February 12, 2016

Sanders may hurt in the South, but could clean up in the Rust Belt

Since Trump's victory in South Carolina and elsewhere in the South seems fairly secure, let's continue checking in on the Other Side of the 2016 realignment.

The story all over right now is that in the deeply red states of the South, the handful of Democrats are mostly black, giving them more influence over the nomination down there.

First, they could be in for an upset with Gen X and Millennial blacks, if this report from NPR is at all accurate. Maybe Hillary will still win, but perhaps not by the presumed landslide. That matches what I've seen from the talking heads -- all the black Hillary supporters are Boomers and Silents, still stuck in the identity politics framework, while the Gen X and Millennial blacks are more likely to be either ambivalent or Sanders supporters, interested more in jobs, student loan debts, etc., and less in culture war topics.

Even if Hillary sweeps the South, though, the populist candidate may have better luck in the Rust Belt.

With all the superdelegate shenanigans going on, I looked up a table of how many delegates each state has who are chosen by voters vs. superdelegates chosen by the Establishment for Hillary. It's actually not as bad as I'd thought -- "only" about 15% of all delegates are superdelegates, who will go for Hillary. I thought they were even more corrupt, with a majority of delegates being out of the voters' hands.

To see where he would face the least amount of entrenched corruption, I looked to see where Hillary has less than half of the state's superdelegates already in her pocket. I also restricted it to states with at least 50 regular delegates. He could pick up smaller states, but let's just focus on the bigger ones he could win.

Most of these states are in the Rust Belt -- Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Kentucky (in decreasing order of delegates). These have been either blue states or swing states, not solid-red states. So, the Democrat electorate there will not be a small handful of blacks, as in the South, and pandering to racial topics (whether from a cultural or economic standpoint) will not play much of a role in the outcome.

This region is largely Trump country, so if Sanders keeps hammering away at how our trade deals have sucked so many jobs and entire sectors of the economy overseas, and how important it is to bring good jobs back to America, he could swing a good size of the voters. Identity politics does not resonate here, which is the main reason why it went mostly for Hillary in 2008 -- compared to the down-low half-black from the far West, she was the relatively lesser identity politics candidate (woman, semi-crypto-dyke).

Of course there are legions of college students with dim economic prospects, as everywhere else, and they'll go all-in for Sanders.

There are 686 delegates up for grabs in these six states, compared to 513 in the Black Belt states of the Southeast (east of the Mississippi). Worse, North Carolina should be taken out since fewer than half of their superdelegates are in for Hillary. Even adding in Florida, the Southeast is still 620 delegates -- about the same as in the six Midwestern states above.

I'm not sure that Sanders can do as well in Michigan, etc., as in New England, but it's worth remembering that even if he gets clobbered by the black vote in the South, he can still rebound with the white working class vote in the Rust Belt -- assuming he's willing to go to the mat with Hillary about NAFTA, TPP, free trade uber alles, and the rest of it. He's been incredibly wimpy so far, but perhaps the voters will go with the guy who stands at least some chance of doing something about off-shored jobs.

Outside of the Midwest, where else are there large-ish states with less than half the superdelegates already in Hillary's pocket? North Carolina has already been mentioned. It's more of a blue / swing state nowadays, what with all the East Coast carpet-baggers pushing the Bos-Wash Corridor further southward, in hopes of cheaper housing and living expenses but still with good white-collar jobs (Research Triangle). Even the Appalachian part of North Carolina is home to Bernie-friendly college towns like Asheville. So the Democrat electorate won't be so heavily drawn from blacks.

Then there's Texas and Louisiana. Heavily red states, the Democrats will be more heavily minorities, although as with South Carolina blacks, there could be an upset among the under-50 minorities if Sanders emphasizes jobs over culture.

Arizona is more or less the same story, only now with Democrats drawn more heavily from Mexicans specifically, not blacks. Not much luck.

His one final hope of an easy win outside the Rust Belt is Oregon, a deep blue state where there are no minorities, and where SWPL capital Portland is home to legions of underemployed and debt-saddled college students and grads.

These are only the states that have at least 50 delegates; he could pick up smaller states too. And there are other states who have already given at least half of their superdelegates to Hillary -- that suggests local corruption that will be hard to overcome, but not impossible. Even if he loses a big state, he still may get a good-enough share of the delegates (I'm not looking up which states are proportional or winner-take-all for the Democrats, since Wikipedia doesn't say).

My hunch is that his best chances at overcoming the stacked deck of superdelegates are in the upper Plains and Mountain states, where Obama did well (and not by pandering to blacks), and where the Clintons are not so firmly entrenched. These places are also full of transplant strivers loaded up with student loan debt, and to the extent that identity politics matters to them at all, it's tilted toward the SWPL crowd that Bernie represents, and not blacks / Mexicans / feminists / Sodomites.

Sanders is certainly going to have an up-hill battle, though don't count him out just because he might not do so well among blacks in the South or Mexicans in Nevada.

Trump will be President, but we need Sanders to dethrone Hillary on the Other Side so that the Establishment gets the loudest possible signal that we're done with the era of laissez-faire economics and politics, and done with distracting culture war bullshit.


  1. theo the kraut2/12/16, 10:44 PM


    Greg writes about cat ladies.

    Psychologist James Thompson comments:

    - Enjoy the fact that you are lining things up for the next revelation: that a toxo could alter sexual preferences so as to increase its chances of transmission from one digestive tract into another.

    Commenter TWS points to a very interesting take on the topic by neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky and writes:

    - That’s the scariest thing I’ve watched all day. We have a dangerous parasite and the government wants to weaponize it. Also it hits the risk aversion and sexual pleasure centers. Now what does that make me think of?

  2. I don't want Sanders anywhere near the nomination. He's a far tougher candidate than Hillary even if he doesn't try, and if he does become President will use executive power to conduct amnesty. He will destroy the country if he gets elected.

  3. Random Dude on the Internet2/13/16, 9:51 AM

    Sanders won't win because of the Democratic machine. Clintonites have taken prominent roles in the machine and also because Sanders is an independent who has defeated several Democrats in Vermont. The 1968 DNC convention is what happens if the wrong Democrats start winning. In this instance, Sanders is the wrong Democrat. There is a reason why Hillary is essentially unopposed from the Democrats even though there was a very strong push last fall for Joe Biden to run.

    The thing is, it will be done in such a manner that will leave a bad taste in the mouth of Sanders supporters that there will be a very real movement for Sanders supporters to stay home or go for a third party. Sanders himself might entertain running independently, regardless of what he says. Most Sanders supporters will switch to Clinton but there may be a sizable section of Sanders supporters who stay home, vote third party, or write in Bernie's name as a protest vote. This section might represent 2-3% of the popular vote, similar to Ralph Nader in 2000, the last time when the left was fed up with the Democratic machine.

    Trump will still win regardless of the candidate by similar margins. I fully expect him to pick up anywhere from 375 to 425 electoral votes by picking up states that were formerly thought to be lost to the Democrats forever, like Michigan and Oregon.

    1. I understand Michigan, but why Oregon? What's going on there?

  4. I don't think the West Coast is going to vote Trump in the general, but Oregon was the last to be colonized by transplant strivers, the least yuppified (although the Portland transplants are doing their best to make that happen).


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