This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 24, 2020:
Following “Democratic Socialist” Bernie Sanders’ runaway victory in Nevada on Saturday, Democrats are fearing the worst: He might actually win the Party’s nomination in July even though he isn’t officially a member of the Democratic Party.
Although the Vermont senator is likely to lose to Joe Biden this coming Saturday in South Carolina, the margin is predicted to be narrow. All he needs is to win most of the delegates up for grabs on the following Super Tuesday, and pundits are saying he’ll have it all but locked up.
The liberal Atlantic magazine wrung its hands over the prospect: “With Senator Bernie Sanders’ massive win in Nevada, he’s taken the lead in delegates and may never lose it. Efforts to top him so far have been ineffectual.” Left-wing Mother Jones complained, “While Sanders’ opponents may agree that he won’t make the best nominee, none can agree on how to actually stop him.”
When House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) was asked if a Sanders candidacy would hurt downline Democrats in November, he responded, “I do believe it will be an extra burden for us to have to carry,” adding,
So I think that that would be a real burden for us in these states or congressional districts that we have to do well in.
If you look at how well we did the last time and look at the congressional districts, these were not liberal or what you might call progressive districts. These are basically moderate and conservative districts that we did well in, and in those districts, it’s going to be tough to hold onto these jobs if you have to make the case for accepting a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist.
None of the candidates leaving Nevada and heading for South Carolina appear to be giving up. Each, for various reasons, thinks he or she still has a legitimate shot at winning the party’s nomination in July. And that could be the very key to blocking Sanders and keeping him from winning on the first ballot.
Wrote the Atlantic,
The remaining candidates leave Nevada all believing that they have a legitimate argument for staying in the race. With no one winning enough support to be considered a strong alternative to Sanders, and with expectations of a contested convention setting in, they’re all sticking around and amassing delegates in hopes of getting another shot at the nomination in Milwaukee in July.
That’s the strategy increasingly being recognized as the only way to not merely keep Sanders from winning on the first ballot, but to nominate a more viable candidate to oppose the president in the fall. Dick Morris, a former advisor to President Bill Clinton, said runners-up may not win in Milwaukee, but “they do have a good shot at denying Sanders a first ballot majority.”
The math is persuasive, says Morris: “Numerically, Bloomberg and Biden have sustained such critical wounds that they can’t win … and Buttigeig, Warren and Klobuchar lack the appeal to be a compromise candidate.” He added:
It’s likely that even if Sanders wins all of the primaries on and after Super Tuesday, he will still only get about 40 percent of the delegates [on the first ballot]. Give Biden and Warren about 15 percent each, and Klobuchar and Buttigieg about 15 percent between them and you have accounted for 85 percent of the delegates.
Here’s where Bloomberg comes in.
He can’t win any primaries, but, with a massive ad buy, there are enough uninformed voters to give him the remaining 15 percent….
[As a result] it is very unlikely that Sanders can get to 50 percent.
In addition to the math, there’s a more basic ingredient involved in keeping the also-rans still running: panic. Said Morris, “Impelling their panic is the likelihood of losing Congress with Sanders as their standard bearer. Not only would they probably lose the House, but Republicans might even expand their Senate majority to close to 60 seats.”
The obstacles facing the Democrats are daunting. As a result of the surging economy, voters are increasingly likely to keep Trump as president rather than risking someone promising to stall it and reverse the gains achieved in the last three years. This is showing up even in polls that are heavily weighted with Democrats, such as the latest CBS News/YouGov poll. After polling 10,000 registered U.S. voters, including 6,498 self-identified Democrats or independents who plan to vote in a Democratic primary, 65 percent of them told YouGov that President Trump “definitely” or “probably” will win in November, no matter who the Democrats finally pick to face him in the general election.
Morris predicts that the nominee for the privilege of entering the ring against the president won’t be anyone currently running:
Nobody will be nominated on the first ballot, and it’ll go to a second ballot.
Now, the problem is that the party establishment doesn’t have a candidate. They can’t do Bloomberg because he got killed in the debate…. Can’t do Biden because he’s already lost the frontrunner status.… Buttigieg looks like a high school kid at the Model UN, and he’s not gonna be able to have it, certainly not against Trump. Warren is third, but she’s pretty far to the left, and people are not gonna want to — they’re not going to want to trust her.
And when you put it together, it will go to a second ballot and then I think Hillary Clinton enters the race. And the superdelegates will all leave who they are for and go to Hillary.
Bloomberg, with his unlimited funds available for the general election, will likely be given what he has sought from the beginning: the power to make that final selection. Unless he is keeping his pick secreted away somewhere out of the limelight, the next best candidate to enter the fray would be Hillary. After all, she has been denying any such intentions for months.