All through the already seemingly endless Democratic presidential primary process I've been thinking, "Geez. Joe Biden is a boring old white guy who doesn't excite me. I much prefer... [fill in Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, or Pete Buttigieg].
But what a difference South Carolina and Super Tuesday made. I'm now totally on board with Biden being the Democrat who takes on Trump. I watched his surprisingly large victory in South Carolina and over-performance in yesterday's Super Tuesday contests with joy.
Because Bernie Sanders makes my heart worried, while Biden's comeback makes it happy.
All that counts, really, is making sure Trump is a one-term president. Well, plus assuring Democrats keep control of the House of Representatives and ideally taking back the Senate. With Biden at the top of the ticket, there's a much greater chance of all that happening.
I don't enjoy watching Sanders speak. His finger pointing and lecturing wear on my nerves. Worse, Sanders is extremely rigid, self-righteous, and unduly proud of his democratic socialist label -- which Trump, naturally, would incessantly simply call socialist.
It's also disturbing how Sanders responded to Biden kicking his ass on Super Tuesday. I heard a lot of talk about the Democratic establishment conspiring to deny him the presidency, along with their corporate overlords. Yet the plain fact is that African-American voters were most responsible for lifting Biden up.
Thus I can't understand why Sanders thinks it's a good idea to insult Democrats, since he's seeking to be the Democratic presidential nominee. Like Trump, Sanders seems to have only one goal: appealing to his base. This keeps him stuck at 30% or so in primary contests, even though he should be working to broaden his appeal to moderate Democrats and non-affiliated voters.
Now it's being reported that the Sanders campaign is trying to change course.
The decades-long refusal to air negative TV ads is out. Spots highlighting former President Barack Obama’s praise of him are in.
After facing questions for weeks about whether Sanders would shift his message to broaden his base, Sanders’ campaign co-chair, Rep. Ro Khanna, said his candidate will work to appeal more to older voters and mainstream Democrats.
“We need to make the case that single-payer [health care] will provide long-term care, dental and vision for seniors, that our policies are pro-innovation and -economic growth,” he told POLITICO, “and that we are very proud of the accomplishments of the Democratic Party, starting from FDR, and are building an inclusive coalition to complete the New Deal.”
The question for Sanders now is whether his shift is too little, too late. After the Super Tuesday dust settles, more than a third of the primary’s delegates will have been awarded. And, with Mike Bloomberg’s withdrawal from the race and endorsement of Joe Biden Wednesday, the moderate wing of the Democratic Party is now firmly behind the former vice president.
As the moderate wing should be. Which includes myself, I guess, even though I consider that I'm a progressive, along with Biden.
I just am a practical progressive who doesn't want to see the Democratic party founder on the shoals of Medicare For All, free college for everybody, demonizing international trade, praising Castro's policies, and other Sanders positions that make Trump salivate at the anticipation of standing with him on a debate stage.
I've got a lot of confidence in Democratic primary voters. They weren't out to ditch Sanders in South Carolina and the 14 Super Tuesday states. They just want someone who can win next November.
Of course, there will be plenty of surprises between now and the Democratic nominating convention, though Biden is the front-runner. Bloomberg has dropped out, and Biden wisely is indicating that he'll be pleased to accept Bloomberg's money for his campaign. That's the smart thing to do, not rail, as Sanders does, against the "billionaire class and super-PACs."
A VOX piece has a great headline: "Sanders can't lead the Democrats if his campaign treats them like the enemy." Indeed, Sanders and his supporting cast of Bernie bros seem to look upon the normal process of politics as an affront, not as a challenge. When he got trounced by Biden on Super Tuesday, this should have been a wake-up call to change his ways. But instead...
Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have been running very different kinds of campaigns, built on very different ambitions. Biden’s been running to lead the Democratic Party more or less as it exists today. Sanders, by contrast, has sought to lead a political revolution that will upend not just the Democratic Party but American politics more broadly.
On Super Tuesday, Sanders’s political revolution didn’t turn out, but the Democratic Party did.
“A big problem for the Sanders theory of this race is that when turnout is high, he wins,” writesDave Weigel, a political reporter at the Washington Post. “Turnout is way up, but the most reliable new voters are Biden-curious suburbanites.” As election analyst Dave Wasserman noted, the new voters Sanders promised to pull into the party didn’t emerge, and as a result, he’s lost ground from 2016.
...In recent weeks, Biden has been racking up endorsements from Democratic Party heavyweights. Days before the crucial South Carolina primary, Rep. Jim Clyburn blessed Biden — giving him the single most important endorsement a Democrat can win in South Carolina. Biden went on to win the primary by almost 30 points. Days later, Biden got endorsements from Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, and Harry Reid — endorsements that, in his speech Tuesday night, he credited with helping him notch a shockingly strong Super Tuesday performance.
Sanders’s supporters have reacted to these endorsements with fury. To them, it’s proof the fix is in.
No, it's proof that most Democrats aren't comfortable with what Sanders brings to the presidential nomination table. If Sanders had moderated his extreme positions, thereby making him more appealing to those who are less interested in a revolution and more interested in beating Trump, there's a good chance he would be the front-runner now.
But he isn't. And the odds are looking good that Biden is going to be the Democratic nominee for reasons a New York Times piece makes clear. Here's an excerpt from "Biden's Delegate Lead is Small, but Could Be Hard to Overcome."
Mr. Biden, in contrast, will continue to find many states in the next few weeks where black voters represent an average or above-average share of the population. He is all but assured to win commanding delegate majorities in Mississippi, Georgia and Florida. And there are many other states, including Missouri, Ohio and Michigan, where Mr. Biden would be the favorite if he could continue the pattern of his success with white voters in the East.
He needs around 54 percent of the remaining delegates to claim a majority heading into the Democratic nomination, and his path to accomplishing this might be as simple as repeating a Super Tuesday outcome under a more favorable set of states, without the burden of early votes cast before he emerged as the top rival to Mr. Sanders.