Day after Super Tuesday
March 4, 2020
Posted in Meta
Everyone else is analyzing what happened so I thought I’d add my two cents for what it’s worth. Let’s first sum up. The Democratic primary voters have shown a preference for an innocuous, bland, no new ideas, oatmeal candidate who they feel is the most likely to defeat Trump rather than an insurgent candidate who they feel will alienate too many voters to oust Trump. Barring some miracle it is now essential a two man (man used intentionally) race. I did not support either of the finalists, but I would vote for either in November. Both have shown weaknesses and strengths. Simplistically speaking Bernie has the support of the younger primary voter while as voters get older Biden moves in front. Those who want major change (Medicare for all, the Green New Deal, college for all) support Bernie, while those whose primary concern is a safe candidate with (they assume) the best chance to defeat the Republicans at the top and down the ticket support Biden. African Americans support Biden while Latino and Asian Americans support Sanders by and large. Neither Bloomberg nor Warren have much chance of catching these front-runners before the convention. I want to emphasize that primary voting is different from general election voting. Even in areas where primary turnout was high, many more people vote in the general election than vote in primaries. Trends that hold in the primaries may not in the general election.
What to make of this situation? If neither Bernie nor Uncle Joe have enough delegates to win by the convention we will have what’s called a brokered convention where each candidate is wheeling and dealing for the delegates that will put them over the top. Warren is staying in the race so she can be a factor in a brokered convention. Bloomberg has become tired of spending his money in a lost cause and threw his support to Biden. Each would expect to get something for the support. If nobody wins on the first ballot then the super-delegates (elected and establishment Democrats) can vote and Bernie is toast. If Biden were in the lead at that point the establishment could claim that they were just confirming the “will of the people.” If Sanders were in the lead they would clearly be overturning the “will of the people.” The Dems have done this before in 1968 when the establishment chose Hubert Humphrey as their candidate while the insurgent candidate (McCarthy) had the most delegates at that point. They went on to lose the election to Richard Nixon. If Biden is the candidate there will be two questions 1) Will progressives especially the “Bernie bro’s” vote for him? 2) Will a Biden campaign “inspire” the turnout necessary to defeat Trump. If Sanders is the candidate the questions are the same but reversed, 1) Will the centrists support Bernie? 2) Will enough of Bernie’s youth brigade turn out to overcome the fear and lack of fervor that the centrist have about his candidacy?
Now I am not a prognosticator and many things can change between now and the convention. Biden or Sanders might reach out to the opposite “wing” of the party for a vice presidential candidate that may bring enough of those outcast by the nomination into the general election. Either might content himself with influence over the party platform and this consolation prize might be enough to convince at least some of his followers to support the other candidate. In any event unity is going to be the holy grail for the Democrats and will be hard to come by. One must contemplate what a second term for Trump would bring before making one’s decision. Those with privileged enough circumstances to ride out even a second Trump term must decide whether their cynicism, anger and disappointment at the rigged Democratic candidate selection process, the delay of the “revolution,” and the Democratic establishment, outweighs more Trump. Those without this privilege must turn out in droves to vote because their lives and those of people they love depend on it.