Who to vote for in the primary: In which the grumpies disagree even though they agree

#1:  All three candidates are perfectly acceptable.

#2:  Given the choice I’ll vote Sanders; if it’s only Clinton on the ticket I will happily vote for her and think it’s a good choice!

#1: I’m voting for Clinton, but I’m totally fine with Sanders. In a different world, I’d be more for Sanders, but in this world, I’m for Clinton.  I tend to vote for the pragmatic candidate–I knew underneath Obama’s idealism beat a heart of pure pragmatism (he won me over with his specific wooing of the economist vote). I think Clinton has a better shot of getting ‘er done.  Everyone I’ve met who has worked with/for her says she’s a great boss and extremely competent and has a big public service motivation (not ambition like SNL wants you to think) and thinks she’s the best person for the job *and she’s right to think that.*  (They also say she’s unexciting and kind of a bureaucrat, but I’m totally fine with that.)  She was wonderful at that Benghazi hearing.

#2: I have differences of opinion with Clinton. However, if it’s Clinton vs. Republicans, I am Clinton all the way! My differences with her are much less than my differences with anyone else (except Sanders). My issues with Clinton are small in the grand scheme of things.

#1: What are your differences of opinion? I am curious if I also have them or if I agree with her.

#2: I think she wants to be more involved in the middle east and more explodey than I want.

#1: oh, I have no idea about foreign policy

#2: also more drones spying on other leaders

#1: yeah, all of that is out of my wheelhouse

#2: in the grand scheme of things, foreign policy isn’t the most important to me.

#1: I know enough about that stuff to not have an opinion! it’s like, who the hell knows what is the right thing to do

#2: i would rather cut military spending and fund education and healthcare. But I’m some sort of commie or something.

#1: in the perfect world, I would agree with that

#2: there is too darn much military spending, but it’s our own fault

#1: I do think we need to do a better job getting other countries to pay for foreign interventions.

#2: I see how we can’t vanish it all overnight, that would be ridiculous

#1: it still sits with me wrong

#2: YES

#1: they’re really hard questions and I’m glad I don’t study them

#2: I think she may be also more drill-for-oil than I agree with, but I’d have to check

#1: mainly I want people to stop dying and for women and minorities to have human rights and so on

#2: YES

#1: anybody who wants to drill baby drill right now is STUPID– the low cost of oil is destabilizing

#2: reproductive rights! healthcare! social justice!

#1: I wish the democratic debates were better publicized.  They actually talk about issues and sound professional and stuff.  Debbie Wassaman is doing a terrible terrible job.

#2: https://www.isidewith.com/ is a good way to figure out who you side with. They don’t have complete info for anyone on every single question, but you can break it down by the areas that are most important to you. I agree with Bernie on almost all things, but lots and lots of them are less-important things. I agree with Clinton on a few large, important things but disagree with her on some less-important things. SO…. enh?  “Less-important” meaning TO ME of course.

#1: wow, these questions have gotten crazier since I last took the test– some of the republican candidates really are batexcrement evil crazy–it says I’m 95% bernie, 92% hillary, 78% O’Malley… then Chris Christie and John Kasiach and Jeb Bush. Apparently I’m “Left-Wing Authoritarian”

“Your political beliefs would be considered strongly Left-Wing and moderately Authoritarian on an ideological scale, meaning you tend to stand up and protect those who are oppressed or taken advantage of and believe the government should do the same.” Down with oppression!

I’m still voting for Hillary. Assuming I can get my voter registration reinstated (the post office sent my registration check card back to the voter office, even though they delivered DH’s). (Why yes, the Voter Rights Act did affect my state and its absence is being noticed.)

So yeah– the primary season has started!  Vote for your favorite democrat.  Even if you live in a red state.  Especially if you live in a red state!  There’s something wonderful about discovering you’re not the only democrat in your town.  If you’re not a democrat then, um, vote for Kasich?

51 Responses to “Who to vote for in the primary: In which the grumpies disagree even though they agree”

  1. Becca Says:

    I’m surprised gun control didn’t come up as an issue distinguishing Bernie from Hillary.

    And… I’m honestly kind of baffled one can classify Hillary as eminently qualified *and* ignore foreign policy….I mean SoS does involve just a smidgen of this. I’m actually really curious if John Kerry feels she set him up for success.

    Also, while the original Clinton years were pretty good for the top 20%, Bill threw the poor under the bus with Welfare Reform, and Hillary was still claiming it as a win in 2008. I see no evidence inequality will not get considerably worse under Hillary (to be clear- the trajectory is such the status quo will make inequality worse. It’s not enough to make college loans work better at this point [welcome though that, and other Clinton policies, is /are])

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Actually pretty much everyone (including liberal economists who initially opposed it) agrees that welfare reform under Bill Clinton was a success. Eitc is better than welfare.

      • becca Says:

        “Eitc is better than welfare”
        In what sense?
        I mean, sure, if you’re an able bodied adult in a robust employment environment who has only dependents that can attend affordable childcare, the EITC is a great help.

        I love the EITC, but, it’s not like everyone without unearned income is without needs.
        Even among those it can target, there are also the issues that $3359/year is not a lot to cover childcare, and taxing childless adults further into poverty is a questionable objective.

        Are you saying that, dollar for dollar, the EITC “buys” the government more poverty relief than AFDC or TANF? I seem to remember reading something along those lines before- and if that’s true, it’s certainly another argument in favor of MOAR EITC!

        That said, when I think of welfare reform I think not of EITC but of TANF. Which is quite the flustercluck, and is failing to reach poor families more and more as time goes by. We had a profound rise in the number and proportion of families in extreme poverty since ’96. The only way to call welfare reform a success is to say spending less on poor families is always better, never mind how many families are poor.

        What we need is robust TANF that actually reaches places where there is entrenched poverty that causes sky high unemployment, a reasonable welfare system for the short and long term disabled (SS isn’t cutting it, and “all or nothing” on disability qualification is deranged), shoring up social security and medicare to prevent backsliding on poverty in the elderly, AND an expanded EITC, both for poor childless adults and one for families with children that keeps pace with childcare costs. Also, I want a pony. Bernie’s unlikely to give me a pony, but at least he won’t give me pony droppings and tell me it’s a cake.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        It’s had better outcomes. There’s an enormous literature on this topic. If you want to learn more, you can read up on it. I’d recommend starting with a public finance textbook such as http://amzn.to/1KUUQuz but there’s a really big economics/policy literature that’s pretty much in agreement both from conservative and liberal policy analysts (including liberal analysts who decried it when it came out– empirically they were wrong). Welfare was badly designed. The Clinton reforms were better. Were the Clinton reforms ideal? No, but no compromise legislation is. And compromise legislation is better than a worse status quo.

      • becca Says:

        (NB: obviously, I should have written “it’s not like everyone without *earned* income is without needs” there.)

      • Rosa Says:

        EITC seems like a political loss for Democrats, though – people don’t understand that it’s a handout, not a refund of overpaid taxes, and so they don’t think of themselves as benefiting from public spending, so they go ahead and vote/argue against “welfare”.

        The growth of completely cash-income-free households since “reform” is pretty terrifying.

        And TANF is better than AFDC but the corresponding loss of most general assistance and other cash assistance has been disastrous for a lot of people.

    • kay Says:

      Becca I completely agree with your assessment of Welfare reform. It is too bad that the Clinton’s cannot own its failure….
      And really (as you know) for those of us that are truly in touch with “welfare” as a reality in some form (working in, advocating, receiving, healthcare,law etc), You’d be hard pressed to find any of us that would agree that the Clinton reforms were better and that it hasn’t been a complete failure in addressing poverty.

      *Will vote for Bernie*

      • becca Says:

        Yeah, when I reply on this blog often wonder things like if I’m the only one who has actually applied for TANF in the past few years.

        Granted, I don’t have any basis for comparison to AFDC days! But I know TANF *feels* designed to deny people in a way that is not true of SNAP, or unemployment benefits, or childcare subsidy, or student loans, or EITC or ACA tax subsidies (and the website for the last is legendarily bad- I hear it’s improved, but it’s still epically awful).
        I suspect it has more in common with applying for social security disability, judging from what friends have shared with me about that process. But I think TANF may be the hardest thing to get out of the government. Unless you live in Flint and you want either governmental honesty or clean water. The way the government interfaces with the poor and the middle class is completely different.

        N&/orM:
        I was trying to figure out if maybe we were talking past each other regarding “better outcomes”. But, yay for textbooks that have free Kindle trials… I’ll take a look later.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        AFDC was a mess. On top of that, it only helped single mothers. TANF isn’t perfect, but the counterfactual isn’t “the best welfare program” (which, in my opinion, is a minimal guaranteed income, though that may be a minority opinion within economics), it is AFDC. People, not just governments, have been empirically found to be better off under welfare reform than under AFDC. It’s not my direct area of study, but that is the general consensus among people who do study it, including among those who initially opposed the change.

        If you want to place blame, it’s the steady erosion of protections and benefits after welfare reform, not the 1996 reforms. All sorts of stuff (Robert Reich has an entire documentary on the topic, Piketty has an entire book!).

        SSDI is also a huge mess, both in terms of people and in terms of paperwork. Social security, on the other hand, is a great program.

  2. Sara Says:

    I keep debating myself on who I want to win the Republican nomination, now that it’s essentially down to 3 candidates. Do I want the least-worst-of-bad-choices and have Rubio running? Or do I want it to be Trump so his demagoguery is out there in the open to decrease his odds in the general election? Cruz seems to be the worst of both worlds on that front, as his views don’t seem to be all that different from Trump on the issues that matter to me, but more people somehow consider him not to be an extremist.

    • Leah Says:

      I too find Cruz more dangerous than Trump. He is more veiled but every bit, if not more, extremist. I am also turned of by his extreme religiosity and his statements that God comes before country. Even though I understand that viewpoint and have no problem with people holding it, I do not want to elect a “pastor-in-chief” (an idea I first read on NPR).

      • chacha1 Says:

        Thanks for that. Extreme religiosity has no place in a secular government. It has had bad enough effects already thanks to Scalia on SCOTUS, the rest of the word is starting to give us the side-eye because the last thing anyone out there wants is a Christian Jihad running wild with our military budget – which would surely get increased.

  3. chacha1 Says:

    I will vote in the CA primary if we have one (as I expect) and am grateful that none of the Democratic candidates are totally abhorrent to me, because ALL of the GOP candidates are. Ugh.

    As a pragmatist, I will vote for Clinton, though my tree-hugging socialist heart is with Sanders. Honestly if he were just ten years younger I would feel like he has a better chance, but I suspect people my age and older, being well aware of just how exhausting life is over 50, might hesitate to elect a president that much older than we are. I mean, he’s just two years younger than my mom, and while she is still active and capable, I know – thanks to our daily correspondence – that she is Done for the day at 3:00 p.m. The President is never done. That six years’ difference between Bernie and Hillary is a big difference.

    Ultimately, if I were an advisor at this point, I would steer any Democratic candidate toward civil rights and tax evasion as their primary issues. Including state adoption of healthcare exchanges, reinstatement of the Voting Rights Act in its full (or enhanced) strength, appointment of as many civil-rights-positive judges and justices as possible, fierce protection of abortion rights, going after for-profit churches and offshoring corporations as tax evaders (which means proposing new laws where they are necessary), passing legislation to cancel out Citizens United, and a bunch of other stuff.

    And since the GOP candidates are doing such a great job of presenting *their* platform as “let’s take rights away from whoever we hate today, and give lots of money to corporate donors!” I think presenting a clear, narrowly-focused alternative is going to be most successful. I don’t actually read/watch political news because as a civil-rights voter there is no need for me to know exactly what bullshit is being sprayed around, but the little bits that trickle through my wall tell me that the Democrats’ focus is inadequate at this point.

    I wouldn’t focus on economic measures because most Americans are apparently completely ignorant of what the country spends its money on. There are still people out there who think a big portion of our budget is spent on foreign aid. *sigh*

    • Linda Says:

      I’m going to echo chacha here, although my reservations have nothing to do with his age. I love Bernie’s stand on most issues, but from a pragmatic standpoint I’m going to vote for Hillary Clinton. It’s hard enough getting this Congress to work with the current President. They wouldn’t work with Bernie at all. We need Bernie in the Senate more than in the White House.

    • Leah Says:

      Yes on steering toward civil rights. Not so sure on state adoption of exchanges. I was just listening to an NPR long segment about Minnesota’s health care exchange. It’s been really costly for us, and there are some indications that perhaps just using the federal system would be better. Oregon has had some success. Anyway, it’s an ongoing discussion.

      I’d like to see more healthcare discussion in terms of reducing costs for things like pharmaceuticals. I’d love to see no more pharmaceutical advertising — we all pay for that in increased drug costs. Do we really benefit? I feel like that’s a nonpartisan issue that could reduce health care spending.

      • chacha1 Says:

        The healthcare issues are so broad and so deep – because every state is allowed to do things their own way, yay federalism – that having any concise talking points is next to impossible. Some state exchanges do not suck, some do; some states offer expanded Medicaid, some don’t; some states make it easy for the average citizen to find out what their options are, and some don’t.

        Meanwhile the pharmaceuticals industry and the insurance industry are like a couple of piñatas stuffed with money that politicians can whack at any time they want, in exchange for pushing some new industry-favoring measure that screws over poor people, or old people, or women.

  4. gingerfunk78 Says:

    I love this post. Mostly because no one mentions voting for Trump. :)

  5. janice Says:

    So Mr. Cruz, who stood with the preacher advocating the general public shoot down on the street anyone suspected of being gay got a majority GOP nod in Iowa. And RUBIO is now being presented a a moderate GOP candidate.
    Heavens above. The world should be scared.

  6. CG Says:

    Hate to be a Debbie Downer here but if you spend any significant time in Ohio you quickly learn that Kasich is not really a moderate. Maybe in comparison to Cruz, yes, but not in the sense of being interested in protecting the rights of workers, making sure there’s good public education, etc.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yeah, there aren’t really any moderates left. I guess Chris Christie and Jeb Bush pass for moderate given the current state of politics, but Christie has that dirty-politician thing going and isn’t smart enough not to get caught, which bodes ill for being able to handle the presidency. And Jeb Bush can’t run a competent campaign so how is he going to run the country? (Plus his rhetoric is pretty bad.) I mean, for a while my front-runner was Lindsey Graham as the least embarrassing option, which is pretty embarrassing, but then he dropped out. Rubio has time inconsistency problems and would be a terrible president. Fiorina doesn’t understand government (and has horrible rhetoric).

      I almost miss Rick Perry because he’s so wishy-washy he’d probably hit the median of the country and hire people who could do the job with minimal effort on his part. But that might be like another W presidency. So maybe a bad idea. Very glad Scott Walker dropped out since I think he would be in Rubio’s place right now if he stayed in and he’d competently destroy the country.

      I wish Bob Dole were running. Or John Huntsman. It’s a scary group.

      • CG Says:

        Yep. Bloomberg?

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Sure! I think he wouldn’t be “omg should I move to Canada” scary.

      • jjiraffe Says:

        Scary is the right word. I’ve never been so worried about the Republicans running. It’s terrifying.

        Ultimately, I would vote for either Sanders or Clinton. I do like Hilary – she’s tough, smart and knows her policy backwards and forwards. I am one of the few who thought Obama mostly did a great job. We’ll miss him, and I think in retrospect he’ll be seen as one of the greats – steering the country out of a potential major depression.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I think more people are realizing Obama is doing a great job. These last two years he’s doing a better job with publicity. http://www.ericidle.com/blog/?p=556

      • Leah Says:

        Does all this make you miss Mitt Romney? Or John McCain? I was almost with McCain until he picked Palin as a running mate.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I miss McCain from like 20 years ago (though he’s still got serious issues). And yeah, Romney (again, with the serious issues) is better than the current batch of Republicans.

      • jlp Says:

        Yeah, when I realized I was pulling for Jeb to get the GOP nod (not that I had any actual hope he would), I about fainted. Thankfully, I’m happy to vote for Clinton or Sanders. And if I knew who was most electable, that is who I would choose (though if I didn’t have to consider that I’d choose Clinton because: guns & what you said about getting things done).

        I would love if Bob Dole were running, if only to hear him talk about himself in 3rd person again. But Bob Dole is now 92 (just looked it up). Time flies.

      • gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

        Clinton is a moderate Republican (based on historical positions, not the current far-right whackos). Sanders is a moderate Democrat. There are no far-left candidates, but there are certainly a ton of far-right ones.

  7. crazy grad mama Says:

    I’m with #1 on this: pragmatic. I’ve also been turned off by a certain subset of Bernie’s supporters and the Left in general. That being said, if Bernie wins the primaries, I will enthusiastically vote for him in the general election (because duh).

  8. Mrs PoP Says:

    starting to look at the FL primary (the biggest, earliest winner-take-all vote) strategically. Is a vote for Bernie = a vote to get Bloomberg in the race? And if Bloomberg did enter the race, would it be such a disruption to the republican party that it would have serious repercussions to the Dem/Rep binary as we know it? A girl can hope…

    I’ve got about 2 weeks to finalize registration to decide which primary to vote in.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I think it’s probably too late for Bloomberg entering the race to do anything. But who knows!

      I hope Trump runs as a third-party candidate, personally.

      • Becca Says:

        Weirdly, if he does and Bernie ran on the Democratic side, Trump would grab votes from both sides. Against Hillary it’d probably help though.

  9. Cloud Says:

    I grew up in AZ and witnessed the Evan Mecham debacle. I never think someone who secures a nomination is too awful to be elected, and I fear 3rd party candidates in our system. I was scarred for life by having to go off to college with Mecham as my governor and having people make assumptions about me and my state based on that. (In retrospect, that was probably good practice for traveling internationally during the Bush years….)

    Anyway, I’m keenly interested in electability, particularly given the current Republican field and who’s leading it.

    I’ve seen interesting arguments for both Hillary and Bernie as the more electable one. My state is a late primary, so it will be surprising if my opinion on this actually matters. If it does, I’ll rally and try to learn enough to feel good about making a choice between the two of them. I’d be happy to have either as president. I think if either is elected they will face stonewalling opposition, although probably for different reasons.

    But my main conclusion from election watching so far this year is that there is no way in Hell I’d ever live in Iowa. I don’t think I could take caucusing. I have too much mansplaining in my life already.

  10. Rosa Says:

    Let me stump here for anyone who has the time & energy to, instead of or along with supporting a specific candidate, join your local get-people-registered, get-people-IDs, and drive-people-to-the-polls efforts. Which are probably, incidentally, organized through your local favorite candidate’s campaign or political party, but are sometimes (and should be more often) organized through more neutral institutions that aren’t quite as tied to the Presidential election cycle. Disenfranchisement is a real problem and if you are moderate or left leaning, you’re likely to help your favorite causes just by getting more people involved.

    It’s the lower level races – school board, city council, county board, park board, state legislature – that give us the quality national level candidates of the future. And control a lot of things (like how terrible and punitive applying and keeping TANF or childcare subsidies can be) that are administered at the state and county level.

  11. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    Thanks to the quiz I have now learned there is a candidate somewhere who wants to ban Muslim immigration. Whatever happened to ‘Congress shall make no law?’ Don’t these people all insist they’re constitutional literalists? (Which is impossible IMO on account of how there was not electricity or running water in homes in 1776, much less the Internet.)

    Also, postdoc stipends are unearned income which would otherwise (in amount) have qualified us for EITC (four people, $42,000). Depressing, no?

  12. seattlegirluw Says:

    Wow, lots of opinions floating around! My husband wants Bernie to win. I’d love to see what the old guy could manage. But.

    A lot of Republicans are scared by Trump. If Clinton is the other choice, they might begrudgingly vote for her in the main election. If it’s Trump and Bernie, they might actually go with Trump. Both “extremes” would be terrifying, but Trump would be closer to what they want.

    So for that reason, I hope Clinton wins. Because it’s looking increasingly (and bafflingly) like Trump is actually going to walk away with the nom. [Insert deity] help us all.

  13. Debbie M Says:

    Sanders is too left-wing for my taste. But these days, I’m a one-issue voter, and I vote anti-corruption. (Corruption is why why we subsidize big oil, approach foreign affairs mainly with violence, and do a lot of other horrible, stupid things just so some big companies can continue maximizing profits and the heads of those companies can put virtually all of that money in their own pockets no matter how much they suck at their jobs.) So I’m voting for Sanders in the primary; he has not been bought. And there’s the added bonuses that he’s not an idiot and he’s not crazy.

    Clinton at least pretends to be reasonable. She tries to be fair and open-minded while working within the current corrupt system (sorry, that’s how I see it). Cruz pretends to be reasonable to (a hopefully tiny percentage of) people who think the world would be great if only we would all make ourselves fit into a specific set of tiny boxes. Unfortunately, if we can’t fit ourselves into the right tiny box, Lord have mercy, let alone if we just don’t want to. Plus as a Texan I have to notice his horrible inconsistencies (e.g, he’s all about state’s rights when Texas wants to be a dumb shit, but when people want to label GMO’s, suddenly he’s opposed and has morals) so I utterly despise him. Trump doesn’t even pretend to be reasonable. (Maybe he’s not even bought–but he already wants whatever the self-centered rich people want, so it’s even worse.) So I’m voting Democratic in the final election.

    I long ago quit voting “pragmatically” and started voting for people I actually want (or least fear least). Perot showed me that even if third parties can’t win, people do pay attention to their issues when their candidates get enough votes (the other Clinton took many of Perot’s good ideas). If I did vote pragmatically, I would be all over Clinton. But the people I vote for in big elections generally lose in my highly gerry-mandered red state, so I may as well vote for who I really want.

    Nice test, except for having no questions on corruption. I scored 98% Sanders, 97% Clinton, 41% Kasich, etc. It’s sad to see that I match with only 4 people better than Bush. Sadder still that there are 2 candidates who match with me even less well than Trump does (Carson, Santorum). But what people claim to believe on the issues matters less than what they actually do.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I’m actually for a little corruption if it greases the wheels of democracy. That is, a little bit of WIC fraud on the part of small inner city bodegas is the least expensive way to get WIC access to pregnant women. Pork Barrel spending is the easiest way to get congress to generate compromise legislation, and so on. But there’s plenty of corruption where the costs are far larger than the benefits. So…

      I also either vote for the Libertarian or the Green Party candidate (if there is one) in my local elections because it’s either that or a Tea Party Republican and I’d rather not have my tax dollars spent controlling my uterus.

  14. MutantSupermodel Says:

    I got 100% Sanders which surprised me because I didn’t really think I was totally that far left but whatevs. I plan on voting for him anyways. Hillary no me gusta. I’d vote for her in general but it’d totally be an obligatory party lines kind of vote. My DREAM card is Sanders and Warren :)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Why don’t you like Hillary? We both think she’s great. #2 prefers Sanders, but still likes Hillary. She is progressive, pragmatic, and by far the most qualified candidate running. She also has had to do everything backwards and in heels.


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