AP Photo
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton interrupt each other during the Univision, Washington Post Democratic presidential debate at Miami-Dade College on March 9, 2016, in Miami.

Hispandering? Hillary and Bernie Fence Over Immigration

Steve Russell

Bernie Sanders must be as full of holes as a voodoo doll from the number of times pundits have stuck a fork in him, but he’s still not done. Just when Hillary Clinton thought it was safe to focus on the lunatic about to be nominated by the GOP, Sanders pulled off a stunning upset in the Michigan Democratic primary.

In addition to the pollsters having pushed Michigan into the Clinton column, it appeared that she had succeeded in a total distortion of Sanders’ record on the auto industry bailout. Sanders was stuck with one of those moments that sunk John Kerry, in that he voted for it before he voted against it.

The funds to save auto manufacturing in the U.S. had been rolled into the second tranche of money for saving the billionaire bankers who caused the whole fiasco in their first place. By that time, the voters had caught on that they were being pantsed by Wall Street, and merging the auto money required those trying to save auto worker jobs to vote against it and gamble being able to bring it back in a clean bill or to vote for it and pay off the perpetrators of the crisis.

Sanders voted against that and Clinton trotted the vote out to claim he was against the autoworkers. It should be noted that “autoworkers” includes much more than just GM and Chrysler. Small to medium parts makers—and a few big ones, like Johnson Controls and Cummins—employ thousands of people who stood to go down with the carmakers.

In the last debate, Sanders appeared to be blindsided by Clinton’s cockamamie claim. He knew that she knew better. This is the innocence of a pol who has never run a negative ad in his career.

Everybody knew that Clinton had Mississippi in the sack and Sanders needed Michigan to remain in the hunt. I went to bed thinking she had tricked the voters into sinking him—sad to say, a trick well within the common bounds of U.S. politics, where lots of legislative time is wasted on show votes to create data for bogus attack ads, and where you can kill a good bill by manipulating a cloture vote and claim you have no ink on your fingers.

The next day, Michiganders showed they had felt the Bern and Sanders was back from the dead. Again.

If the Democrats had any sense, they would purposely keep Sanders in the hunt even if they don’t like him, because most of the states Clinton has claimed so far are states that will not go Democrat in the general election.

The Republican southern strategy came from academia observing the possible electoral ramifications of the Civil Rights Movement. A Richard Nixon operative, Kevin Phillips, put the theory on the ground successfully in 1968.

Since Nixon, the anti-Civil Rights Dixiecrats have become the Republican base and the GOP is a party of the old confederacy. What remains of the Democrats below the Mason-Dixon line are a few white liberals and a lot of African-Americans enfranchised in 1965 by the Voting Rights Act. Lack of voter turnout in November has kept African-Americans from taking full advantage of their position, but they can dominate the Democratic primaries.

So Clinton sweeps the Republican base states and the national polls continue to reveal terrible scores for her on “honest and trustworthy.” The only candidate who scores lower is the one the Republicans seem determined to nominate. Both parties need a fallback position.

Last night’s debate was co-sponsored by Univision and broadcast in Spanish, making it inevitable that immigration came up prominently. Immigration was Donald Trump’s launching pad to popularity, so Trump’s people were trolling for sound bites.

Clinton tailored her opening statement to the audience, emphasizing upward mobility.

Sanders gave his one and only stump speech, attacking billionaires and Citizens United. This is why Clinton gets to call him a “one-issue candidate.”

Each candidate was served a fastball political question at the top of the first inning. For Clinton, it was, What went wrong for her in Michigan? After being pressed with a follow up, she said the vote had been very close and she was satisfied with the result.

For Sanders, it was, Can you win? He pointed out how far he’s come in a short period of time and claimed that with more of the same he could pull it out.

Keeping Clinton on the grill, the next question was about the State Department email fiasco. Who gave her permission to have her own server? Obama? Would she resign if indicted?


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