other words, both offer a slick rebranding of neoliberalism and neoconservatism, dressed up in the seductive packaging of identity politics. It might make you feel good about yourself, but when you can't put food on the table, will it really matter?

King Baeksu said...

As predicted, the establishment NYT ignored Trump's reaching out to African-Americans and Americans of "all backgrounds" in his Tuesday-night speech, preferring instead to reinject the Judge Curiel controversy into its coverage of the day's events:

"Eschewing personal taunts and attacks, he defined the presidential campaign as a choice between a hard-nosed businessman and an opponent he said embodied “a rigged system.”

"But if Mr. Trump’s remarks sketched out the message allies have wanted him to deliver, it is unclear whether he is capable of sticking to the pitch.

"On Tuesday, he gave an interview to Fox News demanding that Republicans “get over” their concern about the attacks Mr. Trump has hurled at a federal judge of Mexican descent, just hours after releasing a statement saying he was done talking about the issue. Republican tolerance for Mr. Trump’s erratic behavior has evaporated, and one senator who backed him, Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, has already withdrawn his endorsement."


"All the News That's Fit to Print"? More like: "Only the News That We Think Fits"