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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Bernie Sanders' campaign gains ground among younger women

As if to prove Sanders is right and Wall Street and other money interests control U.S. elections, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) overturned a ban on federal lobbyists, introduced by Obama in 2008, restricting donations from super-PACs.

A political action committee (PAC) is an organization that collects contributions from members and uses those funds to campaign for or against candidates for election or legislation. Only Hillary Clinton will benefit from the move, since she is the only candidate who takes such donations. Sanders refuses to take any funds from super-PACS. The move may help Sanders though, as it shows Hillary is dependent upon lobbyists for support.
According to the New York Times, Clinton received a total of $47.9 million from super-PACs in 2015 at the same time as she advocated campaign finance reform. The chair of the DNC, Debbie Schultz, also accepts money from super-PACs and corporate interests. As more and more Americans are asking their politicians to break off monetary dependence on wealthy individuals and corporations, the DNC is moving to gain increased funding from those sources to defeat Sanders who is attempting to reform the system. Shultz's seeming favoritism towards Clinton has led to calls for her resignation in some quarters.
A joint fund-raising group between the DNC and the Clinton campaign, named the Hillary Victory Fund, rose $26.9 million as of the the end of 2015. Thirty-three state Democratic parties signed pacts with Hillary's campaign. The Clinton campaign is said to control the funds and decide which states receive the funds. According to Bloomberg, New Hampshire received $124,000. Another factor that worked against Sanders in New Hampshire are that six super-delegates voted for Hillary even though Sanders received 60 percent of the vote in the primary election. Super-delegates are automatically seated and are free to vote for whomever they want.
The super-delegate system was started in the 1980s as a way of giving the party establishment more influence on determining who was the presidential nominee. Sanders will have an uphill battle to win. The Democratic establishment together with wealthy individual and corporate interests that bankroll the party are doing their best to defeat him.
The Sanders campaign and his policies have even caused splits among renowned elite economists. Gerald Friedman, an economist at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, provided data to explain the costs and benefits of Sanders economic agenda. These include his Medicare-for-all health plan, $15 an hour wage plan, equal gender pay program, and other programs. Four economists, Alan Krueger, Christina Romer, Austan Goolsbee, and Laura Tyson wrote an open letter to Friedman accusing him of "extreme claims" and claimed he undermined the whole progressive economic agenda. The Nobel Prize laureate Paul Krugman then set out in several blogs to criticize Friedman and Sanders. Citing the letter against Friedman, Krugman said Sanders was engaging in "fantasy" and "voodoo."
The attacks caused former Joint Economic Committee Executive Director, James Galbraith to defend Friedman. Galbraith, who teaches at the University of Texas, said none of Friedman's critics had actually crunched the numbers to show where Friedman was wrong. He directly accused all five prominent economists of dishonestly smearing Friedman to gain political points for Hillary Clinton. Galbraith said of the letter from the four economists:"You write that you have applied rigor to your analyses of economic proposals by Democrats and Republicans .On reading this sentence I looked to the bottom of the page, to find a reference or link to your rigorous review of Professor Friedman's study. I found nothing there."The criticism of Friedman is rather ironic since he himself supports Clinton, not Sanders. Galbraith concluded there were quite significant results from Sanders program because of their scale and that they were not fantasy. Galbraith concludes: "What the Friedman paper shows, is that under conventional assumptions, the projected impact of Senator Sanders' proposals stems from their scale and ambition. When you dare to do big things, big results should be expected. The Sanders program is big, and when you run it through a standard model, you get a big result. It is not fair or honest to claim that Professor Friedman's methods are extreme. Nor is it fair or honest to imply that you have given Professor Friedman's paper a rigorous review. You have not."
Galbraith is particularly angry that Paul Krugman has used his "high perch to airily dismiss the Friedman paper as 'nonsense.'" Many people rely on Krugman to make careful assessments, Galbraith claims, but in this case he has made no such assessment. Friedman's work in this case is far more careful than Krugman's casual dismissal of his work itself, based upon an analysis by the four economists that did not carefully analyze Friedman's work.
Along with the division about Sanders and his programs among economists, the polls vary as well. However, Sanders definitely appears to be gaining in popularity while Hillary's popularity is sliding. Ironically, Hillary is failing to gain the support of many women, especially younger women. Policies are trumping gender. The result has been some very flawed attempts to help Hillary by prominent feminists such as Gloria Steinem.
A recent poll by Fox News shows Sanders with 47 percent support to Clinton's 44 percent. This is a 10 percent gain over the same poll taken in January. While this is the first poll showing Clinton as trailing, in the last two Quinniplac University tracking polls Clinton led Sanders by only two per cent. The Hill blog notes:It's unclear whether the numbers are outliers or indicative of a dramatic change in the race. Outside of the Quinnipiac poll, Clinton posted double-digit leads in all three national polls conducted in February, with the largest lead coming in at 21 percentage points.
The Democratic establishment is getting more and more worried. Sanders was supposed to be the sheepherder who would help bring leftists back into the Democratic fold. The only problem is that he brought in too many sheep and it now looks as if they could take over the party and Clinton could lose the nomination.


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