Daily Archives: March 14, 2016

Tomorrow’s a big day

March 15 is a crucial day for us Vermont Political Observers, capitalized and otherwise. Not only is it a potential make-or-break for Bernie Sanders, but it’s a deadline day for campaign finance reports from state candidates. And because of Vermont’s relaxed campaign finance law, it’s the first deadline since last July — an eternity in politics, especially in a campaign season that started so darn early.

We will, of course, be watching the primary returns from Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina. I expect Bernie to do better than predicted, as he almost always does; but not well enough to close the delegate gap with Hillary Clinton. The Michigan win, nice as it was, did virtually nothing to close that gap. Hillary’s won a bunch of states by one-sided margins, thanks largely to her yooooge advantage with the black electorate; in order to catch up, Bernie has to not only win a bunch of states — he has to dominate them. That would require some kind of massive unforced error by Clinton, or some kind of unexpected and decisive bad news that would hurt Clinton and help Sanders.

The statistical website FiveThirtyEight has a formula for keeping track of how candidates are faring in the hunt for delegates. It sets a delegate target for each candidate in each state. Right now, it shows Clinton beating her target by nearly a hundred delegates — not including superdelegates. Bernie’s almost a hundred below his target.

Bernie’s Michigan victory netted him a mere seven delegates. He’ll have to pick up that pace substantially and very quickly.

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Protip: If you’re opening a china shop, don’t invite a bull

I don’t know whose bright idea it was to invite the former Most Hated Man in the Senate to Matt Dunne’s news conference on corporate campaign contributions, but apparently it worked out about as well as you might suspect.

In other words, as Seven Days’ Paul Heintz tells it, Peter Galbraith pretty much hijacked the affair.

Galbraith has been a longtime opponent of corporate contributions, having repeatedly proposed a ban during his time in the Senate. Which always seemed more than a bit disingenuous to me, since Galbraith had the resources to self-fund his own campaigns to his heart’s content. In his first bid for the Senate, he put more than $50,000 into his campaign, which was far, far more than any other candidate could have hoped to raise.

(He was the rare diplomat who returned home a very rich man, thanks to his connections with the Kurds and their oil-funded generosity. Indeed, he’s probably the closest thing Vermont has to an oil magnate.)

Galbraith has been musing about a run for governor. I don’t know if Dunne harbored some faint hope of co-opting him, but it sure didn’t work out that way.

You take your life into your hands when you get between Peter Galbraith and a TV camera. So when you invite him to a press conference, you’d best expect that bull to break a few dishes. Dunne, according to Heintz, wore a “somewhat pained expression” as Galbraith went on at length on his own favorite subject — Himself — and whether Himself would deign to run for governor.

Repeatedly. With barely-concealed barbs for the man who had invited him.

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