Um, “Senator” Clinton?

Titles are society’s way for recognizing and designating the authority of a public or prominent figure. When such people retire from their position, we normally continue to address them by their last title.

Our traditional way of addressing a former holder of public office is to use the title of the last office held. Hence, people refer to Governor Bush, meaning Jeb, and President Bush, meaning either his father or older brother. If the last office was held by appointment, the same convention applies. Hence, General Colin Powell is referred to as Secretary Powell. General is an appointive position, as is Secretary of State, the last public office he held.

Where I find this traditional usage defective is the case of Senator Clinton. It’s true she was Secretary of State after her two terms representing New York in the Senate. But this form of address implies to most folks that her (outstanding) four years of service as President Obama’s first Secretary of State is somehow more worthy of honorable recognition than her (outstanding) eight years of service as a US Senator.

In my view her service in the Senate should rank higher. She was appointed to the office of Secretary, but she had to win her right from the voters of New York to serve in the Senate. To be selected to represent our country, she needed to earn the trust of Mr. Obama, but to be selected to represent the people of New York, she had to earn the trust of millions of some of the toughest-minded voters in the land.

In this of all years, voters should consider all her service as a senior public official. Hence, in this blog, we address her as Senator Clinton, and thus hopefully remind our readers: while the Donald was zooming about in his polluting private jumbo jet, from one of his golf courses to another, or lounging in his gold-plated palace in the sky, Senator Clinton gave eight additional years of her already full career of public service to the people and businesses of her adopted home state. While Trump played his money and power games, all the while looking down on the millions of New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet or secure justice, Senator Clinton was down there among them, working with them to survive and educate their children.

The party’s just about over, but the Party’s not

We’re approaching June 7th, the date 694 of the remaining 714 pledged Democratic party delegates to the July convention will be selected. We estimate that Senator Clinton will earn at least 405 of these, bringing her pledged delegate total to 2184. With our estimated 18 additional pledged delegates she’ll receive when the District of Columbia votes on June 14th, we expect her to finish with at least 2202 pledged delegates. That would top the 2200 we predicted earlier. Hoo haw.

If the 2202 estimate holds Senator Sanders will end with 1849 pledged delegates.

Clinton thus wins the pledged delegate vote by a margin of Aaround 350 delegates. (She’ll have also won the vote tally nationwide by a wide margin, but by the rules of the party that number has no bearing on the nominee selection process.)

In the July convention, Cinton will add an estimated 650 super delegates who have expressed their support for her, giving her a strong finish of about 2850 delegates, or roughly 475 more than the 2382 delegate votes needed to win the party’s nomination.

Yeah, right. Those hidden, sneaky, un-elected, super delegates… We’ll have plenty to say about them soon.

Berned Out

Many progressives by this point are fed up, not so much by the ongoing saga of the Bernie Sanders quest for a just society, but by the blatant phoniness of the news media coverage of his campaign as it stumbles toward California and the end of what has been a long and occasionally noble road.

For months on end, we’ve been subjected to media speculation that suggested he might have a chance of upsetting Senator Clinton’s plodding march to a victory that our projection said was certain back in February.

Wha-a-a??!! February?!

Yeah. Even before the final results in the New Hampshire primary were tallied, our model called for her to secure a minimum of 2200 pledged delegates by June 8th. These are pledged delegates only, not including any of the super delegates we’ve heard so much about. (We’ll have more to say about the Democratic Party Super Ds in a future post, soon.) In other words, we were confident she’d need only 182 of the 715 Super Ds to reach the required winning total of 2382 delegates.

It’s not magic, folks, nor is it our (and the other analysts’) “opinion”. The way the Democrats award pledged convention delegates in each state is proportional, based on the vote. If one has even a modicum of knowledge of and experience with American national election behavior, it’s easy to project approximately how many votes each of these particular two candidates would likely get in each state.

Our estimates have proven accurate, within plus or minus a few delegates in each state contest through Kentucky and Oregon this week. There’s no reason to assume they won’t continue to be on target through the last big primary day of June 7th.

Back in February, we along with others also estimated that at least 670 of the 715 super delegates were already committed to Senator Clinton. That’s still a likely number, meaning that we project her to book at least 2870 delegate votes when the tally is taken in Philadelphia.

Here’s the takeaway: even if Senator Sanders were magically able to persuade nearly 500 of the Super Ds to suddenly dump Senator Clinton and support his revolution, she’d still win the nomination, based on her (then-projected, now assured) strong lead in pledged delegates of some 2200 compared to a maximum of some 1850 for Senator Sanders.

For those who have refused to give up hope for Senator Sander’s campaign, we’re sorry to inform them that for four months the media have refused to talk about the likely actual numbers come July. “Keep the drama alive,” the media bosses and producers told their on-air personalities, “It’s great for our otherwise dismal ratings.” The truth is that as early as Super Tuesday, March 1st, MSNBC’s clever on-air stars could have announced with 98% confidence that the Sander’s campaign was finito. They didn’t. Keep the profits flowing. Let the Berned ones feel it as long as possible.

Did Senator Sanders have the same level of accurate forecasting we had back in February? Has he all along been dancing on the dreams of his wonderful young and not-so-young crowds of hopeful enthusiasts? We’re not saying this. We may be blinding ourselves, very probably are, since we do this at least as much as many of you do. We simply don’t want to think of Bernie being that cynical.

Nor would we fault Bernie for spinning his potentials and possibilities like so much pink cotton candy. Politics is politics, and, especially in the primary season, it ain’t pretty.

The harsh truth was, and remains, that our early February estimates of Senator Clinton’s likely share of pledged delegates state by state were accurate, meaning she’ll win the nomination in a slow demeaning crawl from February to June, if not a walk.

Whoever says it last, and loudest

What is the truth?

Whatever the last speaker says it is.

Or so many might feel in the overwhelming torrent of words and images that floods our TV, phone, game box, blog feed, Twitter stream, Facebook feed, and, oh yes, for those that still can bear to listen, radio. It isn’t that someone or some group of someones are consciously trying to bury the truth, so much as competing with thousands of others to command your awareness, lest some competing “source” get control of your attention.

For that has become the object and purpose of distributing information: to ensure that all who are connected to any given stream of “content” will be totally absorbed in it.

Not so they can be informed, rather, so that the content can be monetized.

Why is this a problem? Well, if the purpose of the content is to entertain, maybe it isn’t. But when the ostensible purpose of the content is to inform, as we assume news or journalistic content is, then the unrelenting need to monetize can become a major issue.

If a given truth is true, but not inherently entertaining, your chances of being exposed to it are going to diminish. If that particular truth is long-winded, intensely factual, scientific, depressingly grim, or, horrors, “international” in scope, it may as well be written in invisible ink, for all the audience it will attract.

At the same time, the competitive pressure on the monetizers motivates them to raise the content’s noise level, or its shininess, or its emotional impact.

Intended as an innocent attempt to inform, the truth becomes a pawn in the war of attention seeking.

In this era of fantastic capabilities for informing and educating and, yes, entertaining, the marketplace of ideas has become a marketplace of content. Much of the truth we desperately need to understand is deemed of little value to the media, and is therefore drowned out.

Are we really this shallow? A reasonable observer would have to conclude that we are. And, so far, the year of 2016 is mainly succeeding in proving them right.

The Donald knows what the rest of us may just be figuring out: the truth is whatever claim is shouted loudest. And last.