West Virginia Democratic Primary UPDATED

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I’ll combine my post predicting the outcome of today’s Democratic Primary in West Virginia, and my post giving and discussing the results, here.

My prediction is on this table, on the left side of the line, and the actual results on the right side, for the last several primaries.

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 2.12.13 PM

Every state is special, and some are more special than others. West Virginia has 29 pledged delegates, but not all of them were assigned today. I assume they will be assigned later. Thus, the slight difference in numbers between what I predicted and what happened.

A key message here is this. Clinton and Sanders did exactly as well in the West Virginia primary as my model predicted, and that has been very close to exactly true for most primary races all along.

There is something important about this likely win that I want to point out.

According to many (but not all) of those pushing the candidates on climate change, Sanders is THE man when it comes to climate, and Clinton will be throwing the planet under the bus the moment she is elected. The degree of contrast between Sanders and Clinton in the minds of many leading climate activists is an overstatement, and highly inaccurate. Both candidates have stated that we need to come to the point where we keep the fossil Carbon in the ground, but Sanders is the only candidate who has come out with a weakened version of this, where we only try to attain 80% non-fossil fuel use by the middle of the century. Sanders wants to make fracking illegal, which he is unlikely to be able to do, while Clinton wants to regulate it into near nothingness, which could be achieved in a year or so. On the other hand, Clinton did say to a coal miner the other day that we have to find a way to keep mining coal as long as it does not add CO2 to the atmosphere. Sure, let’s do that! But first, we’ll have to change physics, because we GET energy from releasing fossil Carbon, but we have to USE energy to re-attach the Carbon to something solid.

In other words, neither candidate is where they need to be on climate change, and we will have to work to make that situation change. But, if you ask most people, they will probably tell you that Sanders is the climate change guy, and Clinton not so much. But we also know that addressing Climate Change means, essentially, shutting down the main industry in West Virginia, which is coal mining.

So why is Sanders beating Clinton in West Virginia?

I’ll put the results of the primary below later this evening or tomorrow morning. I’ll be busy during the time the returns are coming in, visiting with my friend Emo Phillips, but I’ll update the post at a later time.

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53 thoughts on “West Virginia Democratic Primary UPDATED

  1. I wish we in the climate change realist community would adapt the (possibly apocryphal?) motto of some petrochemical engineer I heard long ago:

    “burning petroleum for power and heat is like burning the Mona Lisa to heat the Louvre”

    Petroleum and natural gas are best suited to making plastics and other petrochemicals. These do not contribute nearly as much CO2, especially if they are recycled or landfilled rather than incinerated at their end-of-life.

    I’ve read that China has a coal-to-plastics/petrochemical feedstocks process to take advantage of their large coal resources. Why couldn’t we in the US do the same? Keep the few remaining coal jobs, boost the economy of the coal states, reduce reliance on imported oil, divert dirty coal from CO2-producing electric power production to cleaner CO2-neutral plastic/petrochemical production.

    We should emphasize that there is more than the binary choice of:
    1. Leave it in the ground, and commit economic seppuku now.
    2. Burn it to maintain BAU, commit climate AND economic seppuku later.

    The 3rd choice is to leave it in the ground and save it for higher use petrochemicals.

    Clinton’s plan emphasizes choice 1. We need a strong advocate for the 3rd choice.

  2. Yes, something in there is the way to go. The value of a unit mass of petrolium product in pharm and other industries is potentially huge.

    Clinton’s plan is, actually, more like choice three. I don’t think Sanders has thought about this problem much.

  3. Greg:

    Why is Hillary losing in West Virginia?

    Because people voting in the Dem primary are the same people who voted overwhelmingly for Mitt in 2012?

    I guess they have magically become anti-corporate since then, and they are supporting Bernie because of his socialist-sounding positions.

    Or it could be something else…

  4. I suspect Clinton’s fracking regs would be negotiable, depending on who wants to frack, and who is getting fracked.

  5. Zebra, do you have any evidence for that? Polls that indicate what you are saying about the likely voters? Good guess, if not, but I’m wondering if there is an analysis that suggests this.

  6. I made a comment elsewhere about hatred of Hillary amongst Bernie insulars, and if you look at the comments on that NYTimes Upshot article, you will see just what I mean. It didn’t take long to find it, it’s the top “Readers Pick” and got 384 votes as of now.


    My fellow concerned Democrats are beginning to answer this, but it’s been prevalent and it is fanatical, and very common amongst progressives. I actually had to take a time out from some of my best climate buddies until this is over, because they were piling on so much.

  7. I have a sad takeaway from this. Most people, left or right, want heroes, want simple answers, want somebody to fix it for them. This is the problem with the climate wars, which require that we all do something we don’t want to do.

  8. According to this article, West Virginia results are mainly indicative of West Virginian contrariness:

    “In one of the few West Virginia primary polls taken this year, from PPP, self-identified liberals and “somewhat” liberals are leaning toward Clinton. But Sanders has a 24-point lead among the moderates who are 35 percent of likely voters, and an 18-point lead among the 22 percent who self-identify as conservative. Are these right-leaning voters feeling the Bern? Doesn’t look like it: Sanders’s favorability ratio is 21/72 among “somewhat” conservative voters and 16/75 among very conservative voters. They just dislike Clinton and what she stands for even more. And West Virginia is especially prone to protest votes, as was evidenced by the 42 percent won against Barack Obama by an obscure Texas prison inmate named Keith Judd in the 2012 primary.”

  9. None of these West Virginia specific ideas are very motivating given that West Virginia voters acted exactly as predicted on the assumption that a) they are just like everybody else in this country and b) their preference in the Democratic primary would follow a commonly observed pattern based on ethnicity.

  10. #11
    OK – I get the ethnicity part. What seems different is that liberals voted for Clinton and reactionaries for Sanders. According to zebra’s link this also proved to be the case in (parts of) Oklahoma.

    “Mrs. Clinton’s profound weakness in a county named “Coal” is not because of her comments about shutting down coal mines, as one might expect. Those comments came after the Oklahoma primary.

    It’s because Coal County, like much of the traditionally Democratic parts of the South, has a huge number of registered Democrats who now vote Republican in presidential elections. In the states with closed or semi-closed contests — like Oklahoma — these registered Democrats can participate only in the Democratic primary.

    When they do, they have tended to vote against Hillary Clinton (and for Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont).

    …These conservative Democrats are a legacy of the old Democratic strength among white voters in the South, where many white conservatives nonetheless remain registered as Democrats.”

    Based on this it would appear that West Virginia is an ethnic conformist that reverses the ideological pattern of most other Sanders states. Or am I missing something?

  11. Greg Laden, you reversed the numbers for Clinton and Sanders in Indiana:

    The actual numbers are:
    Bernie Sanders (won), 44 delegates, 52.5%
    Hillary Clinton, 39 delegates, 47.5%

    I apologize for making a general comment; I was not thinking specifically about West Virginia. In general, Bernie is outperforming the polls. It might be worth noting that one exception is New York, and one reason for that is they have direct memories of Senator Clinton which contradict the Bernian oppo-work-driven memes.

    Cosmicomics, I read the links, which were one more reminder that in a contest between the art of the possible and the impossibility of achieving the necessary on climate, Clinton chose the former. I like that, but despair that it is not enough.

    Towards the end she waffles about fracking, but I worry that hopeful idealism will make things worse in our world, enabling climate denial in a big way by abstaining from the imperfect. This is why I’ve switched from supporting Bernie to supporting Hillary.

  12. Cosmicomics, that might be. But when the cat lands on its feet, again, it is hard to determine if the reason this time is different from all the other times.

  13. Regarding the vox thing, I refer you to my interview with Newsweek a while back in which I noted that Obama 08 and Clinton ’16 are running parallel, leaving Sanders ’16 to be something, but not exactly, like Clinton 08.

    In other words, I don’t disagree with that argument, but I would simply say it works across all the states among the white voters.

  14. FWIW, and I’m not paying too close attention to this, Clinton beat Obama in 2008 in WV where she’s now perceived as part of the tainted “Obama/Clinton Agenda.” Maybe it’s too glib to say that everything is tainted by race in the south, but…

    Elsewhere, well, you can frame Sanders v. Clinton as idealism v. pragmatism, but scratch the surface and it’s about tolerance for risk/reward and who you want to trust and what you fear.

    There was an interesting program on Diane Rehm the other day about animal intelligence that drifted briefly into politics and our similarity to chimpanzees in that regard. Puts things in perspective…

  15. #13
    I think you’ll find this interesting:

    It deals with pragmatism versus idealism in the context Obama-Clinton-Sanders.

    I’m glad that Sanders has been in the race, and Clinton has obviously changed some of her positions because of him. As far as the idealism-pragmatism contrast is concerned, I think that Sanders needs to have a detailed pragmatic fall-back position, and I’m not sure that he does. If you get a Republican House, hopeful idealism will be stopped by brutal reality. Even a Democratic Congress is no guarantee that hopeful idealism will succeed, cf. the healthcare debate within the party. Also, to your point on climate change, although Sanders states that climate change is the most important issue facing us, it doesn’t seem to be integrated into his top-priority list, which seems to be reflexively dominated by millionaire-billionaire concerns.

  16. cosmicomics:

    “…reverses the ideological pattern of most other Sanders states.”

    Perhaps you have some other info on this?

    I have pointed out in the past that when you examine the past results on county/precinct levels (NYT has great interactive for this) Sanders consistently wins in the most conservative areas– ones that voted against President Obama. Rural, exurban v cities and many suburbs.

    The factors are gender and ethnicity, guns, and strategic voting. Sanders isn’t getting the votes of poor, uneducated white males based on his being to the left of Clinton, certainly. These people voted for Romney, the ultimate job-destroying corporatist financial manipulator.

  17. Romney, the ultimate job-destroying corporatist financial manipulator and white-collar thief.

    There, fixed that for you.

  18. Greg #23,

    Sorry, I’m someone who was an early adopter and even did some work advancing computer stuff, but I clearly have a different concept than you young folks about “great interactive”. (Interesting revelation when I thought about your question for a bit.)

    The main NYT primary maps allow you to break down the results locally. From there, you can find various breakdowns of previous elections; I can’t even remember right now which sources I used. But no, there isn’t “an app” that automatically compares 2012 presidential results with 2016 primary results, if that’s what you are looking for, as far as I know.

    This progression of expectations is a subject a serious anthropology type should be able to spin into a paper, don’t you think? 😉

  19. #20
    “Perhaps you have some other info on this?”

    No, and it could be that I’m taking things for granted that I shouldn’t. But this is the only case I know of where Sanders voters have been asked whether they would vote for him in the general election, and many answered no. The explanation – registered Democrats in southern states who have a history of voting Republican and who are voting against the probable Democratic candidate – makes sense.

    The information you provide isn’t solid evidence, and can point in different directions. It wouldn’t surprise me if there are voters in other areas who are supporting Sanders to split the Democrats and because they believe he would be a weaker candidate, but it would be wrong to reduce Sanders’s support to this, or to resort to a conspiracy of Republican masterminds, fellow-travelers, and dupes.

  20. cosmicomics 25,

    I put racism and gender bias first on my list and strategic voting last. Perhaps you didn’t realize that the order indicates how important the factors are.

    Race is a very big deal in the US. That’s true for rural NY State as well as West Virginia. (Guns as well.) Perhaps you are not familiar with the prevalence of this effect– it is true in most parts of the country.

    The “proper role” for women is also a source of strong cultural motivation, even for conservative women.

    So, we observe that a population

    1. Votes for Hillary against Obama in 2008 primaries.
    2. Votes for Romney against Obama in 2012 general election.
    3. Votes for Bernie against Hillary in 2016.

    What is your alternative explanation? As I said, it certainly isn’t an ideological flip-flop.

  21. #27
    I don’t need an alternative explanation because I believe my previous one was correct.

    “I put racism and gender bias first on my list and strategic voting last.”

    That’s your theory, but where’s your evidence? Regarding gender bias, on an earlier occasion I mentioned women like Palin, Bachmann, and Ernst. Gender bias doesn’t seem to be an issue when a woman is saying things that reactionary men want to hear. And these are not stay at home moms. They are women in positions of social power.

    “So, we observe that a population

    1. Votes for Hillary against Obama in 2008 primaries.
    2. Votes for Romney against Obama in 2012 general election.
    3. Votes for Bernie against Hillary in 2016.”

    This is an oversimplification. I believe that a large segment of the population that voted for Clinton in the 2008 primaries voted for Obama in the general election. If you have information that contradicts this, please show it. There are legitimate reasons for supporting Sanders and being skeptical of Clinton. There are also legitimate reasons for supporting Clinton and being skeptical of Sanders. Both have their strengths and their flaws. Trying to delegitimize Sanders by tying him to gender bias and racism doesn’t work.

  22. Really. A particular jurisdiction’s total population being on average more conservative may explain the jurisdiction’s favoring both Hillary over Obama in the 2008 primary and Romney over Obama in the 2012 general election. However, the “population” in the former is not at all the same as the population in the latter; it is a selected subset.

    Zebra hints if the Democratic voters in a “conservative” jurisdiction favor Sanders over Clinton, he must therefore be more conservative than she is. Its assumption regarding those voters is what is called the fallacy of composition in elite-speak; its assumption regarding the candidates is risible to anyone who has listened to the candidates talk. What Sanders is, is more populist.

    He is certainly not more racist (“bring to heel” anyone?), and he and Hillary are both white – further, he’s Jewish – so there’s no reason to assume that ethnic bigotry increased his support. White voters whose primary motive is racism, which is not most white voters, should mostly support Trump. Sanders’ populism means that he treats an unemployed blue-collar guy as having legitimate gripes and needs, rather than sneering at him for being trailer trash and suggesting, as some elite liberals do, that as such he is automatically a racist, so who cares if he’s suffering? This is why more rural white guys, whether racist or not, support Sanders: he gives more evidence of caring about what happens to them.

  23. cosmicomics,

    Sorry, I don’t know what your “previous explanation” was.

    Also, you seem to say that there is some ideological pattern in previous primaries, but you haven’t explained what that is.

    As the primaries have occurred, I have looked at the maps from the NYT and the pattern seems pretty consistent with areas that voted strongly for Romney being where Sanders has the best results. There are exceptions, but not many, like college towns where the population is not indigenous.

    I don’t see how any of this “delegitimizes” Sanders. It only indicates that the results in the primaries don’t indicate ideological support based on his policy positions.

    I’ve been clear all along that I see historical results and longer-term polling indicating that the majority of US voters tend to be moderate. To suggest that rural counties in Red States are hotbeds of socialist revolutionary fervor is pretty silly. There is no silent majority ready for the great revolution, so the best explanation is anti-Hillary sentiment based on factors other than policy.

  24. “..,so the best explanation is anti-Hillary sentiment based on factors other than policy…”

    Probably for different reasons, different populations don’t trust her. For instance, on the right there has long been a lot of frothing at at the mouth about the Clintons in general, who have been convenient symbols upon which to hang a whole chorus of dog whistling and over-the-top manufactured petty outrage.

    On the left there are plenty who are, and long have been, just plain fed up with the BAU, center right politics that she represents to them. To try to write off and diminish what Sanders represents as simply being a product of dumb ass bigotry is nonsense.

    There’s a time to go slow and futz around with end-justifies-the-means triangulatin’ “pragmatism”, and there’s a time to recognize that there’s a real appetite for change out there, and deal with *that*. Why do you think the stupid punditry got it so wrong for so long? Holy cow.

  25. #30
    Let’s begin with your way of discussing:

    “To suggest that rural counties in Red States are hotbeds of socialist revolutionary fervor is pretty silly.”

    Who has suggested that? Please provide documentation. If no one is suggesting it, why use it to represent the position of someone who disagrees with you?

    I’ll continue when I’ve received an answer.

  26. cosmicomics,

    I don’t wish to engage in a nitpicking debate about literary terminology, but I think that statement qualifies as a form of “litotes”. It is not to be taken as literally saying someone used the phrase “hotbed of of socialist revolutionary fervor”.

    This should be obvious, but I will assume English is not your native tongue, and you are not familiar with the more subtle forms of rhetorical expression.

    How about: “It is illogical to think that people who consistently vote Republican (e.g. Romney) would vote for Bernie based on ideology.”

  27. Obtreporous 31,

    First– I have no idea what people mean when they say they “don’t trust Hillary”.

    All I’ve ever been able to get from questioning them is that if she says something they agree with, she is lying, but when she says something they disagree with, she is telling the truth.

    Makes no sense to me. She doesn’t appear different from any politician, including Bernie, except for the fact that she is a woman. She seems a lot like Al Gore, in terms of stiff presentation, which is unfortunate, but otherwise not out of the norm.

    Second, I didn’t say there were no people responding to Bernie’s policies, I said those who are conservative historically did not do a 180 and become left-liberals.

    And so far, as I have said, I don’t see evidence that the majority of US general election voters have changed their preference for candidates they perceive to be moderates.

  28. @33 – That wasn’t a litotes by the dictionary definition – perhaps you are not familiar with rhetorical subtleties? – more like a straw man fallacy.

    Hillary’s dishonesty, arrogance, cronyism, and militarism are indeed similar to those of many top male politicians in Washington. If you haven’t noticed, the very male Congress has an even worse approval rating than she does. The public is fed up across the board with politicians who devote themselves to protecting the privileges and power of the American political class while the working class collapses into poverty.

    Most Americans are moderates who vote for what Obstreperous Applesauce correctly identifies as center-right politicians … so long as the existing system is working well enough for them that they don’t have good reason to fear their children will end up in a tent city. When the latter changes, the former can also change. I remind you that FDR was able to shove a social safety net down the throats of his fellow rich people because he could honestly say that the likely alternative, if Americans continued to starve, was some form of Communist revolution.

  29. #33
    Not an answer, but an evasion, a self-exculpatory expression of arrogant ignorance – more lie than litotes. Jane (#35) is correct. We’re dealing with another of your straw men:

    Coupled with your repeated attempts to stack the deck, are your denigrations and overweening self-promotions:

    “…but I will assume English is not your native tongue, and you are not familiar with the more subtle forms of rhetorical expression.”
    (And from the thread linked to above)
    #19 “This may seem overly subtle parsing to you…”
    #13 “I’m trying to refine the argument, not refute it.”

    To put it as gently as I can: Your approach is not conducive to a productive discussion, and it doesn’t portray you in a favorable light.

  30. To suggest that the complexity of U.S. political races can be reduced to and adequately explained by the simple notion of race is pretty silly.

    But hey, if you want to keep dwelling on this and ignore the discussions about the other factors that are involved, that’s up to you.

  31. #37
    No, I’m not complaining about “style.” I’m complaining about manipulation and dishonesty. Is that difference too subtle for you?

  32. Lyndon Baines Johnson, who, had he not inherited Vietnam, would have been considered one of the great liberal Presidents:

    “I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it,” he said. “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

  33. Lyndon Baines Johnson would not fail to be considered one of the great liberal Presidents simply because he inherited or did not inherit a war. That was obviously not his fault or within his control. (What he did with it is what counts.)

    That said, what was the political “truth” in the 1960’s does not necessarily ring true 50 years later. One example: Most voters accept gay marriage today. Was that also the same 50 years ago?

  34. Well, I’m not one to minimize the impact of race which is still a big deal on American politics. However, since Viet Nam has been mentioned, we might as well point out that two monster drivers in politics have been free market fundamentalism and militarism. Echos of cold war and post Viet Nam politics still live on. The only reason we’re not hearing the constant drone of far right wing whinging over FDR, and frothy gloating over the fall of the Berlin wall is the gigantic mess made by GWB. In this bizarro world, the Clinton’s still represent a retreat from the nostalgic, hippie-punching glory of the Reagan years. IMO.

  35. As Brainstorms noted (#38), reducing complexity to simplicity doesn’t provide adequate explanations. And how did zebra react to that? Why, by being zebra, ignoring what Brainstorms said, and doubling down on the notion that one thing explains everything.

    Below are some of the factors in addition to racism that have to be taken into consideration. The first is the development of the economy and its effects on the lives of ordinary Americans:

    “It is not enough to say that Trump is a purely racial phenomenon. Nor is it complete to argue that he is the perfectly predictable result of economic upheaval. Rather, in the last half-century, several events have pushed conservative white American middle-class men to conflate their majoritarian, economic, and cultural decline. Economic anxiety and racial resentment are not entirely separate things, but rather like buttresses in an arch, supporting each other in the creation of something larger—Donald Trump.”

    “The economic forces driving this year’s nomination contests have been at work for decades. Why did the dam break now?
    The share of the gross national product going to labor as opposed to the share going to capital fell from 68.8 percent in 1970 to 60.7 percent by 2013, according to Loukas Karabarbounis, an economics professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
    Even more devastating, the number of manufacturing jobs dropped by 36 percent, from 19.3 million in 1979 to 12.3 million in 2015, while the population increased by 43 percent, from 225 million to 321 million.
    The postwar boom, when measured by the purchasing power of the average paycheck, continued into the early 1970s and then abruptly stopped …
    In other words, the economic basis for voter anger has been building over forty years.”

    “ ‘McJob’ was in use at least as early as 1986, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), which defines it as ‘An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector.'[2] Lack of job security is common.”

    Economic problems have had a documented effect on health:

    “White women have been dying prematurely at higher rates since the turn of this century, passing away in their 30s, 40s and 50s in a slow-motion crisis driven by decaying health in small-town America, according to an analysis of national health and mortality statistics by The Washington Post.
    Among African Americans, Hispanics and even the oldest white Americans, death rates have continued to fall. But for white women in what should be the prime of their lives, death rates have spiked upward. In one of the hardest-hit groups — rural white women in their late 40s — the death rate has risen by 30 percent.
    The Post’s analysis, which builds on academic research published last year, shows a clear divide in the health of urban and rural Americans, with the gap widening most dramatically among whites…
    White men are also dying in midlife at unexpectedly high rates. But the most extreme changes in mortality have occurred among white women, who are far more likely than their grandmothers to be smokers, suffer from obesity or drink themselves to death…
    The Post last month found a correlation between places with high white death rates and support for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

    Another factor behind the rise of Trump is the Republican delegitimization of government:
    “But if you forced me to pick one factor explaining what’s happened, I would say this is a self-inflicted wound by Republican leaders.
    Over many years, they’ve adopted strategies that have trivialized and delegitimized government. They were willing to play to a nativist element. And they tried to use, instead of stand up to, the apocalyptic visions and extremism of some cable television, talk radio, and other media outlets on the right.
    GOP leaders “tried to fan the flames of populist anger” — but ended up “undermining their own authority”
    And add to that, they’ve delegitimized President Obama, but they’ve failed to succeed with any of the promises they’ve made to their rank and file voters, or Tea Party adherents.
    …Trump clearly had a brilliant capacity to channel that discontent among Republican voters — to figure out the issues that’ll work, like immigration, and the ways in which populist anger and partisan tribalism can be exploited. So of course, to me, he became a logical contender.”
    There are local factors that apply to one or some states that don’t apply to others:
    “Fifty-five percent of West Virginia’s Democratic voters with coal workers in their households voted for Sanders on Tuesday, while only 29 percent voted for Clinton.
    So why did this happen? The West Virginia politics experts who spoke to ThinkProgress said the answer likely has less to do with widespread support for Sanders’ coal policies, and more to do with a symbolic rejection of the Obama administration’s coal policies. Many West Virginia Democratic voters see Clinton as an extension of the Obama administration — and despite the fact that Clinton’s policies are probably more pro-coal than Sanders’, voters are protesting the Obama administration’s energy agenda by voting for anybody but Clinton.
    …Of course, there are many West Virginia Democrats who voted for Sanders based on the meat of his policy proposals. But there is evidence to support the theory that many West Virginians cast protest votes, and that those votes benefited Sanders in the end.”

    Unlike most states, West Virginia has a significant number of Republicans who can’t vote in the Republican primary because they’re registered as Democrats:

    “Sanders also benefited from support among Democratic primary voters who said they would favor Trump over Clinton or Sanders in a general election. Roughly 1 in 3 primary voters said they would back Trump in the general election over Clinton, and Sanders won two-thirds of their votes.”

    Clearly, the present situation in the U.S. is the result of a multiplicity of factors, and focusing on only one of those while ignoring all the others is an example of motivated reasoning and very poor analytical skills.

  36. Brainstorms,

    Getting back to the original subject, which everyone is trying to change (validating the reference I gave at 37)…

    Yes, the majority appears to accept gay marriage, but it is still a potent motivator for a subset of the population, just like race and gender. That’s why the Repubs keep using it.

    So, as to the original question about the voting pattern that has been described (which I pointed out is consistent beyond West Virginia at the county level):

    Race and gender are the logical explanations for the pattern, secondarily guns and strategic voting. Traditionally conservative areas do not agree with the Euro-socialist rhetoric of the Sanders campaign; there is no “revolution”.

    Although I can’t provide the same kind of supporting evidence I did above, my speculation is that as “soft” or unconscious racism, gender-role expectations, homophobia, and so on, have become less prevalent and acceptable in the general population, hard-core bigotry has become, well, more hard-core.

    Voting for Sanders, in those areas and among that particular demographic, is part of lashing out against that change. Again, there is no (Euro-socialist) “revolution”.

  37. cosmicomics,

    Perhaps you just want to be hostile and argumentative, but if not, you seem to be confusing focus with ignoring complexity. You also seem not to understand the implications of your own reference.

    The OP was about Sanders voters not Trump voters.

    Greg: “So why is Sanders beating Clinton in West Virginia.”

    I answered and extended the analysis to Sanders votes in other historically Republican county level results.

    Your own reference agrees with me:

    Many West Virginia Democratic voters see Clinton as an extension of the Obama administration — and despite the fact that Clinton’s policies are probably more pro-coal than Sanders’, voters are protesting the Obama administration’s energy agenda by voting for anybody but Clinton.

    Well, the question is, why are they protesting?

    If white women are dying at an alarming rate, you would think that Obamacare would be highly popular among the poor rural white demographic. And, while I can’t think of which state the study was done in, it turns out that it is popular as long as it is called something else. Gosh, I wonder why that is.

    Actually, cosmicomics, it is you who are not dealing with the “complexity” of the psychology behind this cultural phenomenon. Perhaps you think you have a better understanding than LBJ, who grew up in that milieu? Or the serious scholars who have studied Authoritarian Personality? Being afraid of minorities and women gaining status at white male expense goes back to the founding of the USA; it didn’t happen suddenly 50 years ago.

    Anyway, you have offered nothing to contradict my conclusion, which is that the votes for Sanders are not indicative of agreement with the policies and rhetoric of his campaign in those geographical areas I have characterized.

  38. Jane (35), that’s a broad brush you’re using. It sounds just like Republican opposition work, and my complaint is that on the Bernie hangouts, that kind of oversimplification is rife. My suggestion is that people look at the record. That said, I did vote for Bernie, and have been a fan of his for a long time. But his stubborn one-note claims and recent turn to more insistent insults and claims lacking context have turned me away from him.

    I recently found this, which addresses the problem head on with some specifics:

    Pick apart their voting records for the years they shared legislative seats. 93% identical votes. Differing on some key issues: She votes Yes to end the debate and vote the Immigration Reform Bill, He votes No. Several times. Many times. She votes No to allowing funding levels for troops in hot spots be raised/lowered at legislative will, He votes Yes. She votes Yes for a fixed deadline to end engagement in armed conflict, He votes No. BUT on any of the issues which could have put her in the pocket of wall street, made her a shill for financial or foreign interests, their voting records are identical. Bernie, What have you got for us? A revolution? Some of us were 18 fifty years ago. We grew up.

    One boomer leveraged his considerable fame and intellect to start a public charity. One of the goals is infrastructure and economic change in places like Africa. So, if Walter Rhett is mad at Hillary for not solving Africa’s considerable challenges during her term at State, consider that the Clinton Foundation enabled farmers in Malawi to plant 2,600,000 trees with the ability to capture 200,000 of CO2, a commodity which they can sell as carbon credits. Other farmers gained access to climate sensitive agronomy techniques, maize & soy production partnerships. More Africans (9.9 million) received access to aids drugs at prices negotiated by the foundation, in addition to clinics, training of local health workers and mothers.


  39. #47

    “The OP was about Sanders voters not Trump voters.”

    Correct, but the factors that have enabled Trump’s candidacy are to a certain extent the same as those that have enabled Sanders’s. They’re also factors that help explain why Obama became less popular after 2008, and why Clinton’s association with Obama hurts her among certain voters.

    “Greg: “So why is Sanders beating Clinton in West Virginia.”
    I answered and extended the analysis to Sanders votes in other historically Republican county level results.”

    No, you cherry picked to get the answer you wanted and ignored all information that challenges your conclusion. These are the state’s results in presidential elections since 2000.

    2000 Bush Gore
    Popular vote

    2004 Bush Kerry
    Popular vote

    2008 McCain Obama
    Popular vote

    2012 Romney Obama
    Popular vote

    The Republicans won each year, and Obama’s 2008 result is not appreciably worse than Kerry’s in 2004. It’s not very far behind Gore’s result in 2000. There’s a big change in 2012. Why? Is it because West Virginian voters suddenly became more racist than they were in 2008, or are there other factors, e.g. the drawn out economic crisis and the loss of coal mining jobs that better can explain this. Your only explanation is racism.

    My reference does not agree with you:

    “The West Virginia politics experts who spoke to ThinkProgress said the answer likely has less to do with widespread support for Sanders’ coal policies, and more to do with a symbolic rejection of the Obama administration’s coal policies. Many West Virginia Democratic voters see Clinton as an extension of the Obama administration — and despite the fact that Clinton’s policies are probably more pro-coal than Sanders’, voters are protesting the Obama administration’s energy agenda by voting for anybody but Clinton.
    …Of course, there are many West Virginia Democrats who voted for Sanders based on the meat of his policy proposals. But there is evidence to support the theory that many West Virginians cast protest votes, and that those votes benefited Sanders in the end.”

    One has to be willfully blind not to see the passage about “the Obama administration’s energy agenda,” and extremely obtuse not to understand that coal mining communities feel threatened by it. One also has to be extremely obtuse not to realize how disastrous a blunder it was for Clinton to declare, “we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

    Re. Obamacare, the state you’re thinking of is Kentucky, another coal mining state.

    “And, while I can’t think of which state the study was done in, it turns out that it is popular as long as it is called something else. Gosh, I wonder why that is.”

    You don’t have to wonder any more.

    “Perhaps you think you have a better understanding than LBJ, who grew up in that milieu?”

    What did LBJ have to say about the social consequences of the Great Recession and the collapse of coal mining?

    Why haven’t you acknowledged that reactionary men have no problem voting for reactionary women.

    “Anyway, you have offered nothing to contradict my conclusion, which is that the votes for Sanders are not indicative of agreement with the policies and rhetoric of his campaign in those geographical areas I have characterized.”

    Alas, you chose to leave out the following: “Of course, there are many West Virginia Democrats who voted for Sanders based on the meat of his policy proposals.” To a greater extent this would be the case in red states outside the South, where the remaining Democrats really are Democrats.

    Why do you consistently choose to ignore evidence that contradicts your one-sided argument? To be clear, you are not focusing on one cause among many. You are arguing that only one cause exists.

  40. cosmicomics,

    You aren’t making sense. And for someone who likes to use the term “strawman”, you are addressing everything but my point.

    It is obvious that there is “natural variation” in the voting, just like climate change– local factors have some effect. But that doesn’t change certain fundamentals, which are well studied and established.

    There are no coal mines in New York State, but we observe exactly the same pattern I have described, when we look at the county level, and this is true all over the country. There are also independent studies about racial attitudes, again at that higher resolution, and the results are consistent with this effect.

    So what are you arguing about? I have agreed there are policy-driven Sanders voters. How does that refute what I am saying about Sanders voters who aren’t policy driven?

    And specifically about West Virginia– Barack Obama got 23% of the primary vote there in 2008. Are you saying that this was because of the Obama Administration coal policy, and the pace of economic recovery? Was there a time machine involved?

  41. #51
    You’ve used the word litotes without understanding what it meant. You’re using the term straw man without understanding what it means. You have such a high opinion of yourself that you’re convinced you know things you don’t know. Referring to a dictionary is evidently beneath you. You’ve described yourself as a “political junkie.” No one has been as obstinately, pertinaciously wrong about the Republican primaries as you. Despite the rising mountain of evidence that John Kasich could not be the nominee, you continued to maintain that he would. This time you’ve hooked on to a theory for which you have no evidence, and you ignore or distort whatever evidence runs counter to your tale.

    “Race and gender are the logical explanations for the pattern.” #46

    No they aren’t. And, as I mentioned before, the only logical explanation for your “pattern” is an attempt to discredit Sanders by linking him to gender bias and racism.

    There are obvious parallels between Sanders and Trump:

    “ ‘By self-funding my campaign, I am not controlled by my donors, special interests or lobbyists. I am only working for the people of the U.S.!’ ” Donald Trump

    “ ‘The candidate is considered a political outsider by all the pundits. He’s tapping into the anger of the voters, delivers a populist message. He believes everyone in the country should have healthcare, he advocates for hedge fund managers to pay higher taxes, he’s drawing thousands of people at his rallies, and bringing in a lot of new voters to the political process. And he’s not beholden to any super PAC. Who am I describing?’ ” Brzezinski asked.
    Without missing a beat, Trump added that he is not beholden to any special interests or donors, before confidently asserting, “You’re describing Donald Trump.”
    There was only one problem: she wasn’t. Instead, Brzezinski told the billionaire businessman that she was describing Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed Democratic socialist.”
    “He went on to say that he and Sanders agree that the U.S. is being ‘ripped off big league on trade.’ ”

    On a superficial level Trump and Sanders have a similar appeal. Both their candidacies are the result of a long economic process that has hurt many Americans. They are both insurgent candidates from outside the parties’ establishments, and some voters believe they’re almost interchangeable. They’re not, and the parties they’re attempting to represent are totally different. Racism has been a part of the Republican Party’s DNA since it launched its Southern strategy. The racists have left the Democratic Party. The social solutions promoted by the Republicans have likewise meant that gender bias coalesces there, and not in the Democratic Party.

    One can oppose Clinton without being a racist or a proponent of gender bias, but there are valid reasons for not trusting her, and it is totally unnecessary to interpret protest votes against her as manifestations of racism and gender bias.

    Using your logic, Sanders’s losses can be interpreted in the following way: opposing Sanders because his campaign now seeks to overthrow a democratic electoral result, and because his political revolution is pie in the sky politics and he has nothing else to offer, is in reality nothing more than antisemitism.

    I have no desire to continue this discussion.

  42. cosmicomics,

    Clearly, you are overly sensitive to someone pointing out that you are being illogical. You also seem to have some kind of Denial issue about the significance of race and gender in the US, even though there is ample science on the subject.

    Anyway, for anyone interested in a nice discussion of the historical context:


    Certainly a valuable read for those who always bring up FDR– more evidence that he was far more like Hillary than like Bernie.

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