The Nevada caucuses confirm that Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) has clung to the ledge by her fingernails as long as she could and will almost certainly fall off on Super Tuesday.
It also confirms that the end is nigh for the Pete Buttigieg phenomenon, the typecasters’ candidate, a prefabricated person with all the outer ingredients but no relevant governmental or equivalent experience, no fixed beliefs, and nothing but flippant and fluently well-rehearsed answers to all subjects; an articulate façade with nothing tangible behind it.
Klobuchar and Buttigieg both have made a valued contribution and if Klobuchar had had more panache, she might have made a strong run for the nomination. As it is, she easily outpaced her Senate colleagues who quickly showed they had no substantive qualities: Cory Booker (N.J.) , Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), and Kamala Harris (Calif.). None of them had the remotest idea of what was required in a serious presidential candidate. And they all became ludicrous figures in pursuit of such a great office.
Booker told us that fighting climate change was as urgent as the invasion of Normandy in 1944—a challenging case to make, especially since Booker showed no sign of having any concept of either.
Gillibrand, who replaced Hillary Clinton as U.S. senator from New York, adopted the position in the Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings that women should always be believed when it comes to claims of sexual misconduct, even in the absence of evidence or corroboration, and that Bill Clinton (to whom she indirectly owed her political career) should have resigned as president over his peccadilloes.
Harris always wanted a “conversation” about everything, and her great contribution to the campaign was to revive the insane policy of busing schoolchildren in huge numbers out of their neighborhoods and all around metropolitan areas in pursuit of racial balance in the schools, and the devil take the wishes of the parents and the children.
As the race tightens, it is hard to see Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) continuing past March 3. She did recover somewhat in the debate last Wednesday, and was the most destructive competitor of Michael Bloomberg, doing significant damage on the stop-and-frisk issue and dangerously afflicting the mayor on the matter of previous settlements with hush-payments in sexual harassment cases. With that said, she has been run down by Bernie Sanders in the same left lane.
The slight extent to which Warren has been able to finesse her positions and be less frightening than Sanders, an outright Marxist, is exceeded in impact by her untruths about her status as an American Indian and being fired as a schoolteacher for pregnancy, and her “I have a plan for that” whoppers, such as her $52 trillion straitjacket for American health care.
Former Vice President Joe Biden seems likely to eke out a modest win in South Carolina, giving him a few days to celebrate, but it is hard to see how he continues after March 3 either. This is becoming a rough game for fiercer people than the folksy, absent-minded old senator from Delaware (who has been burned to a crisp by the Ukraine imbroglio anyway). It’s a bare-knuckles fight between Trump, Bloomberg, and Sanders now.
It would be unwise to prejudge, but at the end of March 3 Senator Bernie Sanders should be more than halfway to the delegates he needs to be nominated on the first ballot, without the invasion of the 500 superdelegates representing the ex officio Democratic Party establishment, who would oppose Sanders as unelectable, and in any case undesirable, because of his Marxist policies. The superdelegates come in on a second ballot.
While it is unlikely that Bloomberg’s totals will be particularly impressive on Super Tuesday, he is likely to be second to Sanders, and doesn’t have any concerns about the affordability of campaigning. Presumably, he will raise his game in the next debate, and it must be said that his slick professional campaign operation put together some good advertisements from his stronger points in the debate last Wednesday, as the only one of the candidates who has started a business. In any case, he is the alternative, the last train leaving the station before the Old Democracy delivers itself over to a suicide ride conducted by Sanders.
It is not clear how Sanders could gain more than one-third of the vote in a general election, with his advocacy of wrenching all healthcare out of the hands of the public and subjecting everyone to a compulsory federal plan, the Green Terror, open borders, abortion verging on infanticide, confiscation of guns, and entertainment of reparations for African and Native Americans, free university tuition and forgiveness of $1 trillion worth of student loans, and blood-curdling tax increases on any individuals and corporations with any income and accumulated wealth. This would leave President Trump winning by over 40 million votes. (The previous largest plurality was Richard Nixon in 1972 by 18 million votes over George McGovern, in an electorate of 77 million, about half of the present one).
Fortunately for the Democrats, Mayor Bloomberg’s ego is about as capacious as President Trump’s and he will shake-off his weak opening performance and in 10 days will be all that stands in the way of an electoral massacre of the Democrats.
Presumably, Bloomberg will now see that slagging off Trump is no way to prevent a disaster for his adoptive party and a humiliating belly-flop for himself. We are suddenly late in the game and Bloomberg will see that his only recovery plan is to terrorize the two-thirds of the Democratic voters who will not have spoken by March 3, into rejecting Sanders in the later primaries between mid-March and June, pushing the convention to a second ballot, and presumably winning then, with the party elders and their superdelegate votes tilting it to Bloomberg. Sanders’ army will howl like banshees that their man had been, as Donald Trump put it in New York outer boroughs Yiddish four years ago, “schlonged “ again.
It is conceivable that under the pressure of a relaunched Bloomberg campaign focused directly at Sanders and spouting money like the Trevi Fountain in nasty advertising, Sanders could be persuaded to rethink his hare-brained nostrums, which Bloomberg described fairly accurately on Wednesday night as “communism, and it hasn’t worked.” Though there would be credibility problems, that might bring the Democrats back some way toward a recognizable center. There is no reason to expect anything but good news for the administration on all policy fronts, and the Democrats will not enjoy the findings of U.S. Attorney John Durham on the politicization of the Justice Department and the intelligence services.
But neither Sanders nor Bloomberg owes anything to Obama or the Clintons and they have plausible deniability on the skulduggery of 2016. The extreme hostility to Trump may not be subsiding among carriers of the more virulent forms of that virus, but the polls show that it is finally melting at the edges as the president moves up in the polls, and is a little ahead of where President Obama was eight years ago.
Bloomberg is a much more substantial candidate than Hillary Clinton proved to be, but Trump has 10 times the stature he had four years ago. On his record and with the Republicans rock solid behind him, he is the strongest presidential incumbent seeking reelection since Ronald Reagan, who took 49 states in 1984 against the unexceptionable Walter Mondale.
Trump is a better campaigner and debater than Bloomberg, but they are both rich New York alley-cats, of different physical and financial stature, and Bloomberg is more genteel. He would be an underdog, but it could be an interesting election. Trump and Sanders would be justifiable political homicide.