After 3 attempts, 32 years, and 5 primaries as a candidate, Joe Biden finally won his first set of delegates in his quest to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for president. Within hours, the powers that be in the liberal establishment saw their opening and pounced on the remaining candidates, applying pressure to get them to drop out and support Biden.
With no clear path to the nomination for anyone, thanks largely to the screwed up way in which Democrats distribute their delegates proportionally, rather than fight, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg took whatever they were offered as payoff and quit.
What makes no sense is when they did it. Pete quit on Sunday, Amy on Monday. Super Tuesday is, well, Tuesday. With early voting, anywhere from a quarter to a third of the votes on Super Tuesday were already cast. The ballots are in the box, those votes can’t be changed. Anyone who voted for either of those candidates would have been better off writing in their dog’s name.
The primaries are so clustered together because states want their votes to count. Usually, after the first few races, the field starts to thin out because there was time in between votes and losers would see their fundraising dry up. Now, with votes stacked on top of each other, building momentum is much harder.
With early voting, the candidates have already been campaigning and running ads in all the states voting today. In addition to all the early votes they’ve gotten, their names will still appear on the ballots. How many people going to the polls today will not know Pete and Amy dropped out? Not many, but some.
It’s been clear from the start that the Democratic establishment wanted Joe Biden to be the nominee - he was next in line and they’re desperate to recapture whatever good will still exists among Democrats for Barack Obama. And the only thing Joe Biden has going for him is his association with the former President.
So why now? Biden had been Obama’s Vice-President this whole time, so what is new that caused this Godfather-esque “settling of all family business”? That one victory in South Carolina.
Apparently, the powers that be were convinced what was holding Biden back was his lack of wins. Rather than waiting for him to string one of those together, they should’ve set the standard at him stringing one coherent sentence together. His win in South Carolina was expected, the only thing surprising about it was the margin. But it was just one win, in a state he’d always led in the polls. Getting excited by this and consolidating power at this moment is like working to get every other golfer to drop out of the US Open to stop Rory McIlroy because Tiger Woods sank a 3-foot putt on the 3rd hole.
There is no guarantee Joe Biden has what it takes to win the nomination. Throughout his career, the biggest obstacle he’s faced has been himself. He’s a horrible campaigner, gets basic facts wrong, lies about easily disproven events from his own life, forgets where he is and what he’s running for, has a bad temper, and appears on the verge of sleep when most candidates would be feeding off the energy of the crowd. What’s sad is, of the remaining candidates with a chance of winning, at age 77, Biden is the youngest candidate left.
If this Democratic primary were a fiction book it would be published as a parody.
But it’s not a parody, at least not on purpose.
“A communist, a billionaire, and a man suffering early stages of dementia walk into a polling place…” sound like the set up to a bad joke because it is, just not one meant to be deliberately funny. That any of those people could end up being the nominee of a major political party and stand a chance of becoming President of the United States is a joke that is on all of us.
Tonight, we’ll have a better idea of whether or not this flexing of party muscle will work; if the party power structure’s preferred candidate has a shot at preventing the party’s non-party member candidate from winning their nomination. But it’s becoming more and more likely that no one will win the nomination through the voters, leaving it to a fight at the convention.
The funniest part of all of this, if you can call it funny, is it all could have been avoided. If one candidate had stood up to Bernie’s radical agenda rather than ape it, the consolidation the Democratic establishment is pushing now wouldn’t have been necessary or forced. They all offered their own version of Bernie-lite; Biden did too. That leaves Democratic voters a choice between a veggie burger and a pile of dried leaves on a bun. Neither is appealing to the other, and whichever side loses will likely be inclined to skip the meal altogether. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving group of people.
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