Pox Americana

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Archive for the tag “New Hampshire primary”

Has Bernie’s Surge Crested?

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The rumors of Hillary’s demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated. Hell, even I jumped on the bandwagon, blogging just three weeks back how she was in trouble. Bernie was surging, widening his lead in New Hampshire and breaking out in Iowa. There were whispers of indictments, and her Everestian piles of baggage appeared to be even heavier than usual. We could all smell the toxic smoke and her staffers were getting the jitters, but like the warhorse she is, Hillary Clinton slogged through the muck and is now on the verge of winning Iowa.

With that state’s caucuses just two days away, she’s beating Bernie in all of the polls. The latest has it a close race that only puts her up three points, while another just two days ago has her leading by eight. What happened? Early in the month she seemed on the precipice of implosion. Just ten days ago Sanders was taking her to the woodshed in Iowa with his own eight point margin, but those gains evaporated just as fast as they materialized. Was that Bernie’s high water mark? As the big day approaches, the Hillary juggernaut has made up for lost ground and then some.

Why is this? It’s not Bernie’s fault. He hasn’t slipped up. He’s remained vibrant, with the clamor of his supporters just growing in intensity and volume. I know. I see it on Facebook every day. Most of my friends posting about politics are Sanderistas; their fervor has reached fever pitch of late, though I have noticed a growing number of Hillaryites asserting themselves, which gives me pause. A month or two back there were none. The back and forth between the two camps has been vigorous and instructive, and whatever I may think, Sanders is still very much in play in Iowa and just may walk away with a victory. However, as much as I love and support the guy, I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

What I believe we’re seeing is the natural trend of the undecided, mainstream voters moving toward the safer choice. Hillary represents stability. She’s a known quantity with heaps of experience, smarts, and know-how, and as most of these states get down to the wire, the pendulum will swing her way. She will steer the USS Obama on its present course with a steady hand, and a lot of people would be very happy with that. Bernie has energized so much of the base and will fight down to the last scrap, but elections are often decided by the middle, and from what I’ve seen on Facebook and in the polls, it’s moving toward Clinton.

Bernie has made her sweat along the way, but let us not forget that she’s picked up nearly all the big endorsements, including The New York Times, who gave her the nod just yesterday, to the surprise of no one. She also has the loyalty of over half of the so-called superdelegates. Besides a passionate army of supporters, Bernie has almost none of this. He has amassed a great war chest from individual contributors, but can he ever compete with Clinton’s Vegas buffet of backing from the American corporate ogre? Yes, she has taken some lumps for it in the debates, but in the end it will be a bigger weapon than any.

My prediction is this: Hillary will win Iowa with room to breathe, if not handily. Sanders will take New Hampshire. Hillary will then squeak by in Nevada and then hammer Bernie in South Carolina. Come Super Tuesday (March 1st), she’ll clean up. Sanders will take Vermont and perhaps Massachusetts, but will otherwise get buried. I don’t think he can compete with her in the south. Hillary’s firewall will stand.

Of course I may be dead fucking wrong on this, which wouldn’t make me sad. In 2008 she was leading in all of the polls going into Iowa, and went on to lose to both Obama AND John Edwards in a pathetic 3rd place showing. If I’m going to eat crow I’d prefer it in tacos, which is my preferred delivery system for most anything edible.

As for the GOP? Trump’s going to win the nomination without breaking a sweat. The numbers don’t lie. The more jingoistic hate porn he pukes forth, the more popular he becomes among among the drooling, troglodyte base of the Republican Party. The elites may be horrified, but they’ve cultivated this cesspool over the last two decades, and now they’re going to have to swim in their own shit. As awful as it is, my schadenfreude factor is jumping off the charts on this one.

More on that later. In meantime, break out the vino and popcorn. It’s going to an interesting few weeks.

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Surging Bernie

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I’ve been watching Bernie Sanders’ run at the Democratic nomination from across the Pacific for some months now and am gobsmacked at just how big he’s become. Perhaps I’ve been out of the country for too long, but I confess to viewing his candidacy through a bloodshot, jaundiced eye. Of course I support him and most everything he stands for, but I found it beyond the frontiers of credulity that a gesticulating, wild-haired, raving Jewish socialist could break out of say, the two percentage range, polling wise. I figured he’d electrify the patchouli and drum circle set, but in the end be relegated to the sad confines of Ralph Nader Land.

So far I’ve been wrong, and let’s just say I’m fucking stoked.

This week saw Bern Nation presented with some very good news: The grumpy senator from Vermont has pulled ahead of Hillary Clinton in Iowa, according to a major poll. He already leads in New Hampshire–which is no surprise, since it’s basically his back yard–but Sanders busting out in Iowa is huge. These are the first two states to pick the lead horse and if Sanders takes them both it would cripple Hillary’s already bleeding campaign. I wrote last week how she’s becoming toxic and it’s just getting worse. We all know that she carries stacks of baggage, only now they’re emitting Chernobyl-like levels of radiation. The public senses this, and each day more presumed Hillary supporters are tearing away and joining Bernie’s posse. I never thought I’d say it, but he’s beginning to look like a winner. Most of my political discussions with folks back home happen on Facebook, and I can only count ONE person out of over 1,500 friends who openly and enthusiastically backs Hillary Clinton. That’s it. As General Zod (played by the brilliant Terence Stamp) bellows out in Superman 2: “IS THERE NO ONE???”

Not only is Bernie surfing atop these polls, but he also picked up the endorsement of MoveOn, one of the the biggest lefty organisations in America. According to the statement, 78.6 percent of its membership in an online vote of more than 340,000 members cast their lot for Mr. Sanders. Hillary netted a paltry 14.6. While this endorsement is no surprise, it shows just how solid and deep his support is among American progressives.

What is surprising however, is the praise that Bernie is picking up from other quarters. Just yesterday Vice President Joe Biden threw some serious accolades Bernie’s way, commending him for his persistent fight against inequality, while criticizing Hillary as a Johnny-come-lately to the issue. Not only is Joe Biden a heartbeat away from the Oval Office, he’s a major Democratic power broker, and despite his reputation for a freewheeling tongue, he knows that every word he says will be recorded and analyzed; his bestowing of favor upon Sanders marks a distinct shifting of the winds in the Democratic Party.

That said, Hillary still has caverns filled with cash, battalions of muckraking minions, along with the corporate ogres on her side, who are the real gatekeepers to power. She still leads massively in South Carolina (along with the rest of Dixie), though early defeats could shake up those numbers in a jiffy. Her campaign has also kept its distance from Sanders up until now, treating him as an amusing, half-senile uncle that is not to be taken seriously. But now she’s beginning to co-opt his issues that play well (no doubt triple focus group engineered) while at the same time digging up dirt and flinging shit.

Will Bernie steal Iowa and New Hampshire right out of the gate? We have a little over two weeks until things kick off, but the mood online, at least, gives him the edge. This may be the year where actual democracy triumphs in the race for the Democratic nomination, where substance, issues, and integrity win out over dynasty, money, and raw power.

The general election is a whole other movie, however. If Bernie Sanders does manage to snag the nod from the Democratic Party, he will face a sulfurous Hellmouth of fear-mongering, smears, and red-baiting from a moneyed class so determined to keep him out of the White House that their zeal will resemble blood lust. It will be ugly, and worst of all, it could work.

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