HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Retired » Retired Forums » 2016 Postmortem (Forum) » Why Sanders could--or cou...

Fri Jan 20, 2017, 08:48 AM

Why Sanders could--or couldn't--have won

Last edited Fri Jan 20, 2017, 11:45 AM - Edit history (1)

Okay, I'm late to this party, everyone's going home and the door is about to be locked. But this is my first time back since the lockout, so having participated in plenty of discussions in the primary days, I felt I wanted to put my two cents in, if I could. Though, not having read nearly all that's been said, I'll apologize in advance for anything here that may have already been beaten to death. Which may well be everything.

I’m one of those who voted for Sanders in the primary in part because I thought he would have a better chance of winning in November in general, and particularly against Trump.

Of course, it is impossible to know what would have happened if Sanders were our nominee. OTOH, Hillary lost. So, considering that there are only two possible outcomes, he couldn't have done any worse. So, the outcome would have had to have been either the same, or better! (At least for the presidency itself.)

People like Pnwmom are right and make a very good point (i.e. in the thread at www.democraticunderground.com/12512656239 ) that there was plenty that could have been thrown at Sanders that was not thrown at him during the primary, but I have a hard time imagining that any state that picked Hillary over Trump would have picked Trump over Sanders. I mean, pnwmom mentions how Sanders would have been DOA in Florida... but Hillary lost Florida anyway. What state flips the other direction? No matter what the Republicans threw at Sanders, there's no way New York, the west coast, or the New England states were going Trump. Just like there was no way Sanders or Hillary were ever going to get some of the red states. I doubt there is much disagreement about this.

OTOH, with his strong anti-establishment anti-wall-street persona, I think Bernie would have been well-positioned to swing Michigan and Wisconsin (where he beat Hillary in the primaries), and possibly Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa. As I said, we'll never know for sure. All we know for sure is that Hillary lost them.

I also think that many of the Johnson/Stein/abstaining voters who refused to vote for either Trump or Hillary would have considered voting for Bernie. And as I said back in the primary days, no matter how much damage the Republicans could have done to Bernie, it would be very hard to create in a few months as much animosity toward him as they created toward Hillary over 30 years.

I think it's hard to deny that the Dems wouldn't at least have been better positioned with a candidate who wasn't underwater in favorability from the get-go, and (in 2016) wasn't so tied to establishment/wall street. Sanders (or Warren) would have at least started from a stronger position.

But in the end, of course, Hillary did get more raw votes than Trump, so what matters only is who got more votes in that small handful of states that swung the election. And there, it seemed to be very much about the issues that were right in the Sanders/Warren wheelhouse.

That said, there was another good argument, about how the “left wave” may not have been as strong as Sanders supporters think because, in fact, Russ Feingold lost in Wisconsin as well. And Zephyr Teachout didn’t win her race in New York. It's a good point, but I think it ignores the phenomenon of coattails... That is, rather than saying that the failure of these candidates to win indicates that the support for Sanders-level leftism wasn't there to be had, I think you can as easily consider the reverse, that those voters who stayed home who would have come out to vote for Sanders would have pulled these other candidates into victory on his own coattails.

Of course we'll never know, and the arguments saying that Sanders would have lost are not unreasonable and obviously impossible to prove wrong. But there are counter arguments that are just as good, and the only thing we do know for sure is that Clinton lost. (And that she lost against a very flawed candidate who was not particularly unbeatable.)

And while I understand the perspective that rehashing the past is irrelevant at this point, I think there remains a worthwhile on-going conversation to have, regarding whether the process by which the nominee is selected necessarily supports the selection of the candidate best suited to win the general. Maybe it's time for a breather from that, but it may well return as a major issue, say, three years from now.

14 replies, 5497 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread

Response to thesquanderer (Original post)

Fri Jan 20, 2017, 08:50 AM

1. I am glad this forum closes today.

Too bad about the end of legitimate government in the U.S. though.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to thesquanderer (Original post)

Fri Jan 20, 2017, 08:56 AM

2. I've asked the same question.

I think he would have won every state Hillary won, and likely would have won Wisconsin and maybe Michigan. And voila- we have President Sanders instead of this. It's all coulda, woulda, shoulda at this point, but yeah. I said it then, I still think it now. He would have been a better General Election candidate this year. It was not a status quo election.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TDale313 (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 20, 2017, 11:49 AM

12. Wisconsin and Michigan alone would not have been enough to change the outcome

 

That would have made the EC total 280-258, tRump.

But please, keep living in your delusional world.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to thesquanderer (Original post)

Fri Jan 20, 2017, 10:11 AM

3. Sanders did not turn out persons of color in the primaries

they voted overwhelmingly for Clinton. While they still would have voted heavily for Sanders in the general election, they would not have turned out nearly as heavily for an old white Jewish guy from an overwhelmingly white state in Vermont.

Sure, maybe he picks up a few more rural votes than Clinton did, but even lower turnout in cities like Detroit, Flint, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee would have doomed him in those states. He'd likely have also lost Virginia (Richmond) and maybe Minnesota (Minneapolis and St Paul), which Clinton won narrowly. The increase in the rural votes was due to fears of terrorism and immigration. Sanders would get none of those voters. Maybe Sanders gets that extra electoral vote in Maine, though.

And, sure, Clinton narrowly lost Florida despite beating Obama's numbers from 2012 - if Sanders was running, maybe Trump has Florida locked up early and he goes after other states as well?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to thesquanderer (Original post)

Fri Jan 20, 2017, 10:45 AM

4. No, The Systems Not Totally Rigged. But That Idea Sure Helped Donald Trump.

Here is a good example Sanders really hurting Clinton. I am still mad at the number of times that trump used Sanders' claims against Clinton. Sanders' baseless charges that the system was fixed and rigged were used by trump to great effect and hurt Clinton http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/rigged-system-donald-trump_us_5855cb44e4b08debb7898607?section=us_politics

And if Sanders’ rhetoric during the primaries started that stew simmering with his talk about the system only working for the rich, Trump brought it to a full boil with his remarks blaming undocumented immigrants and trade agreements that he claimed were forged as the result of open corruption.

I think he was able to thread a certain toxic needle. But he did win, and we’re all going to pay the price.
John Weaver, aide to Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s presidential campaign

The underlying irony for those who sought to end what they perceived as corruption is that they may well have elected a president whose record through the years and whose actions since the election signal it could be the most openly corrupt administration in generations.....

And if Sanders’ rhetoric during the primaries started that stew simmering with his talk about the system only working for the rich, Trump brought it to a full boil with his remarks blaming undocumented immigrants and trade agreements that he claimed were forged as the result of open corruption.

Sanders' bogus rigged process claim hurt a great deal.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gothmog (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 20, 2017, 11:16 AM

5. I think that quote has nothing to do with your point.

What you quoted, in bold:

And if Sanders’ rhetoric during the primaries started that stew simmering with his talk about the system only working for the rich


but then you follow that with your point:

Sanders' bogus rigged process claim hurt a great deal.


What is being discussed in the quote is the country's entire political/economic system being rigged in favor of the wealthy. And there is a conversation to be had about that. First, whether or not you believe it's true (the author of the article believe it is not; many people on this board believe that it is). And second, if you believe it's true, is it helpful to talk about it in a primary campaign. Since Hillary got the nomination and lost the election, you might argue that it wasn't, but these were not foregone conclusions.

And if you think this is an important issue, if you don't talk about it during the primaries, when are you supposed to address it? Yes, Trump may have taken advantage of having seen how that talk resonated. But (a) that doesn't mean it wasn't an important issue to address, and (b) there's no way to even have a reasonable primary process if every candidate must avoid saying anything that can possibly be used by the other side if they don't win the nomination themselves. That would require ending all disagreement among the candidates before anyone is selected, and how can you have a primary process under those conditions?

But your end quote is really about something entirely different... you're talking about whether the primary process had been rigged against him, which is a very different conversation than what was being discussed in that HuffPo article and quote. There is some evidence that the DNC did have their hand on the scale, but I understand that there are many people here who view that differently. But compared to the former point, that assertion was a much smaller element of Sanders' campaign. As you might guess, I don't see it as bogus, but we can differ there. Either way, though, I don't think that is something that played a significant factor in Trump's appeal.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to thesquanderer (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 20, 2017, 11:20 AM

6. Trump quoted sanders accurately and to great effect

Sanders helped trump win.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gothmog (Reply #6)

Fri Jan 20, 2017, 11:31 AM

8. But the economy is rigged.

Sanders was spot on about that. It isn't his fault if that hurt Clinton.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gothmog (Reply #6)

Fri Jan 20, 2017, 11:34 AM

9. Lots of things helped Trump win.

Including the fact that there was a Democratic primary at all, any challenge whatsoever to Hillary. That doesn't mean there should have been no primary.

Of all the things that went wrong for us, I think the fact that Trump quoted Sanders was not high on the list. Especially when Sanders himself was working to counter that by advocating strongly for Hillary.

Though ironically, talking about how the system favors the rich and powerful may be one of the very few kernels of truth to come out of Trump's mouth during the campaign.




Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to thesquanderer (Original post)

Fri Jan 20, 2017, 11:31 AM

7. Many of us believe this. Welcome back!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to thesquanderer (Original post)

Fri Jan 20, 2017, 11:40 AM

10. Ds lost-not enough Ds Voted, Hillary won the popular vote by 3 million. 56% voted against trump

2% 'Ds" went for "other" and about 100,000 left ballots blank. just enough to give away our primary winner to Republicans.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to thesquanderer (Original post)

Fri Jan 20, 2017, 11:45 AM

11. Re: he couldn't have done any worse

 

It's cute how naïve you are.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SFnomad (Reply #11)

Fri Jan 20, 2017, 12:04 PM

14. To the extent that winning and losing are the only two possibilities...

...how do you do worse than losing?

Not that it matters if you "lose by more," 270 is 270, but what states do you think would have flipped from D to R if Sanders had been our candidate? And do you think that none could have been at least as likely to flip the other way?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to thesquanderer (Original post)

Fri Jan 20, 2017, 12:00 PM

13. I think the Browns could win the Super Bowl...if only they.....nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread