Bernie's More Popular than Ever, So Why Is He Still Losing So Badly?


Man, you really got it out for Bernie. I don't even have to check the byline anymore when I see a headline trying ineffectually to twist a knife into him while wearing a grotesque approximation of neutrality.
They haven't even voted in South Carolina, and you are basically saying the system is rigged. He won one tiny state, where the biggest city has about 100,000 people and the population is 93% white. Wake me up when he wins South Carolina, or any other state that looks remotely like the rest of the country.
The answer to your questions is that the party isn't made entirely of the kind of people who think Bernie Sanders is really cool.

Its hard to fault a system that has won 5 of the last 6 Presidential elections (with an asterisk on 2000). And in 2004, Bush squeaked out a win under, for him, optimal conditions. And has the inside track to making it 6 for 7.

If, over time, the Sanders-inclined portion of the party puts in the work to build support and gain control of the levers the day will come when a Sanders-like candidate can't be stopped. But the White House is where the process of change ends, not where it begins.
Matt, you need to expand your political reading beyond "Politico" and Nate Silver. There's a revolution happening and you need to ask yourself, what side are you on.

As for the Super Delegates, do you think they would be so bold as to overturn the will of the electorate? Seriously do you believe that?
The system is rigged. Mind you I would like to see Sanders win the presidency, but even if he managed to get the nomination the opposition would portray him as a combination of Jimmy Carter and George McGovern, in other words a "weak dick" candidate who would not stand up for the nation.
"almost 100% of the superdelegates are lining up behind the presumptive nominee."

This time, yes. Last time, no. So ... could be that the superdelegates actually like Hillary, not that they have it out for Bernie because he's "grass-roots."
Thank for reminding us that voting is pointless. Someone please inform the Stranger Election Control Board.
If the super delegates go against the popular vote, Democrats simply won't turn out in great numbers. The Democratic establishment seems fine with driving down turnout and letting the Democrats lose, they fucked healthcare reform up pretty solidly and lost the mid-terms after that.
Fuck....the political coverage this time around is just horrific. I mean it wasn't great in 2012 but compared to the serious debates on Slog with staffers at The Stranger over Obama vs. Clinton it's not even in the same town.
So if the Republicans use a brokered convention to make the nominee a candidate like Rubio, Bush, or Kasich it is a smart move to prevent a radical from destroying the party but if the Democratic leadership throws its weight behind someone electable its a subversion of democracy?

Paul Krugman has a great blog post today about the dangerous waters the Democratic party is heading towards led by Sanders, but here are the key points.
1) Sanders may be popular within the Democratic party but he is not popular enough to produce overwhelming victories in the House and Senate that would be necessary to advance his agenda.
2) Once Sanders' proposals start receiving mainstream scrutiny an unavoidable fact will appear: quite a few middle-class Americans would be net losers. On balance most Americans will gain from Sanders's proposals, but voters hear "government damaging middle class" and they will flock to the Republican.…
On a serious note, politically speaking, I think that Sanders at the very least needs to trim Clinton's lead down to single digits in South Carolina AND win in Nevada by more than a hair to have any chance at being seen as a viable candidate. Anything less than that I'd hate to say it but he's probably dead candidate walking. (And I say that as a Bernie supporter)

The GOP has another problem. If Trump manages to win South Carolina by double digits then the RNC has to decide if they are going to get behind who will be the presumptive nominee or just say fuck it, try to screw over Trump and give up the 2016 White House race. I'm hoping the chose that last option! :)
Polling so badly in SC, you mean? What a terrible headline, thanks for showing your bias -- your stories can forever be safely ignored.
Hillary is a liar who'll say anything to get elected and then hand the entire enchilada over to the oligarchs in a replay of the first Clinton presidency. Gay people, black people, and poor people will be the first under the bus--just like last time--and everyone knows it.

It's impossible to see how she'll attract anyone other than the already devoted and independents terrified of the RepubliKKKan bath-salts cannibals. Time will tell if that will be enough, but it doesn't look good.
@ 12, I'm hoping they choose Second Amendment solutions and settle their differences like Real 'Murricans.
Bernie would not stand a chance in the general election after the Republicans start aiming their big guns at him. The singular thing that's most unpopular with general election voters is being a socialist. Nothing else comes close.…

That's why Republicans are so busy trying to whip up Hillary hatred and DNC hatred among Bernie's supporters. They would do anything to see to it that Bernie gets the nomination.…

Bernie is not half as behind on delegates as you make him out to be. If Sanders won in South Carolina and Nevada, you'd see half of those delegates defecting from Hillary to Bernie. Most delegates are not required by law to vote for any specific candidate.
I am old enough to remember 1972 when Democrats nominated the popular, grassroots candidate named George McGovern. Their enthusiasm for Sen. McGovern was palpable. But the rest of the voters chose Richard Nixon, the greatest crook to ever occupy the White House. While I agree with him on the issues, Bernie Sanders has all the makings of another George McGovern.
Someone get this guy a copy editor affective emmediately.
@14 "Hillary is a liar who'll say anything to get elected" like every other politician.

If we can have another 8 years like we had under Bill Clinton then sign me up. Best federal budgets in decades, fastest economic growth in decades, relatively progressive legislation. Sounds good to me. You do remember that Bill was so popular with minorities that he was considered our "first black president" right? I don't know how you could expect to get to where we are with gay rights without starting with things like DADT. Admittedly DOMA was pretty shitty. If you're expecting liberal purity you're living in a fantasy land. There isn't a candidate anywhere who will give you that, especially when fighting the current congressional lineup.

Look, I'm a Bernie fan too and I'll probably vote for him in the primaries. I would have preferred O'Malley but Bernie is fine. Hillary is fine too. She's not ideal but this is a democracy (loosely) and you're never going to get ideal. The best you'll get is a good compromise. The worst you'll get is Trump. So, you are absolutely welcome to your opinion but if you don't come out and vote for whoever the Democratic candidate is in November then you're handing the country to the absolute worst of the worst. An extremist Republican president with an extremist Republican congress. The only hope is that Obama can get a good replacement to Scalia to hold them back for 4 years.
@16 & 18 are correct.

There is lots to like about Bernie Sanders. I am probably more closely aligned with him than Hillary. But Bernie has zero chance of winning a national election, or any swing state. If he were to somehow manage to win the primary, the Republicans would call him a socialist at every opportunity. And unlike Obama, Bernie actually was a socialist most of his political life. So it wouldn't be some wild accusation from feverish conspiracy nutjobs; it would be the truth. And then Bernie would get slaughtered in the general election. He'd be lucky to win 5 states. Gleeful Seattle hippies might vote for a socialist to our city council (I did), but you are dreaming if you thing this nation will elect a socialist as president.
@14, Matt Taibbi was on Sam Seder's podcast last week. Taibbi's been covering the Trump campaign so far and is seriously worried that should the race come down to Trump vs. Clinton he doesn't see Clinton winning in November. That should give us all pause as to how bad the political system has become.

Did you catch David Brooks piece in the NYT lamenting how politics has become so rude and mean a week or two back? He must have forgotten his "charming" quote smearing Anita Hill. You remember that one? "She's a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty." Yes ladies and gentleman that came from one of Hillary's now supporters!! Onward to electability!!!
You're taking the Schultz quote out of context. The argument she was making was that, since activists often don't have the ground game to compete with establishment candidates in the primaries, they're included in the process by giving them a voice as unpledged delegates. Rather than making them go up against elected officials with greater resources at their disposal, it gives them the swing vote to distribute as they see fit.
It works fine if it's two establishment candidates; the activists get to break near-ties in favor of their preferred candidate. It only runs into issues when an outsider actually ends up taking on an establishment candidate directly.
There seems to be a common defeatist theme: "Sanders could never wind a general election because Republicans will say mean things about him." It's no wonder the Republicans get away with their bullying tactics.

Who do you think would fight more vigorously against the Republicans? Sanders and large and engaged voter base or Hilary and the Democratic establishment? Do you think the strategy of being afraid of Republicans saying bad stuff about you will bring about any significant change?
We are not just voting for a President, we are voting for an administration. The devil is in the details, and a Republican administration would castrate any chance for equality and justice during the next 4/8 years. I plan to vote Democrat, no matter what, but Bernie can't win a national election. He can remain a beacon for progress, just not as president.
Jesus Christ. "This is extremely silly, stupid and naive, even for Matt Baume" is not a sentence I have expected to have to write, given the standard he's set for us, but here we are.

There is no precedent whatsoever, and no good reason to believe, that in the unlikely event of Bernie Sanders winning a majority of the pledged delegates, superdelegates (who are free to change their votes at any time) would overturn the results of that election. These people are party functionaries--the notion that they'd tear their party apart for the sake of their preferred candidate is non-existent and exceedingly unlikely. An we have very very recent precedent for this--when it became clear that Obama was going to win a narrow majority of pledged delegates, many of Clinton's declared superdelegate supporters flipped their support to Obama. They made clear to her then that they weren't going to overturn decision of the primary voters and caucus-goers. They knew then, and surely still know now, what a political disaster that would be.

More here:…

Hey, Dan/Management: Why are you *still* paying for what Bernie Sanders' most earnest, clueless fans are giving away for free in facebook feeds everywhere?
Sorry, Baume, but you conveniently left off an important part of the history of superdelegates and primaries.

If that seems a little undemocratic, that's because it's supposed to be. The Democrats created superdelegates back in the 70s and 80s after voters lined up behind some particularly unsuccessful candidates. Party bosses decided they knew better than voters, so they created a system whereby the governors, senators, and various luminaries got to pick their candidate independent of voters.

Um... That's only part of the story. Up until 1968, the ONLY people selecting the party's candidate were party delegates. Or, put another way, 100% of the delegates were what we now call superdelegates. After the '68 riots in Chicago, the DNC created the primary/caucus system. THEN, after a lackluster 70s, they decided to give a small amount of power back to the party establishment. Today, it's only slightly less than 15%. So, it's only been for two nomination cycles in the history of our country ('72 and '76; '80 was an incumbent year) that voters had 100% of the power in choice of candidate.

BUT! More importantly, there is no requirement at all for a candidate to be selected democratically. None. Because this is not an election. It's the party's process for choosing a candidate for an election. Hell, if they wanted, the DNC could choose their candidate by drawing straws or arm wrestling or picking 1000 people off of the street to play the world's largest game of pin the tail on the donkey.

With today's process, the people have more say in candidate selection that at almost any time in our 228-year history (we're talking Constitution here, not Declaration).

And, finally, as others have pointed out, if by some miracle Bernie started sweeping states and dominating the primaries, the superdelegates would certainly vote for him at the convention in a show of party unity. That's why conventions are no fun anymore.
@19-- HA!
Superdelegate votes are not final, this number that Hillary has was all based on an early poll.

They can change their minds as they see the winds change like they did for Obama (but yeah, Bernie has a steeper hill to climb than Obama did).
I'm sure glad that the GOP hasn't been prepping themselves to go against Hillary Clinton. I mean they are TOTALLY not going to be ready for a Clinton run for the White House. They are going to be SHOCKED!!!!
Bernie Sanders was an independent special flower in the House and the Senate, even tho he caucused with the Dems on everything.

It doesn't surprise me someone that privileged wants to be President.
Do your homework next time Mr Baume. In 2008 Barack Obama received 543 of 824 superdelegates on the first ballot at the convention.

Explaining how and why this could have happened (to anyone for whom it isn't obvious) is meant to be the job of journalists and commentators. Since you aren't up to it I suggest reading @david jw above.

That's my one comment for the year.

Gee, Matt. If you think the system is completely rigged for Clinton, why even write about it? It's a done deal. The convention delegates can just phone in the coronation results. Come to think about it, you are as irrelevant as the voters you apparently despise. Better start looking for another day job.
SAY IT WITH ME PEOPLE: those superdelegates are not hers.

That's just an endorsement count. The superdelegates don't vote until after eeeveryone else has, and are in no way bound to these endorsements.

Don't get me wrong: it's a stupid system, and it's completely irrelevant because Sanders isn't expected to win ANY of the remaining primaries besides Vermont (the one Nevada poll you cited is from a Republican pollster, and is the only one with the race even vaguely close), and she will have them in the end because Sanders will lose in the non-super delegate count by a lot.

SDs have never once voted against the majority voter will since 1984. There's no evidence they will do so again, because WHY WOULD YOU IMMEDIATELY ANGER YOUR BASE WHEN YOU NEED THEM TO COME VOTE FOR YOU TWO MONTHS LATER. That's why they switched to Obama in 2008. That's why, in some alternate universe where Sanders isn't losing by a lot, they would switch to him.

Fucking amateur political reporting.
@34, if Matt has a large penis the Stranger won't get rid of him. At least that's been the rumor of getting/keeping jobs over there
Clinton apparently has barked like a dog. Did she show that she's cool or is this her Dean Scream?
As was said, the superdelegates are almost certainly not going to overturn the will of the Democratic voters. The only instance where they might is where they have a convincing argument that she should win - for example, if she won the popular vote (as she did in 2008) and leads in national polls (as she did not in 2008). And even then, they'd have to weigh which side would be more bitter about the loss.

Beyond that, part of the purpose of the superdelegates will be to make the eventual nominee's win more convincing. If Hillary wins, her delegate count will be much higher than Bernie's. If Bernie is clearly going to win, they can switch over, creating more momentum and giving him a bigger delegate victory.
If an equivalent system on the Republican side would prevent a Trump Presidency, I can't fault it too much.
We no longer need delegates. Neither do we need parties. What we need are "popular" elections. And then the vote should be by 'ranking' the candidates. We have the technology, it's not like we are sending news and votes by horseback anymore. We are not really a democracy when the popular candidate loses....
@36: Did not read it in your voice, 0/10
Hillary got more votes than Obama in 2008. Oh well. Obama got the nomination, world did not end. And why would party leaders nominate someone who is not a member of their party?

Are you for proportional representation too?
Just to be clear: The period between 1972-1984 is the only period in 20th century Democratic party history when party insiders did not have a measure of control over who the party's nominee was going to be.

It's not like there was a paradise lost moment back in the olden days when things were more democratic for the grass-roots.

The rules were changed back to giving insiders an extra voice, because the more grass-roots approach was not yielding winning results.
@42: "Hillary got more votes than Obama in 2008."

This was the Clinton campaign spin, but it isn't true in any meaningful sense. The DNC punished Florida and Michigan for going against scheduling rules by stripping them of their delegates, so their votes didn't count for anything. The Obama campaign, focused on actually winning the nomination by accumulating delegates, didn't bother to campaign in either, and wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan.

But even if you think they should count, the only way to get to the claim that Clinton had more votes is to not count any of the votes for "uncommitted" in Michigan for Obama. It was perfectly clear from exit polling that people voting for uncommitted were indicating support for Obama. The claim that Clinton got more votes is sophistry and spin.
@18- When I was caucusing for Obama a woman made exactly that same McGovern comparison you're making. I'd say it's just as apt now.

And thus comes the end of the line for the Bernie train.
Interesting talking points, everyone. Here are mine:

(1) Hillary is no better than the worst the Republicans have to offer. She's a self-styled "progressive gets things done" ... for mega-corporations and billionaires. No amount of vacuous PR can change her actual record of service to the super-rich, from Walmart director, to healthcare-reform czar, to senator, to Secretary of State, to private foundation fundraiser, to presidential candidate. She's the personification of the DLC, whose goal was to do whatever it took to compete with the Republicans for big corporate money, including selling out the 99% at every possible turn and backing counterproductive military actions, subversion, and coups around the world.

(2) It doesn't matter who gets the Republican nomination or whether anyone splits the conservative vote by running as an Independent: if Bernie doesn't get the Democratic nomination, I'm voting for Jill Stein of the Green Party. I don't care that the corporate media have effectively blackballed her and every other politician and political party to the left of the Dems (which, by the way, is almost certainly the primary reason Bernie chose to run as a Democrat). I wouldn't vote for Hillary to keep a Republican out of the White House any more than I would vote for Ernst Röhm (the gay and gay-friendly head of the Storm Troopers) to keep Hitler out of power.

(3) If Bernie has a lick of sense and integrity, if and when he loses the Democratic nomination he will break his extorted promise to back Hillary and throw in with Jill Stein and the Greens, possibly as her running mate. If the Democratic Party can't be dragged back to its 30s-60s roots of representing the working and middle classes, it needs to die and be replaced, and summer 2016 will be the time to administer the first public knifing. The oligarchs who own this country and its media are giving us a choice between a wholly-owned dominionist-corporatist party and a wholly-owned secular-corporatist party. We need to build (and keep) one that represents us. And we'll have to do it without any coverage from the country's six media conglomerates.