The Empire Strikes Back

Well Joe Biden was powered to a dominating sweep of the south last Tuesday and showed surprising strength in the upper mid-west and New England as he overtook Bernie Sanders in the delegate count for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

Biden swept the southern states as Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the race and endorsed him for the nomination.  After Tuesday’s sweep of the south, including Texas, Minnesota, Maine  and Massachusetts, Biden took the lead.  Bernie held on in California keeping him within striking distance.

Tuesday’s primaries subsequently brought the withdrawal of Mike Bloomberg, who spent a half a billion dollars and was close no where; he endorsed Biden and vowed to spend for him.

This morning Elizabeth Warren, having finished a weak third in her home state of Massachusetts, dropped out.

It is now a 2 person race – Bernie vs. Biden.

A week ago Joe Biden looked like a tired old man on his way to his last hurrah.  Today he is in front, apparently leading the revived Obama coalition which defeated John McCain and Mitt Romney for the Presidency.  Blacks, moderate Latinos, college educated suburbanites, moderate white working class voters turned out in numbers far exceeding the young and more radical working class supporters of Bernie.  Nowhere has Bernie been able to garner more than say 35% of Democrats.  His victories came against a fractured field of moderates; now facing just one, his path to the nomination has become much more narrow.

How did Biden do this?  Well, he didn’t.  He didn’t campaign in most of the states that he won.  He had only one office in Texas.  He was running out of money.  He and his staff were totally surprised by the monumental size of his victory.

It was the Obama-Biden Democrats, fearing an avowed socialist at the top of the ticket and carrying serious doubts about Bernie’s electability, who came out in droves to pick up Joe Biden and raise him to the top of the pack.  It was they who pushed him to the forefront.

Joe Biden now needs to respond with a revitalized campaign to prove to the doubters that he is deserving and is our best chance to beat the dyed blond Don in November.  He will face Bernie one on one in the next debates.

On March 10 Michigan, along with Missouri, Mississippi and North Dakota will vote followed by Arizona, Ohio, Georgia  and Florida on March 17.

In a two man race it is a distinct possibility that Joe Biden will sweep the field.  It is also quite possible it will be al over if Bernie is trounced in Michigan.  Michigan, with 125 delegates at stake, is a critical election state and, for Democrats, an indicator of a candidate’s broader appeal.  A loss to Biden could seriously undermine Bernie’s electability argument.

Michigan state officials and Representatives are jumping on the band wagon sensing victory for Biden.  If Bernie loses by 10 points he may drop out.  If he follows it a week later with losses in Mississippi, Georgia and Florida, the ball game will be all but over.

But let us not write off Bernie just yet.  It was in Michigan4 years ago that he engineered a stunning victory over Hillary Clinton and just 2 weeks ago he led Joe Biden by some 9 points in the state.  This week Bernie’s campaign is running TV ads in Michigan of union members lauding his opposition to trade deals while criticizing Biden for supporting them.  Bernie’s campaign feels that his opposition to trade deals and outsourcing will resonate in the heavily unionized state.

Bernie will be in Michigan this weekend for two rallies, calling on his supporters to turn out and vote.  It is not clear how deep a reservoir of support Sanders can carry over from 2016.  He campaigned heavily for a Muslim gubernatorial candidate in 2016 who was drubbed in the Democratic primary by more than 20 points.

Bernie’s hopes had been high for Michigan but after Tuesdays losses, especially in Maine, Minnesota and Oklahoma which he carried against Hillary Clinton, his prospects in Michigan appear to have dimmed.

Compared to the Democrats, Trump’s movement is committed, disciplined and unified. Trump is remarkably popular among his followers. He commands a cult-like level of devotion. His voters treat politics as a religion. They will show up in large numbers at the command of their Great Leader and his mouthpieces in Fox News and the right-wing echo chamber, as well as in the evangelical churches, to vote for him on Election Day.

By contrast the Democratic Party is a loose coalition of various groups. Its politics are overlapping and somewhat inconsistent, and Democrats are nowhere near as ideologically rigid as Republicans. That was true before the rise of Trump and his authoritarian assault on democracy, the rule of law, truth and reality itself, and remains true now.

To defeat a right-wing authoritarian movement, the Democratic Party’s fractious coalition will have to put aside its internal differences and unite around one candidate. Unfortunately, public opinion and other research shows that Democrats may not be capable of the level of unity and loyalty which is necessary to defeat Trump and his movement.

We don’t always get what we want.  It is time to put differences aside temporarily in order to get what we need.


About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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4 Responses to The Empire Strikes Back

  1. beetleypete says:

    Perhaps if everyone realised Bernie wasn’t actually a Socialist, he might do better? Anyway, I really cannot see either of them beating Trump in November.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I enjoyed seeing the turnout in the Virginia suburbs. I guess I am not alone in disgust at the present regime.

    Liked by 1 person

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