Monday, April 4, 2016

RE: Clinton 2016's "The facts on where the race stands"

Clinton 2016 campaign manager Robby Mook has posted a thing making a few claims about where the race stands. Eight quick points:

1. Bernie Sanders is winning with Americans. In fact, Clinton has not lead Sanders in national polls since December 9 of last year. When Mook says that "Clinton is winning with voters," what he specifically means is that she's winning Democratic primary voters. If you're a democrat, and not simply a Democrat, you might actually be interested in what other Americans think, too.

2. Sanders is winning most major constituencies of the Obama coalition. As I noted a few days ago, this includes women, voters of color, the LGBT community, the poor, and the young. And while there is little recent polling on the national union vote, Sanders typically wins union endorsements when their members have any say. When Mook says she is winning "key parts of the Democratic and Obama coalition", this is only partially true of black Americans; for everyone else it's demonstrably incorrect. In particular,

3. This is part of an escalating, official attack on young voters. On Tuesday, Clinton suggested that young voters are lazy; on Sunday, she suggested that young voters are uninformed; and in Mook's post, her campaign is joining ongoing efforts to kick young voters out of the Obama coalition:
She has received 58 percent of the popular vote. That support includes key parts of the Democratic and the Obama coalition, including African American voters, Latino voters, union households, women, and seniors [emphasis added].
Obama lost seniors by 8 points in 2008 and 12 points in 2012. More generally, seniors have been a reliably Republican-leaning constituency for decades. Pretending that they have been members of either coalition is obviously false, and the omission of young voters is both necessary and deliberate.

4. Mook is using Clinton-leaning states to make claims about Sanders-leaning states. As David Dayen explains, Clinton's lead at this point is significantly an artifact of a primary schedule that was frontloaded in her favor. Sanders is expected to do significantly better moving forward, which means that all of his past-is-precedent spin is directly at odds with both the polls and conventional wisdom about Clinton's challenges moving forward.

5. The delegate math gives Sanders a direct path to victory. As Connor Kilpatrick notes, it's pretty straightforward.

6. Both the polls and credible analysis still suggest that Sanders is a stronger candidate against Trump than Clinton is. The polls have been clear on this for months (Clinton, Sanders vs. Trump). This is why Mook has to try to dismiss "general election polls this early in the race" while relying on even weaker indicators (EG what "Democrats believe" in select states, which might be interesting if only Democrats could vote). Nathan J. Robinson ably dispatches his other points here.

7. It is Clinton's path to victory that relies on "overturning the will of the voters". See (1). And recall that this is the exact same complaint Clinton made against Obama.

8. Clinton's campaign is doing this because they're shook. That's why we're seeing a post that is this radically dishonest, radically implausible, and radically hostile to major Democratic constituencies: Clinton realizes the danger that her campaign is in. Expect more of this in the weeks to come.