ForumTouchy Subjects ► Democratic Primary 2020
Ironically, if the rest of the candidates stopped bothering now, then Sanders wouldn't win. The significant majority of the democratic party prefers a democrat, but that vote is currently split among too many candidates.

Basically the same playbook that created Trump when you think about it.
  
I see where I went wrong. Sanders has the largest single-share so far, but that share is 26%. So 74% of Democrats still back someone else, it's simply that they're split between about seven other candidates. Over time, they may coalesce behind one and outstrip Sanders.
  
wow, yang dropped out.

Why am I not surprised
  
Yeah, they might coalesce around other candidates who are more ideologically similar to their first choice. But people are sometimes hard to predict, so they might not.

There was a poll a couple months ago that said that the plurality of Biden's supporters supported Sanders as their second choice (and their runner-up was Warren). These people are possibly voting on "I want an old white person to be president." :P
However, a more recent poll shows less support for the Biden->Sanders conversion, it looks like Bloomberg and Buttigieg are beginning to attract a lot of those votes.
  
I would put my chip on the bet that those people are going for the person they know best as their second choice. Bernie is more famous than Warren or Buttigieg or Klobuchar. Now that more people are getting to know these other candidates, they're less likely to just default to Sanders as a second choice.
  
Oh yeah, that makes sense too.
  
I just think it's funny how the media are going nuts to make it look like Bernie Sanders didn't win in New Hampshire.

"The moderates collectively won 60% of the vote, dwarfing Sanders' percentage."

OK, let me explain you a thing. Not only is New Hampshire 94% white, but they allow independents and Republicans to vote in their Democratic Primaries. And this is a year where Republicans have no real compelling reason to bother voting in their own primary. So, yeah, Amy Klobuchar sending pro-lifers dog whistle messages about building a big tent in the middle and Pete Buttigieg cozying up to Goldman Sachs executives might be appealing to some of the yacht club set, but their winning delegates is meaningless when it comes to securing support from the party base in the big picture election taking place over the next few months.
  
This obsession Sanders supporters have with portraying Bernie as an underdog in all ways is trite and tiring. White states coming first is a powerful advantage for Sanders.

Black voters are less progressive than white voters. They overwhelmingly preferred Clinton to Sanders. 50% of black voters identify as moderates, with another 15% identifying as conservative or very conservative. 12% of liberal-identifying black voters have an unfavorable view of Sanders, higher than Biden, Bloomberg, Klobuchar, Steyer or Yang (RIP). The second-most progressive candidate, Warren, has 16% unfavorable ratings among black voters, which puts her tied with Buttigieg for worst reputation in that community.

By in large, black voters do not like progressive politics, especially progressive social politics. As a group, they have never gone for a progressive national candidate, which is why the national democratic party has never run a progressive national candidate.

Edited addendum:
You want to talk about candidates who are away from the party base in the primaries, 12% of Sanders' primary supporters voted for Trump in 2016. Sanders himself isn't even a member of the party he's running to lead (by congressional affiliation).
  
If Bernie is popular among Trump supporters, isn't that a good thing for the November election?

The Feb 10th poll I linked above shows 27% of black voters for Biden, 22% for Bloomberg, and 19% for Sanders. The rest of the candidates, including Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and Warren are all below 10%.

And in the head-to-head matchups between Trump and Biden/Bernie, Bernie would win by a sightly greater margin than Biden among black people. It's likely within the margin of error, but Biden wins 81%/12% and Bernie wins 85%/10%.

Edit: Whoops, just realized I was looking at the poll I linked and not the one you linked. I'll check out yours as well!

Edit2: Nope, they're the same poll lol.
  
So that's 19% black support for Sanders but he has 100% name recognition so very limited room for growth. Almost matched by 12% actively disliking him . More than any other group, Black voters 2:1 want somebody who shares their views, not just somebody who is most electable(same poll). Again, black voters are not progressives on average.

My point is just that "the first few states are all white" is not a disadvantage to Sanders in any way. It's a huge advantage. I'm not saying Sanders couldn't gain the support of black voters.

But Sanders is barely competing ahead of a split race in the states that should be best for him and almost everything is breaking his way.

Is it good that Trump voters like Bernie?

Bernie isn't popular with Trump supporters. Trump is popular among Bernie voters. The portion of Trump voters who supported Bernie is very, very small. The portion of Bernie voters who didn't vote for Clinton (either because they stayed home, voted third party, or voted for Trump) is very large. A sizeable chunk of Bernie voters are not Democrats and don't have Democrat success as their goal.

Bernie has gained less support than any other candidate

Bernie has been campaigning for a year and his new support as a share of the Democratic electorate briefly peaked at 4%. Biden, Warren, Buttigieg, Bloomberg have all at some point gained at least 10% from their start.

After a full year of campaigning, Bernie has peaked with fewer new supporters than Andrew Yang had when he dropped out. At current, he's gained the same amount as Tulsi Gabbard or Tom Steyer.

In a traditional 2-4 way race where he has one strong establishment opponent and maybe one surging outsider opponent, Bernie would get crushed. That's not media bias. That's just how it is. 2016, when he was much more popular than he is now, saw him with a 12-point loss to the least popular Democratic nominee in decades.

The eagerness Sanders supporters have to discuss his viability with propaganda rather than reasoned, data-based and fair conclusions is extraordinary and Trumplike. The rapidity they use conspiracy theories and negative campaigning, the unwillingness to compromise and the high bar of purity testing applied to other candidates is counter-productive.

That's not all Bernie supporters (probably not even a majority), but it's the loudest and most visible body of his base. Note that none of this criticism is actually criticism of Bernie, but the culture of his supporters.

Edit: I'm also not saying Bernie won't, can't or shouldn't win the nomination, for the record.
  
It's frustrating, as a Bernie supporter, to see a lot of people saying that Bernie "can't win." I know you're not saying that, but it's where a lot of the anger comes from, and it also feels like those people are ignoring a lot of facts that don't fit their narrative, that Biden or Buttigieg or Bloomberg are "more electable," without a lot of hard data to back them up.

The unwillingness to compromise is because, "why shouldn't we elect both the best candidate and the most electable one?" Sanders supporters believe that he has the best positions, and polling data consistently shows nearly as strong or stronger than other Democratic candidates in the November elections. Why should we stop trying to get the best candidate the nomination? Why should we be excited about purposefully picking a bad option?

In a way, there's a sense that the "media" and "political elites" are well-served by the status quo, or at least the status quo of the Clinton->Obama era. That Biden and Buttigieg and Bloomberg are appealing to them because of "what if our president was smart, instead of bad and dumb and orange," rather than because their policy proposals are meaningfully different. That their preferences are shaped by the aesthetics of Trump, rather than by the economic concerns that power most Bernie voters.

If we had more than two viable political parties (like many parliamentary systems do), I do think that Bernie supporters would not consider themselves members of the Democratic party. And that's probably a very real reason that many mainstream Democrats don't like him - they don't share his values. They don't think that guaranteeing healthcare is worth it, or that homelessness and housing stability are important issues. Not all #neverbernie-ers think this way, obviously, but it does seem like many of the outspoken ones are opposed to his values, not to his chances of defeating Trump.
  
Fwip said:
It's frustrating, as a Bernie supporter, to see a lot of people saying that Bernie "can't win." I know you're not saying that, but it's where a lot of the anger comes from, and it also feels like those people are ignoring a lot of facts that don't fit their narrative, that Biden or Buttigieg or Bloomberg are "more electable," without a lot of hard data to back them up.


As a fairly impartial observer (disclaimer: I've donated to both the Buttigieg and Bernie campaigns at different stages in this cycle), I see this kind of "ignoring a lot of facts" from Bernie's camp more than anywhere else, as evidenced in this thread (not by you).

Fwip said:
The unwillingness to compromise is because, "why shouldn't we elect both the best candidate and the most electable one?"

I wouldn't say Sanders is unelectable, but I've not seen any indication he's the most electable one.

Fwip said:
Sanders supporters believe that he has the best positions, and polling data consistently shows nearly as strong or stronger than other Democratic candidates in the November elections.

"Nearly as a strong" isn't equivalent to "most electable," and getting the same level of support is not the same as getting the same level of enthusiasm. The moderate base of the Democratic party is several times larger than the progressive base. It is far more risky to alienate the moderate base and get low turnout among rural and black voters than to alienate the progressive base. Progressives are also disproportionately young and Bernie voters are largely latino, both groups that have low turnout rates in elections.
Fwip said:
Why should we stop trying to get the best candidate the nomination? Why should we be excited about purposefully picking a bad option?

I don't think anybody has suggested at any time that Bernie voters should stop trying to win the election. But it's bad to have a camp rampantly lying, smearing other Democrats, leaning on conspiracy theories and acting as though every possible event in the campaign works against Sanders in an unfair way.

Fwip said:
In a way, there's a sense that the "media" and "political elites" are well-served by the status quo, or at least the status quo of the Clinton->Obama era.

This is true.
Fwip said:
That Biden and Buttigieg and Bloomberg are appealing to them because of "what if our president was smart, instead of bad and dumb and orange," rather than because their policy proposals are meaningfully different.

Every serious Democratic candidate this year has a more progressive agenda than any significant candidate from before 2016. I don't think it's accurate or fair to malign all democrats who aren't Bernie as basically the same thing.

Fwip said:
That their preferences are shaped by the aesthetics of Trump, rather than by the economic concerns that power most Bernie voters.

There's a lot of economic messaging from every candidate this cycle. Just because not everybody has the same highly polarized stances as Bernie Sanders doesn't mean that they're shaped by the aesthetics of Trump. In fact, in public debates, Buttigieg has been the one who talks about Trump the least (for example).

Fwip said:
If we had more than two viable political parties

We don't.
Fwip said:
I do think that Bernie supporters would not consider themselves members of the Democratic party.

Largely they don't.
Fwip said:
And that's probably a very real reason that many mainstream Democrats don't like him - they don't share his values.

Exactly. The majority of liberal-leaning Americans don't share Bernie Sanders' complete worldview. That's why he has gained no support after campaigning for a full year.
Fwip said:
They don't think that guaranteeing healthcare is worth it, or that homelessness and housing stability are important issues.

Maybe they just don't think that Sanders' solutions are the right approach. This is the idiocy of extreme ideologies -- there's no belief that anybody who disagrees even a little is doing so in good faith.
Fwip said:
Not all #neverbernie-ers think this way, obviously, but it does seem like many of the outspoken ones are opposed to his values, not to his chances of defeating Trump.

Lots of people who are critical of Bernie or especially Bernie's supporters are not neverbernie-ers. Bernie supports are, by all past evidence, far more likely to throw a fit if they lose than, say, Biden supporters.
  
To pick on just one point, since the rest I agree with: is Bernie Sanders really considered extreme? The bulk of his policies, in particular education and healthcare are in fact entirely standard across the board in even the next-most conservative English speaking country. Are centrist democrats really so against healthcare and education access?
  
"Extremism" is relative. It's really about how normal or abnormal you are. It's probably fair to say Sanders is extreme in the context of the US, but from the point of view of CANZUK it's like "what's so extreme about an NHS, we've had that since the '40s".
  
Thanks for engaging with my points Gorgon, I appreciate it. :)
  
Grayseff said:
The bulk of his policies, in particular education and healthcare are in fact entirely standard across the board in even the next-most conservative English speaking country.
Are both of these are true of every other English-speaking country?
  • Tuition-free college/university/trade school is guaranteed to every resident, including undocumented immigrants.
  • Private health insurance has been essentially eliminated.
  
- Private health insurance has been essentially eliminated.
If you mean hospital patients don't get a bill, then yes.

Green is where this is the case:
  
I mean, yeah, we're right on par with Turkmenistan, Haiti, Cambodia... 'Murrka!
  
For American Democrats, he's significantly farther left than the leftmost elected nominee in living memory, maybe ever. Any one of his 1000 proposals would be nearly impossible to pass and would be a flagship accomplishment.
  • Break up banks, ISPs, other financial institutions, etc
  • Federal jobs guarantee
  • Ban 3D printing of specific objects, like bump stocks
  • National rent control standard
  • Free college
  • Make the post office a federally owned and operated bank

Even the US ceased military and defense spending, his goals would require doubling, maybe quadrupling, the national budget. That's an extreme position no matter what he wants to spend it on. You can say these are all laudible goals, many Democrats would agree. But the ambition of doing all of them at one time is extreme, full stop.

Keep in mind the US budget was $3.8 trillion in 2015 and is now $4.4 trillion, also that most of his most expensive plans don't have a dollar figure on them, and that I didn't grab every spend from his platfom. Sanders proposes:Source
  • $2.5 Trillion on new homes
  • $70 billion to remodel all existing public housing
  • $1.3 billion per year to blacks-only colleges
  • Spend $2.1 trillion to cancel all student debt (that's ~$1.6 trillion lost instantly and $.5 trillion in lost interest as approximation)
  • $200 billion for climate green fund
  • Add $6 billion to the older Americans act
  • $62 billion on revamping the VA
  • End private prisons
  • Ban facial recognition software for policing
  • Increasing funding undisclosed amount for public defenders
  • Eliminate all medical debt (~$80 billion)
  • Increase teacher salaries to $60,000 minimum ($66 billion per year)
  • Providing "locally sourced, year-round, free universal school meals) with undisclosed cost
  • Rebuild every school in the nation
  • Add wealth tax plus additional new taxes
  • $15 billion on HBCUs
  • $150 billion to create government-operated broadband
  • Abolish super PACs
  
Even if Sanders can't do all of them, he can do most of them. It doesn't have to be all-or-none. Looking at that list, I'm thinking the sub-trillion ones could be done. And if one is too expensive to do completely, he can still put some money in that direction.

And one of those policies is new taxes to pay for them. But even without new taxes, reducing military and foreign aid would cover most of them.
  
One thing that is unfortunate (both in how Sanders presents his plans and others) is people in conversation freely mixing & matching between annual money, one-time money, and over-N-years money.

For instance, the budget is annual, the tax revenue estimate of $4 trillion is over 10 years (and overly optimistic, as all candidate estimates are), and eliminating existing medical debt is a one-time expense. $82 billion is a lot of money! But it's 0.082 trillion dollars, so naively, tax revenue would only need to go up 2% for one year to pay for it (note, 2% is not 2 percentage points).
  
I didn't realise how extensive his proposals were. In fairness our national Post Office is also a government owned bank, medical care is almost entirely free, national broadband exists (ISP's and electricity providers rent the rights to the lines to prevent oligopolies). Meaning the only proposals not in line with an existing capitalist economy are national rent control (state housing was gutted in the 80's), a jobs guarantee and free tuition (though the entirety of my undergraduate study cost less than a single year of out of state tuition in an American university).
  
I'd describe the US' status quo as extreme. Sanders wants to moderate an extreme system.

George Washington was an extremist according to George III. Malala Yousafzai was an extremist according to the Taliban. Winston Churchill was an extremist according to Neville Chamberlain.
  
Fwip said:
One thing that is unfortunate (both in how Sanders presents his plans and others) is people in conversation freely mixing & matching between annual money, one-time money, and over-N-years money.

This is fair, but I accounted for this as best as I could from his platforms page. Unfortunately, Sanders has no precision in how and when proposals would be funded -- probably because the achieving all of them isn't politically feasible within a single presidency.
Fwip said:
$82 billion is a lot of money! But it's 0.082 trillion dollars, so naively, tax revenue would only need to go up 2% for one year to pay for it (note, 2% is not 2 percentage points).

But his proposals are conservatively $5.5 Trillion in one-time expenses PLUS trillions in ongoing annual expenses. I don't believe he even estimates the cost of his most ambitious proposals like federal jobs guarantees, ending private prisons, free tuition or medicare for all (at least not on his platforms page).

To raise $5.5T for one-time expenses paid for over the course of four years would require a 37% increase in tax, which doesn't include covering the cost of ongoing expenses in his proposals or the inevitable costs of budget creep from negotiating to get any of these proposals passed.

Those costs might be worth it, they might not be, but it is extreme (defined below) and radical (a fundamental change to the nature of a thing -- the US, in this case).
Millpond said:
George Washington was an extremist according to George III.

Given that he is running in the US and not Sweden, we're discuss Sanders within the context of a USA presidential race. Extreme is, by definition, the farthest from the center. He is the farthest from the center candidate. Sanders is the most extremely liberal candidate (not just in this race, but possibly in any US race to date).
Millpond said:
Even if Sanders can't do all of them, he can do most of them.

Most of his significant proposals would require passing through the house and senate, then overcoming significant judicial attacks and probably winning several supreme court cases (for each proposal). That's if there's a feasible way to fund them in the first place.

Obama couldn't for a medicare for all system because it wasn't feasible. Obamacare was very politically expensive for Democrats. Right now, Sanders hasn't made any significant explanation of how he plans on achieving any of his proposals, let alone most of them all at once.
Millpond said:
And one of those policies is new taxes to pay for them. But even without new taxes, reducing military and foreign aid would cover most of them.

I did explain earlier that achieving his proposal list in a world where military and defense budget is cut to $0 annually would still require multiplying the federal budget, probably a few times over, for at least a number of years.
  
Why is universal healthcare seen as controversial and extreme in the US, but normal in most other countries? I don't get it.

I caught Donald Trump going on about how he "won't let the socialists take away our private insurance" or something. If socialists took away private insurance, it would be because private insurance was unnecessary, so what's the problem.
  
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