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The Democratic Party Now Belongs to Hillary Clinton

For all intents and purposes, Hillary Clinton clinched the Democratic presidential nomination yesterday with a resounding double-digit win over Bernie Sanders in New York’s primary. From here on, the upcoming Democratic contests will have the air of a coronation procession for Clinton, and a death march for Sanders. The septuagenarian may continue to gripe about superdelegates, but his 280,000-vote loss in New York was a reminder that not everyone was feeling the Bern.

Up until now, Sanders drew rock star crowds [1] as he raged against the machine. Two days before the primary, 28,000 people showed up in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park to watch the candidate and to listen to Grizzly Bear. The Wednesday before, a crowd of 27,000 filled Greenwich Village’s Washington Square Park for Sanders and Vampire Weekend. Who needed Coachella when you had Bernie, people asked.

But opening acts aren’t the same thing as organization, concerts aren’t elections, and grand gestures don’t necessarily make you a winner. As Clinton pointed out [2] in her victory speech, “it’s not enough to diagnose problems. You have to explain how you actually solve the problems.” Left unsaid was Clinton’s hand in making the messes she was complaining about. But never mind, Clinton clearly conveyed the message that Sanders was not ready for prime time.

In hindsight, Sanders’ jetting to the Vatican just days before the primary looks like showboating, and his ill-prepared interview before the New York Daily News editorial board seems reminiscent of a stoner trying to ace a college biology exam. And Sanders paid for all of it.


On primary day, his appeal was limited to younger voters, single men, the very liberal, those with no religion, and rural New Yorkers—not exactly a winning coalition. In case anyone had forgotten, including Sanders himself, New York is not Vermont.

Clinton’s 16-point victory was impressive, as she came within a point of equaling her 2008 performance against Barack Obama in the New York Democratic primary, and this time it mattered. Clinton resoundingly won among men, women, and minorities, while battling to a draw among white voters. She had stitched together a viable coalition, and that’s what successful politicians do.

Yet, Sanders wasn’t the only casualty in the Democratic Primary. Yesterday marked the end of Clintonism, circa 1992; that is, the impulse to tack to the center while paying homage to law, order, and markets. To win, Clinton had to squirm away from the 1994 crime bill, and hoped the voters would forget about the fact that her husband left the campaign trail in 1992 as Arkansas governor to preside over the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a self-lobotomized cop killer.

The world had changed, and time had moved on. Instead of Bill trashing Sister Souljah, Hillary 2.0 paid homage to Rev. Al Sharpton, singing the tax-dodging and race-baiting Reverend’s praises all with little hope of snagging his pre-primary endorsement. But then again, Clinton, unlike Sanders, always knew it was all about the “W.” For Clinton, winning was everything.

The Jewish vote took a hit on Tuesday. According to the exit polls, Jews made up just 12 percent of the electorate. Religious “nones” now outnumbered Jewish voters by more than two to one. To put things in perspective, just eight years earlier the Jews cast 17 percent of Democratic ballots, while in 1980 the figure was 38 percent. The three “Is” of New York politics—Ireland, Israel and Italy—have been supplanted by hot sauce and Hamilton.

Policy-wise, Sanders chastised Israel and its prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and met with little open resistance. Even so, Israel continued to matter, as Sanders failed to pick up Manhattan’s Upper West Side while being decimated in Brooklyn’s heavily Jewish neighborhoods.

Starting today, Sanders will no longer be calling the shots. Sure, he may continue to clamor for Clinton to release her speech transcripts, but those calls will continue to fall on deaf ears. Likewise, Sanders will likely take aim at Clinton’s trustworthiness deficit, but in the upcoming Democratic contests, that will make little difference.

The reality is that Sanders’s campaign has run its course, and it’s not just the Deep South that hasn’t gravitated toward him. Polls out of California, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania all show Clinton holding comfortable if not insurmountable leads.

Last night, it was clear that Clinton had November on her mind. She turned her gaze and her guns on Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, lambasting them for their positions on abortion, the minimum wage, Muslims, and immigration, with the knowledge that most Sanders supporters will be in her corner come November. Susan Sarandon aside, Clinton is not hated by her own party, and that’s a very big deal.

According to the exit polls, 85 percent of New York Democrats said that they were prepared to vote for Clinton in the fall, and two-thirds indicated that they were either excited or optimistic about her being the Democratic standard bearer. In comparison, the Republican numbers looked like a prelude to civil war, a funeral, or all of the above.

Nearly a quarter of Republicans announced that they would not vote for Trump, while more than 40 percent said the same thing about Cruz. Meanwhile, a staggering 59 percent of New York Republicans said they were scared or concerned by the prospect of a Cruz candidacy. In other words, whoever emerges as the Republican nominee will have a tough road to travel.

To be sure, Clinton’s election is by no means inevitable. Most Americans find her dishonest, and she’s almost as unpopular with the public as Cruz. As for her oratory, Clinton’s speeches sound like a laundry list, and her listening audience often looks like it would rather be somewhere else. Passion and trust are not exactly her hallmark. But with Democrats coalescing behind her, and the Republicans poised for a bloodbath, Clinton remains the one to beat.

Lloyd Green was an alternate delegate to the 1988 Republican National Convention, opposition research counsel to George H.W. Bush’s 1988 campaign, and served in the Department of Justice between 1990 and 1992.

21 Comments (Open | Close)

21 Comments To "The Democratic Party Now Belongs to Hillary Clinton"

#1 Comment By JohnG On April 20, 2016 @ 12:47 pm

The results in Manhattan are telling: a coalition of the uber-establishment and minority votes. Actually on both sides, with Kasich winning over Trump. And watch for this to be repeated in DC. The establishment would like nothing more than have us “choose” between HRC and Kasich. Endless immigration, free trade, and of course wars.

Ann Coulter is right, it will be either Trump or “Adios America,” that is, globalist elites firmly in charge, playing us against each other. And if I hold anything against Trump, it is falling into the trap of playing the vilain, where it is really the other side that thrives on identity politics, HRC included.

#2 Comment By LouisM On April 20, 2016 @ 1:59 pm

I think its time for the republicans and conservatives to call a truce and for Cruz/Kasich to drop out. For all Trumps faults, he is the only one with the gravitas to stand at the podium opposite Hillary. Cruz and Kasich would appear amateurish student professors compared to a 40-50 year seasoned professor (Hillary). Neither has the gravitas to handle the liberal leftwing media, the liberal leftwing radicals & anarchists & social justice warriors & victim wars. Trump is the only one who has proven he can take the arguments from the left and dismiss them, change the boundaries of the discussion or argue their merits (though in an off the cuff unrehearsed manner)

Continuing the Cruz/Kasich/Establishment war against Trump only means Hillary will have months of unilaterial attacks against Republicans to solidify her position while Republicans infight. Its one thing to do it during the party nomination process but we are now far enough into the process where Republicans need to aim their guns at Hillary of face 8 more years of corruption and Obama Marxism.

#3 Comment By panda On April 20, 2016 @ 2:11 pm

“Yet, Sanders wasn’t the only casualty in the Democratic Primary. Yesterday marked the end of Clintonism, circa 1992; that is, the impulse to tack to the center while paying homage to law, order, and markets”

This line really belies the headline, doesn’t it? HRC will be the nominee, but she is hemmed in pretty tightly by the party’s liberal wing (unfortunately, only on economic issues..)

#4 Comment By Junior On April 20, 2016 @ 2:43 pm

125,000 registered Democrat voters were purged from the rolls in the district of Brooklyn where Sanders was born. The corrupted DNC at work putting the fix in to try and make it look like her lead was bigger than it was for their corrupted candidate, Crooked Hillary.


#5 Comment By Man Vs Machine On April 20, 2016 @ 2:59 pm

I think everyone already knew that the Clinton Machine owned the Democratic Party.

The pleasant surprise is the astonishing number of Democrats who reject the Clintons and the legacy of corruption, incompetence, and general sleaze they represent.

As for the NY result, HRC was originally touted to win her “home state” by 65-35 or better, which Sanders narrowed to 57-43. A win, to be sure, but not a very impressive one, particularly for a candidate whose political machine had an iron grip on the corrupt state party apparatus: take a look at the NY primary map – she barely had a pulse north of the NYC suburbs, whereas on the GOP side Trump swept everything except Manhattan.

#6 Comment By Connecticut Farmer On April 20, 2016 @ 5:07 pm

The current version of the Democrat party has for all intents and purposes abandoned the white working class in favor of something of a coalition of socially liberal/economically conservative elites, minority and “identity” groups (gays, women etc). The likelihood of Sanders bolting and running third-party, though theoretically possible, is unlikely. With the Republican Party in shambles, at this point it’s Hillary Clinton’s election to lose. If Cruz steals the nomination she wins in a walk. If Trump is nominated she still wins, but by a lesser margin. So she will be elected the first female president, thus realizing her life’s ambition. But, when all is said and done, what will have really been accomplished? They will celebrating in Hollywood, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and on the Ivy campuses, but for most of us pilgrims we’ll still be confronted by business as usual starting on the 21st of January 2017. And a particularly loathsome business at that.

When all is said and done, a politician is a politician, whether in a three piece suit or in a pants suit.

#7 Comment By EliteCommInc. On April 20, 2016 @ 9:11 pm

” . . . And if I hold anything against Trump, it is falling into the trap of playing the vilain . . .”

I think Mr. rump needs to be given some credit here. He has been cast as some manner of villain long before his campaign begun. The trap has been to take advantage of his generous tendency to actually speak his mind. He grants a lot of opportunities to those who intend him harm. Now I appreciate that he does. It speaks to a kind honest rendering unusual in politics.

And I don’t have any major issues with his leaning the lingo, and formulating his positions as he goes. Trying to reconfigure the current mess that is US politics domestic and foreign is tough.

It might have served well to to have said,

“At the moment, I have no clue, how to clean up the democratic mess, but I have some ideas.”

#8 Comment By Fred Bowman On April 20, 2016 @ 9:11 pm

Well the Republican Party has pretty much committed political suicide. So let Queen Hillary have the reins of power for next four years (and counting Obama’s 8 years) the Democrats will have had the White House for 12 years and who then will they have to blame when much of America is STILL in an economic decline and in perpetual war in the Middle East. Hopefully by 2020, most American will have opened their eyes (no pun intended) to the futility of our American two-party system to bring about any meaningful changes in the quality of American lives and how the rest of the world sees us. What happen then in America is any bodies guess. But I fear it’s going to get a lot worse, meaner and uglier before getting any better. As the band Pearl Jam sang in their song “Jeremy” – “we’ve unleashed a lion.” And that’s something that both the Sanders and Trump candidacies have show.

#9 Comment By TB On April 20, 2016 @ 10:05 pm

“Sanders may have crowds, but Hillary has the coalition.”

Clinton is qualified to perpetuate the status quo.
Sanders is the future.

#10 Comment By Cornel Lencar On April 20, 2016 @ 11:40 pm

I fail to see why Bernie’s interview was bad. I thought it was pretty good. But then the mass media pretended to see something that wasn’t there. Lie, lie, lie, and somebody will believe it…

#11 Comment By VikingLS On April 21, 2016 @ 1:45 am

Every time Clinton wins it’s supposed to be the decisive victory. Every time Sanders wins we’re told even with this win the odds are against him.

Let it play out.

#12 Comment By cka2nd On April 21, 2016 @ 2:51 am

panda says: “‘Yet, Sanders wasn’t the only casualty in the Democratic Primary. Yesterday marked the end of Clintonism, circa 1992; that is, the impulse to tack to the center while paying homage to law, order, and markets’

“This line really belies the headline, doesn’t it? HRC will be the nominee, but she is hemmed in pretty tightly by the party’s liberal wing (unfortunately, only on economic issues..)”

And even on economic issues, how hemmed in will she really be? She’s soft on a national $15 minimum wage. She’ll flip-flop on trade and the TPP, and if anyone expects her to actually encourage unionization, let alone strikes, I’ve got a bridge in desperate need of repair that I can sell to you for cheap. Ditto on anti-trust in finance or communications.

#13 Comment By Donald On April 21, 2016 @ 7:45 am

This piece shows the tendency towards oversimplification among pundits that occurs after a landslide victory. Yes, Sanders has lost. But it is silly to talk as though there is no dislike for her in the Democratic Party. There is a sizable minority that thinks she is a cynical opportunist who will say almost anything to win and whose most consistent policy commitment is to military interventionism and many will continue to believe this because the evidence backs them up. It is true that some people adjust their thinking to go with the winner, but not everyone does.

#14 Comment By Jon Cloke On April 21, 2016 @ 8:42 am

You forgot to mention Hedge Fund Chelsea, who’s being groomed to succeed her mum (have a look at the Clinton Fund and CGI twitter feed if you don’t believe me); two terms of Hillary and then two terms of Chelsea… what could possibly go wrong?

#15 Comment By Uncle Billy On April 21, 2016 @ 9:00 am

Hillary will win by default. Republicans have written off the Black vote and are now in the process of writing off Hispanics. Republicans have alienated single women with their Bible-thumping hostility to women’s reproductive rights, as well as gays and those close to them, with their knee-jerk hostility to gays. In short, to curry favor with White, Evangelical Christians, the GOP has alienated virtually everyone else.

To make matters worse, the GOP is now fractured with the so called GOP Base supporting Trump and the GOP elite wanting anyone else.

The Republicans are going to lose in November. They will lose the White House and several Senate seats, not to mention some House seats. The GOP will take a very bad beating and they will deserve it.

#16 Comment By Mark Thomason On April 21, 2016 @ 10:17 am

Hillary has always owned the Democratic Establishment of large donors and Super Delegates and the DNC.

Bernie owned a lot of voters, especially the excited new voters and those willing to send in large numbers of small donations. He still does.

If Hillary’s crew prevails in selecting the candidate, she still does not have those voters and small donors. They are motivated by their rejection of large donors and Establishment refusals to act on any real answers to real problems, aka you just can’t hope for more. Hillary can’t get them. Anyway, from her recent behavior, they think even less of her now than they did before this campaign.

Hillary is a dead end for the Party. At most, she can take it down so it is replaced by a new party built around voters.

#17 Comment By Calvin On April 21, 2016 @ 11:37 am

Yes, Hillary Clinton is opportunistic. Yes, I will be voting for Sanders in my upcoming primary.

And yes – I will be voting for Hillary in the general when she (most likely) finally secures the nomination. All politicians are opportunistic. Hillary at least has the benefit of actually having specific policy proposals to offer (and a record, in spite of claims to the contrary, of actually fighting for and helping pass legislation she promised to her voters). The Dem’s aren’t the Republicans – having a laundry list speech might not be inspirational, but we don’t have an irrational hatred of someone talking about actual legislation in a political speech. Policy may be boring, but it sure as hell matters a lot more than a “Make America Great” bromide.

I may not be super excited about her, but I’ll both willingly vote and canvas for her in the general. The modern Republican Party is a disgrace, and its love affair with Trump has only made it more disgraceful to me and other young minorities.

#18 Comment By Upstate Stalwarts On April 21, 2016 @ 11:49 am

Clinton continues to win with big margins in corrupt Democrat machine cities. Sanders wins everything else. Clinton wins with big margins among angry, bitter Boomer era females and in black majority inner city districts where voting is done by precinct captains and ward heelers rather than actual voters. Sanders wins every other demographic.

The map of the New York results tells the whole tale. Clinton wins New York City. She wins Buffalo by a few hundred votes. Sanders wins everything else.

Whether or not she gets the nomination, this isn’t the effortless coronation Clinton expected and felt entitled to. It’s the dead hand of the past, desperately, flailingly attempting to control the living. Energy and hope are with the Sanders people.

#19 Comment By panda On April 21, 2016 @ 11:50 am

“And even on economic issues, how hemmed in will she really be? She’s soft on a national $15 minimum wage. She’ll flip-flop on trade and the TPP, and if anyone expects her to actually encourage unionization, let alone strikes, I’ve got a bridge in desperate need of repair that I can sell to you for cheap. Ditto on anti-trust in finance or communications.

FWIW, I am myself dubious about the $15 as a national standard: it is above the current median wage in some states. In some ways, her opposition to this is why I think she will be hemmed in: if she intended to just break her promises, why bicker about details?

As for labor issues: I don’t have great expectations, but I also note that that in the last couple of years, the DOL had been as labor friendly as it been in the last 40 years. I have no reason to believe this willl change, as the bureacrats HRC will hire are the same people who worked for Obama.

#20 Comment By Uncle Billy On April 22, 2016 @ 8:39 am

I think that Hillary will be elected but be a one term President. Think of her one term as a third term for Obama. After 12 years, people will be sick of the Democrats and perhaps the Republicans will stop acting stupid for a while and actually get someone nominated who is not a buffoon, and can appeal to voters other than angry white men in Alabama. We can only hope.

#21 Comment By richard40 On April 22, 2016 @ 2:54 pm

True, unfortunately the repub party is likely to belong to Trump, which means we will now have 2 corrupt demagogic anti liberty parties, not just one. I haven’t done it in a lot of years, but it may be time to vote libertarian again, at least for prez.