With Donald Trump Looming, Should Dems Take a Huge Electability Gamble by Nominating Hillary Clinton?

Glenn Greenwald. (photo: Reuters)
Glenn Greenwald. (photo: Reuters)

With Donald Trump Looming, Should Dems Take a Huge Electability Gamble by Nominating Hillary Clinton?

By Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

27 February 16

 

any Democrats will tell you that there has rarely, if ever, been a more menacing or evil presidential candidate than Donald Trump. “Trump is the most dangerous major candidate for president in memory,” pronounced Vox’s Ezra Klein two weeks ago. With a consensus now emerging that the real estate mogul is the likely GOP nominee, it would stand to reason that the most important factor for many Democrats in choosing their own nominee is electability: meaning, who has the best chance of defeating the GOP Satan in the general election? In light of that, can Democrats really afford to take such a risky gamble by nominating Hillary Clinton?

In virtually every poll, her rival, Bernie Sanders, does better, often much better, in head-to-head match-ups against every possible GOP candidate. Here, for instance, is a compilation of how Clinton does against Ted Cruz in recent polls: She trails the Texas senator in all but one poll, and in the one poll she leads, it is by a paltry 2 points:

Polling data. (photo: The Intercept)

Polling data. (photo: The Intercept)

By stark contrast, Sanders leads Cruz in every poll, including by substantial margins in some:

Polling data. (photo: The Intercept)

Polling data. (photo: The Intercept)

A similar story is seen in their match-ups against Trump. Although they both end up ahead in most polls, Sanders’ margin over Trump is generally very comfortable, while Clinton’s is smaller. Clinton’s average lead over Trump is just 2.8 percent, while Sanders’ lead is a full 6 points:

Polling data. (photo: The Intercept)

Polling data. (photo: The Intercept)

Polling data. (photo: The Intercept)

Polling data. (photo: The Intercept)

Then there’s the data about how each candidate is perceived. Put simply, Hillary Clinton is an extremely unpopular political figure. By contrast, even after enduring months of attacks from the Clinton camp and its large number of media surrogates, Sanders remains a popular figure.

A Gallup poll released this week reported that “29 percent of Americans offer a positive observation about Clinton while 51 percent express something negative.” As Gallup rather starkly put it: “Unfortunately for Clinton, the negative associations currently outnumber the positive ones by a sizable margin, and even among Democrats, the negatives are fairly high.” Sanders is, of course, a more unknown quantity, but “the public’s comments about Sanders can be summarized as 26 percent positive and 20 percent negative, with the rest categorized as neutral, other or no opinion.”

In fact, the more the public gets to see of both candidates, the more popular Sanders becomes, and the more unpopular Clinton becomes. Here’s Quinnipiac explaining that dynamic in one graph just a few days ago:

This Huffington Post chart, compiling recent polls, shows not only that Clinton is deeply unpopular among the electorate, but becomes increasingly unpopular the more the public is exposed to her during this campaign:

Polling data. (photo: The Intercept)

Polling data. (photo: The Intercept)

Polling data. (photo: The Intercept)

Polling data. (photo: The Intercept)

Or look at the same metric for critical states. In Ohio, for example, Sanders’ favorability rating is +3 (44-41 percent), while Clinton’s is negative 20 (37-57 percent).

Then there’s the particular climate of the electorate. While it’s undoubtedly true that racism and ethno-nationalism are significant factors in Trump’s appeal, also quite significant is a pervasive, long-standing contempt for the political establishment, combined with enduring rage at Wall Street and corporate America, which — along with the bipartisan agenda of globalization and free trade — have spawned intense economic suffering and deprivation among a huge number of Americans. This article by the conservative writer Michael Brendan Dougherty is the best I’ve read explaining the sustained success of Trump’s candidacy, and it very convincingly documents those factors: “There are a number of Americans who are losers from a process of economic globalization that enriches a transnational global elite.”

In this type of climate, why would anyone assume that a candidate who is the very embodiment of Globalist Establishment Power (see her new, shiny endorsement from Tony Blair), who is virtually drowning both personally and politically in Wall Street cash, has “electability” in her favor? Maybe one can find reasons to support a candidate like that. But in this environment, “electability” is most certainly not one of them. Has anyone made a convincing case why someone with those attributes would be a strong candidate in 2016?

Despite this mountain of data, the pundit consensus — which has been wrong about essentially everything — is that Hillary Clinton is electable and Bernie Sanders is not. There’s virtually no data to support this assertion. All of the relevant data compels the opposite conclusion. Rather than data, the assertion relies on highly speculative, evidence-free claims: Sanders will also become unpopular once he’s the target of GOP attacks; nobody who self-identifies as a “socialist” can win a national election; he’s too old or too ethnic to win, etc. The very same supporters of Hillary Clinton were saying very similar things just eight years ago about an unknown African-American first-term senator with the name Barack Hussein Obama.

Perhaps those claims are true this time. But given the stakes we’re being told are at play if Trump is nominated, wouldn’t one want to base one’s assessment in empirical evidence rather than pundit assertions, no matter how authoritative the tone used to express them?

It’s possible to argue that electability should not be the primary factor. That’s certainly reasonable: Elections often are and should be about aspirations, ideology, and opinion-changing leaders. But given the lurking possibility of a Trump presidency, is now really the time to gamble on such a risky general election candidate as Hillary Clinton?

Author’s Notes:

I am unaware of any other blog with the Armory’s mission of radicalizing the animal movement. I certainly hope I am not alone, and that there are similar sentiments being expressed by comrades unknown to me.

If you know of other blogs dedicated to animal rights and the defeat of capitalism, please comment with a link.

• Be sure to follow the Armory and share it with your Facebook friends and email contacts, as well as on Twitter, Google, and all other social media platforms. Our influence and effectiveness is dependent upon you!

Natasha Sainsbury, of Good Karma Graphic Design, has joined Armory of the Revolution as Editor, and is responsible for the transformation of the blog’s appearance. Visit and follow her blog V Kind.

If you are not already subscribed to the Armory, please do so before you leave.

There’s a button to Follow us in the upper right sidebar.

• Be sure to visit Armory of the Revolution’s new commissary and bookstore: The Supply Depot

You will find recommended reading on Animal Rights, revolutionary theory, politics, economics, religion, science, and atheism. There is also a section of supplies for animal liberationists, hunt saboteurs, and social revolutionaries. This is all brand new, and we will be adding lots more merchandise in the near future!

Feel free to comment. I encourage open discussion and welcome other opinions. I moderate comments because this blog has been attacked by hunters and right wing trolls. I approve comments that are critical as well as those which agree with me. Comments that I will not tolerate are those that are spam, threatening, disrespectful, or which promote animal abuse and cruelty.

If you support the Amory’s work and mission, please help us grow.

Just $3 per month will allow us to advertise!

donate2

Advertisements

One thought on “With Donald Trump Looming, Should Dems Take a Huge Electability Gamble by Nominating Hillary Clinton?

  1. Armory of the Revolution will be launching a campaign to convince the Democratic nominee to pledge to end wild horse round ups and to abolish Wildlife Services, the Department of Agriculture agency which kills millions of wild animals annually for the cattle industry.

    If Bernie is the nominee, I am confident he would take such positions. If Hillary is the nominee I have grave reservations that she will.

    Our campaign will urge animal activists to vote Republican if Hillary refuses to take those pro-animal positions.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s