Well I’ll be a lyin’ dog-faced pony soldier! Albeit it one who “knows the thing.” Because I DO know the thing!
Who knew that Grandpa Simpson Slow Joe Biden still had a change up—or was it a knuckleball?—in him?
The result yesterday completes the the turnabout of the two parties. It used to be said that when it came to presidential nominations, Democrats fall in love while Republicans fall in line. Thus Democrats have swooned for newfound novelty candidates—sometimes successful, sometimes not—like McGovern, Carter, Bill Clinton, Dukakis, and Obama, while Republicans settle for the “next in line.” In 2016 the parties reversed those roles, with Trump easily upending the GOP establishment candidates, while Democrats fell in line behind Hillary instead of the more popular Bernie. Now this year Democrats have really fallen in line behind an establishment candidate for whom there is little real enthusiasm. Faced with the prospect 10 days ago that Bernie Sanders might secure the nomination this week, the Democratic establishment moved with startling efficiency and effectiveness to bolster Slow Joe. The establishment needed Biden to show that he could win somewhere, and when South Carolina came through big, the establishment rolled into action. But if the Democratic Party establishment gets its wish, they will have nominated Tom Dewey to Trump’s Harry Truman.
Don’t think the contest is necessarily over. Slow Joe won a bunch of southern states with a large black vote that he has little chance of winning in November, with the exception of Virginia and North Carolina. The primary contest now moves to northern states where Sanders can expect to do much better, like Michigan. It will be interesting to see whether labor unions in Michigan rally to Biden and turn out the vote for him.
Bloomberg has dropped out, now that it appears obvious that a continuation of his campaign would only help Bernie. Which brings us to Warren. The normal logic of presidential contests would see Warren drop out today, and she may yet by the time these pixels get to your screen. (There are “breaking” stories right now that she is “reassessing.”) But if she “persists” it will be because she draws more votes from Bernie than from Biden. Her ego likely wants to bask in the glow of being the person who took down Bloomberg, so she might want to continue on as a victory lap of sorts. Either way, Warren, at a relatively young 70 (by current Democratic Party standards), will be the front runner for 2024 if Trump is re-elected.
A few stray notes: Turnout by young voters appears to have been tepid. Another sign that the Democrats’ gerontocracy is not exciting the young. Second, as has long been noted, the Democratic field this year seemed to be running more to be president of Twitter than president of the United States. Will Saletan of Slate notes that his seems to have been . . . a losing strategy:
Chaser—Bernie Sanders today: