Hillary is all but anointed as the nominee, but unpopular. It’s how the system runs without us.

Summary:  Hillary is all but crowned as the Democratic nominee for President, yet her low polls numbers suggest that even a moderately strong Republican candidate could defeat her. The Republicans also appear likely to nominate an unpopular candidate. If so, the 2016 will clearly show how our political system runs without us. Plus, public opinion polls provide a mirror into which we can see ourselves — and as a side-effect this polls reveals our gullibility.  {2nd of 2 posts today.}

"Hillary for Oligarchy" poster

How does a Republic work if its citizens remain aloof from it politics? America seems likely to provide a demonstration, as November 2016 seems likely to give us a choice between two unpopular candidates. Unpopular to us, that is. America’s stakeholders, the people who run it while we remain on the sidelines, will love them. Today we’ll look at the anointed Democratic front-runner, to see what the polls reveal about her, about us, and about the state of the Republic.

CNN ORC opinion poll


A poll taken May 29 – 31


“Do you favorably regard politician X” goes to the bottom line of electoral politics. The results show Hillary as a polarizing figure, with both high unfavorable and small  “no opinion” levels. The current ratings are among her worst ever since Bil Clinton’s election as President.

May 2015 CNN pollMay 2015 CNN poll

Asking about the qualities that lead to a favorably opinion yields similar results, showing that the roots of her unpopularity are broad and deep.

May 2015 CNN PollMay 2015 CNN Poll



The questions about Benghazi Benghazi BENGHAZI! The poll ratings showing strong support for the GOP’s delusional scandal-mongering, more evidence of American’s susceptibility to propaganda — if repeated often and loudly. For more about this see Our leaders have made a discovery of the sort that changes the destiny of nations and The secret, simple tool that persuades Americans. That molds our opinions.

May 2015 CNN Poll

May 2015 CNN Poll

Hillary Clinton
Photo by Andrew Burton/Reuters.

For More Information

Jamelle Bouie at Slate rushes to defend the conventional narrative: “Democrats, Don’t Freak Out!” — “Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers were always going to fall a little. That doesn’t change anything.” He oddly compares Hillary’s numbers as a Presidential candidate to those of ex-Presidents. Apples, meet oranges. In “Clinton’s Resilient Popularity” he confuses popularity (she’s not) with “more favored than even less popular candidates.” Would you prefer liver or kidneys for breakfast?

Jonathan Chait at New York gives a more insightful analysis: “Hillary Clinton Isn’t Very Popular, But She’s Winning Anyway” (the GOP candidates have even worse numbers). As does Megan McArdle at Bloomberg: “Clinton Support Has Nowhere to Go But Down“.

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33 thoughts on “Hillary is all but anointed as the nominee, but unpopular. It’s how the system runs without us.”

  1. Unless you get lucky and get another Roosovelt this will be the last American president, whoever they are.

    Their will either be (or both) a miltary takeover or a shattering of the US into diffrent States/groups of states.. I expect a military (de-facto) takeover for awhile, then a breakup.

    Being who they are the military are socially, racially and sexual/gender conservatives. Their own actions will make the ‘great spilt’ even worse.

    1. Lisa, what evidence do you have for your theories? We strongly prefer widely respected sources that are well-known to be experts in the area you are talking about. For example, I don’t argue with Steven Hawking on theoretical physics but I don’t bother to listen to his increasingly crackpot social theories.

      Now to respond to your comments: Yes, the country has suffered under the leadership of the most recent set of plutocrat-oriented presidents but that has happened before and the country has survived. Also, this country is amazingly strong, has a lot of advantages, and can survive a very long time under apathetic leadership. I can see no reason for the country to suffer from a military takeover (they can get everything they want without a takeover) or the US breaking up (there are still way too many profound economic advantages for this to be a wise course of action and there are no compelling cultural or social issues to cause this to happen).

    2. Lisa,

      “Unless you get lucky and get another Roosovelt this will be the last American president, whoever they are.”

      I don’t track predictions of comments, but this would make a fine additional to your list. Right up these with your others, but even more outlandish.

      It loses points for originality, as its a commonplace among Leftists. In college Leftists said this about Nixon. A San Francisco Leftist (an extreme variety of the type) told me in all seriousness that Arnold Schwartenager intended to install himself as tyrant of California.

    3. “Their will either be (or both) a miltary takeover or a shattering of the US into diffrent States/groups of states.. I expect a military (de-facto) takeover for awhile, then a breakup.”

      Not so long ago Rick Perry seemed to angling for the job of Head Cowpoke in the Texas Independent Republic. I forget exactly why he was yammering about secession, because I didn’t pay any attention to it at the time, because it was obviously a stunt. And now he’s declared that he’s a presidential candidate in the traveling outpatient ward known as the Republican Party. Seems an odd turn for a “secessionist” “leader”.

    4. Thank you for the compliment, FM, it means a lot to me.

      I can only observe that in the past you have patiently responded with logic and facts to more internet Trolls and foolish arguments than I care to think about. I have the advantage that I can choose when and where I respond and am well aware of my own limitations.

  2. I predict, in all seriousness, that there will be no meaningful participation of California in the next presidential election? And why do I say this? Because I don’t remember it ever actually mattering here, ever, and it has been decades. I can’t say this is 100% confidence, maybe there’s a chance the Republicans will still have a contest going by the time it makes its way around here, but has this ever actually happened? Not that I can recall, though I need to check Wikipedia to be sure. I’m trying to remember a general election where California was actually contested? They only come here to ask for money, and the only ones they meet are billionaires. If you’re a mere multi-millionaire, you might get a handshake at an exclusive fundraiser. Really out west, we’re spectators in this. Me, I can hardly wait. I feel the non-excitement building.

    Though not to say elections are a complete non-event. People do show up for the initiatives. I think the ‘kill the gays’ initiative didn’t make it, but maybe there will be some other craziness to get people motivated. Here comes ‘the most important election ever’ — again.

    1. Cathryn,

      I too live in California, and I understand what you say. However, there are often many perspectives on such things.

      (1) “the only ones they {candidates} meet are billionaires”

      That’s just good sense. The 1% are the true stakeholders of America. Our passivity, our unwillingness to work together, make us pawns on the board. Our politicians see and must work with this reality.

      (2) Somehow the idea has become embedded in our minds that civic participation equals voting. That’s quite false. Voting is only the lowest form of civic action — what should be the last step, not the only one. California can mobilize its resources to affect the election in a thousand ways, should it’s people care enough to do so.

  3. “I predict, in all seriousness, that there will be no meaningful participation of California in the next presidential election?”

    I gather that by “participation” you mean “competition”. But competitive or not, California’s still got it’s huge presence in the electoral college.

    I’m on the opposite coast, so you’ll have to correct me if I’m wrong, but my impression is that at the state level California elections usually favor Dems because the Fuming White Guy party has spent a decade or two thoroughly alienating everybody who doesn’t meet their notion of a “real” American.

    Of course it’s not just California. Which is why every election is accompanied by two hilarious Republican rituals:

    1: The Wile E. Coyote soul-searching moment: “Golly, the dark people really don’t seem to like us.”

    2: The “solution”: “Quick! Find A Black Guy For The TeeVee Spots!”

    1. This really isn’t a partisan thing. For the primaries it has to do with the timing. By the time the primaries get here, it’s over. This is true for both Republican and Democrat primaries. Mostly we’re voting in this election where the nominee has already been selected. I have to check to be sure, but I recall now maybe 1968 Democratic primary was still in play when it got here to California. So I guess it’s possible. In the general, it’s mostly been pretty lopsided one way or the other. The state is so big and expensive to campaign in, that when the losing side is trying to turn it around they don’t come here. For presidential elections, really not a lot happens out here.

      As far as Democrat versus Republican, California is divided between urban and rural. Rural votes R, and urban generally votes D. I think this is similar to the rest of the country. You can see the signs shift if you drive around here. I suspect the shift to Democrat is partly a demographic issue, we just have bigger urban centers. In the countryside and farmside Republicans win on land use issues. A lot of posters about Washington and water use out there.

    1. infowarrior,

      I don’t listen to youtube vidoes for information. Armstrong is six steps beyond a fringe source. This is the hot wingnut conspiracy story, but not as fun as the “black helicopters coming to take away your freedom”. Check your fillings!

      1. infowar,

        I know Wolf Richter. He’s a great guy, and publishes interesting material. Some good, some fanciful. As you see in this — predicting “draconian cash controls coming to France”! That was written two years ago, and France has not instituted cash controls. France shows no sign of instituting cash controls.

        By the war, cash controls are not a “war on cash”. They are a common feature of national and international monetary systems. A kind of cash controls were a bedrock feature of the Bretton Woods global monetary era (1945-1971). Nobody spoke of a “war on cash” then.

      2. infowar,

        A single economist saying “it might be time to abolish cash” is not remotely like saying there is a “war on cash”. Economists say all sorts of things, almost all of which are ignored by the powers-that-be. Still, that was a good use of google to ex post try to justify what you said.

      3. I do agree that conspiracy theorists are mistaken due to the fact that their particular way of thinking makes it easy to attribute what can easily be explained as incompetence as intent. The fact is though even in the absence of intent. People can act as if in coordination even if they aren’t directly conspiring with each other. Only that a particular set of beliefs can cause them to act to such a stimulus in similar ways.

        I disagree however that facts somehow become non-facts due to their association with conspiracy theorists. Yes the track record of particular news sources are bad. And there is good reason to assume that information is false. But isn’t truth still truth no matter what mouthpiece it comes from?

        Does a fact of gravity suddenly become false when it is reported by conspiracy theorists?

      4. And you say dismissing facts just on the basis of the fact that they are seen be fringe or outside the mainstream is not a ridiculous notion?

        And even some mainstream news sites like the Prestigious rolling stone feature clickbait or grossly incorrect stories like the UVA campus rape case.

      5. infowar,

        “And you say dismissing facts just on the basis of the fact that they are seen be fringe or outside the mainstream is not a ridiculous notion?”

        Try replying to quotes, which will avoid these kind of gross misrepresentations.

        “And even some mainstream news sites like the Prestigious rolling stone feature clickbait or grossly incorrect stories like the UVA campus rape case.”

        Everybody does clickbait headlines and sometimes stories. It’s just something readers have to be aware of, like not confusing commercials with the show. Also, I doubt many people consider Rolling Stone to be a “prestigious news site”. It features writers or material unable to publish in the mainstream news. It’s in the penumbra around the mainstream, where fact and fancy are often born.

        “grossly inaccurate stories”

        Everybody in this business sometimes gets it wrong. I am more careful than the New York Times (I don’t have to publish a full edition every day, or earn vast sums to stay in business), and yet I still have a too-long list of errors on the FM website’s Smackdowns page.

        Unfortunately Heaven doesn’t publish a newspaper (perhaps because there is no news). Or perhaps they just don’t deliver to my zip code.

      6. You know. You may be right. People with an agenda get a news story and run with it and with their own way of looking at things subjecting them to paradulia.

        Maybe things aren’t as bad or it may be bad actually. Its frustrating though that many of my “Mainstream” news publications are actually just aggregator Which is why I am interested in your metric on how to measure the objectivity of particular sources.

        What marks out a source as objective in your opinion?

      7. infowarrior,

        “What marks out a source as objective in your opinion?”

        As I have said so many times to people in other threads, there is no such thing as an objective news source — or person, for that matter. There are those with high signal to noise ratios (e.g., the New York Times). There are those that provide useful insights and information filtered our of the mainstream media (e.g., Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, Slate), there are high quality partisan sources (Lawyers, Guns, Money). There are an almost infinite number of sources with low signal to noise ratios (e.g., Debkafile).

        People often spend much more time making trivial decisions about their food (glutton?) than life-shaping choices about their info diets.

  4. To amplify Pluto’s rebuttal, the U.S. military has a history of staying out of politics. Those American military figures who have dabbled in politics have historically taken a severe drubbing — McClellan vs Lincoln, MacArthur’s run for the presidency.

    The American military, like American oligarchs, prefer to stay in the shadows and feed at their hog trough invisibly. In fact, taking over the government would interfere with the U.S. military’s ability to extract cash from the system, since the military would then have to deal with the various irate constituency groups (single women, impoverished urban infants, rural poor) whose social safety net gets shredded in order to pay for more 12-billion-dollar aircraft carriers and 40-billion-dollar non-working ballistic missile defense systems.

    As for Lisa’s weird claim that the U.S. will break up, all current U.S. political trends are at present moving in exactly the opposite direction. First NAFTA linked Mexico and Canada into a single unified trade block and now the Trans-Pacific Partnership will unify countries on the Pacific Rim with America economically and in terms of many national laws that will have to be modified or repealed to satisfy the giant corporations behind the TPP.

    The U.S. is getting bigger and more unified, in terms of social links and economic connections, rather than smaller and more fragmented. The American military currently controls the U.S. budget, but only by right of first refusal, in which internecine turf wars inside the Pentagon’s E-ring determine the overall military budget for this year along with the specific breakdown among the various armed services — whatever is left over once the military portion gets allocated are the budgetary crumbs that civilian leaders fight over. But that’s different from a military coup. The Pentagon wants the cash, not the responsibility of running America.

  5. And once again we have crackpot theories about the alleged disappearance of fiat currency. (Sigh.) The stuff infowarrior is spouting comes from the Lyndon LaRouche/Ron Paul/James Howard Kunstler axis of the reactionary fringe. The various mutated strains of this kind of crackpottery either involve a return to the gold standard (Ron & Rand Paul), individuals producing their own currencies (Bitcoin fanatics), or a wholesale collapse of the U.S. financial system and a return to barter (Kunstler’s “world made by hand” delusions).
    FM might want to set up a preselected menu of crackpot comments to save time. Commenters could choose:
    [1] Fiat currency conspiracy theories;
    [2] Rants about fractional reserve banking as the alleged basis of all evil;
    [3] Black helicopter UN tyranny fantasies;
    [4] Military coup hysteria;
    [5] Mad Max scenarios where the U.S. breaks up into fiefdoms run by warlords;
    [6] Peak Oil fantasies straight out of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (I look forward to the cool cars!)
    Meanwhile, essentially all the commenters have utterly ignored FM’s central point. To wit, that America increasingly has a political system that operates in a closed loop of millionaires and billionaires, without input from the bottom 80% of the population.
    Bernie Sanders’ candidacy offers a potential challenge to this unsustainable trend. Time will tell if Sanders’ bid for the presidency is successful.

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