By Mark Green
New Yorkers Weingarten, Cooke and Green agree that Sanders is attracting record crowds and voters for an insurgent. But Clinton wins handily because a practical progressive beats a walking-wish-list now campaigning with acrimony and sanctimony. Conservatives hope to "lose with Cruz."
Trump against the "bosses." Is Trump's complaint about rigging the rules true or merely strategic? There's unanimity that he's carping about it after his Wisconsin loss to change the subject and gain leverage in the lengthy negotiations up the Cleveland Convention in July.
AFT president Randi Weingarten laughs that while it's popular to appear anti-establishment in the year of the angry GOP voter, "He's as much apart of the establishment, as a big realtor giving money around, as anyone I know. It's as if he's running against himself."
National Review's Charles Cooke agrees that complaining about long-standing rules in Colorado only after you've lost indicates that "he's only trying to save face and bully the party," into getting to a majority of 1,237 or close enough to negotiate his way over the top. Charles and Host concur that his tough talk is a shrewd bluff because, A) It'll be too late for him to run on a 3D line in August (Charles), and B) He'll then weigh the value of his business brand against blowing up the GOP and realize he gains far more going the former route (Host). Also, his protests are setting up an excuse for his loss to allow him to later say (especially as he campaigns in Brooklyn), "we wuz robbed!"
Again, who's to blame for the GOP having to choose between "a demagogue and a reactionary"? Randi blames Republicans themselves for their nihilism of opposing about everything Obama did and candidates always fear-mongering. Charles thinks all parties (in different ways) obstruct and fear-monger but agrees that the GOP is to blame for consorting for so long with Trump. But if it comes down to infuriating Trump voters versus blowing up the party, "I'm for screwing over Trump voters in order to keep the GOP as our best vessel of neo-liberalism."
So Cooke thinks that his party would lose more by keeping Trump in the party and getting killed presidentially and senatorially this Fall than by losing by a lesser margin with the more professional, consistent, conservative Cruz.
Contentious Democrats. Clinton supporter Weingarten, who was at the Brooklyn debate, was truly surprised with how hostile Sanders and his supporters were. "They're both progressive but Sanders decided early on never to compromise on anything while Hillary would compromise to get things done. A debate like that doesn't show the competence and compassion she displays in private settings." Randi implies that, at this point, his candidacy isn't so much prodding her to be a better candidate but is now injuring them both.
Cruz supporter Cooke thinks that Sanders scored by attacking Clinton's acceptance of huge speaking fee and contributions in a party that despises big money in politics "although I agree with Hillary that such money doesn't automatically corrupt someone." And after having to analyze the Republican un-civil war, Charles eagerly points out that Democrats, to a lesser degree, are now seeing a significant schism resulting in 25 percent of supporters saying they won't support the other in the Fall, "although I don't believe that will happen when there's a Trump or Cruz on the other side but it's still a problem."
Randi, who knows Hillary well, is asked how the person she embraced early for Senate in 1999 and President in 2007 is in 2016 over-performing her expectations or under-performing them. "Well, she's won 2.4 million more votes than he has. That's pretty good. But she's also facing a lot of obstacles because of misogyny that's holding her down."
Host: Politically, Clinton's a heavy favorite because, A) She's replicating the Mondale '84 coalition of labor, minorities, jews, ed boards and Gov. Cuomo which beat Hart by 19, B) Sanders-leaning independents can't vote in N.Y.'s closed primary, C) Popularity from her Senate years, d) Her history-making gender probably is as winning as his compelling agenda. And the unrelenting stridency of his Brooklyn debate is likely off-putting to non-Berners.
My liberal friends are split into two rational camps: one wants to reach for the stars programmatically and politically (Nader, Reich, Roskoff) while others want to reach for a Star more likely to beat a Trump-Cruz, sweep in the Senate and be an unusually effective president. Count me a progressive who likes progress and wants to continue the current progressive era by land-sliding either the biggest bully or reactionary ever to run for POTUS.
Quick Takes: ISIS, Hastert, North Caolina.
It does appear, as the President is insisting, that ISIS is losing military in the Middle East, though it may prove hard to convince voters of that slow success so long as one-offs occur as in Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino. Hastert's likely abuse of four minors while a wrestling coach is disgraceful and is a lesson for "traditional values" candidates who look both immoral and hypocritical. As for North Carolina's transgender/bathroom self-inflicted wound, Charles says he would not have signed such a law because it was unnecessary while Randi is furious at the prejudice shown people trying to work out their gender identities.
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