Op-Ed by Stu Cvrk
What can be deciphered from the heat and light emanating from the Democrat-media complex as relates to the Democrat primaries? Given that the legacy media are all-in for the Democrat Establishment, their recent attacks on Bernie Sanders followed by “retractions” in some instances make for high theater and some interesting twists and turns. We will examine that, but first a recap of what has transpired up to this point.
There were upwards of 28 major Democrat presidential candidates in 2019, with “major” defined as a candidate with the following experience: US senator, US congressman, state governor, mayor of a major city, and/or billionaire. Most declared their candidacies before the Mueller report was released in May 2019, as the “get Trump” mania that consumed the Democrat Party and their media allies reached a fever pitch. In their minds, the President’s impeachment was certain to create a wide-open race in 2020, and that enticed many ego-driven Democrats to take a shot at the Oval Office.
After the Mueller report popped the Democrats’ impeachment balloon, the lesser candidates began dropping out beginning in July 2019. A dispassionate reason for this was that most never really had a constituency or broad coalition in the first place and had no hope of gaining any traction in nationwide polls. The reality is that most were afflicted with delusions of grandeur and never should have declared in the first place.
The dropouts accelerated through the fall and continued through the first primary state, New Hampshire, as summarized in this excellent chronology. It is interesting to note that the following major candidates dropped out after billionaire Michael Bloomberg declared his candidacy last November: Kamala Harris, Julián Castro, Cory Booker, and finally Andrew Yang, Deval Patrick, and John Delaney (who suspended their campaigns after New Hampshire primary on 11-12 February). There will be much more on Bloomberg later in this article.
As of this writing, there are currently six major Democrat candidates left in the race, with the national averages for each averaged across the legacy media polls, according to Real Clear Politics are as follows:
After placing second in the disputed Iowa caucuses by a nose, then winning the New Hampshire primary by a modest margin, and the delivering an overwhelming win in the Nevada caucuses, Bernie Sanders has emerged as the clear Democrat front-runner. That reality has fractured the Democrat coalition and exposed a raging civil war in the Democrat Party between the far-left Bernie bros and the slightly-less-far-left rest of the Party. And yes, the Democrat Party has been masked as America’s far-left socialist party, as the Democrat debates were all conducted on Bernie’s turf: Medicare for All, Green New Deal, debt forgiveness, open borders, and reparations. Bernie has consistently owned the various manifestations of those issues for decades, and the debates showcased to America that all of the candidates on the debate stages supported all of those issues (with slight variations, in some cases). Those issues define the Democrat Party as the socialists they have always been – but have carefully kept hidden from the American people, and now the masks are off.
So where does this leave the Democrats? I suspect that the Democrat solons were sanguine about having 28 declared candidates in the race when it looked like President Trump was going to be removed from office. Lots of candidates meant lots of media time focused on the Democrat horse race, keeping the Democrat base interested and energized. Their strategy appears to have been to have their “anointed” candidate declare toward the end of 2019 after Trump was safely gone, and the media could then focus all attention on that candidate going into the Iowa caucuses. However, when it became clear that President Trump was going to be acquitted, the Democrats appeared to have shifted their political strategy.
The Democrat Establishment know full well that the declared candidates have no chance of defeating President Trump. While Democrat consultants/hacks continue to chirp on Fox News and elsewhere that “polls show all of the top six Democrat candidates handily beating President Trump in November,” the Democrats’ own internal polls almost certainly tell the opposite story – that ALL of the candidates, including Joe Biden, get trounced by the President. Thus, at this juncture, the Democrats’ political strategy has apparently shifted toward orchestrating a brokered convention in which someone not currently even running is hand-picked to lead the ticket. The free-for-all debate in South Carolina this week was more evidence that perpetuating the political chaos is part of the strategy to achieve that goal.
Note: it’s entirely possible that a brokered convention has always been the Democrats’ strategy from the very beginning of this election cycle, but I am inclined to believe that they would have preferred to have avoided that chaos. However, President Trump’s acquittal-for-life left a brokered convention as their only option since the Democrat Establishment seem to be dead-set against a Bernie Sanders nomination. There is an obvious reason for their well-founded fears. The Democrat Establishment know that their own political power and authority are at great risk with a Bernie candidacy because most Americans still favor capitalism over socialism by wide margins in all polls conducted over the past 50 or more years. The results of one such recent poll by NBC/Wall Street Journal showed that:
Fifty-two percent of those polled said they viewed capitalism positively, while just 19 percent said the same about socialism. In an almost mirror flip, 18 percent had a negative view of capitalism, while 53 percent viewed socialism negatively.
Say “hello” to a brokered convention because that is the only way that front-runner Bernie Sanders can be stopped at this point. The attacks by his opponents and the media only make him look stronger.
Let us now examine the present lay-of-the-land and the key constituencies of each of the six remaining major Democrat candidates. The national averages for the Democrat candidates across the legacy media polls as of today, according to Real Clear Politics are as follows:
Sanders probably has a top end of no more than 30% in the general election (remember that poll cited above), but he could garner perhaps as much as 45-50% of the Democrat primary votes going forward, as he is the most genuine socialist in the running and has a highly-motivated nationwide political organization in place. The Party Establishment is already doing all they can to tarnish him, with regular attacks by Democrat Establishment figures like Hillary Clinton, James Carville, James Clyburn, Joe Lockhart, and others making headlines recently. However, these attacks on Bernie are fraught with political peril, as they need to keep the Bernie bros in the fold for the general election. If the Bernie bros determine that the nomination was stolen, far more than the 10% who sat out or voted for President Trump in 2016 will do so again. There is no way in Hell that the Democrat Establishment will let a Communist head the ticket because the down-ballot losses would be catastrophic, including the likely loss of the House of Representatives. If the Democrat Establishment can “steal” the nomination from him one time like they did in 2016, rest assured that they can (and will, if necessary) do it again.
Biden is damaged goods. I remain convinced that he had no intention of running but was forced to enter the race in order to set up the Democrats’ Ukraine-related impeachment narrative (“Trump coerced a foreign government for help against a political rival”). Don’t forget that Biden declared his candidacy literally the week after the Mueller report was made public, and the Democrats realized that Mueller had failed to deliver the bacon. If the original brokered convention is true, then another reason for his candidacy was to do the Establishment’s bidding by splitting the vote and preventing any candidate from receiving sufficient delegates to win the nomination outright. In the end, Biden’s campaign is fading fast, and his overt bribery and corruption in Ukraine (and elsewhere) will mark the end of the line for him. That said, he MIGHT be able to siphon off 20% of the delegates, assuming he stays in the race after Super Tuesday.
Bloomberg is a wildcard. Why did he enter the race to begin with? The conventional wisdom is that he surveyed the Democrat moonscape in November and magically determined the declared candidates had no chance but that he somehow did. That could be one reason, and he certainly has the money to get his message out, but his debate performance before the Nevada caucuses was an unmitigated disaster. I believe real reason is that the Democrat Establishment encouraged him to run as a counterweight to Bernie Sanders, knowing that Biden’s campaign is fading and splitting the votes among the candidates remains the political imperative. The Democrats will be perfectly happy to have Bloomberg use his considerable resources to go right after Bernie such that both will be destroyed before the Milwaukee convention in July. There is already evidence of Bloomberg attacking Bernie now. However, one dirty little secret is that Democrats are highly enamored of wealthy individuals, and Bloomberg has the wherewithal to buy a lot of votes, but I don’t see him topping 20% given that he is clearly a lackluster candidate.
Warren is treading water and has pandered to Democrat voters on just about every leftwing cause imaginable during the campaign. She has directly attacked Bernie in a confrontation after a CNN-sponsored presidential debate, and who wasn’t reminded of the classic caricature of a “bad mother-in-law” by watching her screeching attack on Bloomberg in the debate before the Nevada caucuses? Having falsely leveraged her claim to minority favored treatment throughout her life, the harpy has no real chance at the nomination, but she can garner enough of the “shrieking feminist vote” to further split the delegates. The Democrat Establishment wants her to stay in the race to continue attacking Bloomberg to ensure he doesn’t get any real traction, as well as to siphon off some of the radical vote away from Bernie. She’s probably enough of a narcissist to still think she’s got a shot, too. Chalk her up for no more than 15%, which is about where she presently stands in the average of national polls.
Buttigieg and Klobuchar continue to fight for the scraps (the remaining 15% of the Democrat primary vote). Buttigieg obviously picked a fight with Klobuchar during the Nevada debate, but for what reason is anybody’s guess since one would think he would have attacked the front-runner, Bernie Sanders. That cat-and-dog fight did them both some damage, and neither has gained any real traction with the Democrat base. They’re not going anywhere and are lightweights compared to President Trump – and the Democrat Establishment know it. They will remain in the race to help split the vote and pull votes away from the front-runner.
There you have it – the chaos in the Democrat Party continues, Bloomberg focuses his big money on trying to take out the front-runner Bernie Sanders, and Democrats go into their national convention in July with a split vote with no one having sufficient delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot. Which is EXACTLY what the Democrat Party Establishment appears to be orchestrating. The DNC has already been discussing rules changes to deny the nomination to Bernie as noted here, and the only way to hand-pick an alternative will be through a brokered convention.
I have always believed that Hillary Clinton is angling for the nomination “by acclamation.” The brokered conventional strategy is a classic Clinton behind-the-scenes political maneuver. She has spent the last three-and-a-half years fuming and making excuses while failing to come to grips with her loss in 2016. She wants a rematch in the worst possible way, and her political calculus is that she will only have to run a short, intense campaign without fear of apparent health problems like in 2016 if she becomes the “anointed candidate” at the Democrat convention this summer. There are probably enough Democrats and others who still think that “she was robbed” in 2016 who would be reenergized enough to drag her across the finish line in November – particularly if her running mate is John Kerry. That’s the perfect Democrat Establishment “powerhouse ticket.” At least that would be her working theory. What she has never recognized is that she is loathed by at least half of America, and that the unknowns about President Trump in 2016 have all been washed away in four years of his stellar achievements.
If Bernie goes into the convention with the most votes but is pushed aside in a backroom deal, what would the Bernie bros do in that event? A lot of them would almost certainly sit out the election or vote for President Trump – perhaps in sufficient numbers to make a real difference in close states.
The Democrats’ national convention in Milwaukee in July could be lit!
Stu Cvrk served 30 years in the US Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. An oceanographer and systems analyst through education and experience, Stu is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, where he received a classical liberal education. This functions as the key foundation for his political commentary. He threads daily on Twitter on a wide range of political topics, such as the military, foreign policy, government, economics, and world affairs.