Donal's picture

    Sanders in Michigan

    One summer, I was one of four white college boys working as summer interns for the Corps of Engineers in Maryland. Most of our coworkers were white folk, but one engineer was Asian and one secretary was African-American. We had a very dignified lady for a boss, who treated us well. A lot of good ol’ boys from other departments would wander in with jokes or stories or just to shoot the breeze. We were taken aback when some hound dog joked about making our boss mother of the year if she’d only let him. She was an attractive woman, but they were both married, and not to each other. She would just smile, and though I was embarrassed for her, she simply knew better than to make a fuss. And I guess I did, too.

    The four of us were young and eager, and glad to have jobs during stagflation, but one engineer did almost no work at all. In the morning, he would read the Post and some congressional minutes publication, and clip out the articles he liked and put them into a scrapbook. At lunchtime sometimes he and I would play Go. After lunch he dozed off. He would get very put out when the boss lady would ask what he had accomplished. He got so annoyed that he showed her by transferring out, and used to sing, “there’ll be some changes made,” during his last two weeks. The guy next to him read the Sports page in the morning, but seemed to work the rest of the day.

    One secretary, or Clerk/Typist, was pretty, younger than us, and already married. She was a good worker, but one day she went with us to the Ale House for lunch. She got tipsy, started laughing, then started crying in the car – a Pacer, sheesh – that she’d be fired for being drunk at work. We formed a scrum around her to get her back to her desk, and it all worked out. The other secretary was a middle-aged black woman. She was always very calm, and once was when I was worrying about getting something done, she told me don’t work too hard today, or you might not have something to do tomorrow. She was dead serious. I couldn’t grok that then.

    One day we young guys were all talking about the election. Despite being shot in 1972, George Wallace was once again in the Democratic race. He had been born again, and had disavowed his segregationist past, but was still against busing. We didn’t think he had a chance, but the black secretary piped up to say she was voting for Wallace. Four jaws almost hit the vinyl asbestos tile. We couldn’t believe that any black person would vote for Wallace, but she said she knew all about him, and said what she knew she could expect from him was better than what she could expect from people she didn’t know.

    Doug Johnson Hatlem had an article, Bernie’s Narrow Path to Victory: a Statistical Analysis, on Counterpunch a few days ago. I posted it to Facebook, but after the almost dead heat this weekend, I think the key paragraph is here:

    Michigan (March 8th), Illinois and Ohio (March 15), and Pennsylvania (April 26) may well be the deciding factor in whether Sanders can survive the lead built by Clinton with the Southern Firewall. Each of the states has a black population roughly equivalent to the U.S.’s overall black population of 12-13% and Michigan and Illinois also have Latino populations which qualify it for The Latino Gauntlet (11 of the top 20 Latino states by population that vote within a single month during the primary and caucus cycle in 2016). I am projecting that Sanders needs to win these states by an average of 15% to have a chance at the nomination.

    … The Sanders campaign has bet big on Illinois and Michigan showing a different face of the African American community. We simply have no idea if a 15% average win in these states is possible as no voting has taken place in similar states yet and polling is virtually non-existent in three of the four states. …

    Despite her neoliberal record, black voters know Hillary and seem to be satisfied with what they can expect from her. FiveThirtyEight has Clinton winning 60% in Michigan, but that is all based on polls. Sanders has to hope that his campaigning has given Michigan’s black voters a reason to trust him, too.


    So Hillary = George Wallace, or that framing was unintentional?

    I did not read it as an equality between Clinton and Wallace but a preference to the devil one knows over the one just met. The quality does not point anything like an endorsement for either but an alienation from both messengers.

    Donal, I truly hope you're not trying to equate Hillary Clinton with George Wallace.  No, that simply can't be your message here.

    Putting a positive spin on this, my take-away is that you are right.  Bernie is the one we really don't know, at least in terms of accomplishments, coalitions in Congress, sponsored bills, etc.   We know he hates Wall Street.  We believe he wants Universal Health Care.  We believe he wants free college tuition.  What we don't know is the steps he plans to take to accomplish the last two, or actually even WHAT he wants to do to undo Wall Street.  We know he wants to tax them, but the President doesn't legislate taxes.  I agree that Wall Street needs to be taken down a few notches, but since almost my entire retirement is built on a stock portfolio, I really wasn't reassured when he simply declared that, "No, Wall Street will not like a Bernie Sanders Presidency."

    On NPR this am a woman said that Hillary, in response to the question on fracking, gave a complicated and nuanced answer, whereas Bernie just said "No." To fracking.  Period.  She said people want to hear a passionate NO!  They don't want complicated answers like HRC's. I could hardly believe what she said!  Even if I don't agree with a response, I feel relief when someone demonstrates that they have thought it through; read or talked to experts and scientists, and have at least the beginnings of a plan.  BTW, I am anti-fracking but I liked her answer better than his.  

    I guess what I am saying is that yes and no answers don't help you to feel as though you know a person, and sometimes you have to explain with some actual detail how you plan to do what you are asking others to trust you to do.  BTW, you didn't mention who Wallace was running against in your story.  Did you think the secretary was a simpleton for her decision?  I have held my nose more than once when voting.  

    Do you want a complicated and nuanced answer, or just a passionate, "No" ?

    In 1976, a largely unknown peanut farmer drained away Wallace's southern advantage, and someone the reporters called Spock was also in the mix.

    May I inquire what the black secretary had to do with anything. She is what is called an outlier.Wallace got 3% of the nonwhite vote in 1968. Th at is a ll nonwhite voters. Are you suggesting based on your one black friend, that blacks voted en masse for Wallace because they were "familiar" with the Governor?

    Your post makes no sense. It is really condescending.

    Edit to add

    The assumption seems to be that black voters are dumb. You cannot fathom that black voters see Sanders as talking a good game but able to accomplish nothing. He is done zero outreach while he has been in Congress. Now he is the Great White Hope.

    Sanders is incapable of addressing issues of race

    The secretary showed me that I couldn't predict other peoples voting priorities based on my own priorities. Edit to add, your assumption seems to be dumb.

    Right I'm dumb, but your condescending comment is Ok. All I point out regarding Bernie Sanders inability to connect with minority voters is something noted by many observers. It is not an attack, It is a statement of fact.

    ​The problems Sanders faces is an important teaching point for other Progressives. Minority votes need to know who you are before you decide to run for national office. Housing, employment, minimum wage, school loan debt, healthcare, etc. Cross racial lines. PWhite Progressives need to make themselves known in minority communities. If they fail to connect, they will face the same fate as Sanders.

    The black community does not care about Ralph Nader's Corvair crusade. They do care about Nader calling Obama an empty suit. Ralph Nader is disliked in the black community. If Nader bothered to show up in the black community, he could have noted that Rep. Donna Edwards of Maryland worked for Nader's Public Citizen, his message might have been analyzed in a different light. Nader had no direct connection to the black community

    I am not attacking, I am addressing mistakes made by Sanders. When us old geezers hear the word "revolution", we think of Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X,  Medgar Evers, Caesar Chavez, Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, Flo Kennedy, Kent State, etc. We remember people being killing. When Sanders, who built no structure before running for President, talks of revolution by messages on social media, we are rolling on the floor laughing.

    A word to the wise is sufficient.


    Donal, I saw your fb post in which you claimed that over here at Dag you were being "attacked by Hilbots."  I am thunderstruck by that comment.  Please Let us know all of the Dag commenters who have ATTACKED you?  Is a respectful disagreement now considered an attack?

    "attacked by Hilbots."  ??? How can that be? I haven't even posted to him yet. Damn it, who here is stealing my schtick.

    I believe you understate the reliability of  538's prediction of a Hillary win in Michigan. "it's all polls". As Nate says "there are polls and there are polls". As he shows his final prediction is heavily based  ("weighted") on the last 4 polls , all taken in the last few days and all based on much larger samples than the ones earlier in the campaign (which also shows Hill winning BTW).


    We'll see tomorrow night but I'm not biting my finger nails. BTW if I thought Bernie could win, of course I'd be supporting him.How not?  But I don't so I don't.

    Well, in the beginning FiveThirtyEight was very often wrong about Trump, so I can only hope they are wrong about Sanders now. Over at Science Blogs, Greg Laden has admitted that Sanders is outperforming his poll-free model, so that's good news.

    Sanders over performs the polling by roughly 22%, narrowly winning Michigan. Nate Silver admitted that Sanders was favored in their non-poll calcs. Sanders did well with independents, and got 30% of the black vote, an improvement. He didn't get the 10 - 15% margin required by Counterpunch, but it was a win. He got hammered in Mississippi, but got above the 15% delegate threshold.

    Governor George Wallace ran for President as a Democrat in 1964, and made some noise in the primary.

    He was a third party candidate in 1968. He was a very strong factor among North and South white working class voters for a while, but eventually mostly hurt Humphrey in the South. He didn't get many non-white votes because they voted Democrat.

    He renounced segregation before entering the 1972 Democratic race, and was doing very well, and may have been a power broker but was shot and paralyzed by a man seeking fame.

    In the summer of 1975, we all knew Wallace was going to run for President as a Democrat again. My secretary friend may well have heard of Wallace's born-again status at her church. She may have been aware that Jerry Brown was the young governor of California, but I doubt she thought of him as a Democratic heavyweight. She may well not have heard of Governor Jimmy Carter, who went unrecognized on What's My Line? in 1974, and entered the primary race in 1976.

    So as a loyal Democrat, (and to our astonishment) she was prepared to ignore Wallace's past, and vote the party line. In return, she expected that he and the party would take care of her interests. But Wallace was not much of a factor in 1976, so I assume she voted for Carter, as did I. I wouldn't have voted for Wallace, but she would have.

    She is an individual who happened to be black. There was no large movement of blacks to vote for George Wallace Ever.

    Republicans get 10-15% of the black votes. Republicans get the majority of the white vote. 

    Other than relating the story of an outlier, I am not sure what the black secretary adds to the discussion.

    Edit to add:

    You assume that you know how she actually cast her vote, and how she voted in subsequent elections.

    Sorry, but you appear to be wrong. From PBS:

    "He rose to power as the nation’s best-known segregationist in the early 1960s, but later in his career he was elected governor of Alabama with overwhelming black support....  [in 1971] he used the governorship to stay in the public eye, announcing to the national press that he’d always been a moderate and no longer believed in racial segregation. He courted the black vote he had formerly despised, trying to build a new image as a presidential candidate.... After the shooting, Wallace’s life changed. His marriage to Cornelia crumbled. Out of office and often alone, he began to call his old enemies, asking their forgiveness. In time, he gained the political support of Alabama’s growing African American electorate. He had come full circle in his career. "I have no problem forgiving George Wallace," says J. L. Chestnut, a black attorney from Selma. "I will not forget George Wallace because we must deal with the reality of Wallace. How is it that a demagogue, insulting twenty million black people daily on the television, can rise to the heights that Wallace did? Forgive? Yes. Forget? Never." 


    From the late 1970s onward, Wallace attempted to revise his public image by modifying his previous position on race issues. He claimed that many of his statements had been misunderstood, and he emphasized his populist leanings. In some cases, he issued public apologies for his earlier actions. By the time of his fourth term as Alabama governor, he'd begun receiving a substantial amount of support from black political organizations and black voters. His efforts to improve the state's economy, health care, employment and infrastructure were considered highly successful.

    From Peggy Roberson:

    When Wallace died on Sept. 13, thousands of African Americans in the state and elsewhere had forgiven him his trespasses. Black voters' support was responsible for placing him in the governor's office for a fourth time in 1982 after he said he was wrong about segregation. I am surprised even now that it happened. But both white and black Southerners love repentant sinners. Some said that given the choice on that ballot -- between a crippled old toothless tiger and the healthy, young Republican mayor of Montgomery -- they preferred the devil they knew. ..

    Somehow, however, Wallace evolved from the politics of confrontation to the politics of accommodation. Healey, who wrote The two Deaths of George Wallace (Black Belt Press, Montgomery, Ala., 1996) hit the nail on the head when he said Wallace "never proved himself to be a friend to blacks, but by the end of his public life, he had at least gotten out of their way."

    ...On the 30th anniversary of the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery (March 7, 1965) Wallace asked for permission to make a statement. This time, the marchers traced the route peacefully--a marked contrast to the violent confrontation that awaited the marchers 30 years earlier when Wallace's storm troops clubbed them into retreat or submission. "May your message be heard. May your lessons never be forgotten. May our history be always remembered," he said. 

    Joseph Lowery, the Birmingham Methodist minister who helped organize the first march and then headed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta until recently, thanked Wallace "for coming out of your sickness to meet us. You are a different George Wallace today. We both serve a God who can make the desert bloom. We ask God's blessing on you."


    Donal talked about Clinton and Wallace . The Democratic race focused on was the Presidential race. There was never a massive national vote for Wallace from the black community. In state elections in the South, blacks voted for Democratic candidates because Democrats held power. Currently, it is clear that Southern Republicans are considered worse than "back in the day" racist Democrats. Currently blacks make up the bulk of the Democrats in many Southern states. How bad do Southern Republicans have to be to be considered worse than he Klan-backed Democrats?

    Link to data on blacks switching from the GOP to the Democratic Party

    White Democrats are a vanishing species, egged on by a hatred of President Obama.

    White Southerners a re as Republican as blacks are Democratic Party members


    I stand by my statement regarding black votes for Wallace's Presidential campaigns.

    "There was no large movement of blacks to vote for George Wallace Ever."

    The sentence is based on Wallace's Presidential bids and black voters. I mentioned the 3% vote in 1968. The discussion was about Hillary Clinton and George Wallace and Presidential campaigns. At the state level even Orville Faubus got black support despite blocking the admission of the Little Rock Nine at Central High in 1957.

    Edit to add:

    The 1982 Wallace Governor's race may be telling. Wallace got one-third of the black vote, meaning he lost 2:1. Wallace got a runoff. In the runoff, Wallace did get 90% of the black because he was likely to win. Wallace was obviously not the first choice.

    The one-third vote

    The 90% vote


    All good and we'll, but from 1972 on, Wallace repaired much his problems with black voters, as noted, begging their forgiveness.

    See the 1982 vote noted above.

    One third is a lot of outliers.

    But Mr. Wallace, who raised a racist battle cry of ''Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!'' in his first inaugural address in 1963, received strong support from blacks in rural area and carried several counties where blacks dominate voter registrations.

    Black preachers wield strong political influence in Alabama, and the feeling among insiders was that Mr. Wallace had circumvented black political leaders and reached into the pulpits for support in rural areas. There his name, with virtually 100 percent voter recognition, and his apologies for past racist actions meant more than his history. Question of Swing Votes

    Mrs. Davis said most blacks did not view Mr. Wallace as being bad for them. Neither do educators. ''We can live with either Wallace or McMillan,'' said Paul Hubbery, executive director of the Alabama Education Association, adding that both had ''shown themselves to be advocates of public education.

    Why dont you just tell Donal he has a point re black support and that his anecdote was more correct and not so condescending as on first glance? That Southern blacks are resilient seems a positive quality worth noting.

    The fact that blacks forgive but don't forget is a long tradition. This was most recently seen in the forgiveness that Dylan Roof received from the families of those he slaughtered in Charleston. Even George Wallace's campaign manager went from segregationist lawyer to Civil Rights attorney.

    The Donal piece does seem condescending from comments on work ethic to comments on the vote.I think what strikes me is that if any campaign could be tied to George Wallace, it would be that of Donald Trump not Hillary Clinton.

    Sanders problem now is not unfamiliarity, but that he puts his foot in his mouth when he talks about race.There is no equivalence between Wallace and Sanders. Your argument seems to be that black voters accepted Wallace's apology. That means that blacks responded to Wallace's words and voted for Wallace. Blacks respond to Sanders words and reject him as a candidate. His most recent blunder was equated blacks with ghettos in the most recent debate.

    ​The only connection between Wallace and Sanders is that, by your own argument, they accepted Wallace and are rejecting Sanders after listening to them speak. I read Donal as surprised by the Wallace vote and surprised by the Sanders vote because they don't fit his world view. All black voters are doing is responding to campaign speeches, a common phenomenon.

    I sense the idea that there is something "magical" about blacks and Wallace that only happens with black voters. Black voters stood by Bill Clinton during his sex scandal. They reflected Marion Barry, they are forgiving Hillary. That seems amazing.Whites reelected Sam Brownback despite his bankrupting the state. They refused to recall a union busting Governor in Wisconsin. They are voting for Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. I don't see anything out of the ordinary in the actions of black voters.

    I take it at face value - Wallace was working the ropes, the Clintons were working the ropes, Bernie's working the ropes - black voters evaluate and choose. Nothing too magical. Im more amazed at what goes on on the Republican side of the aisle - true voodoo.

    We are agreed that the GOP is scary. Trump is a rich bigot and Cruz is crazy. Trump is the short fingered vulgarian and Cruz looks like he wants to pee after every sentence.. 

    Maybe when Rubio drinks it comes out of Cruz? Together they make 1 man?

    Congratulations to Donal. Sanders took Michigan. The battle goes on.

    Also at 35%, Bernie's made much more inroads with northern black voters (or at least those in hard-hit Michigan) than those in the south, and Hillary's about out of Southern states, though NC and FL loom big. What will happen in IL, OH,  PA? the race just got more interesting, though I'd guess Michigan has more disgruntled voters than anywhere else, per the auto meltdown,  the Flint crisis, and Snyder's governorship.

    Only 5 precincts won by Hillary so far, but may be larger ones slowest to finish. Bernie ahead by 2% and 10 delegates with. 14 outstanding but Hillary's 10 superdelegates catches her up. Another superdelegates argument to have, probly, tho Hillary's ahead by 220 pledged delegates after cleaning house in Mississippi at 83%.

    About 20 of 83 counties were within 5% - so a widespread fight, not just 1 candidate did better in X, other in Y.

    Also good for Bernie to show he can win a primary outside home turf. Problem for him is at this point (95%) he's only 2% and 8 delegates up with 8 remaining. And Hillary increased her lead by about 20,  passing the halfway point to nomination tonight including superdelegates.

    Big reminder tonight that polls are indicative, not prescriptive.In this case, no one seems to have caught the extent of how tight the race was.

    If I am looking at the NYT map correctly, it looks like Clinton got the bulk of the black vote in Detroit and probably Flint as well.

    About 70% blacks went for Hillary statewide, so likely larger in Detroit.

    Maybe there was a late shift to Sanders after people watched that lying sack of shit in the debate misrepresent Bernie's auto bailout vote and then heard her double down on the radio.

    Or maybe just higher turnout, which would favor Sanders, and some complacency among Hillary voters with polls showing an easy win. Plus Bernie did much more TV advertising in the state, which may have helped catch up. My guess is the pollsters ignored tight fights across the state or underweight them, focusing you much on metro areas.

    Hillary's only leading Flint/Gennessee County by 4.2% with 87% reporting. With all the effort she put in there, gives an idea that disgruntlement favors Bernie overall.

    Over 99% in now. 1.7% difference, Hillary ended up with 10/43 counties. Bernie's up by 7 delegates with 7 more up for grabs, but Hillary has those 10 supers. So great night for Bernie - but he still loses ground. And then there's MS where Hillary moved ahead by 25 pledged delegates, 27 with supers.

    It was higher turnout. They ran out of ballots in some districts and county clerks had to provide more. Fresh off the office printer. One place told ballot-less voters to write their candidate's name on a piece of paper and that it would be counted as a vote. Whaaaat? One voter got tired of waiting for a Republican ballot so he switched parties and voted Dem. Hahahahaha.


    This was the highest voter turnout for a primary in Michigan history. Let's hope it transfers to November whoever the Dem candidate may be.

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