Iowa Democratic caucuses: live commentary

Live commentary on the US Iowa Democratic caucuses. Also: Sinn Féin surges ahead of Saturday’s Irish election. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

9:27am Sunday The exit poll for Saturday’s Irish election has been released.  The governing Fine Gael has 22.4%, the far-left Sinn Fein 22.3% and Fianna Fail 22.2%, so there’s only 0.2% between the top three parties.  The Greens have 7.9%.  The full exit poll is in the comments.  No vote counting in Ireland until tonight AEDT.

5:15pm Friday With all precincts reporting, Buttigieg provisionally wins Iowa’s state delegate count by 0.1%.  However, the AP will not declare a winner owing to irregularities.  We will probably never know for sure who won Iowa’s state delegate count.

Sanders won both of the popular vote measures.  He won the “initial” vote by 3.5% and the “final” vote by 1.5%.

4:37pm This tweet explains why Sanders is doing so well with these satellite caucuses.

4:35pm Late counting Iowa drama!  I’m not sure what the “satellite caucuses” are, but there were four of them, one for each of Iowa’s Congressional Districts.  Three of them have reported, and they are all very strong for Sanders.  There’s still one to go.

With 97% in, Buttigieg now leads Sanders by just three state delegates or 0.15%.  Sanders leads by 3.5% on the “initial” popular vote, and by 1.5% on the “final” popular vote.

10:41am In the FiveThirtyEight post-Iowa model, Biden’s chance of winning a pledged delegate majority has plunged from 43% to 21%, with Sanders up to 37%.  The probability that nobody wins a pledged delegate majority (contested convention) is up to 27%.

10:20am Thursday More Iowa results!  With 86% in, Buttigieg leads Sanders by 26.7% to 25.4% on state delegates, the measure the US media is using to call a winner.  Warren has 18.3%, Biden 15.8% and Klobuchar 12.1%.

On two other measures, Sanders is still ahead.  He leads Buttigieg by 24.3% to 21.6% on “initial” popular votes.  He leads by 26.1% to 25.5% on “final” popular votes after realignment.

4:05pm 71% of precincts are now in for the Dem Iowa caucus.  The latest 9% haven’t made much difference to the figures.

2:50pm My Conversation article on these caucuses is up.  We need to see if there’s a significant impact on national polls from these results.  The next contest is New Hampshire on February 11; polls close by 12pm February 12 AEDT.

There was a big moment in Trump’s State of the Union address today.  At the end of the speech, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi literally tore it up.

10:30am New York Times analyst Nate Cohn says results reported so far are representative of the whole state.

10am Wednesday We FINALLY have more Iowa results.  With 62% of precincts reporting, Buttigieg leads Sanders by 27% to 25% on State Delegate Equivalents, the traditional measure that most of the media has focussed on.  Warren has 18%, Biden 16% and Klobuchar 13%.

On the two other measures, Sanders leads.  He leads on the “initial” popular votes by 24.5% to 21.4% for Buttigieg.  He leads on the “final” popular votes after realignment by 26% to 25%.

8:15pm More than EIGHT hours after the caucuses began, still only 2% has been reported!  I hope we have better results by tomorrow morning.

3:57pm In Ireland, a new poll has Sinn Fein in outright first on 25%, with Fianna Fail on 23%, Fine Gael 20% and the Greens 8%.

3:43pm Nate Silver

3:15pm Turnout at these caucuses in on pace for 2016.  In 2016, 172,000 participated in the Iowa Dem caucuses, well down from the record 240,000 in 2008.  In 2008, the Dems had a charismatic candidate in Barack Obama.

3:05pm With 1.9% in, Sanders is on top with 28% followed by Warren at 25%, Buttigieg 24%, Klobuchar 12% and Biden just 11%.

2:57pm On the Dem side, we’ve only got 32 of 1,765 precincts reporting their post-realignment votes.  Much slower than in 2016, when 85% had reported by this time.

2:55pm In 2016, 187,000 votes were cast in the Republican Iowa caucuses.   With 83% in, 29,000 votes have been cast in 2020.

2:35pm Still only 1.7% counted, with Buttigieg leading Sanders by 1.3% after realignment.  Biden down to 14%.  Hurry up!!

1:56pm In the Republican caucus, Trump has over 96% of the vote.  Republicans love Trump.

1:54pm By “after realignment”, I mean after the initial division.  Candidates polling below 15% in a particular precinct are declared unviable, and their supporters are asked to pick a viable candidate.  Candidates originally declared unviable can become viable if they pick up enough to make it over 15% in the second round.  It’s explained in this Conversation article.

1:50pm The AP has Buttigieg leading Sanders by 27% to 24% on final alignment numbers, followed by 19.5% for Biden, 15% Warren and 14% Klobuchar.  1.3% of precincts are in.

1:40pm The New York Times results page now gives Sanders 408 final votes (after realignment presumably), Buttigieg 380, Biden 310, Warren 277 and Klobuchar 176.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The final RealClearPolitics poll average for Iowa gave Bernie Sanders 24.2%, Joe Biden 20.2%, Pete Buttigieg 16.4%, Elizabeth Warren 15.6% and Amy Klobuchar 8.6%. As I noted in Friday’s Conversation article, polling for these caucuses has often been inaccurate. The caucuses begin at 12pm AEDT, and the process is described in that article. I will begin commenting on the results about 1:30pm after I return from bridge.

Elsewhere, the far-left Sinn Féin has surged in the Irish polls ahead of this Saturday’s election. Sinn Féin is equal first with Fianna Fáil in one recent poll, and two points behind in another. There is a chance that the two dominant Irish parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, will fail to win a combined majority of the seats. Both these parties are conservative. Other parties likely to win seats are left-wing, so a left majority is a possibility.

Polls in Ireland close at 10pm local time (9am Sunday AEDT). Exit polls will be released then, but no votes are counted until the next morning (Sunday evening AEDT). As Ireland uses Tasmania’s Hare-Clark system, it is likely to take at least a few days to finalise all counting.

And in Britain, Boris Johnson appears to want a hard Brexit on December 31, when the transition period ends.

708 comments on “Iowa Democratic caucuses: live commentary”

  1. but it does require flexibility, pragmatism, and carefully chosen rhetoric, none of which are Bernie’s strong points.

    What are you basing that on? What centrist media pundits say about him?

    When he was in the House he was known as the Amendment King. He is extremely effective at working with other politicians to improve Bills. He is pragmatic. He is flexible. And he manages to do that while pushing hard for big structural and systemic changes.

    Sanders does in fact know how the American legislative process works. He has participated in it extensively for decades, knows how you can get things done and also knows how painfully difficult it is to get things done. It’s true that this is at odds with some of his “political revolution” talk, but the point is he’s been around. This is a veteran and reasonably successful member of congress, not some random guy who joined Democratic Socialists of America 18 months ago.

    The other, and in some ways more important, thing is simply that he knows how to do the whole normal politics “pivot to the center” thing. Happy talk about bipartisanship isn’t just for Joe Biden. Bernie Sanders can do it too! He has Republican friends. He knows there are good Republicans out there. He’s worked with them in the past and looks forward to doing so again.

    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/2/7/21128979/bernie-sanders-won-democratic-debate

  2. Mexicanbeemer @ #652 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 2:41 pm

    A Sanders/Buttigieg ticket might work out to be a good combination but it wouldn’t surprise me if Sanders went with Gabbard.

    I’m not sure Sanders would go near Inauthentic Pete, he’s a slippery customer who would rather cuddle up to the 1% than look after the interests of the American people. Jeez, his team even added fake applause to a clip of him that they put up on Twitter! Hopefully the Democrat Party members will be a whole lot more astute than some here who have gone quite giddy and lost their minds over Buttigieg.

  3. Asha Leu @ #650 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 2:01 pm

    I’m of the opinion that it is possible to sell a platform like Bernie’s to the broader American electorate, but I’m not sure Bernie himself is capable of doing so. While he’s certainly a powerful speaker who is obviously passionate about his causes, he’s not the greatest at bringing people with him or easing the concerns of those not fully on board with the Bernie train. He’s always preaching to the converted. His age and often abrasive demeanor will count against him in the general as well, I feel.

    The eventual nominee doesn’t need to be a centrist or moderate, but they do need to be able to convince a decent portion of centrists and moderates to turn out and vote for them. That doesn’t necessarily require a move to the right, but it does require flexibility, pragmatism, and carefully chosen rhetoric, none of which are Bernie’s strong points. (Compare to Trump and the GOP in 2016 who – contrary to popular belief – actually went to some considerable effort not to scare off the moderates.)

    He’s a straight shooter, says what he believes, advocates what he thinks is right, not interested in spin or careful messaging, doesn’t back down or backflip. Its an approach worthy of respect, but up against the most dishonest President in US history, and a party that will happily lie and cheat and use every trick in the book to win, I don’t know if it’s a winner.

    On the basis that he is the antithesis of Trump in character and yet is the only candidate that has a passionate standing army that could match the MAGAs it could be a very interesting encounter. I also have a sense that, because he doesn’t tend to take shit from anyone, he just might slay Trump on the debate stage. But all this is no more than conjecture of course.

  4. I don’t have the reference on hand but Bernie has said his vp would be younger and likely female. Warren, Gabbard, and Turner have all been floated as options

  5. I’m not talking about Sanders legislative record, I’m talking about his messaging and campaigning style. I’m talking about his ability to reach out to disengaged and/or undecided Americans who arn’t keen on Trump but arn’t on the Bernie bandwagon either, to whom socialism is a big, scary word, and to reassure them that his plan isn’t the impending apocolypse the GOP will be claiming it is.

    Since he’s unlikely to follow the traditional path of drifting to the centre once the nomination is secured (if nothing else, there’s a serious risk parts of his base will accuse him of selling out and abandon him), he’ll be pitching a very radical platform (by US standards) to a lot of people who arn’t naturally predisposed to such a platform, and that requires a level of political salesmanship that I’m not sure Sanders has.

  6. Asha Leu @ #656 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 4:14 pm

    I’m not talking about Sanders legislative record, I’m talking about his messaging and campaigning style. I’m talking about his ability to reach out to disengaged and/or undecided Americans who arn’t keen on Trump but arn’t on the Bernie bandwagon either, to whom socialism is a big, scary word, and to reassure them that his plan isn’t the impending apocolypse the GOP will be claiming it is.

    Since he’s unlikely to follow the traditional path of drifting to the centre once the nomination is secured (if nothing else, there’s a serious risk parts of his base will accuse him of selling out and abandon him), he’ll be pitching a very radical platform (by US standards) to a lot of people who arn’t naturally predisposed to such a platform, and that requires a level of political salesmanship that I’m not sure Sanders has.

    Is that addressed to me? I can’t fault your logic but nobody has any real idea where will be on November 4.

  7. Oops, that was meant to be a reply to Nicholas’ post at the top of the page.

    And, yes, you’re correct – noone really knows in the end. We’re all just going off of our own opinions and instincts and biases here. That’s why I find the “X is the only candidate that can win” or “X would never be able to win” crap really tiresome – you just can’t say that sort of stuff with any sort of certainty, not in politics, especially not post-Trump.

  8. The running mate is chosen after the Dems choose their candidate. It’s almost always a few weeks before the convention but a couple have only named their running mate at the convention.
    Given that not a single person here gave Trump a hope of becoming President at this stage four years ago (he was about 50-1 with the bookies), it’s ridiculous to say only X can beat Trump.

  9. Diogenes @ #659 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 5:24 pm

    The running mate is chosen after the Dems choose their candidate. It’s almost always a few weeks before the convention but a couple have only named their running mate at the convention.
    Given that not a single person here gave Trump a hope of becoming President at this stage four years ago (he was about 50-1 with the bookies), it’s ridiculous to say only X can beat Trump.

    Not to mention I think everyone barring Nath thought Labor would be a shoe-in 10 months ago. It seems any embarrassment caused lasts around six months before the full-blown political-punditry swagger returns. How many times are people prepared to get their fingers burnt before they admit that elections are inherently random and unpredictable?

  10. Bellwether
    And Labor was a two horse race with years of polls to back it up.
    The vagaries of one of five candidates vs Trump in an election without compulsory voting in an unstable world make doubt your friend.

  11. Each of two Sunday polls – Emerson and the Boston Globe – show Pete and Bernie losing support in New Hampshire to Amy – Pete more than Bernie. It seems that Klobuchar was the only one to get a debate bounce and the three of them seem to be splitting from the rest of the field. Biden and Warren in particular have tanked.

    Of course this might all mean squat when the race turns to the Carolinas and Super Tuesday, but momentum can make a mockery of early polling, even from last month. Witness Biden’s fall (long may it continue).

  12. As has been proven in France under Macron, there is no such thing as a centre. Centrist are merely neo liberals in disguise. The likes of Andrew Earlwood would be a whole hearted Tory, save for the fact that they failed to attend the right school, speak in the wrong accent, live in the wrong suburb, holiday at the wrong resort and drive the wrong car. Their opposition to the Tories, such as it is, is borne out of the establishment’s rejection of them, not out of any fierce desire to reform society. Hence my comment re their fake passion. Their share portfolio is the main imperative.

  13. According to Andrew Earlwood, Gough was a wild eyed ideologue, you know, supporting a free national health care system and free tertiary education…no wait… Sanders nut job socialist….but Gough… Medi Bank… wait…wait. Ha, ha, ha! Shit mate, did you tell Gough not to bother running because his program was so radical that it would never be voted in?

  14. I knew Gough Whitlam. I worked for Gough Whitlam. Gough Whitlam was my friend. Bernie Sanders is no Gough Whitlam.

    Arthur Gietzelt and Joe Chamberlain would be the closest Australian equivalents to theBern.

  15. Oh, and by the way – Gough ran with a platform that included a national health insurance scheme that was to be paid for by a modest levy but mostly via the expected ‘growth dividend’.

    Moreover, it was not designed to throw people off their existing private coverage – if they had it, but to ensure that there free access to public hospitals for everybody and that there was no gap between those who had coverage and those that that had none.

    So both its structure and funding were different to the Bern’s proposals and have in fact more in common with what your ‘evil, terrible, neoliberal’ Democrat centrists are offering. That should come as no surprise to genuine students of political history (as opposed to the followers of a secular cult), because if much of Bernie’s politics were adopted by the ALP it would represent a repudiation of everything Gough started when he swept aside the old socialist obsessions that had ossified the party over the previous 20 years.

  16. Andrew_Earlwood @ #662 Sunday, February 9th, 2020 – 9:24 pm

    Each of two Sunday polls – Emerson and the Boston Globe – show Pete and Bernie losing support in New Hampshire to Amy – Pete more than Bernie. It seems that Klobuchar was the only one to get a debate bounce and the three of them seem to be splitting from the rest of the field. Biden and Warren in particular have tanked.

    Of course this might all mean squat when the race turns to the Carolinas and Super Tuesday, but momentum can make a mockery of early polling, even from last month. Witness Biden’s fall (long may it continue).

    Very strange reading of the polls. You do realise that they are there for all of us to study? But let’s not allow mathematics to stand in the way of personal prejudice.

  17. “I don’t know if anyone on that stage is well placed to take on Trump. IF Sanders was a decade younger, hadn’t just suffered a heart attack, didn’t speak in terms that risks turning off the centre (and having a back story that is perfect for the republicvnt shitstorm that will fly his way) then he would probably be the man. But wishing it true wont make it so.”

    ***

    Age is just a number. Bernie is still sharp as a tack, far sharper than Trump. If you listen to him speak you’ll understand that. You are making the mistake of judging a book by it’s cover.

    Lets just stop using this age bullshit as a reason. Biden is 77, just a year younger than Bernie. Never hear about that though because, well, because establishment.

    Bloomberg is just FIVE MONTHS younger than Sanders. Five fucking months. But what because he’s a billionaire that somehow doesn’t matter? Give me a break!

    ***

    “I know you Bernie Boosters are not for turning. He is the Socialist messiah that you have yearning for over the past 50 years. Goodo.”

    ***

    And why should we be? The left have had to endure endless failed establishment (centre-right) candidates and presidents. In case you have forgotten, the establishment candidate didn’t go so well last time. If the establishment really want to get rid of Trump, which they undoubtedly do, they need to get out of the way and let the left do the hard yards that they are too afraid to do. The far-right must be challenged. Surrender is not an option.

    ***

    “Us ‘centrists’ are not trying to boost any particular candidate. We are just pointing out that the party seems to have lost its freaking mind. Today there are still 9 (or is it more) candidates still officially in the race.”

    ***

    So you’re just going to sit here and whinge about it until November? The Dems have had four fricking years to find candidates! It’s not the left’s fault if the establishment doesn’t have a half decent candidate. Hell, they couldn’t even find a decent candidate last time.

    ***

    “Front runner Bernie’s numbers are not great. Especially for someone pushing a populist ideological revolution.

    Worse – the overall turnout for the democrat candidates seems to be very poor.”

    ***

    So what do you suggest?? Bernie shouldn’t be the candidate if he’s the leader by the end of it all? Maybe we should pick the person who cames 4th instead, just to keep the establishment happy.

    ***

    “The economy is doing very well for folk in middle America (at least they seem to think it is). Trump has his best approval ratings since taking office – in the week that the Bernie Boosters want us to believe that theBernie is really gaining momentum.”

    ***

    Says who? The stock markets? The billionaires? The establishment media? Certainly not people who are struggling to make ends meat every day while the corporate elite get richer. You’re making an argument that rampant capitalism is going well. Well duh! That’s a big part of the bloody problem!

    ***

    “You are living in an echo chamber and can’t see the looming disaster.”

    ***

    Oh no. Unlike you, I actually recognise that we are living through the disaster already. You seem to think that if an establishment candidate just rocks up in November that they’ll be swept to power because they’re not Trump. You also seem to think that all of America’s problems can be instantly resolved by removing Trump and replacing him with some talking head from the establishment. Removing Trump is just the first step.

    And you talk about not being able to see the looming disaster! Ha! This coming from one of the people who doesn’t take climate change seriously. Have you not seen what we have been through here in Australia this summer? Bernie certainly has. He specifically mentioned Australia’s bushfires at the CNN Town Hall a couple of days ago. He knows what’s going on in the world, which is a stark contrast to people like you and Trump who have you heads stuck in the sand.

    As for the disaster of Trump winning in Nov, we must be honest, it is the most likely outcome at this point, regardless of who his opponent is. That wouldn’t be the start of a disaster, it would be a continuation of the disaster that we’ve all been living through for the last four years. Whoever the Dem candidate is, they will be the underdog and will have a very hard battle ahead of them. We all know this. The left are not under any illusions about how difficult the task ahead is. But unlike you we are up for the fight. We aren’t simply producing dud candidates, throwing up our hands in despair, then blaming the left because they have better candidates. We will take the fight against Trump all the way to the election. We may lose but by god we’ll give him everything we’ve got. Anything less is not enough. It’s our only chance.

  18. Firefox – nice piece of zealotry and cherry-picking there comrade commissar.

    But I particularly like this misrepresentation:

    “ You seem to think that if an establishment candidate just rocks up in November that they’ll be swept to power because they’re not Trump.“

    That is actually 100% the opposite of what I have been saying. That’s why Ive been the harshest bludger on the prospects of sleepy Joe Biden for over two years now. He has taken the oxygen out of the race for anyone who is not Bernie Sanders. He is a total waste of space.

    Ive also been explicit in my criticism of 1980s and 1990s style Democrat politics. Those that push that agenda are mainly in the their 70s these days and they failed to get the job done according to their lights when they were in their prime. Why should America now embrace them in their dotage? That makes no sense at all.

    My ‘attacks’ on Bernie are really a critique of the Bernie Bros and Boosters who simply cannot see the huge epic danger that Bernie as the Democrat nominee poses. That’s because you lot are all secular zealots.; You actually believe that middle America will have a pop religious style mass conversion FROM their ingrained belief structures (tip – they like capitalism, don’t like the idea of socialism, they may like universal government health coverage but hate the idea of being forced to surrender their own private health cover as Bernie’s plan dictates 100 million Americans will be forced to do within 4 years) to feel’n theBern. Just like that. That somehow the mythical herd of hippogriffs that are (supposedly) ‘Bernie-Trump’ supports will flock home to the good side.

    Frankly I think all the people on the stage that you hate are pretty lacklustre at the moment. I had hoped 18 m on this ago that Amy would gain traction. But for the last 6 months I have realised that this time, she ain’t got the mojo. Even though she performed admirably last Saturday. Briefly I thought Harris may have come over the top of Sleepy Joe but Tulusi killed that prospect. I have speculated about Mayor Pete’s prospects but Ive been pretty clear that I am yet sold on his candidature.

    So, here we are. A choice between an ideologue who is not a democrat and who has been very divisive in the past and whose supporters still are and a bunch of flakes. Bernie’s the front runner, good on the stump and I think he genuinely cares for people. If he won everything I’d be ecstatic – this would represent the biggest repudiation of the Republican Party and its evil movement that Nixon, Ailes and all the other villains since have constructed over the past 50 years. Good. Good.

    But I have my doubts. What do I get from Bludger’s Bernie Boosters? Exactly what you’d expect. To a hammer everything looks like a nail. You guys are a bucket full of hammers.

  19. “I’m of the opinion that it is possible to sell a platform like Bernie’s to the broader American electorate, but I’m not sure Bernie himself is capable of doing so. While he’s certainly a powerful speaker who is obviously passionate about his causes, he’s not the greatest at bringing people with him or easing the concerns of those not fully on board with the Bernie train. He’s always preaching to the converted. His age and often abrasive demeanor will count against him in the general as well, I feel.”

    ***

    At the CNN Town Hall he was asked about how he would handle it when Trump attacks him over socialism. The way he was able to turn it around and make the point that Trump himself is a “corporate socialist” was something to behold. The way he exposed Trump’s lies and hypocrisy was awesome. He was going for the jugular in a way that Clinton never did (although I’m sure she now wishes she had).

    As for an “abrasive demeanor”, have you seen the guy in the White House at the moment? Abrasive is an understatement…

  20. “Very strange reading of the polls. You do realise that they are there for all of us to study? But let’s not allow mathematics to stand in the way of personal prejudice.“

    You are correct in one aspect bellboy – Amy didn’t get much momentum according to the Globe poll. My bad.

    However, the fundamental point remains. Support for the two front runners – when measured by the previous polls conducted by the same pollsters – has stalled and is drifting backwards.

    Bernie – in a progressive state that is close to his home base and that he won in 2016 is stalled at somewhere between 25 and 30 %. This is a terrible story for his ‘momentum’ and if voter turnout for the field as whole is as anaemic as in Iowa – a looming disaster for the democrats as a whole.

    With the Bloomberg plutocracy looming large on Super Tuesday to further muddy the waters we could be seeing the worst case senator unfold: no candidate able to secure support from more than 30% of primary voters, numbers and enthusiasm generally depressed and a bunch of B graders slugging it out for scraps all the way to the convention.

  21. Andrew_Earlwood @ #670 Monday, February 10th, 2020 – 9:39 am

    Firefox – nice piece of zealotry and cherry-picking there comrade commissar.

    But I particularly like this misrepresentation:

    “ You seem to think that if an establishment candidate just rocks up in November that they’ll be swept to power because they’re not Trump.“

    That is actually 100% the opposite of what I have been saying. That’s why Ive been the harshest bludger on the prospects of sleepy Joe Biden for over two years now. He has taken the oxygen out of the race for anyone who is not Bernie Sanders. He is a total waste of space.

    Ive also been explicit in my criticism of 1980s and 1990s style Democrat politics. Those that push that agenda are mainly in the their 70s these days and they failed to get the job done according to their lights when they were in their prime. Why should America now embrace them in their dotage? That makes no sense at all.

    My ‘attacks’ on Bernie are really a critique of the Bernie Bros and Boosters who simply cannot see the huge epic danger that Bernie as the Democrat nominee poses. That’s because you lot are all secular zealots.; You actually believe that middle America will have a pop religious style mass conversion FROM their ingrained belief structures (tip – they like capitalism, don’t like the idea of socialism, they may like universal government health coverage but hate the idea of being forced to surrender their own private health cover as Bernie’s plan dictates 100 million Americans will be forced to do within 4 years) to feel’n theBern. Just like that. That somehow the mythical herd of hippogriffs that are (supposedly) ‘Bernie-Trump’ supports will flock home to the good side.

    Frankly I think all the people on the stage that you hate are pretty lacklustre at the moment. I had hoped 18 m on this ago that Amy would gain traction. But for the last 6 months I have realised that this time, she ain’t got the mojo. Even though she performed admirably last Saturday. Briefly I thought Harris may have come over the top of Sleepy Joe but Tulusi killed that prospect. I have speculated about Mayor Pete’s prospects but Ive been pretty clear that I am yet sold on his candidature.

    So, here we are. A choice between an ideologue who is not a democrat and who has been very divisive in the past and whose supporters still are and a bunch of flakes. Bernie’s the front runner, good on the stump and I think he genuinely cares for people. If he won everything I’d be ecstatic – this would represent the biggest repudiation of the Republican Party and its evil movement that Nixon, Ailes and all the other villains since have constructed over the past 50 years. Good. Good.

    But I have my doubts. What do I get from Bludger’s Bernie Boosters? Exactly what you’d expect. To a hammer everything looks like a nail. You guys are a bucket full of hammers.

    Perhaps you might advance your cause a little if you would just stop calling ordinary Americans who are concerned about the inexorable shifting of wealth to the mega-wealthy cultists (!!!), boosters, say his base ‘are living in an echo chamber’ and ‘to a hammer everything looks like a nail, you guys are a bucket full of hammers’ when they are simply attracted to a moderate democratic socialist who is actually prepared to stand up for them. Then your arguments might fly a little.

  22. I apologise for the grammar and spelling errors in my 9:39am post.

    I’m working off my iPhone and didn’t pick up these numerous errors and because of network issues could not correct them via the edit function.

  23. If anyone here is interested in the Irish election results, here are the final first preference votes. A revolution in that someone other than the two old parties – Fianna Fail and Fine Gael – is first. Seat numbers are still TBD owing to use of the Hare-Clark method.

    Europe Elects @EuropeElects
    Ireland, first preferences (39/39 constituencies counted)

    SF-LEFT: 24.5% (+10.7)
    FF-RE: 22.2% (-2.2)
    FG-EPP: 20.9% (-4.7)
    GREEN-G/EFA: 7.1% (+4.4)
    LAB-S&D: 4.4% (-2.2)
    SD-S&D: 2.9% (-0.1)
    S-PBP-LEFT: 2.6% (-1.4)
    AONTÚ-*: 1.9% (+1.9)

    +/- vs. 2016 election

  24. I’m sorry Firefly, but my criticism stands. The boosters and bros are not merely attracted to Bernie’s brand of socialism they show ever sign of possessing a purge mentality – just like the Corbynistas in Momentum. In a voluntary voting system where the middle doesn’t fundamentally share that belief structure that is a looming disaster as a matter of political outcomes.

    Sherrod Brown is a textbook example of how someone just about as left wing as Bernie can actually draw folk together and win in a red state – one that contains all the demographic weak spots for democrats as a whole.

    It would be much better if sanders campaign could emulate Sherrod instead of the hectoring vilifying one that Bernie is running.

    Some claim that Bernie has moderated and can now bring folk together. His attempted media advertising hit job on Mayor Pete over the last week proves otherwise. Although ‘you guys’ loved it – aping the same lines on this very thread – this style of politics actually demonstrates the problem that the campaign has with connecting Bernie to the middle Americans who will actually decide the election.

  25. “That is actually 100% the opposite of what I have been saying.”

    ***

    Nah. It’s exactly what you’re saying. You’re saying that instead picking a guy who wants to fix the system, you think we just need to pick someone who supports the status quo and isn’t Trump.

    ***

    “That’s why Ive been the harshest bludger on the prospects of sleepy Joe Biden for over two years now. He has taken the oxygen out of the race for anyone who is not Bernie Sanders. He is a total waste of space.”

    ***

    Well, on that at least we can agree. Like I’ve been saying all along, he’s a nice guy but is completely uninspiring. I think the establishment is starting to realise this, which is why he’s having such a hard time fundraising and why so many of them are looking at Pete or Amy as an alternative establishment candidate. But if you think Biden sucked the oxygen out of the establishment, just wait until Bloomberg comes to town…

    ***

    “Frankly I think all the people on the stage that you hate are pretty lacklustre at the moment.”

    ***

    Actually, I really don’t hate any of them. At all. I disagree with some of their policies and think they would be bad candidates, but I don’t hate them. I hate Trump, that’s who I hate.

    ***

    “If he won everything I’d be ecstatic”

    ***

    Ok, so how about you stop attacking him then? You seem to be conceding that he is the best hope we have, or at least you have failed to nominate anyone who you think has a better chance than he does, so how about getting on board and backing Bernie?

    But nah. You want to have a bet each way and sit on the fence. “Oh Bernie would be a disaster – but I’d be ecstatic if he won”. Pfft. You’re just death-riding Sanders because you want to be able to come here in November and blame everything on evil socialists, while at the same time leaving the door open to jumping on the bandwagon should he win. How cowardly.

  26. My goodness Firefly, you keep proving my point. To you everybody that isn’t Bernie is “establishment”.

    While I would be OK with an ‘establishment’ figure beating Trump (even sleepy Joe, Bloomberg or Romney for that matter) what I actually want is someone who is intellectually geared up for the 21st century – which would exclude most of the genuine ‘establishment’ candidates, built also Bernie and maybe even Warren.

  27. “ Ok, so how about you stop attacking him then? You seem to be conceding that he is the best hope we have, or at least you have failed to nominate anyone who you think has a better chance than he does, so how about getting on board and backing Bernie?”

    Mate. Get a grip. In case you haven’t noticed this is a political discussion blog – amongst political tragics – in a foreign country. Pointing out in robust terms what I perceive to be massive, epic flaws in the Bernie project from afar and in relative obscurity does zero damage.

    BTW – I have nominated the most likely antidote to Trump: Oprah. Were she to run. Just saying …

    Of those who are actually running …. sigh … at the moment all I can see are potential train wrecks.

    Unless one of ‘the others’ gets some real momentum by Super Tuesday, then fuck it: I’m on the Bernie Train. If so no other reason than to indulge the ideological left with every possible idea they can run up the flagpole, just like Michael Foote’s campaign in 1983, and allow reality to quietly drown them. …

  28. Bit late for it now, but maybe the Dems could goad Trump into repealing the 27th Amendment so they can draft Obama (assuming he’s willing to abandon a pleasant retirement to return to the waking nightmare that is the presidency.) I reckon Obama almost certainly would have beaten Trump in 2016 had he been able to run for a third term, and would probably have a strong chance of beating him this time around too.

  29. Andrew_Earlwood @ #679 Monday, February 10th, 2020 – 11:11 am

    “ Ok, so how about you stop attacking him then? You seem to be conceding that he is the best hope we have, or at least you have failed to nominate anyone who you think has a better chance than he does, so how about getting on board and backing Bernie?”

    Mate. Get a grip. In case you haven’t noticed this is a political discussion blog – amongst political tragics – in a foreign country. Pointing out in robust terms what I perceive to be massive, epic flaws in the Bernie project from afar and in relative obscurity does zero damage.

    BTW – I have nominated the most likely antidote to Trump: Oprah. Were she to run. Just saying …

    Of those who are actually running …. sigh … at the moment all I can see are potential train wrecks.

    Unless one of ‘the others’ gets some real momentum by Super Tuesday, then fuck it: I’m on the Bernie Train. If so no other reason than to indulge the ideological left with every possible idea they can run up the flagpole, just like Michael Foote’s campaign in 1983, and allow reality to quietly drown them. …

    Robust debate is fantastic, just drop the ‘cultist’ and other unfounded insults and we are all sweet and can get back to having an adult discussion on an important topic.

  30. “ Bit late for it now, but maybe the Dems could goad Trump into repealing the 27th Amendment so they can draft Obama (assuming he’s willing to abandon a pleasant retirement to return to the waking nightmare that is the presidency.) I reckon Obama almost certainly would have beaten Trump in 2016 had he been able to run for a third term, and would probably have a strong chance of beating him this time around too.”

    A bit late for 2020, but if the worst happens in November then you can expect a republican push to repeal the 27th. This should be embraced. Then we can get Trump vs Obama in 2024. Game on.

  31. Adrian
    I am interested and I have been following a fascinating count on RTE
    Two points:
    Sinn Fein performed outside margin of error on the exit poll. Is this a phenomenon we could call the “Shy Shinner Syndrome” like the “shy Tory” ?

    Fianna Fail’s leader Micheál Martin has already said he will “listen to the voice of the people” i.e A FF/SF coalition is on the cards
    With counting closing for the night:
    Seats: 67/160 decided
    FG 12
    FF 12
    SF 29
    Green 4
    Assorted minor left (significantly helped by SF surpluses) 4
    Ind 6

    Sinn Fein is running out of candidates and will end in the mid 30s

  32. “ Sinn Fein is running out of candidates and will end in the mid 30s”

    Very unprofessional of them not to make sure that there were enough candidates. This must be very very frustrating for the party, but especially their supporters.

  33. “My goodness Firefly, you keep proving my point. To you everybody that isn’t Bernie is “establishment”.”

    ***

    Nah. Warren isn’t establishment either.

    And you keep proving our point. You are incapable of having a reasonable discussion without resorting to name calling and lame insults. Why do you feel the need to do that? *shrug*

    ***

    “While I would be OK with an ‘establishment’ figure beating Trump (even sleepy Joe, Bloomberg or Romney for that matter) what I actually want is someone who is intellectually geared up for the 21st century – which would exclude most of the genuine ‘establishment’ candidates, built also Bernie and maybe even Warren.”

    ***

    It’s actually funny that the oldest person in the race is actually the most in tune with what’s going on in the 21st century world. Warren certainly is too. The establishment Dems are still stuck back in the 20th century somewhere, while the Republicans and Trump’s MAGA fools may as well be back in dark ages with their twisted views.

    You don’t like Bernie because you know if he wins it will be a complete repudiation of not only the Republicans, but also of establishment Democrats. Indeed, it will signal that people who have sold out and tried to appease the right and towed the establishment line in order to try and gain power have done so for nothing.

    And you know what? We may not win. The odds are against us. But we’re damn well going to try! And if we lose, we’re just going to pick ourselves back up and keep fighting until we win.

    What has given me great comfort is seeing how Bernie has been able to bring many the Dems further left. Many of them are now talking about the same things he was four years ago. He and Warren are the only ones who’d actually go through with their plans though.

  34. There are some peculiarities in the Irish version of Hare-Clark that make selecting the right number of candidates complex.
    Candidates are listed alphabetically, there are no party lists and there is a significant tendency for preferences including 1st preference to be on geographic/personality issues rather than party priority. There is one seat for 25,000 people and in the country regions, in particular, candidates have a relationship with their village/town
    At the 2016 election SF lost seats due to too many candidates e.g. in Donegal they were a certainty for 2 with a possibility of a third in a 5 seater. They totalled more than two quotas but the 2nd and 3 rd candidate split the vote and both were eliminate early
    While SF have missed seats by having too few candidates. FF and FG are also losing seats by having too many

  35. So great to see the left – the mighty Greens and SF – surging in Ireland. Proud of my Irish brothers and sisters!

    If you’re wondering, no, I didn’t vote in the election, even though I’m a duel citizen. Only permanent residents of Ireland can vote, which is fair enough.

  36. Firefly:

    At the CNN Town Hall he was asked about how he would handle it when Trump attacks him over socialism. The way he was able to turn it around and make the point that Trump himself is a “corporate socialist” was something to behold. The way he exposed Trump’s lies and hypocrisy was awesome. He was going for the jugular in a way that Clinton never did (although I’m sure she now wishes she had).

    That’s encouraging, and a line of attack I hope he refines and continues with. However, while going hard on Trump is definitely the right idea, he needs to also be able to reassure middle America that his plans are in their interest and are not the bogeyman the GOP will make it out to be, and I’m still not sure he’s the right person to do that. A good running mate who can sell his platform to the disengaged and wary would help – Yang strikes me as a strong choice in that regard.

    But Sanders big problem, IMO, is his health care plan, which strikes me as being incredibly hard to pitch to vast swathes of the electorate even in the best of circumstances.

    As for an “abrasive demeanor”, have you seen the guy in the White House at the moment? Abrasive is an understatement…

    For sure. But Trump is an anomaly – he gets away with shit no other candidate could. And I think conservatives in general can get away with being assholes far more regularly than liberals. (Make of that what you will.)

  37. “But Sanders big problem, IMO, is his health care plan, which strikes me as being incredibly hard to pitch to vast swathes of the electorate even in the best of circumstances.”

    ***

    Healthcare is a basic human right, not a privilege reserved for the rich elites like Trump. That’s how you win that argument.

    ***

    “For sure. But Trump is an anomaly – he gets away with shit no other candidate could. And I think conservatives in general can get away with being assholes far more regularly than liberals. (Make of that what you will.)”

    ***

    The point is that Bernie is a really likable guy in comparison to Trump. People like that he’s forceful and passionate in advocating his positions. Put them in a debate and you’ll have two very forceful arguments, only Trump’s will be laced with nastiness, name calling, and countless lies.

  38. The double think of Andrew Earlwood. Bernie Sanders and Gough Whitlam both called for free university education, but according to him one is a wild eyed radical and the other is a centrist statesman. Guess which one? When is Andrew Earlwood going to call for Biden to pull out of the race because he cannot win is and is spoiling the electoral prospects of Sanders? Isn’t this his rationale for excluding real progressive candidates. No, Sanders is no Whitlam (gee you love tired old quotes) but Sanders and Whitlam have one big thing in common… they wanted to change a loaded system. This is something you clearly are not particularly committed too. So the question is…why do you even bother? How can you be so passionate about…nothing. A whole load of nothing.

  39. “ When is Andrew Earlwood going to call for Biden to pull out of the race because he cannot win is and is spoiling the electoral prospects of Sanders?”

    Ummm. Two years ago. Except I didn’t limit my concern to Bernie’s campaign alone. I know I know. I’m a sinner.

    I also like how you dropped your dig at me over universal health car once I pointed out some facts.

    I used to support HECS, but I’ve changed my mind in recent years. I think tuition fees for undergraduate degrees should be free. I’d also go further than just that, but let’s not get side tracked.

    The dissimilarities between Whitlam and Samders are stark. Gough believed in working within the existing structures of a parliamentary system and the constitution. He was prepared to support state aid for private schools to heal the schism within the movement and to put the DLP to the sword. He saw Federal government funding to neglected areas as an alternative to nationalisation of industry. He wanted to open up the economy and Australia as a whole, rather than running xenophobic tropes.

  40. Andrew_Earlwood @ #694 Monday, February 10th, 2020 – 2:37 pm

    “ When is Andrew Earlwood going to call for Biden to pull out of the race because he cannot win is and is spoiling the electoral prospects of Sanders?”

    Ummm. Two years ago. Except I didn’t limit my concern to Bernie’s campaign alone. I know I know. I’m a sinner.

    I also like how you dropped your dig at me over universal health car once I pointed out some facts.

    I used to support HECS, but I’ve changed my mind in recent years. I think tuition fees for undergraduate degrees should be free. I’d also go further than just that, but let’s not get side tracked.

    The dissimilarities between Whitlam and Samders are stark. Gough believed in working within the existing structures of a parliamentary system and the constitution. He was prepared to support state aid for private schools to heal the schism within the movement and to put the DLP to the sword. He saw Federal government funding to neglected areas as an alternative to nationalisation of industry. He wanted to open up the economy and Australia as a whole, rather than running xenophobic tropes.

    Whitlam was a product of his era. Sanders is a product of his era. I’m sure the two would have got on famously because, at heart, they have way more in common than not. These comparisons are so incredibly childish and low-brow, it’s like someone is just looking for a stoush purely for some peculiar personal gratification.

  41. “ These comparisons are so incredibly childish and low-brow, it’s like someone is just looking for a stoush purely for some peculiar personal gratification.”

    Bellboy: there is a plank in your eye.

  42. Bellwether:

    These comparisons are so incredibly childish and low-brow, it’s like someone is just looking for a stoush purely for some peculiar personal gratification.

    Welcome to pollbludger post the 2019 Federal election.

    Sigh.

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