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The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

A STEEP HILL TO CLIMB

As we move into the run-up to the 2016 election, it is worth reminding ourselves what a steep hill either Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton will have to climb.  In the first two and a half centuries of the United States, it was quite common for one party to hold the White House for three or more consecutive terms: Jefferson, Monroe, and John Q. Adams for seven terms, Jackson and Van Buren for three terms, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, and Arthur for four terms, McKinley, Roosevelt and Taft for four terms, Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover for three terms, and of course FDR and Truman for five terms.

But since 1952, only Reagan and George H. W. Bush have managed it [if we do not count Al Gore, who really won in 2000 but had the victory stolen by the Supreme Court.]  I have long thought that Clinton would have a difficult time against a standard conservative Republican and that Sanders would have no chance at all, but if my projections are correct and Trump wins the nomination, I think a trifecta is more than likely.

The South Carolina Republican primary in just seven days is the key.  If Trump's 35% in the polls holds up, and if the other Republican candidates stay in the race through March 1st [so-called Super Tuesday], Trump, I believe, will sweep to the nomination.  

At that point, Bloomberg may announce a third party run, which would ensure a Democratic victory.

10 comments:

s. wallerstein said...

Why would Bloomberg entering the race ensure a Democratic victory?

I did read an article in the NYT a few weeks ago that said that Bloomberg follows the polls very closely (and has his own polls) and will not enter the race unless he is convinced that he has a good chance of winning. That is, he is the opposite of someone like Sanders who is running because he has a message to get across or a dream to communicate.

Keith said...

Wouldn't Bloomberg's entry in the race divide the sane vote in two, leaving Trump for the win?

Keith said...

Wouldn't Bloomberg's entry in the race divide the sane vote in two, leaving Trump for the win?

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I think Bloomberg would draw the non-crazy Republican vote, the "Establishment" vote, but not much of the Democratic vote. Needless to say, I could be wrong.

s. wallerstein said...

Here's one from my family:

Reform Jewish, over 80, life-long Democrat, enthusiastic Hillary supporter in 2008 and today, income over 50,000 dollars a year, university education and some graduate studies, NYT reader, pro-choice, pro-Israel, New York area resident. Would vote for Hillary over anyone, but would vote for Bloomberg over Sanders. I don't know how typical she is.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Sigh. That is as bad omen.

s. wallerstein said...

I would parse her case this way:

1. Identification with Hillary out of gender solidarity, but especially gender solidarity with other professional women, never with working class women.

2. Support for Hillary because she is more hawkish than Sanders, especially in the Middle East. That is, Hillary will support Netanyahu, once threatened to obliterate Iran, etc.

3. Class interest. Fear of Sanders because of his attacks on Wall St, while Hillary will not attack Wall Street. That Sanders will raise the minimum wage also turns her off to him, since she employs domestic labor.

4. She, like many people, feels very uncomfortable with the 60's and their legacy, and Sanders is a 60's radical updated a bit (like me in many ways). Hillary, on the other hand, never inhaled and soon made friends with Kissinger.

Now Bloomberg represents her class interests, is Jewish (but not a "self-hating Jew" like Sanders), culturally is not a 60's person at all and also represents her aspirational aims (which she never quite achieved) in social terms: the "right" clothes, the "right" neighborhood, the "right" hotels, etc.

If the race is Trump vs. Sanders, how would she vote? I'm not sure, because she doesn't like either of them. In general, she identifies with "moderate" Democrats. I suppose in a Trump vs. Sanders race, her vote might depend on whom the New York Times endorses, if anyone, since she trust the Times.

Carl said...

Later reviews of the ballots show that Gore's victory was stolen by the Palm Beach County butterfly ballot, not the Supreme Court. (I.e., under almost all likely scenarios if Bush v. Gore had gone the other way, Gore would still not have become president.)

Unknown said...

I'll repeat my nightmare scenario of a couple days ago: Bloomberg wins a state or two, no one gets a majority of electoral votes. That means it's up to the House of Reps. Would they go for Trump or Bloomberg? If sanity prevailed, they'd choose Bloomberg. The odds of sanity prevailing are probably slim. Bloomberg is pro-choice and pro gun control.

Carl said...

I can't believe the House would choose the candidate with the fewest electoral votes, Unknown.