Hot Air: The Game Is On The Level

Playing The Numbers

The whole narrative being pushed by Bernie’s most ardent supporters — that the Democratic National Committee and Hillary are in cahoots, rigging the system — gets a lot more play on social media these days than do Bernie’s positions on the issues.

And that’s funny because all he ever talks about are the issues. He’s got a one-track mind and that track is clogged with scads of issues. Which is fine by me. Remember, I voted for Bernie in the Indiana primary.

Hillary talks about issues too. But she seems a bit more open to banter and tangents, her stump speech more conversational than Bernie’s doctrinaire style.

Trump talks issues on rare occasions, especially when he needs to blow his dog whistle on immigration, fat women, women in general, losers, and what a crook Hillary is. Which, BTW, is precisely what Bernie’s fanatics harp on constantly — that Hillary’s no better than a masked mugger waiting to jump out of the shadows.

The more I hear from Bernie’s biggest boosters, the more I hear the echoes of Trump’s people and the Tea Party-ists of a couple of years ago. I hear a bunch of cocksure ideologues screaming in my ear.

My guy Nate Silver, who runs the 538 operation, co-bylined a piece with Harry Enten Thursday asserting that nobody’s rigging nothin’. Simply put, more people in the Democratic Party want Hillary than want Bernie.

The authors ran a chart showing the vote totals in all the states that so far have held caucuses or primaries. Guess what. Hillary’s kicking the bejesus out of Bernie. She’s coming out way ahead in those states that have the most voters and have had higher turnouts, smashing the Bernie-istas’ charge that their guy “wins when the turnout is higher.”

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Click Chart For Full Story

T’ain’t so, kiddies. He wins in low-turnout caucuses which tend to draw committed, avid backers. And, trust me, nobody’s more committed and avid than a Bernie-ista. Unless it’s a Tea Party-ist (I won’t even do the cute faux-Spanish suffix for those numbskulls).

I’ll head off the knee-jerk arguments of my Feel the Bern friends right now. They’re going to say Nate Silver is full of crap because he predicted in February Trump didn’t have a ghost of a chance and/or his and Enten’s numbers are phony.

Silver was wrong about Trump but, honestly, wouldn’t any sentient being back in the winter have considered America’s Shart the longest of long shots?

Only a cynic like me took Trump seriously. And, believe me, it gives me no pleasure at all to be so contemptuous of the intelligence (actually, lack thereof) of the American voter that I foresaw the rise of Trump. At least Silver was clinging by his fingernails to the myth that the electorate of this holy land possesses some tiny shred of perception. I lost my childlike wonder years ago.

Anyway, I’m still looking forward to a bang-up speech by Bernie at the Convention this July. I’m not completely bereft of optimism.

May 28th Birthdays

Louis Agassiz — The 19th Century biologist and geologist was way ahead of his time by studying the Earth and its life through those two lenses. He proposed that the Earth had experienced ice ages, a hypothesis later confirmed. He did, though, believe the races were created by god separately and that Darwin’s evolution ideas were the bunk.

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Ian Fleming — A spy himself during World War II, he wrote the James Bond novels, beginning with Casino Royale. Here’s a shocker: He also wrote the children’s story (and later, movie musical starring Dick Van Dyke) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Who knew? One more shocker: Have you seen the interwebs push for Gillian Anderson to play Bond in the next 007 film? I’m totally up for that.

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Ruby Payne-Scott — Hey, I just mentioned her in the death section of the May 25th post. She’s worth mentioning again.

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Barry Commoner — He was Bernie Sanders long before Bernie Sanders became a national figure. Commoner, a biologist, in 1970 tied together humanity’s environmental degradation, its energy use, and America’s struggling economy. He ran for president in 1980 on the Citizens Party ticket, garnering 233,052 votes, less than 1 percent of the total cast. I voted for him.

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Betty Shabazz — Born Betty Sanders and also known as Betty X, she was the wife of Malcolm X. She was certain Malcolm was assassinated — she’d witnessed his killing — by Nation of Islam members order orders from Louis Farrakhan. Her daughter, Qubilah Shabazz, was charged with conspiring to kill Farrakhan in the mid-90s. As part of a plea agreement she underwent psychological treatment. Betty, after Malcolm’s murder, went on a pilgrimage to Mecca and earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in health administration. In 1975, she served on the American Revolution Bicentennial Council at President Ford’s invitation.

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Malcolm & Betty X

On this day in 2014, Maya Angelou died. Born Marguerite Johnson, she was America’s most well-known poet during her latter years. Here’s even more who knew? stuff: Early in her adult life, Angelou was a nightclub dancer, performing at the Purple Onion in San Francisco, as well as an actor, appearing in the European touring company of Porgy and Bess. She also released a 1957 album as a singer, Miss Calypso. Her 1969 autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, brought her international acclaim.

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