Tag Archives: socialist

Sanders’ Electoral Math

Let’s talk electoral college math for a moment. Here’s why I’m so concerned about a Bernie Sanders candidacy. This is the electoral map as I see it. And I gave Bernie the benefit of the doubt in several states that I think might be tough for him (NJ, CA, WI). But looking at that map, I don’t see him getting to 270 from here, for these reasons:

IOWA – Sure, he had a great caucus showing. But let’s not forget that in a record turnout year, GOP turnout was still 15,415 higher than Dem turnout. And that’s with all the independents who crossed over to caucus for him, and with record under-30 turnout. So his “I’ll increased Democratic turnout” argument is already baked into the numbers. Plus in a general election, Bernie would bleed some moderate Iowa Dems who find him too liberal.

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The Sanders Earthquake

Yesterday I wrote a post about my concerns that Bernie Sanders would be taken apart by the rightwing attack machine should he win the Democratic nomination. While the response was mostly positive, many Sanders supporters dismissed my concerns as either the hysterical rants of a Hillary Clinton shill, or at odds with current inter-party polling match-ups that suggest Sanders would defeat GOP frontrunner Donald Trump handily in a national election. Still others argued that Sanders is leading a new political earthquake that will destroy all in his path.

So today I want to speak to that reaction. I base my concern about Sanders viability on my experience of having lived through the presidential elections of 1972, 1984, 1988, and 2004, when liberal candidates got defined by their opponents and ultimately trounced by their GOP opponents. (I don’t count 2000 because Al Gore won the popular vote.) I’ve seen people on Facebook dismiss those examples as being out of step for this year. Their arguments range from “no one could’ve beaten Ronald Reagan in 1984” to “Michael Dukakis was a weak candidate” to “young voters are being energized by Sanders and will turn out in record numbers.” Let’s look at each of those claims.

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Democrats Need to Consider Worst-Case Scenarios

Regardless of what party you’re in or which candidate you support, it seems to me the presidential election comes down to one question: Which Democratic candidate can best withstand the GOP attack machine?

Regardless of whether Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or John Kasich win the GOP nod, demographics and electoral college math suggest that Democrats are positioned to win in 2016 if their nominee can withstand the harshly negative general election campaign to come. There are two competing and somewhat equally plausible theories about that. In choosing a nominee, Democrats should envision each theory’s worst-case scenario and carefully game it out.

So let’s look at the two very precarious “nightmare” scenarios out there – be it Hillary Clinton’s negatives overwhelming her or Bernie Sanders being caricatured by the opposition.
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