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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Who Woulda What?

Just clearing out some stuff I didn't write about yesterday in trying to respect the families of those who were shot yesterday. Back to regular business.

From a piece that Scott Lemieux wrote about the futility of counterfactuals in discussing past elections:

Still, given Clinton’s high negatives I don’t think the first two points are the biggest problem with the counterfactual. The real problem, as I’ve mentioned before, is that when you posit a Sanders (or O’Malley or Biden or Webb) who can beat Clinton, you’re positing a different and non-existent candidate.  A Bernie Sanders had spent decades cultivating relationships with major Democratic constituencies and done well enough to hold his own in Southern primaries would be a very strong candidate — but Bernie didn’t actually do that. Speculating about how Martin O’Malley would have done had he won the Democratic primaries rather than getting roughly six votes strikes me as about as useful as speculating about how Wonder Woman or Abraham Lincoln, Vampire-Killer would have done in the general. Sure, an O’Malley who could win the nomination would probably be a pretty strong candidate, but he also doesn’t exist. A Joe Biden who was committed to running, disciplined, persuaded Obama that he was the better candidate, and didn’t have two zero-delegate primary runs under his belt…you get the idea. It’s OK to discuss alternatives as a parlor-game hypothetical, but it’s really not a very useful exercise either retrospectively or prospectively.

I just wanted to add one thought, and I will eventually shut up about why Hillary Clinton was a good candidate in 2016. Eventually.

When you state "Bernie would've won" or "Biden would've won," to whom are you speaking? Are you telling more than ten million primary voters they should've voted differently? Bernie supporters who believe that the DNC rigged the primaries for Clinton, are you saying that the DNC should've rigged them for Sanders? I ask because I don't remember hearing "Bradley would've won" or "Dean would've won" very much... It's just another reason to think that there are outside forces at play this time around that are amplifying what's essentially nonsense, but is extremely divisive.