The Bern is over

Results in South Carolina plus current polling make it awfully clear.  Unless there’s some totally unforeseen external shock to the race, the nomination will be Hillary’s.  Credit to Bernie– he’s made far more of a good run then I expect he himself ever believed he would.  He’s kept Hillary honest and forced her to organize and run hard and probably pulled her to the left.  But the revolution will not be happening.  Here’s Nate Cohn on the SC results and what currently polling has to tell us:

She did it the same way that Mr. Obama did: with overwhelming support from black voters, who favored Mrs. Clinton over Bernie Sandersby a stunning margin of 87 to 13, according to updated exit polls — a tally that would be larger than Mr. Obama’s victory among black voters eight years earlier. They represented 62 percent of the electorate, according to exit polls, even higher than in 2008.

The result positions Mrs. Clinton for a sweep of the South in a few days on Super Tuesday and puts the burden on Mr. Sanders to post decisive victories elsewhere. If he does not — and the polls, at least so far, are not encouraging — Mrs. Clinton seems likely to amass a significant and possibly irreversible lead. [emphases mine]

For Mrs. Clinton, the path to the presidential nomination is straightforward: fight Mr. Sanders to a draw among the nonblack voters who dominate the party’s contests in many Northern and Western states, and win by huge margins among black voters, who represent about a quarter of Democratic voters nationally. They represent the majority of Democrats in the South, which will play a crucial role on Super Tuesday…

As a result, the Sanders campaign has effectively conceded the South on Super Tuesday. The campaign is not airing advertisements there, according to NBC News data. It’s instead concentrating resources in five states with far fewer black voters and far fewer delegates: Oklahoma, Minnesota, Colorado, Massachusetts and Vermont. It is a strategy that aims to maximize Mr. Sanders’s chance of winning states, but it doesn’t necessarily prevent Mrs. Clinton from running up huge delegate leads from the South.

The likelihood of a Clinton landslide in the delegate-rich South means that Mr. Sanders can’t compensate with a few narrow, feel-good wins outside the South. The thing to watch on Tuesday night is whether Mr. Sanders can win by big — even double-digit — margins in states like Minnesota or Massachusetts. The margins matter, because delegates are awarded proportionally in the Democratic nomination contest…

The polling, at least for now, says Mr. Sanders is not positioned to win by these sorts of margins. He’s in a tight race in Massachusetts. He’s in a tight race in Oklahoma, a state with a below-average black population and a large number of working-class Democrats. There is not much polling in Colorado or Minnesota, but there isn’t much evidence of a blowout there or in neighboring Wisconsin.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, predictwise agrees, as Hillary has moved from the 80’s to 95% chance of winning, which strikes me as about right for the circumstances.


Photo of the day

From In Focus photos of the week gallery:

A stray dog stands among outboard motors that were used by refugees and migrants to reach the Greek northern island of Lesbos, in Mytilene, Greece, on February 23, 2016.

Aris Messinis / AFP / Getty

There will not be a brokered Republican convention

So, I saw a comment on the blog yesterday about a brokered convention and then a Slate story last night about how this is Rubio’s desperate hope now.  Let’s be clear– not going to happen.  I feel far more sure of that than my certainty that Trump will be the nominee.

When candidates win the states, they win the delegates.  These are their delegates.  Now, there’s lots of additional complications because that’s how parties do things, but, basically, if Trump wins 99 delegates in Florida’s winner-take-all on March 15, that’s 99 (or, at least pretty close to it) people who are going to be at the Republican convention expressly to vote for Trump.  There’s no brokering there.  The only hope is that nobody has a majority of delegates come convention time.  In modern primary times, that pretty much never happens.  And, crazy as this year has been, there’s no good reason to suspect that this year should be different in that regard.

A little cold water from The Fix:

If you get the most votes, you get the most delegates, and if you get more than half the delegates, you get to run against whoever wins the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton.

It goes on with all the complicated rules and permutations.  But that sentence is the key for me.  And with so many winner-take-all delegates at stake after March 15, it’s hard to see how Trump does not take a majority of the delegates so long as he keeps winning primaries (as all the polls suggest he will).

Again, so long as Trump keeps winning primaries, there is no brokered convention.  If Trump gets that majority, there is no mechanism for Republican elites/establishment to undo the will of their primary voters.

Quick hits (part I)

1) Ezra on why Bernie’s campaign makes him worry about what kind of president he would be.

2) Ross Douthat suggests Rubio announce that Kasich would be his running mate.  Interesting, but I don’t think it would help enough.

3) Conor Friedersdorf on Trump and “political correctness.”

Trump has been running against “political correctness.” This has sometimes meant attacking taboos that prevent real discussions, foster social exclusion, and signal snobbery. One key to taking Trump down is pointing out that he is also violating norms that are essential to American democracy. And that is a different offense. Every “crazy” Trump quote may be “politically incorrect,” but those labels conflate all categories of controversial rhetoric as if their substance is equally wrong. Neither impoliteness nor tone-deafness nor crude insults are to his credit. But a pol who seeks to gain power by demonizing ethnic-minority groups and threatening their core rights is engaged in a special category of leadership failure.

Too few Americans see that distinction. And Trump benefits from their dearth of discernment. It frees him from the burden of carefully deciding which taboos ought to be challenged and which safeguard life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Instead of careful critiques, he rants off-the-cuff, knowing that the bad press will look basically the same regardless of whether he attacks Rosie O’Donnell or the taboo against torture. His supporters are as inclined as the press to treat every utterance as an undifferentiated instance of political correctness—as if the appropriate degree of political correctness is all that’s at stake this election cycle.

4) Voter registration in Oregon is now automatic and opt-out, instead of opt-in.  If you believe in a little thing called, voter participation, this is an excellent and obvious idea.

5) Speaking of voting, John Oliver’s excellent take on Voter ID laws.

6) I’m an Iphone guy, but I loved reading that the new Samsung Galaxy phone will have fewer, but larger pixels for it’s camera.  About time!  We are long past the point where the number of megapixels matters for the average photo (really, 4mp is actually great for something on a screen), but the size of those pixels really affects low-light performance.  Would love it if this is the start of a trend.

7) Friedersdorf on how the conservative movement enabled Trump.

8) And why we’re at it, Trump supporters not big fans (relatively speaking, to be fair) of a little executive order known as The Emancipation Proclamation.

9) Really enjoyed John Cassidy on the failure of Jeb!’s campaign:

At the outset, Bush had money (lots of money), name recognition, a reputation for decency, and a gubernatorial record that appealed to conservatives. But he didn’t have much else. He lacked charisma, eloquence, passion, enthusiastic supporters, and a distinctive message. In politics, you can sometimes get by without one of these things. But sallying forth without any of them is a recipe for misery.

10) There are no longer any rules on Supreme Court nominations.

11) The mayor of Ithaca, NY wants to allow heroin users to have a place to safely use heroin.  Actually, a great idea.

12) I so love the 1930’s style government posters.  Here’s some new Department of Energy posters in that style:

wind energy

13) The true meaning of coincidences.

14) On a related note, was recently trying to explain the birthday paradox to my kids and failing.  Found this good explanation.

15) Maybe giving public schools more money will actually help their performance.

16) Good take on how Flint’s water problems are what you end up getting with Republicans’ anti-government philosophy.

17) Ron Fournier on Republicans’ unwillingness to even pretend to govern:

Let’s say you hate your job, but not enough to quit. Let’s say you’re no good at your job, but not bad enough to be fired. Let’s say you’ve decided to go through the motions—punch a clock, dodge the boss, and go home. You’re faking it.

Now let’s say you’re a Republican member Congress and your job is to work with other people, pass laws, and govern. You may hate your job. You certainly aren’t getting anything done; the GOP-led Congress is dysfunctional.

And now you’re not even faking it.

18) Or, as Kristof puts it, “the party of no way.”

19) So, Trump basically called for eliminating first amendment protections for newsmedia today, but the newsmedia were far too interested in Christie to write much about it (though, they sure lit twitter up with it).

20) Say what you will about the transgender bathroom issue, but out-and-out fearmongering from Republicans is disgusting and pathetic:

House Speaker Tim Moore has emailed members asking if they would be willing to return to Raleigh for a special session aimed at overturning Charlotte’s new non-discrimination ordnance.

The Charlotte measure broadly defines how businesses must treat gay, lesbian and transgender customers, but as in other cities recently, the debate has focused on bathrooms. In particular, the ordinance would allow men and women who identify as something other than their birth gender to use the bathroom in which they are most comfortable.

Many conservatives have been outraged by the law. Gov. Pat McCrory has vowed he will seek legislative action to overturn it.

“While special sessions are costly, we cannot put a price tag on the safety of women and children,” Moore wrote to members Wednesday

Shawn Long, director of operations for LGBT advocacy group Equality NC, called Fitzgerald’s statement “fear mongering,” noting 250 cities across the U.S. have similar ordinances, including Columbia and Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.

“There have been zero incidents of any sort of a safety issue,” Long said. “The real issues come into play when you have someone who lives and presents as a female and then they’re told they have to use the men’s restroom. That’s a safety issue.”



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