Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Cruz craps out; Sanders surprises pollsters again

At least he's good at shutting things down.

Moments before Ted Cruz publicly ended a campaign for president that had lasted more than a year, he stood backstage and thanked his closest friends, supporters and advisers for their help and support.
Some sat at round tables. Conservative commentator and TV host Glenn Beck stood and watched. A bar table covered with Starbucks cups and an ironing board with an upright iron stood off to the side.
When Cruz finished speaking, the group of about 50 people applauded — several of them wiping away tears — and Cruz’s campaign manager, Jeff Roe, walked away from them, looking down, and shook his head.
Cruz’s speech to a group of a few hundred devoted followers from the main stage minutes later was met with disbelief and anguish.
“From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” Cruz said. Murmurs rose in the audience.
“I’m sorry to say,” Cruz said — and cries of “No, no!” rang out — “it appears that path has been foreclosed.” This brought an even louder “NO!”
As Cruz announced that he was suspending his campaign “with a heavy heart,” a girl of about 12 began to sob. Her father stood nearby with his hand over his mouth and said, “What are you doing?”
Cruz sought to reassure his followers inside the Grand Hall Ballroom of the Crowne Plaza hotel. “Hear me now: I am not suspending our fight for liberty,” he said. His father and mother, divorced 20 years ago but standing next to one another on this night, stood behind him.
A gaggle of Cruz’s campaign staff stood 20 feet from the stage, many of them red-eyed. After Cruz finished his speech, he began to greet supporters in the front of the crowd, but then abruptly returned backstage after just a few moments, apparently too emotional to continue.
His supporters were left to pick up the pieces and to ponder their choices now that businessman and reality TV personality Donald Trump stands alone as the likely Republican nominee and the only alternative to Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Here's the best thing that happened last night for Clinton.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do. I might vote for Hillary,” said Jason Winters, 40, a machinist from Crawfordsville, Ind. “She’s a criminal. She’s a murderer. But she’s better than an authoritarian dictator.”

I'm at a loss for words, but I'll pick up the pieces and go on

Bernie Sanders triumphed over Hillary Clinton in Indiana’s open primary Tuesday, boosting the grassroots candidate’s argument that the party’s superdelegates should flip their support to him in July’s Democratic convention. 

Sanders spoke to thousands of supporters in Louisville, Ky., before Indiana’s results were in. He called for an end to closed primaries and criticized Clinton for her ties to Wall Street and paid speeches to Goldman Sachs — a sign the heated rhetoric on the Democratic side shows no signs of cooling down.[...]

Sanders continues to trail Clinton by hundreds of pledged delegates and faces an extremely difficult path to close that gap. And Tuesday’s win doesn’t     propel Sanders very far; he and Clinton will roughly split Indiana’s 83 Democratic delegates because his victory was narrow. But the win fuels the senator’s argument that he should keep fighting until the end and creates a headache for Clinton, who has made a hard pivot from frontrunner to presumptive nominee. “I think we can pull off one of the great political upsets in the history of the United States,” Sanders said in a press conference late Tuesday night.

I'm still thinking he can't, but I won't hide my glee at how angry his pushing ahead makes Hillary''s crew.  Once again, the polling failed.

Only a handful of polling outfits were surveying voters ahead of the Indiana Democratic primary—but none of them saw a Bernie Sanders win coming.

The RealClearPolitics polling average for the state had former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton up by just under 7 percentage points as of this morning. But minutes ago, the TV networks began to call the race for the senator from Vermont.

FiveThirtyEight says NBD, but they have been wronger than anybody this cycle, and they only aggregate everybody else's polls, not conduct one.  That means everybody who bet +7 or more on Clinton were the biggest losers.  Those people should stay away from the racetrack this Saturday.

More on the reality Nate Silver is denying here and here.  One excerpt:

There is not a current, publicized investigation underway to figure out why the polls are almost always off, in a way that predicts that Sanders will not do as well as he ultimately does.
But since the polls have consistently predicted that Sanders will earn fewer voters than he goes on to win, the following questions arise.
If the latest RealClearPolitics poll says that Sanders beats Trump nationally by 14 points, does that mean that Sanders would actually beat Trump by more than 14 points, given that this polling source is one of the ones that has been wrong by underestimating Sanders?
If, as the Washington Examiner is reporting, Sanders is beating Clinton in national polls by two percent, and in the Indiana contest the poll was off by 9 percent, is Sanders really beating Clinton by 11 percent nationally?
No one has officially answered these questions. But Bernie Sanders has won another primary — Indiana — a “surprise” to those who continue to rely on polls that consistently under-predict Sanders’ performance. 

Food for thought.  I just don't believe Bernie is going to get to test this polling theory in 2016.  Hillary is a little more than likely to get enough delegates out of California in one month to end the conversation, finally.

But until then, there's going to be more chuckling from the left of the left and a little more teeth-grinding and cursing under their collective breath from the right of the left.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Clinton's Victory Fund is a money-laundering scam

Extremely unfortunate revelation for the presumptive nominee.

In the days before Hillary Clinton launched an unprecedented big-money fundraising vehicle with state parties last summer, she vowed “to rebuild our party from the ground up,” proclaiming “when our state parties are strong, we win. That’s what will happen."

But less than 1 percent of the $61 million raised by that effort has stayed in the state parties’ coffers, according to a POLITICO analysis of the latest Federal Election Commission filings.

The venture, the Hillary Victory Fund, is a so-called joint fundraising committee comprised of Clinton’s presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee and 32 state party committees. The set-up allows Clinton to solicit checks of $350,000 or more from her super-rich supporters at extravagant fundraisers including a dinner at George Clooney’s house and at a concert at Radio City Music Hall featuring Katy Perry and Elton John.

The victory fund has transferred $3.8 million to the state parties, but almost all of that cash ($3.3 million, or 88 percent) was quickly transferred to the DNC, usually within a day or two, by the Clinton staffer who controls the committee, POLITICO’s analysis of the FEC records found.

Maha even beats up on Rachel Maddow and the rest of the talking political heads for whiffing on the story.  There's more at the Politico link about the shell game and the deception of the state parties that so many Clinton supporters have both hailed as restorative to a Democratic majority and used as a club to beat Bernie Sanders with (because he wasn't doing it).  They were of course extending the argument out to "he's not a Democrat", another falsehood.

Even Clooney's piousness -- expressed in a television interview just a couple of weeks ago -- makes him look like either a liar or a fool.

Clooney admitted that ($353,000 to sit in a room with him) was "an obscene amount of money." But he justified it by saying "the overwhelming amount of the money that we're raising, is not going to Hillary to run for president, it's going to the down-ticket."

No, it isn't.

“Particularly the parties in states that are not competitive, they worry that the DNC won’t let them keep any of the money, but the historical reality is that they wouldn’t have gotten the money anyway,” the (anonymous for fear of retribution from the DNC and the Clinton campaign) operative said.

Hello, Texas.

Let's cut to the chase: this isn't going to cost her any support she hadn't already lost long ago.  Her supporters just see this as part of the game that they think she's best at playing.  They are unmoved by the prevailing sentiment among all voters that the game is rigged in precisely this fashion.  They disregard all instances of her corruption, staying uniformly focusing on 'whatever it takes to win'.  And according to the most recent Electoral College projections, they are winning.

Seven swing states, in buttery yellow above.  But it's not even that close, with two hundred and forty-seven EC votes already in the virtual can.

For the Democrats, a victory in 2016 entails zero expansion of the blue map, merely the limiting of blue-to-red transformations. Assuming the lean, likely, and safe Democratic states remain loyal to the party, the nominee need only win 23 of the 85 toss-up electoral votes. And if a lean Democratic state such as Wisconsin turns red, it is relatively easy to replace those votes with one or two toss-ups. 

Yeah, it's early blah blah.  It's early enough for me to say that if Hillary Clinton snatches defeat from the jaws of a victory like this, then such a massive failure as that will be all hers to bear.  Alone.  It won't be my fault; it won't be your fault, and it won't be the fault of her handlers, bundlers, staff, or sycophants.  It will all be on her.

This is why I keep saying you are free to vote your conscience, or your progressive principles.  My vote for Jill Stein in Texas does not any more elect Donald Trump than someone's in California, or any of the other 41 states whose electoral outcome is not in doubt.

So all the Sanders campaign can think of to do is go directly after her superdelegates.

(T)he Vermont senator said that those superdelegates supporting the former secretary of state ought to rethink their pledge — particularly in states where he won handily.
“I would ask the superdelegates to respect the wishes of the people of those states,” Sanders said.
Overall, Clinton has the support of 520 superdelegates, while Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist, has “all of 39” — despite winning 17 primaries and caucuses “in every part of the country.”
Sanders pointed out that although he won Washington state’s Democratic caucuses by 46 points (73 percent to 27 percent) and 25 of the state’s 36 pledged delegates, Clinton has the support of 10 of Washington’s Democratic unpledged superdelegates.
“We have zero,” he said. “Obviously, we are taking on the entire Democratic establishment.”

As NPR's Tamara Keith points out, Clinton would still be ahead in the overall delegate count even if the superdelegates from the states Sanders won shifted to his side.

"If you mandate that the superdelegates be divvied up proportionally, the margin for Clinton narrows further," says the Washington Post's Philip Bump. "But, in the same way that she still has a lead in pledged delegates because of proportional distribution, she has a lead with superdelegates, too."

When superdelegates are also corporate lobbyists, you once again face the realization that the system is corrupt and built to stay that way.

On July 25, these superdelegates will cast votes at the Democratic National Convention for whomever they want, regardless of primary and caucus outcomes. Democrats like to describe superdelegates as mostly elected officials and prominent party members, including President Obama and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
But this group, which consists of 21 governors, 40 senators and 193 representatives, only makes up about a third of the superdelegates. Many of the remaining 463 convention delegates are establishment insiders who get their status after years of donations and service to the party. Dozens of the 437 delegates in the DNC member category are registered federal and state lobbyists, according to an ABC News analysis. 
In fact, when you remove elected officials from the superdelegate pool, at least one in seven of the rest are former or current lobbyists registered on the federal and state level, according to lobbying disclosure records.
That’s at least 67 lobbyists who will attend the convention as superdelegates. A majority of them have already committed to supporting Hillary Clinton for the nomination. And 41 lobbyist superdelegates, almost six in 10 of all lobbyist superdelegates, have already committed to supporting Clinton.

Howard Dean and Tom Daschle both long ago sold themselves to their corporate masters.  Want the full list of superdelegates?  Here you go.

But with respect to the superdelegate math shown by Vox above, there's no coffee brewing anywhere around the Sanders camp.  I really and truly don't blame Clinton folks for being mad about his inability to face reality, but their outrage over it has to be tempered for the sake of the sure-to-be-elusive party unity when the Bern finally goes out.

As long as Berners are still feeling it, they're not facing the truly inevitable, which probably means too many of them wind up taking next Election Day off and going to the beach.  That may be a bad thing for Democrats -- not Clinton herself but down the ballot -- if they cannot replace the lost votes with ones from Latinx and Republicans set adrift by Trump.  I'm thinking they probably can, because nothing else really explains this level of hateful spew.

Still not seeing too much for Clinton and her ilk to be concerned with in the sprint to the finish, but the accumulation of these self-inflicted wounds might tip the public perception at any time.  One stumble too many and she's suddenly vulnerable.  To losing the presidency to Trump.

Who does that speak the worst of?

Monday, May 02, 2016

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progessive Alliance hails yesterday's May Day celebrations around the world...

... and anticipates more celebrating with Cinco de Mayo next up...

... as it brings you this week's blog post roundup.

Off the Kuff looks at new polling evidence showing a shift in partisan preference towards the Democrats in Harris County.

Socratic Gadfly moves outside of politics to ask if recent injuries may give Timmeh, Manu (and Pops?) a Los Spurs retirement gift.

Libby Shaw at Daily Kos insists that Texas Republican leadership and its obsession with public bathrooms -- while it ignores crucially important health and environmental challenges -- is a literal threat to our lives. Houston: Hurricanes, Frequent Flooding and now Zika too?

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme knows that Republicans run the Child Protection Services, but still.  Blaming the victim in domestic abuse cases?   Still?

Egberto Willies thinks Larry Wilmore went too far with the one-black-man-to-another shoutout to President Obama at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

John Coby at Bay Area Houston covered Satan's press conference announcing that he would file suit against former speaker of the US House John Boehner for defaming his character (specifically comparing the Lord of the Underworld to Sen. Ted Cruz).

The Lewisville Texan Journal spent a stormy evening with the local emergency operations management crew as they went into action during last week's storms.

Texas Vox took note of the most recent (high contamination-level) nuclear waste storage application to be filed in Andrews County.

In the wake of the adverse effect of revisions under Republican appointee Ron Hickman, Dos Centavos reports that November Democratic opponent Ed Gonzalez challenged the interim Harris County sheriff to reinstate the county jail's inspectors and diversify staff.

The passing of the legendary Texas sports reporter and editor Blackie Sherrod was noted by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Neil at All People Have Value made a small donation to help with recent flooding in Houston. APHV is part of


More posts from other Texas blogs!

Just as the Texas Observer mentioned that the state Supreme Court unanimously blocked the city of Houston's ordinance to improve its air quality, Culture Map Houston posted the American Lung Association's State of the Air 2016 report, which showed Dallas surging into the lead for the worst breathing in Texas.

Grits for Breakfast has your police blotter updates, from the Harris County grand jury that was never told by the DA that an LEO was drunk when he shot two men, to the continuing miscarriages of justice in the Waco biker shootings.

Trail Blazers takes note of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's dip under the waters of the River Jordan.

Prairie Weather questions the worshipping of a certain type of person.

Tory Gattis at Houston Strategies does the Chamber of Commerce's work for them.

 Robert Rivard considers Julian Castro's place on Hillary Clinton's VP short list.

The TSTA Blog cites actual statistics experts on the subject of using statistical methods for teacher evaluation.

Space City Weather puts Houston's recent flooding into historical perspective.

Paradise in Hell advises Ted Cruz to listen to himself.

Andrea Grimes would like to know who will protect us from the likes of Dennis Hastert and Johnny Manziel.

Offcite gives a tour of Houston's new clinic for the homeless.

Adam Briggle, father of a transgender son, calls out Denton County Sheriff candidate Tracy Murphree for a transphobic post on Facebook. Murphree then agreed to meet with the Briggle family to talk with them and get a better understanding of the issue, but as Equality Texas reports, he abruptly backed out before their meeting could take place.