After reading the comments on my election night diary | THE POLITICUS

After reading the comments on my election night diary

and having responded only to a few of the more than 1,000 there, and remembering the instructions of my surgeon to take it very easy this weekend, I have a few comments / observations to offer of a general nature.

I am not at all surprised that there is anger and shock and bitterness.  When I said that I was not going to discuss blame it was because while I understand the need to vent at a moment like we have experienced, we have a far greater need to consider how we move forward.

I am amused at those who want to say it is my fault.  Let me break this into two parts.

First, that as a Bernie supporter I blocked the more electable candidate.  Not hardly.  First, regardless of what you may think about Sanders and the role of Democratic elites and of the DNC and elected party officials, Sanders lost among elected delegates, in part because he failed to appeal to certain parts of the Clinton constituency, most particularly African-American women and Latinos, to say nothing of the notion of it being about time for a woman to head the ticket.  I criticized certain aspects of the Sanders campaign and of his reaction — at times at least a little thin-skinned — and I note that others warned that the rhetoric he was using would be recycled against Clinton in the general, and it was.  But I also criticized Clinton on a number of issues, even as I asserted — and still believe — that of the candidates PARTICIPATING IN THE PRIMARY she would be the strongest for the general election.  I will return to this point after I address the second part of the issue about Sanders.

Second, it is ironic that some of those arguing that Sanders would have done better against Trump cite as evidence polling data from the primaries, when part of what was wrong in the general is how inaccurate polling data was.  Can one argue that Sanders might have drawn some of the White — and Latino (I will discuss this later as well) — men that Clinton failed to get?  Sure.  But the tradeoff is that he would probably not have maintained the same level of support among (older especially) African-American women that Clinton had, and the commitment of many women to the notion that 96 years after the 19th Amendment a woman President was overdue. 

And this is even before we consider the fact that Bernie had NOT been subjected to 30+ years of attack by the “mighty Wurlitzer” of the right wing.  His Socialism, a fair number of other positions, and yes, even being of Jewish background, were all things that the vast majority of Americans did not know.  Since he was an unknown to most Americans, it was easy to project on to him the aspirations of people feeling frustrated without having to account on how they would have responded had he been mercilessly attacked.  While I agree with him on many issues, I also note that there were more than a few things in his — and Jane’s — personal and business dealings on which attention could have been focused to distract from anything on message.

Super Delegates had little to do with his not gaining the nomination.  Clinton won a majority of elected delegates.

I said above that Clinton was the strongest candidate for the general among those actually in the primary.  The one person you could argue would have been stronger is Biden, had Beau not died.  But here’s the problem:  if you suppose Biden was in and Bernie stayed in, against Hillary, with two men and one woman, Clinton still wins the nomination.

What about a head to head between Biden and Clinton?  Harder to determine.  Biden still does not overcome her fire wall in the South among African-Americans, particularly older women, but he might have kept her margins down a bit.  He would have gained some from misogyny, which still exists even among Democrats, male and female.  I’m not sure he could have won, but it would have been a very different kind of race.

So let’s suppose he did, and consider a general against Trump.  Biden comes across as ordinary folks in a way no one else in either party does, despite having been in Federal office for more than 3 decades.  His own kind of blunt-spokenness would have been an effective counter to the appeal that Trump seemed to have with his own lower level of vocabulary.   People would easily forgive his verbal miscues, because that’s lovable Joe.  He would not be subjected to the misogyny Clinton has experienced. And while he might not have had the passionate support Clinton had from either women or African_Americans who did vote, he has enough of a track record not to alienate them — after all, he is the author of the Violence Against Women Act that is particularly relevant in running against Trump.

He MIGHT — please note the capitalized word — have run strongly enough among white men without college educations to hold the fire wall in PA, MI and WI and possibly even OH without losing other states that went for Clinton.  Again, a large portion of Clinton’s support in the primaries does little to help her in the general, because it is in states that (a) she was not going to win in the general, specifically many in the Deep South, or (b) it was in heavily Democratic states (eg CA & NY) that any Democrat was going to carry.  [Side note — Clinton’s margin in national polling was always somewhat inflated given how well she polled in those two very large states of CA and NY, perhaps by a full percentage point.]  So I am not saying Biden WOULD have won, but I am saying it is imaginable that had he been the nominee he was better positioned.  Remember, part of why he was picked for the ticket in 2008 was precisely his ability to reach the demographic with which Clinton struggled, particularly in PA and the Upper Midwest.

Then there is the issue of the Latino vote.  There is still a massive amount of machismo in Latin culture, especially in Mexico.  One has to wonder if Trump’s performance among Latino voters may in fact be a result of that.  I am not sure it would by itself have made a difference in any state crucial to the electoral college, although I suppose one could argue it played a role in at least AZ, NC and GA.

Of greater issue was voter suppression, either by legal means or other.  That is clearly seen in lower votes in places like NC and WI.  Remember that in a number of Republican controlled states there were county level officials who were ignoring Federal court rulings and still applying obstacles to keep parts of the Democratic constituency from voting.

The Trump campaign made clear from the beginning of Bannon’s tenure that their only path to victory was to discourage otherwise Democrats from voting.  I have little doubt that the release of Comey’s October 28 letter was key to their victory — even after he announced there was no there there, Trump continued to campaign as if Clinton were about to be indicted.  Some of Clinton’s weaker supporters may have decided “what’s the difference” at that point and simply stopped paying attention.

Yes, the media played a role in elevating Trump from a joke to the position of Republican nominee.  Clinton was old news.  But in the same way they elevated Trump one can argue that they gave Bernie first the benefit of the doubt by not examining in detail a lot of his proposals, and later during the primary season as promoting the idea that there was real ongoing contest, even though the delegate math was such that it was effectively over.  As far as his proposals, one can go back to the interview he did with the New York Daily News editorial board, where he did not seem to know the detail of his own policy proposals, or made factually incorrect statements about thing.  The paper called him on that.  Remember, this might be the most visibly virulently anti-Trump major metropolitan daily paper.

Now enough of all that.  Criticize me for being wrong, the same way all the professional pollsters and many very experienced people were.  Yes, some people had strong instincts/intuitions.  But do not tell me that because we were optimistic about the outcome that we caused Clinton’s defeat.  We urged strong turnout, many worked hard for it (because of health I could not do what I had intended).  That we were wrong in our estimation does not make us culpable in Clinton’s defeat.

Having said all this, feel free to fire away at me in any way you want.  At this point that is irrelevant.

What matters now is what happens next.

Using Clinton’s loss as an excuse to settle old wounds/scores is to again turn into a circular firing squad, which does little to address how we minimize the harm the new administration will attempts.

It is fair as part of that process to reexamine what happened this cycle to try to learn from it, but not with a vision clouded by our personal preferences or commitments. 

Now on the personal level:

As I noted in several postings yesterday, I have suffered what fortunately has turned out to be a minor setback in my recovery from having a stent inserted to address my abdominal aortic embolism.  I began bleeding from the incissions yesterday, and was order to the emergency room, arriving around 8:15-8:20 AM and finally being discharged at 6:10 PM.  Turns out that there was some fluid around the stent and elsewhere, and this is not unknown.  I had previously been on a diuretic and I have gone back on it for three days, starting yesterday.  In addition, as a precaution, I am on antibiotics for a week.  As a result of the diuretic, I am also taking Potassium for three days.

There is also some kind of rash-like thing on my lower legs and a few other places.  It is not warm, does not itch.  They checked my bloodwork and it is not because of a platelet problem.  It is not an immediate worry since it is unrelated to my heart procedure, but I am to monitor it for any changes.

At least through the weekend (I will again see the surgeon on Tuesday) I am more restricted in my activities than I was when first discharged.  That is because having had this episode, even though my recovery is considered very good, they want to err on the side of caution.  Physical activity is limited to walking at less than a moderate pace.  I am not allowed to pick up more than five pounds at a time —  the smaller of our two cats weighs 6.5, and the pot we use to make spaghetti when full of water and pasta is about 7.  I stay aware and work around the limitations.  But what is clear is that I will not be allowed to drive before the three week period originally set down, and then only after an examination again by the surgeon.   That means I until at least Nov 22 before I can again resume anything close to a normal existence.

I am to monitor closely my temperature, my blood pressure, my weight, and my excretory functions, to be aware of any indicators that might require me to return to the emergency room, fortunately only two blocks away.

Because of that, do not expect me to be all that active in how address this posting, just like I was delayed in even reading the more than 1,000 comments on my election night diary.  It is not that I am ignoring what people have to say, or unwilling to take criticism.  That goes with posting here.  It is because while I felt it necessary to offer this posting, I am still putting my health as a higher priority than staying current in dialog. 

Accept that or not as you want.

Peace.

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