September 23, 2015

Dem Poll Watch: Hillary Down to 33%, Uncle Joe Jumps to 25%

  10:52 am

We don’t often post Democratic polls here on Race since our focus is on the Republican primary, but the new Bloomberg poll out this morning has the political world abuzz and deserves some discussion. Hillary Clinton has slipped to just 33%, which is the lowest she’s ever been during this entire campaign. Nipping at her heels is Crazy Uncle Joe, who managed to pull 25% without even actually entering the race yet.

We’ve written before about how Joe Biden has managed to masterfully rehab his political image, using the death of his son as a vehicle to publicly grieve and change the nation’s opinion of him. It appears to be paying off, turning him into a formidable political opponent.

Bernie Sanders was never going to actually win the nomination. His role was always just to reveal Hillary’s weakness, allowing somebody else to capitalize on it. It looks like Joe Biden will be the one to do that now — and, we know Sanders voters are not exactly enthralled with Clinton, so when he drops out Biden will get the lion’s share of his support as well. Things are not looking good for Clinton right now, and therefore, looking more difficult for Republicans in the general election.

Here are the numbers:

dem bloomberg


September 17, 2015

100% Chance Joe Biden is In?

  1:53 pm

National Review has the scoop: Joe is in and will likely announce in October.

Alcorn was being loud enough in the café car to make it hard to work. He said that Alcorn had said on one call, “I am 100 percent that Joe is in.” He was less certain of when Biden would announce, but guessed it would be in mid-October. Alcorn’s own plans to travel to California in early October would have to be canceled if Biden announced earlier.

The other passenger said that Alcorn said that test ads were doing well in converting Hillary Clinton supporters to Biden supporters, and that money had been lined up to come in right before the announcement. He had just had breakfast with Jim Torrey, an Obama bundler, whom he described as wanting to be “the Penny Pritzker” of the Biden campaign. Pritzker was the national finance chair of Obama’s 2008 campaign and is now the Secretary of Commerce.

It should come as no surprise to those of us who watch politics closely. I don’t believe for a second that during Biden’s tour of the talk show circuit over the past month he was ever truly undecided… he was using that time and those appearances to rehabilitate his image. And it worked, masterfully. Joe Biden is no longer “Crazy Uncle Joe” in the eyes of the average American; now, he is “that super relateable blue collar guy who just lost his son, the poor fellow, and wants to serve his country even in his pain.”

It was a political masterstroke by Biden and his campaign team-to-be.

Whether or not he can take down Hillary remains to be seen, but he will be formidable. Biden will represent the Obama wing of the Democratic Party, which isn’t a fit for either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, and will come off as the middle-ground “third way” between the two of them. His blue collar appeal will far outshine Hillary’s, and while he makes a gaffe a minute with his mouth his policy proposals aren’t seen as extremist like Bernie’s.

After this successful image rehabilitation, Biden would make a very tough general election foe as well. The best case scenario for Republicans at this point would be that Joe roughs up Hillary really bad (there’s no love lost between the Obama/Bidens and the Clintons, after all) but that Hillary squeaks by and manages to be the damaged Democratic nominee.


August 31, 2015

Trump’s Tax Plan Based On Liberal Class Warfare

  2:30 pm

Donald Trump is getting ready to release his new tax plan, and all indications are that it will center around raising taxes for the rich. In fact, in Trump’s own words,

[S]ome people, they’re not doing their fair share.

This statement, straight out of the liberal playbook, is a cheap and deceptive appeal to populism. The problem is that it is also wildly anti-growth, patently false, and only serves to harm the country in the long run if such a policy is implemented.

Democrats have been harping on this notion of “fair share” for decades, and for decades they (and now Trump) have ignored the facts of our current tax situation. Consider:

  • The bottom half of income earners in America (somwhere around 45-47%) pay zero income taxes. This means the entirety of the tax burden in America falls on just half the population.
  • The top quintile of income earners in America accounts for roughly 50% of the total income per year — yet they are responsible for paying 84% of the taxes.
  • Going further, the top one percent of earners take in 17% of the total income, yet pay 46% of all taxes.

Let me repeat this, because it is vitally important to the economic health and future of the country: 84% of the taxes are paid by one-fifth of population. Nearly half of our total tax burden is laid upon one percent of Americans.

Liberal Democrats, along with Donald Trump now, would like nothing more than to see that burden increased even further. Why? Because it’s easy to demonize the rich. It is low-hanging fruit and cheap votes from a largely ignorant electorate. Populism is a lot easier to sell, because it sells itself: see that group over there? They’re the problem. Not you. If only they would do their fair share, things would be so much better.

And so we get public opinion polls that show most Americans think their taxes are too high — even though they don’t pay any! — and taxes on the rich are too low.

It’s class warfare, and it’s been expected from the other side of the aisle for years. Now Donald Trump is engaging in the same cheap deception, which matches his M.O. so far this primary campaign: ignore the facts and use rhetoric to divide rather than unite.

But, some will point out, Donald Trump is rich! He wants to raise taxes on himself!

If you believe for a second that Trump will end up paying a penny more in taxes under the new laws he created, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. I guarantee whatever tax plan he enacts will be full of loopholes that his lawyers will know how to take full advantage of.

America is already one of the only, if not the only industrialized nation on the planet that relies so heavily on the richest income earners to carry everybody else. The result of liberal class warfare plans like Trump’s and other liberal Democrats? Well, when France foolishly raised taxes on the rich as a way to increase revenue, the rich just moved out. Short of that extreme, these liberal tax plans make for a far less inviting business atmosphere, slowing hiring and business expansion, and thus hurting job growth overall. In a free market economy, the government’s role ought to be to incentivize job creation and job growth, not to sell out the country’s future for cheap votes based on divisive and deceptive rhetoric.


August 30, 2015

Poll Watch: Des Moines Register Democrats

  7:49 pm

Clinton 37 (57)
Sanders 30 (16)
Biden 14 (8)
O’Malley 3 (2)
Webb 2 (2)
Chafee 1 (-)

Previous poll (May) in parentheses. Sample 404 Registered Democrats. MoE: +/- 4.9.

From the Register write-up:

Liberal revolutionary Bernie Sanders, riding an updraft of insurgent passion in Iowa, has closed to within 7 points of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential race.

She’s the first choice of 37 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers; he’s the pick for 30 percent, according to a new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll.

But Clinton has lost a third of her supporters since May, a trajectory that if sustained puts her at risk of losing again in Iowa, the initial crucible in the presidential nominating contest.

Further, re emails:

Selzer said Clinton’s right about the unimportance of the email controversy at this point in the caucus race — 76 percent of her supporters and 61 percent of all likely Democratic caucusgoers say it’s not important to them. The emails are at least somewhat important to 28 percent of all likely caucusgoers, with an additional 10 percent saying the issue is very important.

Interesting: There seems to be a national epidemic of “I just don’t care.”

DMR polldmr fav


A Walk down Memory Lane: 1968

  5:15 pm

Commenter TT posted the following in the Open Thread, which stirred a memory for me:

Importantly, Liz Warren may not have a path with Bernie Sanders polling so well. Some Bernie supporters are becoming more and more committed to him and it is not likely that Liz Warren can just enter the field and take all Bernie’s support. That could have happened a few months ago, but Bernie’s supporters have hardened their support now. Warren and Bernie would split the vote of the same constituency. Warren cannot run without Bernie dropping out.

We may have a parallel here to the most fascinating political campaign of my life, which was in 1968. (This year is also fascinating, but mostly for it’s incredible oddness, and hasn’t gone far enough yet to match ’68).

For those less rich in years than I who don’t have first-hand memories of 1968, here is Wikipedia’s summary of that campaign.

The parallel is this: Throughout 1967, the growing anti-war movement was looking for a challenger to Lyndon Johnson. The first choice was quite obvious – Bobby Kennedy, who was both strongly anti-Vietnam and had the Kennedy name (it may be hard for anyone today to understand the incredible power that name held so soon after the assassination of JFK). Kennedy, however, declined to run, seeing no path to victory.

Enter Eugene McCarthy, a lesser-known but not insignificant Senator. After McCarthy’s near-victory in New Hampshire, Kennedy entered the race, but was viewed by McCarthy loyalists as an opportunist (parallel to TT’s comment about how Sanders’ loyalists might feel if Warren enters now or soon). Kennedy nonetheless overtook McCarthy in most of the primaries (most importantly, of course, California), which counters TT’s idea that there is room for only one challenger from Clinton’s left.

No historical parallel is exact, of course. The most important difference is that Warren does not bear the magical Kennedy name. Possibly off-setting that to some degree is that she is female, vitally important in both parties, but especially the Democrats in this era of identity-group politics.

I very strongly doubt that Warren is going to get in, but I post this because I think it would make for a fun, and possibly enlightening, discussion.

Not an open thread.


August 29, 2015

The “Furious Majority” of 2016

  5:55 pm

In 1968, it was said there was a “silent majority” of voters. In 1994, it was said there was an “angry majority” of voters. In 2015, the voters are not just angry, they are “furious.”

No more proof than the early success of the presidential campaigns of Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders should be needed, but there’s more evidence. In at least one major poll, conservative physician Ben Carson is in second place. Neither Trump nor Carson have ever been elected to office. And there’s more. Businesswoman Carly Fiorina is doing well, and Vice President Joe Biden, hitherto not taken seriously as a 2016 presidential candidate, is being widely urged to run. Although she has said she won’t run, Senator Elizabeth Warren clearly has  notable support in the liberal grass roots.

Only Biden in this group would be classified as “establishment,” and he probably won’t run because the Democratic Party elites still prefer the “sinking” Hillary Clinton and are trying to push him out of the way.  Jeb Bush, the early GOP frontrunner, and clearly the establishment candidate, is fading in the polls despite his name recognition and huge amounts of money raised for his campaign.

Why is this all happening?

American voters are perennially unhappy with politicians, so why is the current “fury” to be taken more seriously than the “silence” or the “anger” in previous presidential elections?

The answer is the result of a number of circumstances, but most notably the chronic failure of current government to restore general economic well-being and confidence, the apparent “dishonesty” of most political rhetoric, the persistent and increasing lack of transparency in the conduct and management of government bureaucracy, and voters’ growing insecurity about the nation’s role in the world. These are taking place with elected and appointed officials of both parties, and there is very little evidence that much is being done about it.

It is being exacerbated by the Obama administration’s cavalier attitude to problems arising from undocumented immigration, its unilateral withdrawal from the U.S. role of leadership in the world, and by the uneven domestic economic recovery.

This has given Republicans a temporary advantage, but should they win in 2016 and fail to produce visible gains, the advantage will shift right back to the Democrats.

Not only are the left and the right “furious” with Washington, DC, so is the unheralded but vital political center, the key element in deciding who wins the White House in 2016. (Historically, populists in the U.S. came from the far right or the far left, but recently, “centrist populists” such as Jesse Ventura and Ross Perot have arisen to disrupt American elections.)

The establishments of both parties would like the Trump, Carson, Sanders and the Fiorina to go away, and almost certainly they will try to make this happen merely by discrediting the candidates. I think this could be a huge political miscalculation. I think it could infuriate voters even more.

The resolution of the political “disruption” can only happen if the “establishment” candidates begin paying attention to what is truly upsetting voters.

My high school motto (McDowell High School in Erie, PA) was Factum Non Verbum (“The Deed Not The Word”). I did not forget it. When a Latin phrase endures for so long, it would be only a matter of time when it made lots of sense on one more occasion.

Copyright (c) 2015 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.


August 23, 2015

Joe-Talk Heats up as He Meets with Warren

  6:13 pm

As things go from bad to worse to still worse than that to OMG! for Hillary Clinton, speculation about Joe Biden getting into the race is growing rapidly, fed yesterday by a meeting between Biden and Elizabeth Warren.

Re the Warren meeting, Bloomberg sets the table for us:

A private meeting Saturday in Washington between Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, a hero of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, quickly became the talk of the town this weekend.

Speculation of a Biden presidential bid in 2016, which he is said to be considering, fueled the Sunday talk show circuit.

And Yahoo adds:

Speculation grew on Saturday that Biden may soon challenge Clinton for the Democratic nomination as the vice president met with Senator Elizabeth Warren, a power broker among liberal Democrats.

Warren, who has strong support from liberal groups that would be critical to winning in early voting states, has said she will not run for president herself, but she has not endorsed Clinton or any other Democratic candidate.

Josh Alcorn, a senior adviser for Draft Biden 2016, a Super PAC group that is laying groundwork for a potential run, said the vice president was “sounding out people in early (primary election) states, activists and potential supporters.”

Meeting with Warren could help give Biden more ideas for making the U.S. economy work better for middle-class Americans, he told Fox News Sunday.

If Biden decides to run, Alcorn said it would be important for him to announce his candidacy in time take part in the first Democratic debates in October.

One of the things Biden has to be considering is this.

clinton biden
Clinton’s drop in favorables gives somebody quite an opportunity.

(The graph shows mid-month net favorables for each candidate, based on data from Pollster).

Note: This is not an open thread. Let’s keep the discussion limited to the Democratic race.


August 12, 2015

Here Comes Bernie, There Goes Hillary

  1:19 pm

Hillary Clinton has the endorsement of The American Federation of Teachers, and it was largely taken for granted by most pols that she would have solid union support throughout the campaign. But she hasn’t been endorsed by The AFL-CIO, and earlier this week the 185,000 member National Nurses United endorsed Bernie, shocking those on the Left who haven’t been paying attention. She’s always been a suck-up to union leaders, and they generally always supported Bill….she’s a woman, the nurses are women, so what’s the problem?

This, of course, is just a straw in the wind. One of many. The problem is that she doesn’t represent the zeitgeist of the party, much less lead it. There are those who have the political talent to prosper in a populist environment, but she doesn’t have the passion or charisma to do it.

Bernie Sanders, a 73-year-old self-identified socialist, originally from Brooklyn, who became radicalized as an anti-Vietnam War protester, is not a Democrat. It’s not against party rules for a non-Democrat to run for the party’s nomination to be President, but it’s unorthodox, to say the least.

Not only is he not a Democrat, he’s spent 40 years fighting against the Democratic Party in Vermont, and he’s spent most of those 40 years beating it. He ousted a centrist Democrat when he became the mayor of Burlington, the largest city in the state. He’s always had opposition from Democrats in winning his Senate seat from Vermont, but in recent elections, it’s been token opposition. They know they can’t beat him in the state and that resistance is futile.

Having beaten Democrats before,  he figured he might as well do it again. In The Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald New Hampshire Democratic Party Presidential Poll that came out today, he’s beating Hillary 44 to 37, with Joe Biden at 9%.  And he’s closing in on Iowa, a caucus state tailor made for Bernie.  I predict he will overtake her there long before caucus night.

“I am not now, nor have I ever been, a liberal Democrat.” You might think that someone who’s made that statement wouldn’t be doing this well in the race.  He’s never repudiated it, and he’s been asked about it  many times over the years.  He’s also said:  “My own feeling is that the Democratic Party is ideologically bankrupt.”  About the two major parties, he’s said “there’s essentially no difference between them.”  One thinks of Robert Redford’s statement some decades ago:  “both major parties are full of it.”  He and Bernie are of one mind on the subject.  He’s also said:  “One can argue that the 2-Party system is a sham.”

Until recently I thought that someone like Biden or someone else would have to enter the contest because there was good reason to believe that neither Hillary nor Bernie could win the nomination.  But, I now think I was wrong.

Bernie’s problem was always his very limited appeal among the rapidly growing percentage of ethnic minorities in Democrat politics.  There are only 7500 blacks, e.g., in the state of Vermont, and his appeal has always been to the liberal white gentry.  Put him in front of a group of environmentalists or give him a forum at almost any large University, and most of them will become supporters of him on the spot.

His problem with blacks seemed insuperable.  An example was when Black Lives Matter recently disrupted 2 major Sanders campaign events.  Before nearly 20,000 in Seattle, black activists stormed the podium, and Sanders had to walk away without even being heard.  The next night, before even more people who came out to see him in Portland, the audience was orchestrated to chant:  “We Stand Together” before the rally, so that they would know how to drown out BLM if they tried to do the same thing there.

Blacks don’t have a candidate they feel represents them in this race.  They want a campaign based around institutional racism in housing, education, and criminal justice.  Obama doesn’t seem to have satisfied them on any of these matters.  Democrat strategist and pollster Cornell Belcher lays out the problem:  “Because the truth is, if you can’t compete and win black votes in a Democratic primary, you are not going to be the Democratic nominee.”  Belcher went on to point out that blacks make up such a large percentage of primary votes in the South, e.g., it would be impossible to win much of any delegates in those states just through white votes.

Sanders bases his campaign largely on the issue of income inequality and it’s easy to see that that would have some appeal to ethnic minorities.  That’s a start.  But to win them over, he has essentially caved and given Black Lives Matter everything they’ve demanded:

1.  He now wants to demilitarize the police.  Basically, disarm them in black ghettos and Hispanic Barrios.

2.  He wants to make police forces more diverse.  Essentially, get rid of a lot of white cops and bring in a lot more black and Hispanic cops.

3.  He wants to stop giving police the benefit of the doubt and prosecute more of them.  That should help fight crime.

4.  He wants to re-enfranchise the more than 2 million blacks who can’t vote because of felony convictions.  Try getting that through this congress.  Executive order?

5.  He wants to make election day a federal holiday.  He hasn’t called for doing away with work altogether.

6.  He wants to automatically register every American on his or her 18th Birthday.  So much for the concept of citizenship.

Can he win a national general election with positions like this?  Can America become a People’s Republic in one election?  Any thoughts?



August 10, 2015

Net Favorability Rankings and Trends – Democrats August Update

  1:00 pm

This is one of an ongoing series of chart posts on net favorability ratings of leading presidential candidates. The August Republican update is here.
Dem Net Fav

I used data from this page of the Pollster site – using the first data point for each month and simply subtracting unfavorable from favorable. The Pollster pages show the trended averages of recent polls.

Bernie Sanders’ numbers, while impressive, are based on relatively few polls. In addition, just over 50% still have no opinion on him, while only 10% and 14% have no opinions on Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden respectively.

Clinton has until the past month had better net favorables than any of the Republicans. For the first time, two (Walker and Rubio) are ahead of her by several points. A small matter, but worth noting, I think.

The open thread is below. Please try to stay more or less on-topic.


August 5, 2015

BREAKING: Bill Clinton Called Trump Weeks Before Trump’s Announcement, Encouraged Him to Run

  2:55 pm


Well, this Washington Post story certainly adds a new wrinkle to things:

Former president Bill Clinton had a private telephone conversation in late spring with Donald Trump at the same time that the billionaire investor and reality-television star was nearing a decision to run for the White House, according to associates of both men.

Four Trump allies and one Clinton associate familiar with the exchange said that Clinton encouraged Trump’s efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party and offered his own views of the political landscape.

Wait, so let me get this straight. In the weeks leading up to Trump’s announcement, Bill Clinton — the husband of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton — called Trump and encouraged him to run?

Clinton and Trump aides have confirmed the story. One of the Clinton aides tried to spin the story, saying the 2016 race wasn’t specifically talked about on this phone call — just Trump’s efforts to be a leader in the GOP in general. Four Trump aides, however, say that Trump was very clear and direct to Bill Clinton about his desire to run in 2016, and Clinton encouraged him in return.

Suddenly, those conspiracy theories about the Clintons and Trump being in cahoots don’t sound so crazy…


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