Yesterday morning, there was a lot of TV discussion on whether Elizabeth Warren would be dropping out of the race and endorsing Bernie Sanders, with most analysts commenting what a huge deal that would be and how much it will change things. (When you read this, who knows?, it's possible she'll have done that already. Such are the travails of living three hours behind the East Coast world and so much has gone on by the time you awake. We does the best we can...)
The more I heard the commentary, the more I gnashed my teeth at how empty the analysis was.
Yes, it's true -- if Elizabeth Warren drops out of the race and endorses Bernie Sanders, it's a big deal. But what that analysis leaves out is that Michael Bloomberg has already just dropped out and endorsed Joe Biden. So, a similar action by Warren won't "change things," it will sort of cancel out Bloomberg's endorsement and return everything to the status quo that we had after the results came in on Super Tuesday. That's when analysts were all saying that Biden was now the front-runner and that he was likely to pick up even more delegates a week from Tuesday.
Again, yes, Warren dropping out and endorsing Sanders is indeed a big deal for him. But it's a big deal because it balances things back out to normal, not because it's a game-changing type thing that gives him a huge advantage. She clearly has far more passionate voters than Bloomberg. But as for numbers, they probably are close to a wash. And Bloomberg has an overwhelmingly better digital presence -- one of the best in the world, in fact, Hawkfish -- that he's making available to Biden. (And later, to whoever the Democratic nominee is.)
How significant is Hawkfish? On MSNBC, Stephanie Ruhl, who used to work for Bloomberg's company, said, "You may not know anything about Hawkfish -- but Hawkfish know EVERYTHING about you."
So, as helpful as a Warren endorsement of Sanders would be, it can't be discussed without putting it in a context of Bloomberg endorsing Biden, offsetting it at best. And at worst, behind because of the resources Bloomberg brings to the table.
And this doesn't take into consideration the dropping out and subsequent Biden endorsements by Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer,
As for the race from here on in, I do think Sanders could win against Trump, for all the reasons I wrote in last week. But getting to that point is more challenging for him Ultimately, there are only two ways that Bernie Sanders can get the nomination (or that any candidate can – 1) If there is a brokered convention, he can get the Democratic Party to coalesce around him, rather than unite for Biden. And that seems profoundly unlikely. So, that leaves 2) he has to get 1,991 delegates before the convention. If Bloomberg and Warren both leave the race, that's certainly possible with only two candidates left in the race. But given that Biden is ahead, and likely to increase that lead in a week given the states next, it puts Sanders in the position of having to catch up to the former and current front-runner with momentum. That would most-likely require some major screw-up by Biden or a huge change -- both possible, just not the ideal options for a candidate since they're out of his control.
I don't think that Joe Biden has the nomination locked up. Not even close. But I think the more likely path is for him, and Sanders' only hope is to pass the 1,991 mark before the convention.
For those Biden supporters who are looking for Sanders to drop out and give unity to the party, it's a pipe cream, at least for the time being, and perhaps ever. Not just because he still has a totally reasonable path to the 1,991 delegates (even if it's a more narrow one than Biden, I think), but also for who Bernie Sanders is.
Hearing a bunch interviews with him yesterday and a press conference, I just don’t see him stopping running, unless Biden hits 1,991 or runs the table for a while until there’s no realistic path. But I don’t think that’s likely. But it's more than a matter of delegates. It's that Sanders is not just a proselytizer at this point, but from all he keeps saying, he sees himself surrounded by “Them” – Republicans, Big Business, the Democratic Establishment. And I think that energizes him. It reminds me of Michael Jordan who famously always needed to create “slights” that he would then go up against. So, the more Sanders loses, and the more people are against him, the more I think he’ll get his back up and keep running. Maybe not, but that’s the sense I get.
However -- if he does not get the nomination, I do think that once that happens and he licks his wounds, he will strongly support Biden because a) he likes Biden personally, and b) he KNOWS Trump is a serious danger.
Whether he can convince most of his Bernie Bros. is the question. I do think he can convince most of them. And most of the remaining will find it too unpalatable not to vote against Trump. But I'm sure there will be some who take their ball and go home. Hopefully that number will be small enough not to matter. I think that will be the case. But my crystal ball is only so deep.
Leave a Reply.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor