Friday, November 04, 2016

Why is Clinton losing to Trump? Vol. II

(Volume I was posted on September 16.  That was ten days before the first debate and about seven weeks following her triumphant coronation at the Philly convention in late July.  You should go read it for context in light of her slump here at the finish.  Especially if you are still of the mind that a straight Democratic ticket is a good idea.)

Is it the fault of Vladimir Putin and his Russian hackers, who broke into and stole the DNC's e-mail, and then gave the files to Julian Assange, who has leaked them out daily over the past month, revealing Hillary and her subordinates to be ... exactly who we thought she was, and they were?  Except even more craven and stupid than we could have imagined?

Is it those wretched Green Party/Jill Stein voters, those damned dirty hippies, all full of their white privilege as they stand poised to repeat the 2000 "history" (sic) of sending a shitty Republican to the White House because they refuse to vote for a shitty Democrat?

(Without question, the most stubborn urban legend ever.  I had to correct a few more former Facebook friends again just last night.  I'm pretty certain they still don't get it.)

Nope.  None of the above.  It's all Her.  And her supporters, who have driven some Sanders supporters to vote for Trump out of spite for the Hillbots' bad behavior.

(Not me.  Though I fought -- and fought hard, for a decade -- to push the Texas Democratic Party to the left, this was the year they yanked the torch and pitchfork out of my hands and ran me off for good.  I still didn't vote for any Republicans, however, though there were many fewer Democrats who earned my vote in 2016.  That's a pattern I see increasing in the future.)

Here, let's allow Cesar Vargas to explain.

It took me a long time to write this. I had to dig deep into my being to come up with these words. I’m recanting my endorsement of Hillary Clinton for the presidency.

I’m aware of how vindictive Clintonians can be. I’m not speaking about the Clintons themselves, but of those surrounding them. Perhaps the saying is true: dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres.

Your staff, your donors, your surrogates, and those you surround yourself with are a reflection of who you truly are, no? If not, why not curb any unacceptable behavior? Silence, indifference, or inaction is as incriminatory -- at least to me.

There has been no repudiation, let alone denunciation, of what was said in those emails-just denial, finger pointing, and doublespeak. To appoint the very same folks who carried out many malicious behaviors to tip the scales for Hillary is just as unpardonable. Why reward unethical behavior? It’s mind-boggling.

I rebuke with my heart, mind, and soul all the twisted narratives of sexism, misogyny, racism, and classism lay at our feet. Though some of them are legitimate, most were used to derail derail valid grievances from our communities and completely erase us. Our voices were drowned out by empty accusations, by a nefarious usage of identity politics recommended by one of our own, no less. That is a bamboozling of POC and unsuspecting allies. This is why Hillary Clinton doesn’t deserve our vote, among many other reasons.

If Hillary Clinton fumbles this sure thing, it's on Her.  And all of those with Her.

Bernie Sanders was treated horribly by the DNC, the Clinton crew, and the Obama administration, and by proxy, many of us were also stung. Without any apologies. In fact, we received nothing but contempt from the Clinton campaign and her surrogates. Then they expected us to fall in formation. Many of us did. I said I would endorse Hillary if she won the primary fair and square. And I did, but that was before I got a hold of all the highly unethical things that happened to get her to win.

I’m not telling you not to vote for her. I’m aware of what is at stake. The Supreme Court and a petulant man-child that might quicken the apocalypse, I know. I’m telling you that I’m no longer endorsing her. Vote with your conscience. Vote strategically. Or don’t. It’s your prerogative.

If she loses, it's all Her fault and the fault of those who attacked everything they saw in opposition, like a pack of rabid dogs.  In other words, they acted just like Republicans.  They acted worse than Republicans on far too many occasions, but that might only be because I have long given them the benefit of the doubt as being smarter, using critical thinking skills, etc.  They stopped doing that, and consequently lost me -- and what appears to be some significant quantity of other Democrats and Democratic voters -- this year.

And I doubt whether they can earn it back.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Harris County still looking blue, Texas not so much

Once again, Tom Gederberg via SD17 Democrats on Facebook.

Updated Harris County Early Voting and Mail Ballot Results for November 1

So far 626,627 people early voted and 86,456 people have turned in a mail ballot! Today's turnout was 72,580.

There is a lag in getting the data loaded into VAN. VAN currently has data on 576,983 early voters and on 80,820 mail voters. Assuming that people who have a 2016 DNC Dem Party Support v2 score of over 50% is a likely Democrat and those with a score below 50% is a likely Republican, here is how the voting looks in Harris County so far:

VAN Early Total: 576,983
Likely Democrat: 318,855 (55.26%)
Likely Republican: 258,128 (44.74%)

VAN Mail Total: 80,829
Likely Democrat: 44,635 (55.23%)
Likely Republican: 36,185 (44.77%)

EVIP this week in Harris County (early voting in person, more formally called EVPA, or Early Voting by Personal Appearance) is lagging last week's eye-popping numbers, but is still surging past 2012 and 2008.  In local media reax, Groogan at Fox swallows Mark Jones' spin and pimps for Team Red, while the Chron's article underscoring stronger Democratic turnout reveals that the EV numbers seem to show more of a partisan groundswell than they do new voters.

By both comparison and contrast, the state's fifteen largest counties show gains, but the red counties look to be voting a little heavier.  The most recent Texas poll reveals Trump ahead by 12, and above the 50% mark for the first time (click for a clearer pic, or go to the link).

So while the Donks still have bright prospects for downballot races locally, I would have to say to Democrats dreaming of turning Texas blue -- and especially to some of those laughably bad statewide judicials: wake up and smell the coffee.

Madam President + GOP Senate = impeachment

The real Comey Effect is not going to influence Hillary Clinton's coronation.  It's going to trim her coattails in the Congress, and that spells more DC dysfunction for 2017 and beyond.  Heather Digby Parton sets it up with the death of Antonin Scalia, the continued stalling of Merrick Garland, and, well ... take it from there.

...(I)f the GOP fails to win the White House and  maintains their Senate majority, there’s a good possibility that the Republicans won’t confirm any new justices appointed by Hillary Clinton, ever. Indeed, if other justices retire or die, one can imagine the court dwindling down in number for years. Keeping the Democrats from nominating Supreme Court justices is now a GOP litmus test.

And let’s face it, this is a foreshadowing of something even more disruptive and dangerous. Ever since Ronald Reagan, Republicans have increasingly seen Democratic presidents as illegitimate. They said Bill Clinton wasn’t “their president” because he won with a plurality, rather than a majority. (Which may well happen this year as well.) The GOP-led Congress spent years trying to drive him from office on trumped up charges. Many in the Republican rank and file believed that Barack Obama was ineligible for the White House because he was a secret Muslim who had lied about being born in America.  Their decades long “voter fraud” myth has created an underlying sense among their voters that our election systems are always tilted against them by Democrats trying to steal elections.

But this election has taken it to an entirely different level. We’ve never seen a presidential candidate state in advance that he believes the vote is rigged and declare he will only accept he outcome if he wins. Even if he ends up conceding in some technical sense, his voters will never truly accept his loss and Trump will be a martyr to their cause. In that sense, Donald Trump has already won regardless of the actual vote count.

(Let's pause for a lengthy sidebar and reassure nervous Donkeys that despite Nate Silver's fairly ominous header, Clinton is still very likely to sail into the White House with 300+ Electoral College votes.  You like your data deeper?  Scroll down to 'reversion to the mean'.  This is the most conservative map I can come up with at the moment:

Click the map to create your own at

Kindly note that I have awarded Ohio to Trump.  Even if he were to prevail in the gray "tossup" states I've indicated above, he comes up short.  He would still need all three plus, for example, New Hampshire and Nevada in order to win.)  Update: Lagging African American turnout in FL, NC, and OH was factored into the above.  Update II: Oh my, look what Walt Hickey at just posted:

Trump does not have as many avenues to victory as Clinton, but a few states are slightly better than average for him.

North Carolina is an interesting one. When North Carolina tips the race to Trump, he has usually carried Ohio, Florida and Nevada, plus New Hampshire, with the Midwest potentially up for grabs.

Back to Digby.  And as with climate change, Obama's birth certificate, and voter "fraud", conservatives don't make rational decisions based on factual evidence.

We’ve also never had a presidential candidate delegitimized before the election even occurs. Trump routinely claims that Hillary Clinton should “not have been allowed” to run because  she is “guilty as hell” of unnamed crimes and has promised to imprison her if he wins the office. His followers are convinced this is true and chant “Lock her up!” and “Hang the bitch!” at his rallies. (The outrageous actions of the FBI director last Friday have only made such people more certain in that belief.)

Tuesday night in Wisconsin, Trump declared that if Clinton wins the election “it would create an unprecedented crisis and the work of government would grind to an unbelievably inglorious halt.” In fact, he and the Republicans are now making that an explicit promise. Some, like Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson (who faces likely defeat in his re-election battle), are actually running on that agenda. He told a local newspaper this week that he believed Clinton will be impeached should she win the office.

I would say yes, high crime or misdemeanor, I believe she is in violation of both laws [related to gathering, transmission or destruction of defense information or official government record]. She purposefully circumvented it. This was willful concealment and destruction.
Unfortunately, Johnson is not the only one already talking about impeachment:

It’s always possible that this is an election season bluff designed to make some people vote for Trump out of fear that the Republicans will completely shut down the government if Clinton is president. It’s the kind of thuggish hostage-taking gambit in which they’ve come to specialize. (“Nice little country you have here. Be a shame if anything happened to it …”) But it’s also possible they will follow through on these threats simply because it’s all they have. As Brian Beutler wrote in the New Republic:
 [W]hat they’re seeking is to hold together their broken party for long enough to make another run at complete control of government in 2020. Republicans are no longer seeking any substantive ends in the interim — just the power to obstruct and the power to manufacture scandal.

The crippling of the Supreme Court is just a first step. If they fail to win the White House, the destruction of Hillary Clinton will be their common purpose, the only goal that can bring them all back together.

And there you have it, folks.  More of the past eight years for the next four years.  Obama's third term, indeed.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

The Comey Effect (and toons)

Is the Big Nothing actually Something?

While FBI Director James Comey's email bombshell may not dent Hillary Clinton's White House chances, Democrats fear it might shorten her coattails and threaten their prospects of retaking the Senate.

Comey's decision to publicly announce a new front in the Clinton private email server investigation so close to the election has come under fire from Democrats and even some Republicans.

Its impact on the presidential race may be marginal, since Clinton has built up a comfortable cushion of electoral votes and Donald Trump pools poorly with some key demographic groups.

But small disruptions in tight down-ballot races could have a big impact and the Democrats' aggressive response to Comey belies their concern that his move could cost them at the polls.

"It's certainly not helpful," said Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Roy Temple. "It kind of pollutes the Democratic brand in a way that's unnecessary, simply because it doesn't actually involve any new information, which is why the frustration at Comey is so high right now."

... (S)ome say that they think the FBI news has foreclosed the possibility of the kind of election triumph that seemed within reach just a few weeks ago.

"It moves us closer to the middle of the bell curve in terms of possible outcomes," said one Democrat working on Senate races, granted anonymity to speak candidly, and who noted that polls had been tightening anyway before the news.

Patrick Murray, the director of the independent Monmouth poll, agreed. "While the email news does not play a decisive role in the presidential contest, a couple of points on the margins could be having a critical impact on tight down-ballot races," he said.

Could this be a reason that turnout in Harris County slumped on Saturday and Monday?  Or was that just the Halloween/Dia de Los Muertes phenomenon?  Has the supply of early voters been exhausted?  As usual, we'll just have to wait and see.  But Comeygate almost eclipsed Brazilegate.

CNN says it is "completely uncomfortable" with hacked emails showing that former contributor and interim Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile shared questions with the Clinton campaign before a debate and a town hall during the Democratic primary, and has accepted her resignation.

Hacked emails posted by WikiLeaks show Brazile, whose CNN contract was suspended when she became interim DNC chair over the summer, sharing with the Clinton campaign a question that would be posed to Hillary Clinton before the March CNN Democratic debate in Flint, as well as a possible question prior to a CNN town hall, also in March. 

In a statement, CNN spokeswoman Lauren Pratapas said that on Oct. 14, the network accepted Brazile’s resignation. 

Democrats are quick to remind us that nothing was rigged.  (As I wrote last week about my personal early voting ordeal, it's been rigged for decades, centuries even.)

But if it makes you feel better, you should just go on thinking that someone is telling you a story about Democrats and Republicans being all the same.  If you're scared of pretty much everything that's happening right now, just repeat your calming zen-like affirmation that Democrats and Republicans are not the same (despite the recent accumulating mass of evidence that they are).

Meanwhile, everybody has a last-minute GOTV strategy.

And our media will go on focusing on the things that really matter.