Putting All Salim Lone’s Arguments Against Hillary Clinton To Rest As To Her Strengths and Weaknesses

31 Mar
DEM 2016 Debate

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, left, and Hillary Rodham Clinton talk before the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

Veteran journalist and political advisor Mr. Salim Lone recently penned an article he posted on his Facebook I found quite interesting in that it contains a number of arguments regarding the ongoing Democratic primary involving Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders; arguments which were not surprising as both he and others have argued the same or similar arguments in the past but, what’s surprising is how persistent Lone remains with those arguments despite the overwhelming facts and developments that undercut each one of them.

Since I have been on leave from penning long essays, please indulge me as I take apart our good friend’s arguments; Salim

You say,

The only real question thrown up by last weekend’s astounding 82, 75 and 71 percent Sanders’ primary victories against front-runner Hillary Clinton was whether this meant that Hillary’s electability in the November Presidential election was in some sort of jeopardy, especially as a few days earlier she had also lost the two of the three primaries in Utah and Idaho by equally huge margins, while beating Bernie in the other primary by a small 14-point margin.

You get an award here for both overstating and understating facts; Sander’s wins last week by large margins were neither surprising nor “astounding” given the simple fact Hillary did not even bother campaigning in those states, and, more importantly, none of those states have the voting coalition for Democrats—they’re all caucus and predominantly white states the likes of which Sanders has been doing extremely well.

Someone reading your opening without knowing what happened before these latest round of voting would have no idea that Hillary walloped Sanders in the two previous contest, including Super Tuesday when her firewall was shown in its full light and the following contest when she did the same by sweeping all five states at play, including Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri, which she had to win to put away Sanders and his argument that she was vulnerable in the rush belt states—an exaggerated argument merely based on his fluke wining of Michigan, a state all polls were predicting Hillary would win big only to narrowly lose to Sanders.

You say,

But in one of the more extreme examples of the herd-like capacity of the US media to follow Establishment narratives, and as reflected in the NY Times article below, no reporting or discussion even hinted at whether these huge losses revealed some latent problems that Hillary might face in November election.

While it’s true the media earlier on did not pay much attention to Sanders’ insurgent campaign, all this changed after the Iowa and New Hampshire contests where one can make a good case the media was for all practical purposes and intent rooting for Sanders to do better not because they suddenly didn’t like Hillary but simply to make the race more interesting and they did.

Until Super Tuesday when as noted above, the firewall Hillary had erected to stop any Sanders momentum did its job with her impressive victories on Super Tuesday but did not completely knock out Sanders who was counting on recovering from the blows if he won in Ohio and Missouri as he and his campaign were hoping to win next.

Those hopes were dashed when Sanders lost both Ohio and Missouri and the rest of the states that had contests that week, namely, Illinois, North Carolina and Florida.

This particular sweeping win by Hillary removed any doubts that Hillary will be the Democratic nominee as she increased her delegate lead over Sanders to more than 300—a number it’s simply impossible for Sanders to chip away significantly, let alone erase and overtake her to be the nominee.

To put that in context, Obama’s lead was by 200 delegates at exactly that point in 2008 and Hillary could never catch up no matter what other victories she racked up after that same thing with Sanders he can never catch up with Hillary even if he wins all remaining states—unless he wins by 30-40 points in those states, something nobody serious thinks he can because he can’t.

Forget about Wisconsin and Wyoming which Sanders can win by a small margin and split the delegates as usual but, when Hillary wins big in New York on April 19—a state which even Sanders admits he has no chance of even coming close to winning, and when she also wins big a week later in Pennsylvania, then expect to see the “Establishment media” all but completely ignore Sanders as they focus fully on the more exciting Republican primary reality TV show.

You say,

Instead the ENTIRE media coverage focused exclusively on asserting, and repeating ad nauseam, that these gargantuan rejections of Hillary in five successive contests in important states did not mean that Sanders now stood a better chance of winning the Democratic nomination.

Again, these victories by Sanders in states he was expected to win as he did were not “gargantuan rejections of Hillary”—not by any objective measure; in fact, in none of those states is a Democrat expected to win in November so let’s put those victories in the column they belong and that is, “Life Support” so Sanders could live to fight another day, which is on April 19, 2016 when as noted above, Hillary will finally put him away.

Neither did these victories suddenly make the case to all Democrats that Sanders is a better candidate than Hillary in the general election; the converse of that assessment remains true despite those wins and the media so reporting is not on orders of the “establishment” but merely reporting the facts as they should.

You say,

The media also highlighted that these states demographics played to Bernie’s strengths and that in any case the victories were expected. When Hillary wins expected primaries, that has never prevented a fawning media from hailing these as important triumphs.

There’s a simple reason why Hillary winning big in the states she has is a big deal and why Sanders winning big in the states he has is not a big deal and neither case does that have to do with the candidates individually but has everything to do with the party as a whole.

Without going into the weeds with this let’s just say Hillary is winning states which have voters that comprise the core of the Democratic Party while Sanders is not.

Put another way, were Sanders to put together even a small string of victories in these diverse states going for Hillary, the narrative would change and you’ll see the media bring up drums and start singing on the streets cheering him on but that’s not happening and will not happen given what’s obvious as has been proven thus far and that is, Hillary has a strong-hold on these important core Democratic voters, namely, minorities, older voters and women.

You say,

The mainstream media’s line of reporting would have been justified if many people thought that there was a serious chance of Bernie actually winning the Democratic nomination, but not even many staunch supporters, including myself, think there is any serious possibility of that happening, even though we wish it could!

If you only posted this and said no more, you would not have a response from yours truly other than saying he’s in agreement.

You say,

The purpose of the narrow media narrative therefore was to squelch any notion that these huge losses might portend serious difficulties for Hillary in the November race against Trump or whoever. No doubt must be planted about Hillary’s unstoppable march to the Presidency!

Given it’s not the case that these were “huge losses” in the larger picture and particularly given Hillary did not even bother to campaign in those states, it therefore follows her not winning those states has no implication over her winning prospects in November.

You say,

Hillary has a significant lead in delegates from the early rounds, since she has won many primaries in the South, which is America’s most conservative region and from where Bill Clinton hails. But the scale of her recent losses point to the problems that will lurk for her in the presidential election. In the last 6 primaries, Bernie has won twice as many delegates as Hillary, 128 to 65.

Again, you’re overstating the significance of Sanders wins in the latest contests you can’t ignore the fact Hillary has won not only the Southern states she had to win, she has also won in Ohio, Missouri and Florida none of which are conservative states but that’s not all; when it’s all said and done, she would have won every state Democrats must win to win in November.

You say,

Outside the South, Bernie has in fact decisively won 14 primaries, while she has won only three, Nevada, Ohio and Arizona, decisively. In 4 others, she has won only by razor-thin margins – Missouri, Massachusetts, Iowa and Illinois, by 0, 1, 2 and 3 delegates respectively. So outside the South, Sanders has won 14 primaries and to her 7.

As noted above, this is a distinction without a difference when the question is who between Hillary and Sanders is better placed to win in November against whoever emerges as the wounded Republican nominee.

You say,

In the Wisconsin primary next Tuesday, Hillary’s 40-point lead has shrunk to 4 points.

Nothing wrong with that; Sanders—according to polls—came back from far behind and narrowly over Hillary in Michigan gaining steam but that took him nowhere. He can win Wisconsin and the outcome won’t be any better given the massive delegate lead Hillary has over him—a fact you yourself have acknowledged above.

You say,

She has been bleeding support outside the South to Bernie for months, even though a year ago most Americans had never heard of Bernie Sanders.

Besides there being no evidence of Hillary “bleeding support in the South to Bernie for months” it’s never clear why people who make this argument that Sanders was an unknown before he entered the Democratic primary it undercuts their other argument that he’s matched better one-on-one with any of the potential Republicans in November.

Let’s just say by the time any of those candidates are half-way done in “introducing” Sanders to America, even the staunchest of his supporters wouldn’t recognize him and some of those now saying they like him may actually go to the polls to vote against him!

That’s precisely the reason why Hillary has a staggering lead in pledged delegates and as icing on the cake, he only has 31 Super Delegates supporting him while Hillary has 469 and please let nobody buy the phony argument that the Super Delegates system is “rigged” in favor of Hillary; it’s not, rather, that’s a system in place for the party to avoid precisely what’s going on in the Republican Party—which is fully and wholly consistent with all applicable democratic principles on suffrage.

You say,

Hillary’s problem is her unfavorable ratings among voters, which is why she lost to the virtually unknown African American Barrack Obama in 2008, when she was presumed to be a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination.

False. Hillary’s favorability ratings were consistently above 50% throughout the 2008 primary season and only fell below that (49%) in June when she conceded to Obama—a phenomenon which could be the case for Sanders as well if continues to challenge Hillary after it’s unarguably clear he cannot overtake Hillary which will be the case after the next round of voting.

Obama’s victory over Hillary in the 2008 primary had nothing to do with her favorability ratings neither did his win later on in November had much to do with merely the fact he’s half-white.

Obama’s victory had a lot to do with putting together a shrewd campaign that took advantage of a number of favorable dispositions in a political climate where it was time to elect the first black president as part of that disposition Hillary is following the same playbook with minor modifications to account for the unpredictable Clown she’s likely to face in November or whoever the divided Republicans put forth as their wounded nominee.

You say,

All this shows how vulnerable Hillary will be as the Democratic candidate in November.

No it doesn’t.

You say,

Her source of strength among the Democratic base at the moment is the South, but the Southern states are heavily Republican and Democrats have trouble winning many of them.

False; Hillary’s source of strength are the core coalition of the Democratic Party: Minorities (especially Blacks and Hispanics, Older Voters and Women add that a good doze of non-angry white men and a good chunk of Millenials she’s likely to get, anyway, she’s good to go to the White House as the next and first female president of these United States of America.

You say,

So in November, if she beats Bernie for the nomination, she will need very heavy turn outs in the non-Southern states, which at the moment have been voting for Sanders more than for her.

Again; not true! Hillary has been winning in all regions and, even more importantly, of the 7 swing states—which have all voted, Sanders has won in only two (New Hampshire and Colorado) while Hillary has won the rest (Ohio, Nevada, Virginia and Florida) and, as noted above, she wins New York and Pennsylvania you’ll see even Sanders himself change the tone of his campaign to be more about the message candidate he has been and in time concede the nomination to Hillary and start working together with all other good Democrats in uniting the party and focusing their energy on what’s even more important and that is, defeating whoever the Republicans put forth as their wounded nominee come November.

This is potentially a source of grave danger to her and the Democratic party, as the most energised grass roots Democratic group active in the election, the young liberal voters, who, as Amy Chozick of the NY Times wrote, “are not only flocking to Sanders but are turned off by Hillary’s financial views and practices.”

There’s no doubt Sanders has an enthusiastic following, especially the younger voters akin to that on the Trump camp but surveys clearly show only a small fraction of Sanders followers will not vote for Hillary in November, which is not good but it’s nothing unlike what has happened before in both parties and whoever is the nominee of either party knows Job No. 1 after nomination, is uniting the party and bringing those who did not support them on board.

Let me not write with glee what I think the prospects for a united party are for Republicans given the surreal primary they’re going through but any Democrat can sigh a sigh of relief we have nothing of the kind going on in our camp and it’ll be—as one prominent newspaper put it, idiotic for Democrats not to rally behind their nominee and hold on to the White House, if not regain control of the Senate and more.

You say,

Democrats should be seriously considering such issues, which are well known, and yet the pliant, pro-Establishment Democratic media, heavily pro-Clinton and an equally strongly anti-Sanders, has yet to touch on this fundamental issues, even though it spends hours or pages each days talking about every aspect of the election.

Your entire premise is false so is your conclusion for if Sanders were to win in any of the key states that matter to Democrats such as Virginia or Florida or New York next week for that matter, you’ll see the same media turn on Hillary as you have never seen and trump that up to no end fact is, he’s not winning those states and cannot and therefore the media is simply reporting that fact you cannot fault them for it, nor should you tag them with these labels that don’t stand to even simple scrutiny as to their coverage of Hillary and Sanders.

The essence of the problem is how will Hillary and the Democratic party woo the vast and passionate Sanders’ following which is turned off by both Clinton and the Democratic establishment’s practices.

This is the same question that was asked of Hillary supporters in 2008 when many of them were disillusioned and even mad that then some unknown Senator was doing so well against Hillary and one group led by a well-known socialite went on to form PUMA (Party Unity My Ass) to actively campaign against Obama, which they did and we all know what happened.

As noted above, once Hillary is nominated, there will be enough time to unite the party behind her and those Democrats and others who value and support what the party stands for as opposed to what the Republican Party stands for would rally behind her and the rest will be history.

This is not something that would happen in a vacuum; rather, starting from Hillary herself, the President and the rest of us who are Democrats or Independents leaning Democratic will have to do our part as we are and lay down a red carpet to welcome disenchanted Republicans and, again, the rest will be history.

These Sanders foot soldiers are essential to a Democratic victory.

Agreed but in the same vein all core constituencies of the Democratic Party are.

You say,

At the moment, with both Trump and Cruz self-destructing, all polls show that both Sanders and Hillary will beat either of them in November – but Sanders wins by much bigger margins.

I have addressed this above but, to repeat, Sanders doing as good as he is vz these Republicans is simply a function of the fact he has not been the subject of that staple of all politics, negative attacks which, take my word for it, were he to be the nominee, he would be lucky if he carries his own state of Vermont.

You say,

He also comfortably beats the third Republican candidate, John Kasich, but Hillary loses to him.

Not big deal here; Kasich has as much chance of being the Republican nominee as you and I and, even if he were and somehow was elected president, Independents like yours truly would not mind at all as we know on most of the things that matter to us, he will do the right thing.

Conversely, were the Clown or Cruz to be nominated and somehow a majority of voters lost their minds and voted either of them to the presidency, some of us who have been struggling as to whether to return home permanently or stay here will have our decision made that much easier as we start packing.

Of course, we’ll be confronted with the same question upon arrival in Kenya or soon thereafter as to whether or not to pack and leave again, depending on whether our candidate of choice is the winner in our own presidential election!

Such is life; at least as we know it now.



Posted by on March 31, 2016 in Politics, Uncategorized


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3 responses to “Putting All Salim Lone’s Arguments Against Hillary Clinton To Rest As To Her Strengths and Weaknesses

  1. Salim Lone

    April 1, 2016 at 10:39 PM

    Dear Sam, I enjoyed reading your lengthy analysis of my position and it did help me in thinking through some points better, for which many thanks. I wish I could give an equally rigorous riposte! But it’s not necessary as we both come from very different perspectives in politics, at least in US politics, and that is the source of our disagreements. Our disagreements are not about H-S but about more fundamental approaches, so we will not persuade each other with arguments on email, or possible even in person.  Let me say 2 things though: My views are shared by many, so its not as if I am proposing some wild ideas that few subscribe to. In the Times yesterday, my Comment got the second highest number of Recommends 122 from NYT readers, most of whom are pro-Hillary.   I do not think its at all likely that Sanders can win the nomination. It is of course possible but would require a dramatic loss of support for Hillary, which is not likely at this ate stage. Where did you read that I thought a Sanders victory was likely? By the way I use gmail now, as above. All best, Salim

    • Samuel N. Omwenga

      July 17, 2020 at 9:48 AM

      Hi Salim, thanks to COVID-19 I am finally penning my quasi-memoir (politics heavy story of my life) and much of it from things I have posted on my blog here and happen to come across this post I am not sure I responded in real time but we can now look at these things in rare view mirror and they’re ever so fascinating nonetheless. My older daughter who was in high school in 2016 was so pro-Sanders much as many of you were now she’s in college and not anymore for the same reasons I was not. She and our other daughter also in college now are reluctantly supporting Biden though they prefer someone else that’s just not there. Truth is, even I am not excited about Biden but even a comatose toad is 10x better than Trump. Such is life and politics! You’re very quiet these days, what are you upto?

  2. Samuel N. Omwenga

    April 2, 2016 at 2:25 PM

    So noted Salim; disagreeing with who’s best to lead the US or any country for that matter is okay and desirable in a democracy where such disagreement is based on principles and policies and not other considerations that may or may not be useful or valid. I must say much as I like Sanders, for those who think like me or agree the only question is whether he can win in November against even a wounded Republican and the conclusion I and others have reached is he cannot simply because what he’s advocating for such as free college education and other freebies Americans including yours truly simply have no taste for it; rather, what Hillary proposes to make college education affordable is more pragmatic and likely to pass. Also, I and others don’t buy this argument that someone can come to Washington and fundamentally change how Washington does its business the only way that happens is by amending the Constitution which is designed to prevent an imperial presidency where some crazy cannon like Trump can come and terrorize the country with his ad hoc moronic whims. Indeed, even if Sanders were to be the Democratic nominee and win the general with a majority of both houses to boot, he’ll be shocked to find he can’t have his free college education and draconian anti-Wall Street legislation passed for there are conservative Democrats who will make sure he doesn’t and thus the reason Hillary is preferred as the nominee by everyone except those on the left and ditto the reason she has better prospects than Sanders to beat whoever Republicans put forth as their wounded nominee.


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