Saturday, June 11, 2016

There are No Coronations in American Politics

What you are hearing now from disappointed Berners is that Hillary may have won but that's just because there was not enough time to get to know Bernie. As if a year and a half is not sufficient introduction.

Many are simply sneering that Hillary was supposed to have a 'coronation' and this was obviously not that. The fact that this was not that is an incredible testimony to Bernie strength and Hillary's weakness.

"The most obviously shocking part of the primary is the fact that it was close at all. Hillary Clinton had a greater head start than any non-incumbent presidential candidate in generations. She nearly won the nomination eight years ago, her husband is a popular former two-term president, and she's been a high-profile public figure for decades. That gave her the name recognition and party connections to lock up the endorsement of the vast majority of party elites — including the governor of Sanders' home state — before the primary even got started."

"Sanders, by contrast, was basically a nobody a year ago. Committed liberals and political junkies knew who he was, of course: the most left-wing senator in the country from the second-smallest state in the union; a stubborn, wild-haired independent who was always mounting the doomed left resistance to atrocious Republican disasters or milquetoast Democratic compromises. For nine years in the Senate, and for nearly two decades before that in the House, he was largely restricted to trumpeting message bills and sneaking through tons of little amendments wherever he could."

"I argued over a year ago that it was time for the media to stop treating Sanders with open contempt, but even I didn't think he'd make it a real contest. I thought he'd win a couple states, pick up a few hundred delegates, and leverage that for a concession or two at the national convention. It looked like a classic message campaign."

"But it turns out the political tectonic plates have been shifting under everyone's feet. Sanders' aggressive platform of single-payer health insurance, tuition free public college, a $15 minimum wage, a steep carbon tax, a big expansion of Social Security, and $1 trillion in new infrastructure spending drew enormous interest. His rumpled, stubborn old guy affect proved oddly resonant in an age where politicians are typically focus-grouped within an inch of their lives. He very quickly began drawing the biggest crowds of any candidate, largely young people who have come of political age in the worst economic environment since the Great Depression."

Yes, the political tectonic plates have shifted. When Bernie talks, the earth moves.

Cooper among others have argued that the rise of the millennials mean that the future will be Ultra Left. Maybe, maybe not.

One answer is: remember the baby boomers. After all, they voted for Eugene McCarthy in 1968 and split the party at the convention. I see some Dead Enders are hoping for some kind of 1968 like riot or something. That they take inspiration from that shows what is wrong with their perspective.

After all, what did they end up winning thereby? In 1972, they did get McGovern who lost 49 states.

But that's just it-in 1972 Bernie Sanders won and where did it get us?
But if Ryan Cooper were there in 1972 he'd probably be telling us that McGovern moved the tectonic plates. In the end, what we did get was 24 years of Republican rule at the national level.

As for coronations, they are very rare in American politics. Was the fact that Hillary had a competitive primary fight on her hands shocking? Not in itself. The opposite would have been. Now, the fact that it was Bernie Sanders is surprising as he was not well known nationally prior to 2015.

But even that is not without precedent. In fact in 1976, a total unknown did more than just challenge for the Democratic nomination, Jimmy Carter won it. He even went on to win the Presidency.

Hillary's margin of victory over Bernie-whether you're talking about votes, the popular vote margin, delegates-is in line with past primary winners.

It's comparable to Jimmy Carter in 1980 and he was a sitting President. Which underscores that there are very few coronations in American politics.

What past primaries tell us is that the eventual nominee usually faces at least one significant runner up. In 1992, Bill Clinton faced two-Jerry Brown and Paul Tsongas.

If you want a weak nominee, it was Walter Mondale who got just 38 percent of the final Democratic primary vote. As he got just 38 percent of his own party's vote, it's not a shock that he got just over 40 percent in the general against Reagan. He actually did slightly better in the general.

So that Hillary had a challenger is not a shock. What is a little surprising is that challenger was Bernie Sanders. But again, not unprecedented. We mentioned Jimmy Carter, another example was Howard Dean.

If you remember the sentiment in early 2015 it was that Hillary needed a competitive primary challenger. Even friends of her's like Eric Boehlert had said this in January 2015.

In June, 2015 Harry Enten wrote a piece that said that 'Democrats want Hillary Clinton to have a primary challenger but they want her to win.'

In retrospect, they got what they wanted.

No comments:

Post a Comment