Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Kaine Mutiny: DNC Convention Day 0

The DNC has not kicked off yet and already there is the Wikileaks DNC hack, the choice of Tim Kaine, and the rejection of a vote to remove SuperDelegates. All of this infuriates Sanders supporters which probably makes the entire DNC say "Thank God for SuperDelegates!"

A Few Observations

Kaine gets exactly the kind of praise from Republicans that you want.  He is also a  bilingual Catholic politician with a good reputation. He's exactly the kind of "run it down the middle" VP pick that the strategically savvy Clinton campaign could be expected to make. He also apparently has good chemistry with the candidate and is both experienced and low-drama. Over all, he's almost unquestionably the right choice.

Secondly, Wikileaks has claimed a scalp in that Debbie Wasserman Schlutz, the head of the DNC, will, apparently, not be speaking at the convention. This is because of the leaked emails--they make it pretty clear that the DNC, as a whole, wanted Hillary.

This, as far as The Omnivore can tell, is dead-on-target: they fucking ought to have wanted Hillary. Sander's purported walk-to-victory was predicated on (a) enthusiasm from a portion of the Democratic voting base and (b) approval from the right who (reasonably) felt Hillary would be much harder to beat. We'll never know what a Sanders General Election would look like--but the current state of polling is not a good guide.

Remember: all those If-The-Election-Were-Held-Today polls show the current polls. But if the election actually were held today, there would have been debates, attack ads, and people educating themselves a hell of a lot more than you see now. In other words, unless you presume a "surprise election" the numbers we see right now are Apples. Election day is for Oranges.

Finally, The Omnivore thinks that Trump is going to have a developing problem: his last, best chance for party unity just shut down. Now, while he can pick up some more enthusiastic endorsements, there's never again going to be as good a forum for them. While Cruz may well have damaged himself, he's not going to get McConnell or Ryan on a giant stage to say better things about him.

The Democrats are probably unlikely to attain the kind of unity with the Sanders hard-core as they would like--but unless Sanders pulls a Cruz, The Omnivore doesn't see much chance for it to get worse (remember: The Bernie faithful already think that the election was totally rigged, that the DNC did unspeakable things to Sanders, that the Media were entirely in on it--and that, hey, he actually won the popular vote. At that point the only thing that could bring unity is a Unicorn).

Tomorrow the DNC kicks off--and after that comes the first set of important, really meaningful polls: at that point the cake is largely baked.

We'll be watching.


  1. As you say: the revelation that the RNC violated its claimed neutrality and was in the tank for Clinton from the beginning of this contest should surprise no one. Now there's proof, where previously there were only suspicions and allegations. Does that change anything?


    -- &Omega

  2. Oops, missed a semicolon there.

    -- Ω

  3. I doubt it'll make a difference. The allegations aren't that the DNC *liked* Hillary more than Sanders. That has been *abundantly clear*. The allegations are that the DNC took some kind of clandestine action against Sanders (everyone already knows about the debate scheduling).

    I don't think any of the emails show anything material in that respect. I also think it should be obvious that Sanders could--and should--never have expected an equal amount of appreciation. He was always an insurgent. A significant portion of his voters were never Democratic voters--he was essentially a Green(ish) party candidate who was acting as first, a symbiote and then a parasite on the Democratic party.

    His behavior when it was clear he would not win proves that they were right to be wary of him in the first place.

    1. Maybe so. But the fact remains that for those who supported him, despite the absurd unworkability of many of his policy proposals, he was the only contender in this race who even pretended to care about ordinary citizens. Not one-percenters, not cornpone Nazis or single-issue morons, and not people whose defining characteristics were all socially destructive. For whatever else it might have been worth, Sanders' insurgent candidacy (and impressive crowdsourced fundraising) gave people hope that it might finally be possible to break Big Money's iron grip on American politics.

      But, as the leaked emails demonstrate, the Big Money wasn't about to let that happen, and had no compunctions about employing a variety of dirty tricks and unfair strategies to get the establishment candidate they'd paid for. Again, no one should be surprised by any of this, but there's a new wrinkle this time: if the hacks of the DNC's servers were indeed the work of the Russian military, that strongly suggests that Mr. Putin would rather deal with Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton.

      Now, why might that be?

      -- Ω

  4. What do the leaked emails demonstrate? That the DNC coms team pushed a narrative to Politico? That the individuals didn't *like* Sanders? Thus far there is zero material evidence that anything happened other than what obviously did (DWS didn't make life easy for Sanders and people didn't vote for him outside of his slice of the base).

    I think it's pretty obvious why Putin would rather Trump than Clinton: Trump is a Putin admirer and much, much easier to manipulate.

    1. You seem to imply that major political parties have a self-preservation responsibility to close ranks behind whoever they judge to be their most electable candidate, even if it means sandbagging other contenders who may well have something of value to contribute. If so - and I wouldn't be saying you're wrong, from a pragmatic standpoint at least - isn't that a major defect of party politics in general?

      As you've noted before, the net result of such strategy tends to be the silencing of anyone not connected to concentrated sources of funding. This is why most Americans feel marginalized; why they don't feel that their "leaders" represent them or anyone like them, and why many have just checked out ("It doesn't matter anyway."). This strikes me as highly dangerous, in many ways.

      Look, I know the argument-from-utility here: I've read Primary Colors and understand the dilemma of wanting to do right by your constituents, but knowing that that isn't worth anything unless you win - and keep winning. So you make your metaphorical Faustian bargains, all for the greater good of course.

      And maybe you even believe that, for a while at least.

      By the way, my "Now, why might that be?" question was rhetorical. Of course Putin would prefer an easily-manipulated emotional retard like Trump to a smart and seasoned politician such as Team Clinton. That said, dumb as Trump may be, he's dangerously unpredictable - something Mr. Putin may someday have cause to regret.

      Just sayin'.

      -- Ω

  5. Why is that people who love to complain and rail against the ridiculousness, arbitrariness and unfairness of 'office politics' are completely taken aback when they see 'real politics' in action and complain that it's ridiculous, arbitrary and unfair? It's called politics because its politics.

    A non-democrat did not win the democratic primary? He got his agenda on the platform. Let's move on.