Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Heart Bern

Despite What They Said, It Never Stood For People United Mean Action
Back in 2008, one of the more interesting places to be on election night was the PUMA boards. The PUMAs (Party Unity, My Ass) were die-hard Clinton supporters who (a) hated Barack Obama and his sexist supporters and (b) had convinced themselves that McCain would win--by a landslide. This was done with some logical knots that would terrify a professional contortionist.

Still, the PUMAs went into the 2008 election night worried, yes--but their confidence bolstered by the promise of a massive come-from-behind victory that would stun their enemies and prove them right . . . and virtuous.

As the night wore on, reality started (or tried to) set in.

It is worth noting, if only shortly, that something similar happened at the Romney campaign HQ in 2012 when their internal projections showed a close race with a slim--but extant--chance of victory and it turned out their proprietary turn-out models were all wrong.

The Crying of The Bernie Bros

Somewhat ironically, considering the candidate, this time around it's the Sanders supporters who went into last night with the slimiest of hopes--only to find them dashed badly on the shoals of reality. The Omnivore appreciates schadenfreude as much as the next political animal but there is a larger lesson in the shocked-bitterness of a defeat that anyone and everyone should have seen coming.

The lesson is this: We--all of us--have a human weakness to accept bullshit if it is in the service of something we deeply, emotionally, need to believe. When we accept that bullshit, it infiltrates our world-view and compromises our decision-making capability.

Thus, if Sanders (or Clinton, or Romney, or whoever) must win--and they do not--and our pride is on the line--then we will salvage our pride at the cost of rationality. We will believe in conspiracy theories that allow us to maintain our positions--and this will cost us--and continue to cost us--as those foundational lies become integrated into our thought processes.

Has this happened to you? How would you even know?

Bullshit Toxic Politics

For a look at this, we go to the Sanders for President sub-Reddit which is where hard-core Sanders die-hards hang out on the Internet. The primary-night thread runs all night and has thousands of posts. These are some of them.

The Omnivore is fond of the formulation of a magic trick (brought to modern day by the movie The Prestige). The parts of the magic trick are: The Pledge (the magician shows you something that appears ordinary), The Turn (where the magician makes it do something extraordinary), and The Prestige (where the magician either reverses the trick or otherwise gives closure).

In the case of toxic politics, it's like this.

The Pledge

In the political conspiracy venue, The Pledge is the magical belief that supporters hold about how their candidate is going to win / can win. In this case:

  • Super-Delegates Will Change Their Minds When Bernie Wins California. The idea is that a Sanders landslide (not predicted by any poll, much less the aggregate) in CA will sway already-committed Super-delegates to change their, erm, pledges, to Sanders.
  • Hillary Indictment Coming Soon. This isn't fantasy--it could happen--but it's possible that (a) Clinton might still be the nominee and that (b) if not, Biden / Warren might get resurrected. Of course all these scenarios would be a disaster for the Democrats--but the idea that Sanders would become more palatable is fantasy.
  • Polls Are Dead Even. They weren't. There were a few that showed it close--but the aggregate always showed a Clinton win. Add to this the selective concept that Bernie Exceeds His Polling Average (he did in some cases, not in others) and you have a formula for a big blow-out in CA. It went the other way.
In the case of last night, though, the narrative was this:
In short, July 7th is when the narrative changesHere is a Democratic Underground post that the polls show a dead heat. With this GIF!

The Turn

The Turn happens when reality sets in over the course of the night of voting: partisans cling desperately to hope that things will not go the way they clearly are. This includes:
  • Telling the media they are calling races too soon.
  • Promising that when later results come back, it'll reverse the score.
  • Shock at the numbers. Literal disbelief. Clinging to news sources that haven't called the race yet as "more credible."
The Night Starts Out Optimistic
Despite losses in New Jersey and South Dakota (which they "knew were going to happen") the hopes for CA were high. Everything hinged there. Unfortunately, early voting favored Hillary by some 400k votes meaning that the night more or less started with Sanders in a hole he couldn't dig his way out of. 
We're Gettin' There!

A Fragile Hope Blooms


Don't Give Up!

Don't Trust CNN!

He's Exceeding OTHER STATES!

The Media Is SCARED

Don't Tell Me The Odds, Man! I Don't Want To HEAR About Polls!

The YouTube Is The Jefferson's Theme!




No refunds
 By the time The Turn is complete it is clear from every outlet that Sanders has lost--and lost substantially.

The Prestige

In political-conspiracy context, The Prestige is where the subject decides it was all voter-fraud's fault and their beloved candidate cannot have actually lost. At this point, the conclusion is that the whole game was fixed, the counts were wrong, and . . . they were right all along.

At this point the general consensus was that the premature announcement by AP that Hillary was the presumptive nominee (which, mathematically, she has been for months) suppressed the vote for young, first-time voters.

Also: election fraud. From Democratic Underground:
I hope everyone understands that these results tonight cannot possibly be real. **UPDATE**
After this election, I will no longer vote. I will no longer participate. I realize now that it doesn't matter. Democracy is dead.

There is no way that Hillary could have won Montana and South Dakota. Even her own team is shocked by those results. 
Now she is winning CA with 62%. That is impossible. And we all know it.

***UPDATE*** CNN has announced she just won the pledged delegate vote. That's what this was all about. Now it CANNOT be contested. I'm done.
Holy cow!! This is impossible!!
I've been watching the election returns on the guardian website. All of the mail-in votes are already recorded and they are all that are showing in the counties. In EVERY county (except for about 5 up in the north where apparently no one mailed in or it's not registered yet) the mail-in vote has gone to Hillary 63% to 37%. EVERY F***ing COUNTY!!! How is that possible???? A large percentage of the vote in each county appears to be by mail-in ballot. Didn't that same thing happen in AZ? 
And the theory that exit polls were fixed is being addressed with some kind of racketeering lawsuit against "the media."

On Reddit, they note the difference between the massive Sanders rally and the low voting numbers. What could be behind that?
Why is no one talking about this? Polls leading up to yesterday had them neck and neck... but yet we end up with a 13% spread? Seems insane. 
I've been saying since Iowa that fraud and election rigging would be the death of this campaign and that it needed to be addressed ASAP. No one wanted to talk about it. Everyone wanted to talk about how next week we're going to turn it around and next week we're getting out more voters. It didn't work. The failure of this campaign to meaningfully address the voter suppression and fraud sunk this campaign

Although it wasn't in that thread, in response to the same question, someone noted that all his friends said they'd vote--but stayed home playing Overwatch. This could be fractal-reality of the youth vote right there.

Here's some video on the dodgy lawsuit.


A lot of posters were just dejected--which is a very reasonable way to feel when your candidate loses. There's nothing wrong with that. It's the people who immediately cling to any possible conspiracy theory that are the problem. In this case there was no conspiracy--there was just voters--and they didn't vote the way Team Sanders wanted.

It sounds like Sanders will take this to the convention--and perhaps beyond. Reports are that he's bitter--The Omnivore finds this at least believable. On the other hand, the planet has been spinning a little faster since Ted Cruz instantly dropped off the face of it (despite having some potentially news-cycle-worthy moments of refusing to endorse Trump)--so it seems likely that while the fire may not have entirely Berned out, his movement will, at this point, fade away.


  1. Thing is, I support Hillary. I know a lot of people who do. However, I haven't been talking about it on social media much, because I don't want the "berner" crowd to YELL AT ME. And they yell. And it's one thing to know that folks on the right hate me -- as if I care -- but when folks who are my (so called) friends will jump on my shit. So I stay quiet. I don't think I'm alone. In fact, I know that I'm not. So these folks saying, "Hey, all my friends are pro-Bern" -- it's like, that ain't true. They just got tired of the abuse and got quiet. But on voting day...

    1. I generally make it a point not to post on places I'm not an ideological member of (unless my commentary is positive). There was a post on the Sander's Reddit where someone was saying they hadn't seen ANYONE supporting Hillary.

      When someone pointed out they were around, the poster said "well why don't they TALK to us then??" I was ... amazed. So, yeah--these people just have no idea how they're coming off.

      -The Omnivore

  2. "The lesson is this: We--all of us--have a human weakness to accept bullshit if it is in the service of something we deeply, emotionally, need to believe."

    Maybe so, but that's only one of the relevant lessons to be learnt here, and probably not even the most significant one. That would be "What The Money wants, The Money gets."

    It's been noted many times, both here and elsewhere, that a significant fraction (perhaps even a majority?) of the people casting ballots for Hillary Clinton don't so much like her as loathe Donald Trump, calculating that she seems to stand a better chance of defeating him come November. A mirror image of that dynamic appears to account for a lot of Trump supporters, too (though probably not a majority in that case). The bottom line is that our next President is all but guaranteed to be someone not just disliked but actively despised by tens of millions of Americans.

    I think this is unprecedented. And dangerous.

    -- Ω