Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders is the hot candidate of the moment having won two and basically tying the other primary, so far. Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg was always hovering around, spending hundreds of millions on advertising dollars but not entering a primary until Super Tuesday which is next week. He figured by then a bunch of the candidates would have flamed out and he would be poised to have a super Super Tuesday.
What Bloomberg apparently didn’t plan on was performing not just horribly in the debates but demonstrating his elitism, which is a turnoff to nearly all voters.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, having done what he always has done in president primary seasons not only hasn’t won a primary but didn’t finish in the top tier. This, apparently, was just another presidential contest Biden would lose.
But this primary is different.
Not only does Sanders scare nearly everyone on the under ticket in the Democratic Party, he isn’t even a Democrat yet he wants already to change the rules so that if he survives with a plurality of delegates, the convention should choose him. That is not what the rules say.
Lord, how did things get so mucked up for a party that seemed to be on its way to defeating an incumbent president who, for most of his presidency, has been disliked by a majority of Americans? And who is incapable of reassuring the country we’ll be okay in the face of the coronavirus? Even at that moment, the vice president and others stood in front of a national audience to reassure us about the government's preparedness for the virus they spent almost as much time praising the President more than they talked about the potential emergency facing the country. And Trump stood enjoying the praise. As he always does. Whether warranted or not.
But, this year is going to be different, I think. While my predictions are worth not even as much as a professional pundit’s, I predict Biden will not just win in South Carolina Saturday, but will win by double digits so that it is a clear win – and in the first state where a majority of Democratic primary voters are African Americans, a key constituency for November. That will re-energize his campaign.
Biden not only traditionally performs horribly in primaries, he has put in mostly disappointing “debate” performances. That’s not his forte, trying to get in a word among so many others on the stage. He truly is a gentleman who not only tries to follow the rules but typically doesn’t put up much of a fight about it.
Until Tuesday, that is. For a moment, Biden flashed a bit of anger, seasoned with a sense of humor (it was his Catholic upbringing that makes him follow the rules, he said).
Biden is good at (and genuine about) making a connection with a voter, which means the town meeting format plays more to his strengths. A moment from last night’s Biden town hall on CNN has gone viral because of the genuine emotions Biden displayed in his answer to a religious question. And he did it without preaching but by just relating.
Biden knows his personal legacy is at stake – as well as the future of the country. Imagine a Trump presidency with a Republican Senate and House.
So, I predict a Biden win but that won’t be enough. Biden also is low on cash and Super Tuesday will be just a few days away. Bloomberg has been spending in those states, heavily, for a long time, and each of his other opponents has more money than Biden does. Well, maybe except for Tulsi Gabbard who not only is still in the race but who surprisingly is in the race at all. One must wonder why she’s there but that’s a topic for another day.
Joe needs money. But he’ll get it, or at least enough, as the party elders are near panic about Sanders leading them into a battle in November that likely would mean a loss to Trump, and also likely losses down ticket. Re-energizing his campaign also means he likely will increase his troops of desperately needed volunteers for the ground game in the primaries.
I would hope that if Biden puts on a strong enough display, it will launch him into Super Tuesday after which, if he performs well, many of the more moderate candidates would start to drop out, allowing Biden to pick up their voters.
Surprisingly, despite having had a large and the most diverse bunch of candidates ever, the Democratic Party has also had a field of bad candidates. But the field is loaded with men and women who not only can fill out a Biden presidency quite capably but also can continue to train for future presidential runs.
Biden likely, despite what he says, would serve only one term, get the country back on an even-er keel, re-establish our necessary leadership on the world stage and allow each of us to go to bed not worried about what we’ll be waking up to.
Our collective blood pressures would go down.