If I were a wagering man, I might wager that there will be no more Democrat presidential “debates” before the Democratic National Convention. None at all.
With establishment Democrats all-in to win and realizing Vermont senator and Castro-admiring socialist Bernie Sanders just can’t get them there, they quickly coalesced around former Vice President Joe Biden, who reaped the rewards and was the big winner on Super Tuesday. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar exited the race with oddly incredible speed. Tuesday, Biden followed up that win with another string of states.
So, NOW what to do? Whatever is going on with Biden (we don’t know but can speculate) is at this point preventing him from getting through virtually any event without making some kind of gaffe. His speaking appearances have reportedly been cut to seven-minute slots. His campaign asked for and received a change in the “debate” rules –- I use quotation marks because these aren’t actual debates –- to allow the two candidates to sit at a desk as they take questions from their audience. (The DNC claimed this wasn’t to benefit either candidate, but Sanders had said that standing would be fine with him.) And now, because of coronavirus concerns, they won’t use a live audience.
The next step might be simply to cancel the March 15 event, and that could very well happen. Once again, they can blame the coronavirus, or they can just say there’s no point in continuing because Biden’s got it wrapped up. In fact, that movement was already underway before the polls closed on Tuesday, with House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina suggesting on National Public Radio that the DNC should “step in” and cancel all remaining debates --- even stop holding state primaries --- if Biden had a really good showing and beat Bernie in Michigan (which he has done). “I think when the night is over,” he said, “Joe Biden will be the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic nomination. If the night ends the way it has begun, I think it is time for us to shut this primary down. It is time for us to cancel the rest of the debates.” In an apparent reference to Bernie, he said, “You don’t do anything but get yourself in trouble if you continue in this contest when it’s obvious that the numbers will not shake out for you.”
It’s obvious who has the most to lose and who would really get himself “in trouble” with additional debates: Joe Biden. So party insiders simply want to declare him the winner by acclamation, before he has a chance to mess things up. We’ve been wondering how Biden could possibly make it to the convention if he had to continue debating. Now we know: they can fix it so he doesn’t have to.
Even a Republican strategist writing for the WASHINGTON EXAMINER agrees that Sanders should just drop out…
Democrat strategist James Carville said essentially the same thing on Tuesday. “Our mission is to defeat Donald Trump,” he said on MSNBC. “There’s a 99 [percent] chance that Vice President Biden is going [to be] the nominee. Let’s shut this puppy down, and let’s move on and worry about November. This thing is decided. There’s no reason to keep it going, not even a day longer.”
Indeed. With each passing day, they risk having Biden say or do something that might tend to erode support for the Democrat ticket as a whole.
Of course, it’s not Biden who’s trying to impose this, Carville said. “It’s the Democratic voters that made this decision,” he insisted. “Vice President Biden is not trying to force him [Sanders] out. You’ve got to respect voters.” Well, that is unless they’re voting for Bernie Sanders; the DNC is respecting “Bernie” voters about as much as they respected them in the race against Hillary four years ago, which is to say not at all.
Carville pushed hard for proclaiming Biden the winner RIGHT NOW: “Respect the people in South Carolina and Virginia and Michigan...Yes, they have to have respect for democracy. This is very clear, what Democrats around the country are saying. Just everywhere you go, ‘We’ve got to get rid of this guy [President Trump]. What are we doing?’ And these are not ordinary times, and we’ve got to GO. Of course, the Vice President, he’s the guy in the lead...We’ve got to bring this party together. We’ve got to stop this...We can have respect and we can have admiration for what Sen. Sanders and his supporters have accomplished, but you’ve got to respect the Democratic voters...The Democratic voters have spoken...unambiguously and clearly, and they need to be listened to.”
He kept on pushing, saying that Biden should call Sanders and say, “Let’s have a conversation here, Senator. What do we do to get this thing moving in the right direction?” I’d speculate that it would probably be Biden’s campaign people calling Sanders, as Biden himself might just challenge Bernie to a pushup contest, or get belligerent and threaten to punch him, or think they’re at a campaign rally and tell him he’s full of sh**. Or maybe call him “Pete.”
They want to declare Biden the winner and then hide him as much as possible until the convention. Recall that when Hillary was running in 2016, concerns about her physical health were met with an incredibly light campaign schedule –- a virtual disappearing act for weeks at a time. Biden will have handlers whose goal is to similarly conceal him. (Again, the coronavirus will make a great excuse.) The difference this time, I believe, is that those running Biden’s campaign have no illusions that he will ever be on that debate stage with Donald Trump. By the convention, someone else will be in place to fill that bill.
If I’m right, and this is the way Democrat higher-ups are engineering their “democratic” process, it’s hard to understand why a lot of rank-and-file Democrats wouldn’t be extremely upset about that. Of course, there’s a movement within the Democrat party, #WalkAway, that calls for, well, walking away. The party has moved so crazy-far left and is so unconcerned with preserving individual rights and the democratic process that many are simply leaving.
A lot of Bernie supporters were not hard-core socialists –- didn’t even know what socialism is –- and they didn’t get it until he started praising Fidel Castro in recent days. They like a populist approach to governing but don’t share the socialist belief that the government should own the means of production, with all the control that would entail. When they “walk away” from the Democrat Party, they might want to look around at the “Trump economy,” talk to a few Trump supporters and realize their party has been lying to them about who Trump is and what he’s trying to accomplish. They might even see he’s in their corner and wants them to do well. And instead of going over to Biden (or, more accurately, whomever the DNC puts in his place), they just might want to go over to Trump.