Bernie Sanders suspends campaign leaving nomination for Joe Biden

Bernie Sanders has suspended his presidential nomination bid, leaving Joe Biden clear to run against Donald Trump.

Sanders was trailing Biden and it looked unlikely he would get enough nominations, and with the upheaval due to Covid-19 making campaigning difficult Sanders has conceded to Biden.

NBC News: Sanders quitting Democratic race for president, Biden to be party’s apparent nominee

Bernie Sanders ended his presidential campaign, he announced on Wednesday, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden as the apparent Democratic presidential nominee.

“I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful, and so today I am announcing the suspension of my campaign,” Sanders told supporters in a livestream, saying he wished he could provide supporters with “better news” but “I think you know the truth.”

Biden released a lengthy statement on Medium after Sanders’ departure from the race, saying he “has put his heart and soul into not only running for president, but for the causes and issues he has been dedicated to his whole life.”

“I know how hard a decision this was for him to make — and how hard it is for the millions of his supporters — especially younger voters — who have been inspired and energized and brought into politics by the progressive agenda he has championed,” Biden said. “Bernie has done something rare in politics. He hasn’t just run a political campaign; he’s created a movement. And make no mistake about it, I believe it’s a movement that is as powerful today as it was yesterday. That’s a good thing for our nation and our future.”

“We are now some 300 delegates behind Vice President Biden and the path to victory is virtually impossible,” he said. Sanders called Biden “a very decent man who I will work with to move our progressive ideas forward.”

Sanders: “Then together, standing united, we will go forward to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history,”

Now Biden versus Sanders

Joe Biden did unexpectedly well in Super Tuesday, in part due to competing moderate candidates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar pulling out last week and endorsing Biden.

So Super Tuesday was largely Biden versus Bernie Sanders, with Michael Bloomberg trying to get a foothold. But Bloomberg didn’t fire and has now pulled out, also endorsing Biden.

The Hill: Bloomberg drops out after terrible Super Tuesday, endorses Biden

Elizabeth Warren is still in, but lagging badly ‘assessing the path forward’.

So now it is down to a head to head between Biden and Sanders.

Image result for biden sanders

Biden (77), Sanders (78)

All I’ll say is I’m glad I don’t have to choose between the two, nor between either and Donald Trump, and not because they are all in their seventies.

Surprise results in first US primary

I haven’t been following the US Democrat presidential goings on much since they cranked up months ago, but they have got to a serious stage (still 9 months out from the election).

The first primary was held in Iowa earlier this week. The vote count was badly botched and the final results still aren’t known, but with 86% of caucus precincts counted the results are a bit surprising (all delegate numbers are estimates).

  • Pete Buttigieg – 11 delegates (26.5% of the votes)
  • Bernie Sanders – 11 delegates (25.6%)
  • Elizabeth Warren – 5 delegates (18.3%)
  • Joe Biden – 0 delegates (15.9%)
  • Amy Klobuchar – 0 delegates (12.1%)

This must severely dent Joe Biden’s chances. I thought he was too old and uninspiring to make a decent candidate anyway.

Sanders is up there for now but I don’t see him having wide appeal. He seems old enough to have red Das Kapital when it was first published.

I think that the Democrats would benefit if they manage to avoid a battle of geriatrics.

A big surprise to see Buttigieg heading the votes. I know very little about him, but he must have something going for him to get this sort of result.

US Democratic presidential candidacy – popularity versus electability

There is no indication yet whether there will be any serious Republican contender for the presidential nomination prepared to stand against Donald Trump. That’s if Trump stands again for a job it is claimed he never really wanted in the first place – I think it quite likely Trump will stand again, as an excuse to keep having campaign rallies where he is cheered for his crass attacks and incitement, and to try to prove he can win the popular vote in an election without the help of the Russians.

All the action is in with Democrat candidates, where there are now eleven at least semi-serious contenders with ex-vice president Joe Biden now officially in the contest – Former VP Biden’s 2020 bid reshapes White House race

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden entered the 2020 Democratic presidential field on Thursday as an instant front-runner, drawing momentum away from other leading candidates and putting new pressure on underperformers to find ways to stay relevant.

Biden, 76, a longtime U.S. senator who served two terms as former President Barack Obama’s No.2, announced his bid in a video describing the high stakes of the race to take on President Donald Trump in next year’s election.

“We are in the battle for the soul of this nation,” Biden said. “I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time. But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are, and I cannot stand by and let that happen.”

Trump responded with typical name calling and irony:

Trump responded in a post on Twitter, saying “welcome to the race Sleepy Joe” and slamming Biden’s intelligence.

Someone of Biden’s political stature was bound to impact on the field of candidates.

Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia, says it remains unclear if Biden can build on his loyal base of support. If that happens, it could come at Sanders’ expense.

Given his longstanding support from African-Americans and his partnership with Obama, Biden could also affect the candidacy of U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, who is widely regarded as a serious contender for the nomination.

Polls have already installed Biden as favourite. He is reasonably popular, but does that men he is electable?

Five Thirty Eight: Democrats Think Biden Is Electable, But He’s Not Everyone’s First Choice

Beating President Trump in November 2020 is really important to Democrats. Sizable shares of Democrats tell pollsters that a candidate’s “electability” will be a very important factor in their primary vote — even more than the candidate’s policy positions. The problem is that we don’t know for sure what makes a candidate electable.

But we can get an idea of what Democratic voters think an electable candidate looks like by finding polls that ask voters which 2020 presidential hopeful they think has the best chance of winning the general election, in addition to asking who they would support independent of electability concerns.

At least two recent polls have asked both questions: a Quinnipiac poll of registered Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters in California and a Granite State Poll of likely New Hampshire primary voters (conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center). Perhaps unsurprisingly, in both cases, the percentage of voters who say each candidate is the most electable is very similar to the percentage of voters who support each candidate.

But there are some telling divergences: Some candidates widely seen as electable don’t have as much support from voters, while others who have generated a lot of voter enthusiasm aren’t seen as particularly strong general-election candidates.

The table below looks at the difference in each poll between the share of voters who support each candidate and the share who think he or she is the strongest general-election candidate, then averages those differences.

There is quite a difference between those two polls so I don’t think too much can be taken from it, but it shows that Biden and Bernie Sanders are the obvious front runners.

By election time next November Sanders will be 79 years old, while Biden will be nearly 78. If either won they would be presidents while in their eighties.

Trump is just a little younger – he will be 74 next election. I don’t think there’s much chance of him growing up by then.

If those three turn out to remain the leading contenders then health will be a wild card – health of the old men candidates.

There is a lot of campaigning to go just to get nominated, and there could be other candidates yet to declare their intentions, so it’s difficult to judge how it could go for the  Democrats.

Meanwhile if Trump puts himself forward again and doesn’t get beaten for the candidacy – it’s difficult to know what the Republicans would prefer, to stick with a badly flawed incumbent president, or to try someone else if anyone is prepared to stand against Trump – much will probably depend on what happens over the next 18 months with the economy, with trade deficits, with the huge and growing deficit, with international relations, and with sideshows like the US-Mexico wall.

And whether Trump can pull back support, especially in crucial states, or whether he keeps disappointing and pissing off more and more people.  His core support is at least 10% too light – but any Democratic opponent would also have to appeal to the moveable vote in the middle, and it’s far too soon to know if any of them look capable of that.

Trump frustrated he can’t order the Justice Department around

President Trump he is frustrated but sort of acknowledges that he shouldn’t get involved in what the US Justice Department and FBI do, but he still seems unable to resist. He has been particularly prominent in commenting about the investigation of his own campaign.

It’s sad that the President even thinks of being able to demand and dictate to justice organisations.

@BengaminWittes:

I’ve been thinking about these comments Trump made. What a fabulous tribute they are to the men and women of the DOJ and the FBI!

The tribute is, of course, inadvertent: Trump doesn’t understand the statement he is making about independent law enforcement. But let’s unpack it for a moment.

The President is saying that he would like to interfere in ongoing investigations. He is saying that he would like to order up investigations of his political opponents. He is announcing that he is a corrupt actor who does not believe in the rule of law.

He is a man who is capable of firing his FBI Director because he will not aid him in these endeavours and to threaten his Attorney General and his Deputy Attorney General and the special counsel over the inconveniences they pose him.

Even as I type this, he is tweeting about how DOJ should be investigating Clinton. (For example: )

In these comments, he is announcing frankly how badly he wants to corrupt the Department of Justice.

And yet, he is “frustrated.” Why? It’s not because of Jim Comey. He got rid of Jim Comey. It’s not because of Sessions or Rosenstein. Lordy knows they have not shrouded themselves in glory.

It’s because the norm of independent law enforcement—which he is menacing—is actually strong enough to constrain him—at least right now.

It’s strong enough that he can fulminate all he wants about investigating Clinton and still Mueller does his job, and the FBI does its job, and the men and women of the DOJ do their jobs, and none of their jobs, as our democratic polity has determined them, is to fulfill his undemocratic ambitions to loose investigators on people he doesn’t like and to have the Justice Department protect him.

It’s a stunning statement of presidential constraint: A president actually saying that he aspires to corrupt interference with law enforcement and can’t pull it off. Let it warm your heart. It sure warms mine.

But the attempts at interference continue.

 

Just now:

More than eight years after Bergdahl walked off his base in Afghanistan — and unwittingly into the clutches of the Taliban — Bergdahl walked out of a North Carolina courtroom a free man Friday. Bergdahl, who pleaded guilty to endangering his comrades, was fined, reduced in rank to E1 and dishonorably discharged — but he received no prison time.

Prosecutors had requested a 14-year prison term following a week of emotional testimony from the survivors who were wounded during missions to find Bergdahl after he left the base in June 2009. Bergdahl’s defense team has asked for no prison time.

In closing arguments, defense attorneys argued that Bergdahl already had suffered enough confinement during five years of brutal captivity by Taliban allies. They asked the judge for a dishonorable discharge and no prison time.

Their argument for leniency also cited harsh campaign-trail criticism by Donald Trump and Bergdahl’s mental disorders.

The 31-year-old soldier from Hailey, Idaho, was brought home by President Barack Obama in 2014 in a swap for five Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Obama said at the time that the U.S. does not leave its service members on the battlefield.

Republicans roundly criticized Obama, and Trump went further while campaigning for president, repeatedly calling Bergdahl a traitor who deserved death.

So Trump has been trying to interfere in this case since before he was president. He is still doing it as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.

Because US justice officials appear to refuse to be influenced by Trump it is just futile posturing, but it’s a piss poor look for a President.

Bernie Sanders gets it. First he gets a swipe from Trump.

But he responded:

Bernie gets it. I don’t know whether it is deliberate attempts at distraction by trump, or that he is easily distracted from his job, but one could legitimately question who the crazy one is.

Fox promotes the violent left

Fox news has been pushing quite a bit on ‘left bad, right good’ following the shooting of Republican House Whip Steve Scalise by a Bernie Sanders supporter.

This is all on their current twitter feed:

That’s toned down?

They do have the occasional attempt on balance and conciliation:

But the division goes on. just tweeted:

Levels of rhetoric, division and violence look likely to continue unabated, despite what should have been a wake up call for politicians on both sides of the chasm.

Sanders versus Trump on Medicare

Polls suggested that Donald trump would have had most trouble competing for the US presidency against Bernie Sanders. It didn’t come to that.

However Sanders has called Trump to account for tweeted promises in the US Senate – from Joe Bloggs:


The Cheezel has weaponised Twitter and has just been shot in the foot with one of his tweets. Looking forward to seeing more of this and there’ll be plenty of opportunity, given the Cheezel’s predilection for lying:

The Senate is currently debating the repeal of Obamacare. And since Senators love their visual aids, it makes sense that Bernie Sanders brought one along with him to work today. But Bernie’s sign marks the dawn of a new era in a lot of ways. He literally just printed out a tweet from President-elect Donald Trump.

To help demonstrate his point that Donald Trump promised not to cut Medicare and Medicaid benefits, Bernie decided that perhaps his argument could best be made with Trump’s own words. Or own characters, as it were.

The tweet dates from May of 2015 and proclaimed, “I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.”

Bernie said that if Trump plans to cut Medicare or Medicaid that he should just admit now that he was lying.
“Millions of people voted for him on the belief that he would keep his word,” Sanders said on the Senate floor, referring to Trump’s promises during the election campaign.

http://gizmodo.com/bernie-just-printed-a-gigantic-trump-tweet-and-brought-1790767297


Trump is vulnerable from his many tweets. Time will tell whether he can keep getting away with flip flopping from past claims.

Sanders/Trump/Brexit syndrome in NZ?

In the US and UK where there’s a lot of disillusionment with politics and parties, as illustrated by strong levels of support for alternatives like Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn.

Volatile polls suggest there could be a large lump of disgruntlement in New Zealand too, but there is one significant difference here – no political alternative has appealed as much.

NZ First has picked up some of the protest support, but Winston Peters is hardly a breath of fresh air on the political scene here.

waiting

Waiting for the top job…

None of the other alternatives have popular appeal – Andrew Little, Metiria Turei and James Shaw don’t have the maverick attraction of Sanders, Trump, Corbyn.

However Brexit may have a parallel in our flag referendum,

There may be a groundswell of disgruntlement but here there is no one to attach it to.

The weeping wound of inequality

A perceptive quote from a post about Donald Trump:

There is a deep underbelly of American society who feel as deeply resentful of the political and cultural elites as  those voters in Brexit did.

That weeping wound will require healing not mocking and is a reminder that if the fruits of democracy are not shared equitably, rot will set in.

I’ll attribute and link later, but for now I want it to be viewed without prejudice.

The Uk and the UK are certainly showing signs of deep and widespread resentment of the ruling elite, as shown by support of Trump and Sanders, and of Corbyn, Farage and Brexit.

The problems are less pronounced in New Zealand but there are growing signs of concerns about inequality, and the apparent lack of addressing problems suffered by those at the bottom of the financial, education and health ladders.

Parties that fail to recognise this may do so at their peril.

If the weeping wound of inequality remains inadequately addressed then political support is likely to bleed.

 

The young vote in the US

A lot of young people in the US are not happy with the current political system and what it delivers. Many of them are also not happy with the two major party choices in the presidential  election.

Bernie Sanders got a lot of his support from the younger age group. This demographic now has the dilemma of whether to punish Hillary in the polling booths, or doing what they can to keep Donald Trump out.

There could be a rise in support for other candidates – there are others standing for president but it’s hard to tell what impact this will have on the end result.

Alternet: Are Young Voters Sick of the Two-Party System?

As the reality of a “binary choice” between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump becomes all too clear, a large portion of young voters are rejecting the two-party system that has long dominated the U.S. political scene.

According to a poll by GenForward, only 28 percent of people in the crucial 18-30 demographic agree that the “two major parties do a good job of representing the American people.”

The future looks even bleaker for the Republicans: more than two-thirds of young voters—and especially young minority voters—say the Grand Old Party does not care about them. (First step to fix this, I humbly submit: choose a more subtle, less ageist nickname.)

Comparatively, support among millennials is much stronger for the Democratic Party. Fifty-three percent of young Americans say Democrats care about the issues important to them. According to a USA Today poll, about half of young people surveyed identify as Democrats or Democratic-leaning.

Bernie gave many of them hope for something radically different, but Clinton, the establishment candidate, got the nomination.

“It’s hard to overemphasize how completely and utterly Sen. Bernie Sanders dominated the youth vote to this point in the 2016 presidential campaign,” the Washington Post reported in June. “In the 2016 campaign, Sanders won more votes among those under age 30 than the two presumptive major-party presidential nominees combined. And it wasn’t close.”

A 2014 Pew study found that people born after 1980, “are more racially diverse and socially liberal than any other age group,” the New York Times reports. And while millennials tend to agree the Democratic Party is generally more in line with their liberal values, “40 percent of those in this age group say they are politically independent.”

That’s a lot of potential swing voters. Their problem this year is the poor choices they have for major party candidates.

Among those early supporters of a Sanders presidency and progressive platform, a July poll by the Hill found almost half were considering supporting a third-party candidate in lieu of Clinton.

That could easily make the difference – between votes for Clinton and Trump.

The Economic Times: Majority of US young adults reject Donald Trump: Poll

Despite US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s strategy of patching together a bipartisan coalition by appealing to the millions of young supporters of former Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, a new poll found that his populist play had so far failed among millennials.

The latest USA Today/Rock the Vote poll released on Sunday found that while 56 per cent of voters under 35 say they would vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, one in five in this age .

The number of the Millennial generation, now 18-34, was estimated to be 75.4 million.

About half of all those polled (54% of Trump supporters and 51% of Clinton supporters) say they will vote to keep one candidate out rather then for the other candidate. The least worst voting option.

Yesterday I spoke with a twenty year old from Idaho, currently studying at Otago.

She said she feels embarrassed about the state of politics and the candidates on offer. She has been politically active – she didn’t say but I suspect she was one of the Sanders supporters. She will probably vote to keep Trump out, so she is similar to many who were polled.

They may have missed out getting their preferred candidate nominated this time but the young voters may be a deciding demographic if someone can tap into their determination to do things markedly different. That looks like having to wait until 2020, but by then it may take someone closer to their age group than Sanders, who I suspect won’t try again then. He turns 75 next month.