Friday, March 18, 2016

The Great 2016 American Political Spectacle is running at full throttle

Some of you may be wondering what hummingbirdminds thinks of the current election cycle.

OK, maybe you don't, but hummingbirdminds is going to tell you anyway.

I'm here in Wyoming watching the primary season and wondering how Hillary Clinton won all five states on the most recent Super Tuesday. Bernie Sanders came close in Missouri but, still, Clinton edged him out. Clinton claimed a wipe-out in Florida. Trump too. I ask my family and friends in Florida: Wazzup with that?

On Tuesday in Florida, GOP voter turnout was up but Democratic Party turnout was down. Sanders knew he would have to get lots of voters out to even get close to Clinton. In Missouri, voter turnout out paced 2008 turnout 39 to 36 percent. Less than 1,600 votes separated Sanders and Clinton. If several thousand of those college-age Sanders' supporters ("Feel the Bern!") had voted, well, the results would be different.

Whom do I support? My politics are more aligned with Democratic Socialist Sanders than with Democratic Moderate Clinton. But in November I just want to win, baby. Trump is dangerous, Cruz is creepy, and Kasich is a moderate but he keeps saying crazy stuff to get attention amongst all the Trump hoopla. What about the new effort to draft Paul Ryan should the Repub convention deadlock in Cleveland? Sounds far-fetched to me. Trump contends that there will be riots in Cleveland if that happens. Local police are stockpiling riot gear just in case. Interesting that the Repubs are going to the hometown of Democrat Dennis Kucinich, the anti-war liberal I supported in 2004 and 2008. He's the reason I got involved in local Democratic Party politics in 2004. The Iraq War was the issue then. And the Bush/Cheney axis of evil. Wonder what Mr. Kucinich thinks of all of this? I went to my first state party convention in 2004. Kucinich called in to our gathering although John Kerry was already the candidate-in-waiting. I didn't realize then that most of the decisions happen well before the ballots are cast. I think that we came out of that convention with one delegate pledged to Kucinich when the national convention got underway in Boston. I have some empathy for those Sanders supporters who haven't been involved in party politics. They have to be prepped for the April 9 caucus and for the state convention on May 28. Do your homework, Berniecrats! I stand ready to answer your questions.

So I'm an old hand. I've been to local caucuses and state and national conventions. I'm not jaded -- I still go to meetings and raise funds for Democratic candidates. I always vote, as do all the codgers in my district. But I no longer wonder why people are disappointed in the two political parties. If I had a chance to join and vote for the Democratic Socialists, I would do so. My neighbor Tea Party Slim would gather with the Tea Party Party or the Libertarians or the Guns for Everyone Party. My wife might be part of the Feminist Party. I could see my daughter Annie in the Green Party. My son? He's a candidate for the Transcendentalists or possibly the Gamer Party.

But now, two sizes fit all, which is ridiculous. Our choices are limited now by choices made when most of us were not paying attention. Will people start paying attention now that we're in the Age of Trump?

I have no answers. But, to us writers and bloggers, the Great 2016 American Political Spectacle is amazing.


Sam said...


Missouri was incredibly close for both parties. Clinton won primarily, I believe, due to the 3 votes from the Page household (Sam abstained but will vote in November). My daughter summed it up well-Bernie is a good guy, but there is no way that he can begin to pay for what he is promising. Much like the Repubs (think Brownback in our neighboring state of Kansas)have no way to pay for the tax cuts for the wealthy.

Hillary for all of her many faults, at least has some chance of getting things done and dealing with the idiots in congress. Sad that she is the best bet for the Dems, but looks pretty damn good compared to Trump.

The Republican convention should be very entertaining. Much like Chicago in '68.


Michael Shay said...

Thanks for putting Hillary over the top in Missouri. Chris and I will be casting surrogate ballots for Hillary for our April 9 caucus as we will be in Provo, Utah, visiting our daughter Annie. Bernie is great, and a good match with my brand of Wyoming Democratic Socialism, but we have to win in November lest Republican loonies take over the White House.

Unknown said...

Democrats do not seem to understand. I'm writing a piece on this but I'll give the summary here.

A great many of the people young and old, especially "independents", are not necessarily Democrats in any traditional sense. They are independents and radicals that represent an annually growing proportion of citizens who identify as distinctly and largely left of the established party. Especially as it continues to move to the right proportionally with the republicans.

These "voters" mostly turn out in local/regional races and largely on issues. They tend to flop between the three designations as necessary to influence policy and occasionally candidates. They find the Clinton legacy and future far too right handed. Though even many liberals express dissatisfaction at a distinctly Clinton "moderate tone". These individuals have either just registered to vote for this cycle or have been registered democrat but dont show for larger races because no candidates have appealed to their far more left leaning beliefs.

Continually people within the party are asking "All Democrats" to come together, which shows an ignorance to what is actually happening. I have gone to several local and Colorado gatherings and it is no secret. Their pleas wont be heeded because these individuals are largely not Democrats and they are unwilling to invest in candidates more right than Bernie. In fact, many believe the turnout would have been double for a Candidate with issues and solutions even more left than Bernie's. If they see the writing on the wall, they will simply fall off altogether.
The precedent for Democrats today and now is that, when it comes time to face Trump, Clinton will not be able to rely on largely the combined numbers. Those voters wont turn out. To them. the difference in how it will truly affect the citizens between one candidate and another is simply not there. It's all distinction, with no real difference to these voters.

The take away for the party should be the writing so clearly on the wall. The lines are moving especially with the youth, on both sides. Clearly. This means there is a timeline if one pays attention, it also means bringing the country more together by conventional establishment politicians, is a very unlikely promise. Even adding Warren to the docket was not enough to sway any real number of individuals, which I asked about readily.

If anything this simply illustrates the failure of our party system for its citizens both in offering broader choice and the will to do so regardless of what the electorate can and will clearly vote for. They dont vote independent candidates because they know its rigged against independents and they definitely believe the parties themselves are rigged against change internally, especially now. They have no party of their own so they ride the outlands of both parties and wait.

Kostoyed Amoursky said...

To my previous comment if approved, you can see the evidence in Bernie beating Trump by higher numbers than Clinton despite everything else. When asked, Clinton supporting Dems will say yes to both Clinton v Trump and Bernie v Trump, stand for the party etc... but the Bernie supporters they wont come across.

Michael Shay said...

I saw yesterday's poll that showed Bernie beating Trump by 15 points and Hillary beating Trump by 10. I know many Bernie supporters and most have not before been involved in party politics. There are many of them and they don't really want to enroll in Democratic Party ranks, even though they are young and energetic and independent. Our county party could use that enthusiasm but we apparently have not shown the welcome that we should. Thing is, party politics involve arcane operations such as the caucus, state convention, precinct-level organizing, etc. If you're not involved, you miss things that can get your candidate elected. I found that out the hard way (as noted) as a Kucinich delegate to the state convention in 2004. I'm putting my support behind Clinton because she has the best chance of beating whichever loony the Republicans nominate. There's a risk that lots of the fringe voters you mentioned won't bother to show up for Hillary because of her moderate identity and establishment ties. I'm not so sure of that when faced with the alternative.

Kostoyed Amoursky said...

" I'm putting my support behind Clinton because she has the best chance of beating whichever loony the Republicans nominate."

I must say, I feel vindicated by the passage of time on this. Not for the sake of rubbing this in, but because I hope above all hoping that next time people will reconsider who has a chance of beating whom, so we do not end up here again. I want to get out the message that we should believe in hope and change for real, by backing the most positive, honest, and real change. Not sacrificing principles for subjectively perceived odds of winning, which arguably throughout the 90's never really give us a net "profit" on progress in the end.