Bloomberg Is Out but NOT Gone, Sanders Sulks
The Democrat dilemma: How to nominate an "establishment candidate" without alienating the 18-30-year-old emotive voters.
According to Bloomberg, “After [Tuesday’s] results, the delegate math has become virtually impossible — and a viable path to the nomination no longer exists.”
But his campaign never really was about accumulating delegates or actually seeking the presidency. It was, from inception, about stopping Bernie Sanders.
As I noted in “Bloomberg’s Brokered Demo Convention Gambit” two months ago, the Sanders surge is creating a lot of heartburn for the Democrat Party. And regarding Bloomberg’s faux campaign, the stage podium Bloomberg wants is the big one at the Demo convention in July. That will enable him to broker a path for his preferred candidate. Biden’s views align most closely to those of Bloomberg, and he is the “establishment candidate.”
Endorsing Biden, Bloomberg declared: “I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden.”
In other words, Bloomberg’s gambit on a brokered convention was, and remains, to provide a gauntlet to a Sanders nomination if Sanders gets that far. Bloomberg apparently now believes Biden’s path to the nomination is secure, so he can exit and devote his money to defeating Donald Trump.
As I noted before Bloomberg’s exit, regardless of whom Biden plugs into his VP ticket slot, his ticket “will be enthusiastically supported by Bloomberg, who … will provide Biden up to a billion in advertising graft against Trump in the general election.” And of course, if Biden wins the big one, he will be irrevocably beholden to Bloomberg. We call this arrangement a “quid pro quo.”
Responding to the endorsements, Sanders distinguished himself from Biden: “Joe is running a campaign which is obviously heavily supported by the corporate establishment. At last count he had received funding from at least 60 billionaires. Our campaign has received more campaign contributions from more Americans, averaging $18.50, than any campaign in the history of our country. … Joe and I have very different voting records. Joe and I have a very different vision for the future of this country and Joe and I are running very different campaigns, and my hope is in the coming months we will be able to debate and discuss the very significant differences that we have.” I suspect Biden will not fare well in the remaining scheduled debates.
Sanders then said, correctly, that the DNC is using its 2016 model to dump him: “This just confirms exactly what I said. It’s what the media has been talking about for months. How do we stop Bernie Sanders? How do we stop a movement of working people and low-income people? How do we stop a multi-generational, multi-racial movement, which is standing up for justice? What you do is you get candidates out of the race to rally around Joe Biden.”
Sanders’s leftist advocacy group, Democracy for America, rallied to his defense. DFA commissar Charles Chamberlain echoed, “Now, the head-to-head race between Biden and Bernie — the Democratic establishment versus our progressive movement — begins. If we want a progressive in the White House, we need to put everything we’ve got behind Bernie. The establishment always underestimates our movement and we’re once again the underdogs in this race for the presidency, but … we’re about to see Bernie like we’ve never seen him before.” Bern it down!
Rebutting Sanders’ charges, Biden asserted, “It’s ridiculous. Bernie. You got beaten by overwhelming support I have from the African-American community, Bernie. You got beaten because of suburban women, Bernie. You got beaten because of middle-class, hard-working folks out there, Bernie.”
For his part, Donald Trump stirred the Demo division, saying, “The Democrat establishment is trying to take it away from Bernie Sanders. There’s no question about that in my mind.”
The Biden v Sanders contest provides a rewarding irony — for decades, the Democrat Party has built its political platform on a “divide and conquer” strategy, segregating Americans by race, gender, ethnicity, wealth, and a long list of political-identity movements, with the objective of creating an amalgam of “victim constituencies” that they endeavor to reconstitute in presidential cycles. However, in this and the last presidential cycle, the Democrats are victims of their own division.
Democrats now face the challenge they faced in 2016 (and back in 1968) — how to nominate an “establishment candidate” without alienating all the 18-30-year-old emotive voters needed for victory.
With other primaries just ahead, Biden’s path to the Demo nomination is still facing significant hurdles. For that reason, his backers, Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, et al., are not actually dropping out — they’re “suspending” their campaigns to ensure that at the convention their delegates are bound and can’t defect to Bernie’s dark side.
As of this writing, the delegate count is as follows: Biden 595, Sanders 528, Warren 65, Bloomberg 59, Buttigieg 26, and Klobuchar 7. A better indication of the contest between Biden and Sanders is to combine their faction delegates. Biden’s left-of-center faction includes Bloomberg, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar for a total of 687 delegates. Sanders’s far-left faction includes only Warren, and they hold 593 delegates. In effect, Biden leads Sanders by 94 delegates. No doubt the Sanders/Warren faction is discussing strategy about how to keep her constituents on board given that she is dropping out today.
It’s a long way to the 1,991 delegates needed for the Demo nomination, and while Bloomberg is out, his money is most assuredly not gone.
Some suggest that Bloomberg’s poor primary performance is indicative that money can’t buy elections. Nonsense. Bloomberg’s money is going to buy the Democrat nominee a lot of votes – whether that will be enough to defeat Donald Trump, I hope not.