The place to begin this morning is a quote from Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Thomas Erbrink, "Iran’s Supreme Leader Says Israel Won’t Exist in 25 Years"):
Iranians must not forget that the United States is the “Great Satan,” Ayatollah Khamenei warned, criticizing those calling for better relations. “Some want to show this Satan as an angel, but the Iranian nation has pushed this Satan out,” he said. “We should not allow it to sneak back in through the window.”As GOP dead-enders in the House of Representatives seek to satisfy their Saudi and Likud paymasters by delaying debate on the agreement over Iran's nuclear program, American voters are of a similar mind as Ayatollah Khamenei. They want to throw out Satan.
The two halves of Satan's brain -- the Republican-Democrat duopoly -- are having a difficult time processing this information. Nate Cohn today, "Donald Trump vs. the Party: Why He’s Still Such a Long Shot," still cannot accept that he was wrong back in July when he dismissed Trump as a flash in the pan. His argument that Trump cannot win now seems to rely on the fact that America is actually not a democracy. Elite party opinion, not voters, decide who a nominee is:
For past candidates, elite support has been necessary, and unified party opposition has been fatal. Without elite support, an ordinary candidate can’t build a top campaign or raise big money or draw major attention from traditional media.
Party opposition is even worse. It ensures a chorus of influential critics in the media and a well-funded opponent with endless resources for advertisements to echo the attacks. Grass-roots support and super PACs can help compensate for a lack of broad support, but they probably can’t overcome broad opposition. The voice of the elites is too strong and influential.The blogging sage, Nate Silver, the guy Nate Cohn was hired to replace, basically agrees with his replacement ("Stop Comparing Donald Trump And Bernie Sanders"):
What Sanders and Trump have in common is they’re both unlikely to be nominated. (If I were laying odds, I’d put either one at something like 15-1 or 20-1 against.) But it’s for different reasons. Sanders is losing now, but if he eventually overtakes Clinton — and if Biden fails to come to the establishment’s rescue — his position might become more viable. Trump is nominally winning, but the GOP race is much more volatile. And if he doesn’t lose steam on his own accord, the Republican establishment will use every tool at its disposal to stop him.Sanders and Trump cannot win because voters in the United States really don't choose their leaders. That's the point of view that Silver and Cohn are peddling here. Where Iran's supreme leader interprets this as evidence of Great Satan, what is disappointing to me is that I don't think the two Nates do.
Democrats are reading the same tea leaves, and they are pitifully casting about for a stand-in should Hillary continue to falter. For a particularly dire assessment of the state of the Democratic Party, Patrick Healy's "Big-Name Plan B’s for Democrats Concerned About Hillary Clinton" is a must-read:
It is not just Mrs. Clinton’s weakness in the polls that has generated talk of other alternatives, but also the strength of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is routinely drawing huge crowds at campaign events. That has been disconcerting to Democratic officials who believe that Mr. Sanders, a socialist, is so liberal that his presence at the top of the party’s ticket in 2016 would be disastrous.
“If party leaders see a scenario next winter where Bernie Sanders has a real chance at the Democratic nomination, I think there’s no question that leaders will reach out to Vice President Biden or Secretary of State Kerry or even Gore about entering the primaries,” said Garnet F. Coleman, a Texas state lawmaker and Democratic national committeeman.
“You have Democrats beginning to panic about the one thing that a lot of them never worried about, which was Clinton’s electability in the general election,” said Robert Shrum, a veteran strategist who was a senior adviser to Mr. Gore and Mr. Kerry during their presidential runs. “You still have to think of her as the odds-on favorite for the Democratic nomination. But the challenge she faces in the general election is both the trust problem and the likability problem.”The bottom line on Healy's piece? A draft Kerry movement is lurching to life. A true sign of desperation.