Super Tuesday has passed into the history books…
…So before Super Thursday arrives, let’s take stock of what we’ve learned:
1. Media talking heads obviously haven’t learned anything. The same people who were confidently predicting Bernie’s revolution, Joe Biden’s political demise and Bloomberg’s rise, or endorsing both Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, were caught totally flat-footed by Biden’s resurgence, Bernie’s wilt, Bloomberg’s humiliation and Warren’s inability even to place higher than third in her home state. Yet within minutes of the results arriving, they were already back to making more confident, totally baseless predictions. (Remember when they assured us the candidate most likely to be our next President was Kamala Harris?)
As I said on my TV show two weeks ago, I might not agree with these candidates on anything, but I respect them all for having the courage to get in the game. None of the people commenting on them (present company excluded) have ever done that, yet they opine on it at length as if they were experts. If you just need something to fill your time, better to buy a DVD box of Looney Tunes cartoons than listen to them. Because, as I’ve been hammering away since I started my media career in 2009, you can’t trust polls, and the people inside the media bubble are largely out of touch with most of America. They have less understanding of people outside the Beltway than Mike Bloomberg does of farming. That’s why the only polls that matter are the ones where people actually vote.
2. Bernie may have done himself in by ignoring the advice, “Never go full commie.” Much of his popularity for years has depended on him being like an M&M: a lovable “Crazy Uncle” candy shell hiding the radical socialist within. A lot of people bought into that facade, particularly young people who have no actual memories of what real socialism/communism are like. They were miseducated to believe in “Democratic socialism,” which isn’t the icky kind with the goon squads and starvation but the shiny, happy kind, where the government gives you free stuff and pays your college tuition and sends the bill to greedy rich people. The only nation where that’s ever existed is Fantasyland.
But over the past couple of weeks, Bernie has given some interviews in which he allowed some cracks to open in his candy coating and reveal the reality inside. Like his defense of Fidel Castro: sure, he turned a paradise into a prison island and put dissenters in dungeons and in front of firing squads – but he also had that great literacy program! And free health care! I think the blinders may have come off some of his young followers, who failed to show up in the expected numbers, and especially older voters who hadn’t been paying that much attention. They suddenly realized that Bernie is an honest-to-Pete SOCIALIST, and he may claim he just admires Denmark, but he also thinks he sees Denmark when he's looking at Cuba.
When the reality finally started to dawn, Bernie’s revolution started crumbling faster than the Berlin Wall (for you youngsters: that was a concrete and barbed wire border wall designed to keep people in a socialist utopia from fleeing it, even though they still risked their lives to do so, just as Cubans took their chances with the sharks rather than stay there to enjoy Castro's free health care and literacy program.)
It’s extremely telling that Bernie did much better in early voting, with those who decided this week making a big surge away from him and toward Biden. Speaking of whom…
3. It’s true that Bernie didn’t do as well as expected and Biden far outperformed his…well, performance (largely thanks to black voters.) Biden even won Massachusetts! It's a big PR boost for his campaign, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Biden will win the nomination before the convention.
I mentioned last week that Democrats are always changing the rules based on the last election with no thought to how it might negatively affect them in future elections (for instance, wanting to eliminate the Electoral College because they lost there in 2016.) On Super Tuesday, they reaped more of the unintended consequences of their own fiddling with the process.
They now have no winner-take-all state primaries (that wasn’t “democratic” enough.) So even though Biden seems to be surging ahead of Bernie to the DNC’s great relief, they still could face a brutal contested convention because they have to divvy up the delegates proportionally between all candidates getting 15% or more of the vote (“Fairness!”) That makes it almost impossible for one candidate to top the 1,991-delegate threshold to clinch the nomination without a string of landslide wins -- unless either Bernie or Biden drops out (fat chance!) For instance, Biden scored a big morale victory by winning Texas, but by only a few points over Bernie. And with Bloomberg topping 15%, Biden may be hailed as the frontrunner, but he won’t collect many more delegates than Bernie.
Under their arcane rules, if a candidate scores a lopsided win, he/she/xe gets a much larger cut; but if it’s a close shave, the delegates are carved up more equally. Here’s some more on that, if you’d like your eyes to cross:
Democrats also agitated for years for early voting, thinking an extended voting period would benefit them. They didn’t consider how many Democrats would be furious because they cast early votes for Buttigieg, Steyer or Klobuchar only to have them drop out at the last minute, rendering their votes meaningless and keeping the delegate count fractured when they desperately want as many as possible to go to Biden.
The lesson I take from this is that despite their rebranding of themselves as “progressives,” these are the last people in the world you should trust to anticipate and plan wisely for the future.
4. Finally, the good news for Tom Steyer is that it’s likely he will have to hold the embarrassing record for the most expensive failed vanity Presidential campaign of all time for only a couple of days. The $250 million he spent pales next to the estimated $500 million Mike Bloomberg spent on a blitzkrieg of advertising to win a handful of delegates and exactly one primary, in American Samoa (5 delegates.)
At this writing, Bloomberg reportedly plans to stay in for the duration (but then, Warren says that, too.) He has another 123 half-billion dollars he could burn. But as it stands now, the one thing he’s accomplished for all that spending is to forever debunk the Democrats’ whining about how billionaires can use their money to buy elections.