Why Sanders path to the nomination is so narrow…

Workout notes: walked my Cornstalk 8.1 + 2.05 in 2:40; legs were sore and achy at the start so I made it an easy Easter Walk to take advantage of the great weather.

I used figures from the New York Times and and Nate Silver’s analysis of the demographics of the remaining states.

Basic Assumptions:

1. Hillary Clinton has 1267 pledged delegates and Bernie Sanders has 1037. I came up with this number by using the New York Times figures which included the Alaska and Hawaii primaries but NOT the Washington results and I assumed that, from Washington, the delegate split was Sanders 74-27 (based on 101 delegates and the percentage of the vote).

2. There are 4051 pledged delegates available and it takes 2026 to get a majority of these.

Model Assumptions
1. Sanders wins 60 percent of the delegates in Wisconsin. Note: Hillary Clinton is actually forecast to WIN Wisconsin with a probability of 85 percent, though the demographics are friendly to Sanders.

2. Sanders wins 75 percent of the 204 delegates in the following states: Wyoming, Oregon, Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota. This model assumption is based on the Hawaii-Alaska-Washington results in terms of demographics.

3. There are 1527 delegates left from New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Indiana, Guam, West Virginia, Kentucky, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, California, New Jersey, New Mexico and D. C.

Model assumptions 1 and 2 has that, after the Sanders friendly states, Sanders with 1037 + 138 = 1175 pledged delegates and Clinton with 1267 + 66 = 1333 pledged delegates.

Sanders would need 851 of the remaining 1527 delegates, or 55.7 percent. Clinton would need 693 of the remaining 1527 delegates, or about 45.3 percent (numbers add up to more than 100 percent due to rounding).

Note that Clinton is expected to win California, New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania; these states have 1016 of the remaining delegates. Remember that if Sanders loses any one of these, or does no better than “break even”, he falls further into the delegate hole.

Below is a screenshot of my spreadsheet with the relevant data.


March 27, 2016 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics | , , | Leave a comment

Parties choosing their candidates: does NOT have to be a democratic process

Workout notes: weights, swimming (1800 yards)
weights: 5 x 10 pull ups, (ok), rotator cuff
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 10 x 170 (better)
incline: 10 x 135
military (dumbbell), 2 sets of 12 x 50 (seated, supported), 10 x 40 standing
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 each arm.
yoga headstand (ok)
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts

swim: 500 free, 10 x (25 stroke, 25 free) (side, side, fly, back)
8 x 100 (2 x (100 free, 100 pull, 100 free, 100 fins)

Body weight: 186 (Chinese buffet last night)

Interesting note: back in 1982, when I weighed just under 190 pounds, I did 10 reps with 185. Now, at slightly lighter body weight, 10 with 170, so I lost a little in terms of reps. But my max has taken a much bigger hit; it has gone from 250 (in 1982) to 200-205 (now). My lifetime max is 310, but that is at a bodyweight of about 230 (45 pounds heavier than I am now).

Primary elections I’ve heard some complain about the primary process (be it a vote, or a caucus, or the existence of “super delegates”) “not being democratic”.

Political Parties have no legal requirement to choose their candidate in a democratic way; the party gets to make the rules. In fact, the binding primary election is a relatively recent innovation.

Of course, the public is free to reject the party’s nominee, so there is that.

But the rank-and-file have no inherent “right” to choose the candidate for a party, though the rules of the modern Republican and Democratic parties give the public at least some say in the process.

March 23, 2016 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Trump rolls in South Carolina; Clinton holds off a tough Sanders surge in Nevada

Well, it was smiles for me in the political arena too. Hillary Clinton held off a tough challenge from Bernie Sanders to win the Nevada Caucuses 52.7 to 47.2 and Donald Trump rolled to an easy 33-22-21 win over Rubio and Cruz.

And poor Jeb Bush: is out. I never dreamed he would bomb out so badly. The “top 2” (Bush and Walker) really proved to be weak candidates. Here are some Bush lowlights.

February 21, 2016 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans | , , , , | Leave a comment

Nevada, Sanders, and the personal upswing continues

Weight before lifting: 183.5.
rotator cuff
pull ups: 15=15-10-10
bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 10 x 170 (strong sets)
incline presses: 10 x 135 (easy)
military: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbell
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 55 (singe arm dumbbell)
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, moving bridge recoveries, headstand (easy)

Swim: 500 free, 500 drill/swim, 5 x 100 (25 fly, 25 free, 25 back, 25 free), 3 x 100 (alt side, free) 100 pull, 100 free, 100 pull, 100 fins.
It was sort of a play-day swim.

Later: saw the Bradley women lose to Indiana State; they were within 4 late in the game 68-59. They were within 4 late in the game, but ISU knocked down some huge 3 point shots late in the game to put it away.

The Democratic Nevada Caucus is tomorrow. In the betting line, HRC is a 8/13 favorite, with Sanders at 11/8.


But I’ll say this: Nevada is very hard to poll, so I see that race as a toss-up:

For starters, when it comes to surveying public opinion, Nevada is still very much the Wild West, and pollsters may be unwilling to gamble their reputations on the state: Nevada is among the hardest places to poll in the nation, with a spotty track record to prove it. Going into the 2008 Republican caucuses, the polling average gave Mitt Romney just a 5-point advantage over John McCain; Romney ended up winning by 38 points. In 2010 when Republican Sharron Angle challenged Harry Reid, then Senate majority leader, for his seat, the polling average showed her beating the incumbent by a 3-point margin; she lost to Reid by nearly 6 points.

According to Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster who’s done extensive work in the state on behalf of Reid, caucus polling is “excruciatingly difficult” to begin with, but the fact that Nevada’s caucuses are relatively new makes polling them even more fraught with uncertainty. After the 2004 election, the parties moved from primaries to caucuses, and Nevada was bumped up to a higher spot in the primary calendar, a play to incorporate a broader swath of the American electorate in the candidate-winnowing process.

But that means that Nevada populace’s is still pretty unfamiliar with caucusing, making for difficult polling work. “

So I take this with a grain of salt:


And Trump is a prohibitive favorite to roll in South Carolina.

Now back to Sanders vs. Clinton.
Things have gotten ugly. And yes, those who say “his assumptions just don’t add up…they are not plausible assumptions are vilified as being Hillary shills and the like. Guess what: not having power doesn’t make you right. I know: I graded undergraduate student exams today. If anything, the line to support Sanders’ numbers is a much shorter one.

Look for yourself at what Sanders is assuming:


Seriously, we’d be rolling our eyes if Republicans made such assumptions.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Democrats, economics, economy, politics, politics/social, swimming, weight training | , , , | Leave a comment

Democratic Race: who is ahead in the polls?

You’ll hear lots of things such as “Sanders is virtually tied with Clinton”. Well, one should look at ALL the polls: (here are the 2016 National Polls from Real Clear Politics)


South Carolina:


Nevada: (which really IS tight…toss up as of right now)


So, I’ll listen to the crowing about the close race in Nevada.

This is a good read about how the Democrats break down. In 2008, the fault lines were white working class vs. minorities and the educated/affluent. They are a bit different this time around. Note that I fall into several of the demographics most likely to support Clinton. But, of course, no classification is perfect, and there is variation in every demographic subcategory.

While I am a Sec. Clinton supporter, I think that her having to work for it is a good thing; no one is entitled to the nomination and she needs to win the primary. And I have to give Sen. Sanders a lot of credit for being a tough, but noble opponent. I have a lot of respect for him, though I think that the numbers on his plans simply do not add up.

February 18, 2016 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social | , , | Leave a comment

On the Sanders vs. Clinton debate…

I’ve been following this “Sanders vs. Clinton” debate both online and with various friends. Though I have some Clinton supporters as friends, I haven’t really seen the attacks her supporters have made on Sanders supporters. So I won’t comment on them.

I have heard and read what some of the Sanders people say, and they say some interesting things. For one, they are prone to cherry picking the polls that tell them what they want to hear.


I suppose that is a very human thing to do; we do that in, say, relationships all the time. Oh yes, fans of given sports team do that too.🙂

Here Paul Krugman talks about the “electablility” issue. I understand why that is a valid concern.

But it isn’t for me. IF I knew that the Democrat nominee would win the election (and I strongly thought that in 2008) I would still vote for Hillary Clinton this time. Reason: I give a lot of credit for being smart, well rounded, knowledgeable and having political skill. I think that she is more realistic about how our country is. No, even if Sanders wins the Presidency, Mitch McConnell isn’t going to see a massive protest outside of his office (Sanders said something to this effect at a debate; he says that this must happen for the country to get behind his proposals).

So here is Krugman’s piece:

But what happens even more, in my experience, is an intellectual sin whose effects can be just as bad: self-indulgence. By this I mean believing things, and advocating for policies, because you like the story rather than because you have any good evidence that it’s true. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years going after this sort of thing on the right, where things like the claim that Barney Frank somehow caused the financial crisis so often prevail in the teeth of overwhelming evidence. But it can happen on the left, too — which is why, for example, I’m still very cautious about claims that inequality is bad for growth.

On electability, by all means consider the evidence and reach your own conclusions. But do consider the evidence — don’t decide what you want to believe and then make up justifications. The stakes are too high for that, and history will not forgive you.

I say this for the benefit of the neutral reader. Of course, the “true believers” will just say that I am either a sellout or someone who has been bamboozled or duped; that somehow I just don’t have their insight, powers of perception, or am, well, less principled? I have to laugh.

I’ll make this clear: if Sen. Sanders wins the primary, I’ll vote for him and open up my (meager) checkbook for him. I like the man and respect him. And there are many Sanders supporters that I like (even love?) and respect. But this time around, I honestly believe that Hillary Clinton is the better choice.

February 8, 2016 Posted by | Democrats, politics/social | , , , | Leave a comment

Democratic Debate: tough, fair and with substance!

I just finished watching the Sanders vs. Clinton debate. Yes, both candidates stood their ground. Both pushed back against attacks.

This was a nice debate of ideas and approaches: you have the “get the torches and pitchforks” approach from Sanders. For example, he said that you can’t negotiate with Mitch McConnell; McConnell needs to look out the window and see people saying…xyz..”

And you had the “let’s be realistic about what can actually get done approach.

This was a classic “Krugman vs. Reich” type of debate. The moderators (Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow) did very well and kept themselves out of it.

I was proud of our party tonight. Yes, Sanders did well. Yes, Clinton did well.

This was far better than the cliche-fear fest than the Republicans ran.

It ran 2 hours long, and didn’t seem to drag.

February 5, 2016 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social | , , , | Leave a comment

So, what is going to happen in Iowa tomorrow?

Five Thirty Eight: gives Clinton about an 73-78 percent chance. Think of it as a good NBA player taking a free shot.

But caucus states are hard to predict; Sam Wang weighs in.

What about the Republicans? If you wondered why their debates sound like “I’m gonna kick the ass of ISIS” over and over again, it is because Republicans value “perceived strength”. It is interesting reading..and it is hard for me to not feel contempt when I read the write ups on the individuals.

I’ll close with what Paul Krugman says (and he admits that this is just personal opinion)

The appeal of the Sanders campaign, at least to people I know, is that it brings a sense of possibility. For those who were joyful and uplifted on inauguration day 2009, the years that followed have been a vast letdown: American politics got even uglier, policy progress always fell short of dreams. Now comes Sanders — very different in personal style from Obama 2008, but again someone who seems different and offers the hope of transformation. And some people really want to hear that message, and don’t want to hear that they’re being unrealistic.

But there’s something else, which I keep encountering, and which I’m sure I’m not the only one to notice: even among progressives, the two-decade-plus smear campaign against the Clintons has had its effect. I keep being told about terrible things the Clintons did that never actually happened, but were carefully fomented right-wing legends — except I’m hearing them from people on the left. The sense that where there’s smoke there must be fire — when the reality was nothing but Richard Mellon Scaife with a smoke machine — is very much out there, still. […]

On the other hand, that history is, I think, one factor behind a phenomenon we saw in 2008 and will see again this year: there’s a lot more passionate support for Clinton than either Sanders supporters or the news media imagine. There are a lot of Democrats who see her as someone who has been subjected to character assassination, to vicious attacks, on a scale few women and no men in politics have ever encountered — yet she’s still standing, still capable of remarkable grace under fire. If you didn’t see something heroic about her performance in the Benghazi hearing, you’re missing something essential.

And Clinton’s dogged realism, while it doesn’t inspire the same kind of uplift as Sanders’s promise of change, can be inspiring in its own way.

Emphasis mine. I support Clinton for a couple of reasons: one is her intelligence and knowledge of the issues, and the other is her realism. We can’t afford those who peddle fantasy.

February 1, 2016 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans | , , , | Leave a comment

Trump and Sanders Supporters..

Why is Trump doing so well, at least in the polls? I still think that this is one of the best explanations (though it is a few months old). And here is one by David Axelrod that complements that:

Today, after seven eventful years, attitudes toward President Obama will shape the selection of his successor.

The Republican base is infuriated by Mr. Obama’s activist view of government and progressive initiatives, from health care reform to immigration, gay rights to climate change.

Beyond specific issues, however, many Republicans view dimly the very qualities that played so well for Mr. Obama in 2008. Deliberation is seen as hesitancy; patience as weakness. His call for tolerance and passionate embrace of America’s growing diversity inflame many in the Republican base, who view with suspicion and anger the rapidly changing demographics of America. The president’s emphasis on diplomacy is viewed as appeasement.
So who among the Republicans is more the antithesis of Mr. Obama than the trash-talking, authoritarian, give-no-quarter Mr. Trump?
His bombast allows no room for nuance or complexity. He proudly extols his intolerance as an assault against “political correctness,” and he vows to bring the world to heel, from Mexico to China to Syria and Iraq.

Mr. Trump has found an audience with Americans disgruntled by the rapid, disorderly change they associate with national decline and their own uncertain prospects. Policies be damned, who better to set things right than the defiant strong man who promises by sheer force of will to make America great again?

Yes, we can? Hell, no!

Just leave it to me, Mr. Trump says. Yes, I can!

Hey, though I am a liberal, even I get tired of nattering sanctimonious social justice warriors running around with their clipboards saying “it is ok to say THIS but not THAT”. So, having someone say: “oh, STFU; I am rich and I don’t care what you think” is a bit refreshing.

And no, I don’t want him anywhere near the nuclear codes, ok?🙂

And now we turn to the Democrats. Some supporters of Senator Sanders are going nuts, attacking people who support Sec. Clinton. Paul Krugman has a few things to say:

Greg Sargent notes that President Obama, in his interview with Glenn Thrush of Politico, essentially supports the Hillary Clinton theory of change over the Bernie Sanders theory:

I think that what Hillary presents is a recognition that translating values into governance and delivering the goods is ultimately the job of politics, making a real-life difference to people in their day-to-day lives. I don’t want to exaggerate those differences, though, because Hillary is really idealistic and progressive. You’d have to be to be in, you know, the position she’s in now, having fought all the battles she’s fought and, you know, taken so many, you know, slings and arrows from the other side.

He could be wrong, of course. But if you’re a progressive who not only supports Sanders but is furious with anyone skeptical about his insurgency, someone who considers Mike Konczal a minion and me a corrupt crook, you might want to ask why Barack Obama is saying essentially the same things as the progressive Bernie skeptics. And you might want to think hard about why you’re not just sure that you’re right, but sure that anyone who disagrees must be evil.

Now to be fair, those who accuse Clinton supporters of being delusional right wingers or pawns of the oligarchy are often not the sharpest nor the most successful people out there, so one must consider the source.

There is nothing wrong with supporting Senator Sanders. But at times, things have gotten ridiculous.

January 26, 2016 Posted by | Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans | , , , , | 1 Comment

Sanders and Trump

Yes, Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump and that might well make a difference. This is part of the politics of resentment and Palin’s supporters can relate to the resentment that Trump is preaching:

Since Donald Trump entered the race, one opponent after another has attacked him as not a real conservative. They’ve been right, too! And the same could have been said about Sarah Palin in 2008. Palin knew little and cared less about most of the issues that excited conservative activists and media. She owed her then-sky-high poll numbers in Alaska to an increase in taxes on oil production that she used to fund a $1,200 per person one-time cash payout—a pretty radical deviation from the economic ideology of the Wall Street Journal and the American Enterprise Institute. What defined her was an identity as a “real American”—and her conviction that she was slighted and insulted and persecuted because of this identity.

That’s exactly the same feeling to which Donald Trump speaks, and which has buoyed his campaign. When he’s president, he tells voters, department stores will say “Merry Christmas” again in their advertisements. Probably most of his listeners would know, if they considered it, that the president of the United States does not determine the ad copy for Walmart and Nordstrom’s. They still appreciate the thought: He’s one of us—and he’s standing up for us against all of them—at a time when we feel weak and poor and beleaguered, and they seem more numerous, more dangerous, and more aggressive.

Of course the writer of the above is using the old “not a real conservative” charge. But this is what they’ve been peddling:

My colleague David Brooks issues an anguished plea for the Republican establishment to get its act together. I feel his pain. But I really wonder when he says this:

There’s a silent majority of hopeful, practical, programmatic Republicans.

Not according to the polls: the average of recent polls shows Trump, Cruz, and Carson with the support of roughly two-thirds of likely Republican primary voters, while all the establishment candidates combined draw barely 20 percent. And do we really imagine that any significant fraction of the overwhelmingly dominant blowhard bloc consists of moderate voters who just don’t realize what they would be getting from Trump or Cruz?

Also worth bearing in mind are the kinds of things even establishment candidates say these days. Not one has anything positive to say about what looks increasingly like highly successful diplomacy in the Persian Gulf. And Marco Rubio, the establishment’s last best hope, says he bought a gun to defend his family from ISIS.

The point is that this primary doesn’t look like an aberration, in which the GOP majority is losing its way; it looks like an outbreak of honesty, with the GOP majority finally going for candidates saying what it always believed.

Be careful what you court.

And now to the Democrats: many love Bernie Sanders because he speaks loudly on the issues that many of us are concerned about. But what ARE this plans anyway?

On finance: Sanders has made restoring Glass-Steagal and breaking up the big banks the be-all and end-all of his program. That sounds good, but it’s nowhere near solving the real problems. The core of what went wrong in 2008 was the rise of shadow banking; too big to fail was at best marginal, and as Mike Konczal notes, pushing the big banks out of shadow banking, on its own, could make the problem worse by causing the risky stuff to “migrate elsewhere, often to places where there is less regulatory infrastructure.”

On health care: leave on one side the virtual impossibility of achieving single-payer. Beyond the politics, the Sanders “plan” isn’t just lacking in detail; as Ezra Klein notes, it both promises more comprehensive coverage than Medicare or for that matter single-payer systems in other countries, and assumes huge cost savings that are at best unlikely given that kind of generosity. This lets Sanders claim that he could make it work with much lower middle-class taxes than would probably be needed in practice.

To be harsh but accurate: the Sanders health plan looks a little bit like a standard Republican tax-cut plan, which relies on fantasies about huge supply-side effects to make the numbers supposedly add up. Only a little bit: after all, this is a plan seeking to provide health care, not lavish windfalls on the rich — and single-payer really does save money, whereas there’s no evidence that tax cuts deliver growth. Still, it’s not the kind of brave truth-telling the Sanders campaign pitch might have led you to expect.


January 20, 2016 Posted by | Democrats, politics, republicans | , , , | Leave a comment