Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Miracles Can Happen

Super Tuesday is behind us and I see two big takeaways.

First, miracles can happen. Joe Biden was close to being on life support a week ago. He now looks poised to go toe to toe with Bernie Sanders in the remaining primaries.

Second, $500 million doesn't appear to buy you much in politics if you are not a good candidate to begin with. Mike Bloomberg proved that on Super Tuesday. Will he get out? If he doesn't, the only thing he can do is make it much more likely we will see a contested Democrat convention. Will he stay in to merely insure he has a big voice in who the nominee is?

How was Joe Biden able to come back from the dead?

He owes a lot to South Carolina. He also owes a lot to the Democrat establishment who began to panic two weeks ago about the prospects of losing control of the party to Bernie and his band of socialists. They put a full court press on for Biden leading up to South Carolina. Biden has also benefited the most from being the most familiar name and face in a crowded field looking for an alternative to Bernie Sanders.

One of the problems the Democrats had in looking for that alternative is that all of those most likely to assume that role this year did not measure up with voters. Kamala Harris did not even make it to the Iowa caucus. She ran out of money and supporters before the first votes were taken. Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar looked liked they might be able to gain the attention of voters but it never happened. They both dropped out after South Carolina and endorsed Biden. Bloomberg spent $500 million but threw most of it away in his first debate appearance.

When human beings are uncertain about a decision they tend to default to the familiar.  Familiar is the safe choice. You see it in politics all the time. Voting for an unknown and unproven candidate is risky unless the new candidate really convinces voters and separates themselves from the field.

The Democrat primary this year reminds me of the 1996 GOP primary. You had younger and fresher candidates seeking the Republican nomination that year like Pat Buchanan, Steve Forbes and Phil Gramm. However, Bob Dole was a familiar name and face even though he was 73 years old. The only reason that he got the nomination is that people knew him and weren't sure of the others.  Dole got crushed by Bill Clinton in the general election.

John McCain gained the nomination in 2008 under similar circumstances against candidates like Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul. None of the new names really could separate themselves and McCain was the beneficiary despite being 72 years old. He didn't really excite anyone but he was a familiar and "safe" bet when the voter had to make a decision. Of course, McCain lost big to Barack Obama.

It was just two weeks ago that I wrote that Bernie Sanders had the inside track to the nomination in that he would generally be able to count on 15%-35% in most states and the alternative candidates would split the remaining votes and delegates. For the establishment Democrats to beat Bernie Sanders in the primaries they would need to get the race down to a one on one race with Sanders.

Klobuchar and Buttigieg dropping out of the race after South Carolina opened up a wide lane for Biden to operate.

Bloomberg is still a potential problem in getting to that one on one race, and it is difficult to know what is motivating him in all of this, but it is clear now that all he can be is a spoiler.

Elizabeth Warren is in the same place.  However, she is hurting Bernie rather than Biden. Does she care? Will she now drop out? Would the Democrat establishment rather see her stay in? Who is she trying to please?

I wrote this two weeks ago...

Lack of funding usually ends the dream for most candidates but that will not end the Bloomberg campaign. He only gets out if he feels he has absolutely no chance and also sees that he is actually helping Sanders by staying in. One other candidate will likely go the distance with Bernie (Buttigieg, Klobuchar or Biden (miracles can happen).

Yes, miracles can happen.

Joe Biden is now leading the Democrat primary race or in a dead heat with Bernie Sanders (depending on the final results in California). At a minimum, he has gained the momentum.

However, a contested convention is still not out of the question due to the fact that the Democrats do not have any "winner take all" primaries.

I still think Biden is a ticking time bomb for the Democrats. He is a human gaffe machine. I will be shocked if he does not do or say something that ultimately does him in.

The only question is whether it happens before the convention...or after.

Even if Biden survives the gaffes, we are talking about a man who will be 78 years old at the beginning of a first term, 82 years old at the beginning of a second term and 86 years old at the end.

Will the American people trust their lives, livelihood and liberty to a man of that age?

I don't think young people will trust that he can. I don't think older voters will believe that he can.

Then again...miracles can happen.

I have learned you never say never in politics.

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