In my not so humble opinion, regardless of what the polls may indicate, regardless of the bloviations and inane comments from the journalists and political analysts who take up space on CNN, MSNBC and the networks, make no mistake about it. As I write this, the race for the Dem presidential nomination is between Bernie and Bloomberg. If you doubt me, read on.
Each of the other candidates has, over the course of several months, exhibited severe and increasingly obvious flaws – too old, too slow, too prone to gaffes, too disingenuous, and/or too inexperienced. None of them has given any indication that he or she will be able to garner the broad appeal necessary to win the nomination, much less the general election. Instead, they have been falling all over each other to run as far to the left as possible. They are engaged in the political version of the limbo (how far left can you go). As a group, they are further to the left than the average Dem voter. History tells us that is not the formula for winning a general election. One wins by controlling the middle. The Dem nominee will need a GPS to find the middle.
Each of them has enjoyed a brief moment in the sun as the darling of the Dem establishment and the mainstream media, only to have their candidacies implode. For example, remember Kamala Harris and “Beto” O’Rourke? Where are they now? Long gone, is where. Elizabeth Warren’s prospects have diminished severely, weighed down by one lie and exaggeration too many. Joe Biden, the former presumptive nominee, has been exposed as a bumbling, fumbling and stumbling out-of-touch has-been. Every time he speaks one wonders what inappropriate and embarrassing inanity will come out of his mouth. Pete Buttigieg’s candidacy will eventually be exposed by his lack of experience as merely a mediocre mayor of the fourth-largest city in Indiana and a lack of appeal to AAs and Hispanics. I predict the remaining pretenders will be weeded out one by one over the next month, perhaps, even as early as “Super Tuesday.”
The Dem 2020 campaign has devolved into a “stop Bernie” movement. Party donors and insiders are horrified by the prospect of a Sanders nomination, and Bloomberg is widely seen as the latest, and maybe the last, chance to stop him. To be sure, Bernie has a hard core of devoted, loyal supporters. He did very well in Iowa and NH. If he wins in Nevada and does well in SC he will have huge momentum going into “Super Tuesday.”
So far, Bloomberg’s poll numbers have been boosted primarily by the outrageous amount of money he has spent. Supposedly, he has spent in excess of $400 million. This has give rise to the criticism, by some, that he is trying to “buy” the nomination. (By comparison, Bernie has spent about $40 million.) Can he keep up that pace? In a word, yes. He has untold billions. But, sooner or later he will have to go out and talk to people in uncontrolled environments.
On the negative side, Bernie has espoused extreme, some would say, downright scary and unrealistic, positions. He is an avowed socialist, some would say communist, who says what he means and means what he says. He has tried to compare his brand of socialism to that practiced in Denmark and other Western Europe countries, but even the president of Denmark has strongly denied such similarities. Simply put, his core policies – open borders, Green New Deal, forgiving college tuition debt, single-payer free healthcare for all, and huge tax increases, to name a few, would destroy the US economy and bankrupt the country in short order. So far, he has been succeeding in a diverse field with many candidates, but I fail to see how he could win a general election running on that platform.
However, I don’t see Bloomberg as being able to stop him. Firstly, he is an uninspiring speaker and probably a subpar debater (although I have not heard him actually debate anyone). Up until now, he has avoided big rallies. He has limited himself to small audiences where he can control the questions. In my opinion, his speaking style is a cure for insomnia.
Secondly, his signature achievement as mayor of NYC was “stop and frisk.” By all accounts this policy was a big success as far a getting guns off the streets and reducing crime. However, minorities viewed it as targeting them unfairly and, therefore, as racist. His campaign strategy has been to apologize for the policy. This has come off as disingenuous and demeaning.
Finally, as an old, rich, white guy I don’t think he will appeal to voters outside of the NYC- DC bubble.
As I said, Bernie has gathered a hard core of supporters. They are intensely loyal to him, and they are still smarting from 2016 when they insist the Party insiders “stole” the nomination from him. That does not augur well for a peaceful, orderly convention in Milwaukee.
In my opinion, the Dems have brought this mess on themselves. They have put forth a slew of mediocre, at best, candidates, none of which has exhibited broad appeal. As I said, in many cases, they have chosen to embrace extreme left positions that are not in accord with most voters. The result is that the likely nominee is an extreme candidate, who, in reality, is not even a real Democrat, who, at this point, will likely be very difficult to deny the nomination, and who would have virtually no chance to defeat President Trump in the general election. Does anyone else see this as reminiscent of the extreme candidacies of Goldwater in 1964, McGovern in 1972? We know how those turned out.
Yes, the Dems need a strong moderate candidate who can beat President Trump, and as of now they don’t have one. I believe they are in trouble.