Friday, February 28, 2020

Democratic Primary Thoughts and Predictions

As South Carolina prepares to vote tomorrow, 
and Super Tuesday looms just after
much is about to be clarified 
in choosing the Democratic contender 
for the Presidency this fall.

There are three main scenarios:

  1. Super Tuesday knocks out Warren, Klobuchar and Buttiegieg, who all suspend campaigning after Super Tuesday (likely), Biden wins at the convention.
  2. South Carolina knocks out Warren, Klobuchar and Buttiegieg, who all suspend campaigning  before Super Tuesday (unlikely), Bernie wins outright in the primaries.
  3. All 6 major candidates continue to the bitter end (unlikely), Bernie wins in the convention.
Here's why.

The Bloomberg Anomaly: 

By front loading the highly liberal, very white states of Iowa and NH, the Democratic National Committee exaggerated Pete Buttiegieg's chances. This contributed to the log jam of Biden, Buttiegieg and Klobuchar.  Ordinarily, based on national numbers, at least one of the three (Biden, Buttiegieg or Klobuchar) would have been gone after NH, and the other before Super Tuesday. 

By skipping those, and spending personal funds to the amount of a half billion dollars, It doesn't matter that Bloomberg has zero delegates after 4 contests; he continues to spend like a front runner and the winnowing effect will eventually feed him delegates. As a result we have 4 major moderates still in the race much later than would ordinarily occur.  This splits the votes, and trends towards a brokered convention without any candidate winning a majority outright.

The Convention.  1991 delegates are needed to win.  Looking at the Democratic Delegate Calculator, you can play around with various scenarios.  If no one wins on the first ballot, 500 superdelegates are added on the second ballot.  Very few of these will go to Bloomberg, so they would go mostly to Biden and some to Bernie - unless Bernie has a large lead to begin with.  Biden can overcome a 200 point deficit in this second ballot.  If there is still no winner on the second ballot, then all delegates are freed up to vote for anyone.  At that point Sanders/Warren, vs. Biden/Bloomberg/Klobuchar/Buttiegieg is the battle line.   

Here are the three scenarios:

"3 viable candidates"

if others drop AFTER Super Tuesday:

(Biden Wins)

Totals based on your forecast
(not polling average)







National Poll Average29.4%17.6%14.8%13.2%4.4%10.4%
Delegate Estimate1,574.31,384.3657.82594942.5

In this, the most likely scenario, Warren sticks around long enough to take about 250 delegates.  Bloomberg gets about 650 by the time he is done.  Biden is only 200 behind Sanders, but the "Moderate Camp" can easily claim that the will of the people is not for Sanders (Sanders/Warren=1,833, while Biden/et al=over 2,000).  Bloomberg can throw his support to Biden and be the king maker all by himself. Biden wins, but the progressive wing may lose their enthusiasm to campaign and vote in the fall.  Will they hate Trump enough to show up for Biden? Probably.

"Nobody Drops to the End"
(Bernie wins):

While this is compelling, and is the kind of "news" you will see in the meantime, the winnowing effect is real and can not be ignored.  This scenario will, therefore, absolutely not happen:







National Poll Average29.4%17.6%14.8%13.2%4.4%10.4%
Delegate Estimate1,886.51,3904661394948.5
Withdrawal Date
Biden is too far behind Bernie for the Super Delegates to throw it to him.  Bernie wins even without the Warren votes putting him over the top in a third ballot/free for all vote.

"Three Viable Candidates"

Other Drop out BEFORE Super Tuesday?

(Bernie Wins):

If Warren, Klobuchar and Buttiegeg were to drop out before Super Tuesday, given horrible results in NV and SC, Bernie would come into the convention with at least a 400 delegate lead, and Biden + Bloomberg would not be enough to challenge for the nomination.  Even if he doesn't win on the first ballot, superdelegates would need to accept the will of the people, and nominate Bernie smoothly on the second ballot.

Progressives should be trying everything they can, including offering Warren the VP slot this weekend, to make this happen. 







National Poll Average29.4%17.6%14.8%13.2%4.4%10.4%
Delegate Estimate2,0421,4244728726

Monday, February 24, 2020

Sanders v. AIPAC

Bernie Sanders v. AIPAC: not a new story.

DISCLAIMER:  The following is not a recommendation regarding Bernie as a candidate at large for the Democratic party; rather it is a statement about this specific topic.

Sadly, but predictably, Bernie Sanders is refusing the invitation to speak at the AIPAC national policy conference this coming Sunday-Tuesday, March 1-3.  He has never attended the conference, one of only a handful of senators to have so vehemently opposed the work of the main pro-Israel educational organization in the country. Worse, however, this year he tweeted that AIPAC gives a platform to bigotry and prejudice, and that is why he will not attend. 

To quote him, "To be for the Israeli people, and to be for peace in the middle east does not mean that we have to support right wing racist governments that currently exist in Israel." You can listen to the Haaretz presentation of Gideon Levy in support of Bernie's comments here. Respectfully, regardless of their politics, boycotting AIPAC is counterproductive.

Here is why he is just dead wrong on the topic:

Why AIPAC should be attended by all candidates:

First, AIPAC national policy conference is a fairly inclusive conference (within the pro-Israel camp), with voices of the left and the right present in the sessions. I find the conversations, presentations and panels of tremendous value, precisely because I am exposed to voices from across the spectrum of Israeli beliefs in a way that no other conference does.  AIPAC policy most often closely parallels the Israeli government of the day,  so under Rabin and Peres it was the flag waver for the Oslo accords and peace.  Under Netanyahu, the policies are considerably different. The conference is a great exercise in learning and exploring the issues of the day. J-Street, which Bernie attends, only invites voices from the left and is forever stuck in that side of the issue.  Like my view of watching the news, if we only conference with people we agree with, what are we doing?

Second, as a front-runner candidate of a major political party, Sanders is signaling his approach as President towards the State of Israel and its supporters in the USA.  It is, unfortunately, not a unifying posture.  Granted, the current President is also representative of only one side of the pro-Israel camp.  That doesn't make an equally one-sided, opposite stance acceptable.

Third, Bernie is falsely teaching the new left that it is only in the Israel camp that there is "bigotry and prejudice." The new progressives, under 30 and voting for the first or second time, are being told that "Israelis and Palestinians" deserve to live in peace, but it is only the pro-Israel AIPAC voice that gives a platform for "bigotry and prejudice."  This horrific myopia about Palestinian incitement against Israel, and Palestinian violence out of Gaza is inexcusable.  He is not just a candidate, he is a teacher.  He is creating this progressive voice, and on this topic he is beyond impartial or imbalanced - he is biased.

Analysis of his point of view:

Bernie's point is that a prejudiced or bigoted person or people will be given the platform for their bigotry at some point in the sessions, and that the subsequent validation of their legitimacy is unbearable - intolerable, and he will not be present for it.

While I agree that bigotry should not be validated, I disagree that bigotry should not be engaged - especially if it exists in the person of freely elected officials and sanctioned representatives of a state actor.  And so did Bernie when he went to Liberty University and said "I understand that issues such as abortion and gay marriage are very important to you and that we disagree on those," and went on to suggest that the points in common required engagement and dialogue for the common good (  Despite the anti-homosexual bias of that institution, which he also would consider prejudice and bigotry, he was willing to engage.  That was a presidential posture.  But he won't do the same when it comes to Israel.

Are there voices in the pro-Israel camp, and in the Kenneset in Israel that are decidedly anti-Palestinian, even bigoted or prejudiced? They exist, yes. And they have a legal right in a democracy to be so, as do those Palestinians who are anti-Zionist.  And we have to be able to hear them all, and be present for them all when they are willing to join in dialogue, conversation, exploration and education with the spectrum of beliefs. They are in the political spectrum of Israeli politics, and must be encountered if you want to understand all of Israel.  Is AIPAC itself bigoted or prejudiced for bringing all of those voices, and Democrats and Republicans together? Absolutely not.

Also, Bernie is not naming the voices.  Is he talking about Netanyahu himself, or some voice farther to the right or more strident against the Palestinians?  If he is against the supporters of Kahane, he should be clear.  If he is against the Likud, he should be clear.  The impression is that his opposition is broad, and his use of the terms bigoted and prejudice is expansive.

Will Bernie refuse to debate with the President if he is the nominee, because he believes the President to be bigoted and prejudiced, as he has called him?  Will he refuse to sit in the Senate because he believes that other members of that body are bigoted and prejudiced?  As with Liberty University, he holds that engaging is the essence of democracy.  Unfortunately he saves this particular brand of boycott for the Pro-Israel camp and AIPAC.

Sad, but true.