To some it may have seemed at first like an April Fool's joke. Bernie Sanders, who traveled from relative obscurity to mount an attention-grabbing challenge to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton based largely on the issue of "breaking up" large financial institutions seemed not to have an actual plan to do so when questioned by the editorial board of the New York Daily News.
Despite the Sanders campaign's desperate claims of momentum, as former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe blogged recently, "Hillary Clinton has strengthened her hold on the nomination in the most recent contests. Because for every state that holds a contest, more delegates come off the board, and the percentage of remaining delegates Sanders has to win grows larger."
A March 27 article in the Washington Post outlines planned attacks against Hillary Clinton in New York by the Sanders campaign in an apparent attempt to prevent party unity. Sanders campaign officials have commissioned polls to identify the issues that most divide potential Democratic voters.
As the USA Today headline correctly stated, For the Record: Sanders wins headlines, Clinton wins delegates. Pre-vote polling in Michigan had Clinton winning by between 5 and 20 percentage points, so Sanders' win, even though it was by less than 2 percentage points, has to be considered an upset. However, Clinton's massive 66 point win in Mississippi means that overall on March 9 she picked up more delegates than Sanders.
Although the PredictWise betting aggregator gives him a 16% chance of receiving the Democratic presidential nomination, grumpy grandpa Bernie Sanders ran away with the New Hampshire primary and finished a close second to Clinton in Iowa.
Not to be outdone by the data wonks on the campaign, Sanders ground teams apparently got into the act. With the Nevada caucus coming up later this month, in late January Sanders operatives disguised themselves as union members so as to gain access to employee areas in Las Vegas hotels while trying to gather votes. (The union has been very particular about not endorsing Clinton or Sanders.)
As the LA Times noted in it's recent article titled Trump's Iowa loss reveals campaign vulnerabilities,
Trump's second-place finish in Iowa exposed an array of weaknesses in his campaign: His flashiness has started to grate on supporters.... He's proved vulnerable to attacks on his ideological purity. And he failed to put together an effective ground operation.... In the end, the celebrity candidate was more susceptible to the normal rules of politics than many expected.
As Eric Boehlert of Media Matters noted recently, as of January 22, Hillary Clinton has led in the last ten polls taken in Iowa. Although some media has focused on polls showing Sanders leading, Clinton leads the average of Iowa polls by more than 7 percentage points.
I usually take stories at Politico.com, founded by Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Reagan Libraray, Fred Ryan, with a liberal dose of salt. But the November 12 article titled "The Attacks Will Be Spectacular" caught my attention.
The article, a summary and teaser for the Showtime documentary The Spymasters, chronicles the extensive and detailed warnings the Bush administration received from the intelligence community regarding imminent attacks on American soil.
The first warning noted in the article came in spring 2001, when then counterterrorism chief Cofer Black and CIA Director George Tenet presented the Bush administration with a specific proposal to "end the Al Qaeda threat" that included covert and military operations. The administrations response, according to Tenet, was "We don't want the clock to start ticking." The meaning of this seemingly innocuous phrase, according to the article, was that the administration did not want there to be evidence that they had been warned of the pending danger.
"In reality, all politicians are strategic about the image and behaviors they present to voters," Nyhan writes. "Some just hide the artifice better than others."
In an op-ed piece for the LA Times that is sharply critical of the punditocracy, Democratic political consultant Joe Trippi writes:
In a year in which every other supposed front-runner and establishment candidate has collapsed to single digits or has already withdrawn from the race — yes, I am talking about you, Jeb Bush, and you, Scott Walker — Hillary Rodham Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field with more than 40% of the vote.