The shit show that is the Iowa Caucuses draped a pall of calamity on the start of the 2020 election season. After three years of a mentally-challenged racist goofball in the White House, sixty-percent of the nation turns to the only major party left to stem the tide of madness and criminality that is Donald Trump and is instead confronted with bad craziness. Nearly one week went by before anyone knew who the hell one the Iowa follies, and even then, it was some kind of plurality tie between former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and 2016 also-ran, once independent socialist, Bernie Sanders. I used to dig the eighteenth-century charm of the Iowa Caucus system. I have fond memories of the greatest speech I have still ever heard in February of 2008 by future two-term president Barrack Obama there after his stunning upset of Madam Shoe-In, two-time loser, Hillary Clinton. But now an unchecked dangerous lunatic is running the free world and it is no time for charm.
Nevertheless, Sanders and Buttigieg claimed victory for the week and then got to do it again once, I guess, the numbers became official. In the New Hampshire debates leading up to the second primary of the season, Mayor Pete took his requisite beating as “the new guy” from the field of, I don’t know, twenty Democrats drooling to defeat what is a wildly unpopular and newly impeached president. But all of that was window dressing, because Sanders, once a senator from neighboring Vermont with the infrastructure to compete from four years ago, and a spectacular cash foundation from dollar-donations, had it in the bag. He would indeed win the primary, but not in a blow-out (something not in the cards when there are, what thirty candidates, in this thing?), which led to all sorts of bizarre permutations.
Pete Buttigieg, hardly a household name with subpar liberal credentials from a tiny town in a mostly red state, is in this now. Too bad Iowa fucked him, because he could have had an Obama Moment, surprised the field with his tie or percentage win, and given a speech that may have vaulted him like Obama. But alas, it did not happen. Yet he was still the prime target in the following debate, and then had another strong showing in New Hampshire. It is he and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, all smiles and vinegar, that placed in the teeny-tiny, lily-white state, and so they get to crow and hopefully for them raise the kind of cash it will take to deal with Sanders.
Before we get to what the Democrats and their cable news affiliates seem to think is the “Sanders Problem,” we should provide a shout-out to the losers of these first two contests. The biggest hit is on Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, for many reasons: First off, she is also a neighboring senator and received zero delegates out of New Hampshire. That is how many you and I got. Secondly, unlike Klobuchar and Buttigieg, she has name recognition (she is so famous Trump has given her one of his fifth-grade nicknames) and was once a liberal lion. Finally, the party—whether they admit it or not—are worried that another woman candidate is mere fodder for the great unwashed in the Mid-West, so what’s the point? Next up is former Vice President Joe Biden, who was for months the front-runner, most-electable, and so feared by Trump and apparently the entire Republican Party there were a myriad of impeachable offences and a lot of disgusting displays of cover-up by the Justice Department and the U.S. Senate to bury him. Still, Biden did not compete in Iowa or New Hampshire. He looks old and tired and has that usual “Biden fading fast during a primary” look about him. This is his third trip to oblivion (the man has never won a goddamn primary), so the trail is familiar and well-trodden.
Biden and Warren, once strong nomination possibilities, are on life support. Neither are flush with cash and both are hemorrhaging support to other more viable candidates. The clock is ticking on both these campaigns unless someone wins something quick.
Then there is the wild card in all this. And wild cards are not welcome in movements to oust crazy people from power. Billionaire and former three-term mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, who is not on ballots or debate stages, has already spent over $300 million of his own money trashing, trolling, and engaging Trump, for which in his usual twitter-moronic idiom the President has duly taken the bait, and getting traction. Within a month Bloomberg is now polling as strong as anyone beyond the new frontrunners and is slowly bleeding the black and electable vote from Biden.
Now to the state of the Democratic Party going into two election days in Nevada and Virginia before Super Tuesday: It is crap. Unless Sanders shakes this apparent stench that he gives off within a party that went above and beyond to cheat him out of the nomination in 2016 or convinces the rest of the power-brokers that he can win a general election, he is going to have issues. And so then will his following, which appears to have a Bernie-or-Bust manifesto attached to them. Twitter is alive with their rancor and recalcitrance already, as if, like the Trump Cabal in 2016, they are preparing to get rooked. It is entirely possible–like in 2016–that Berne-Backers will stay home if he is not the nominee. That cannot be said, yet, of any other candidate. Sanders failed miserably four years ago coalescing his constituency behind the doomed Clinton campaign, and he is four years older and hardly even an autumn chicken, and, as mentioned, still not fully embraced by the powers that be. You do not have to be Benjamin Disraeli to know this is a problem.
The moderate and clear-speaking youth of Buttigieg is a formidable foe against the Sanders tide. And Bloomberg has money. Lots of money. And money means more than anything in the current political climate; ideology, party support, a ground game, a coherent message shutter in its wake. He is not a game show host, but there is something of a showbiz element to what Bloomberg brings to this game, which, as we know, is antithetical to what Sanders has brought to the party platform since the 99-percent movement nearly nine years ago now. You know, Eat the Rich and flip the power structure, which is not as popular as a daddy figure with the bucks. The slack-jawed knuckle-draggers in the Rust Belt apparently dig that kind of candidate and this is where the 2020 election, as in 2016, will be decided. This is Bloomberg’s argument for being the nominee, and considering the human clusterfuck that currently sits at Pennsylvania Avenue, can you refute him?
Finally, everyone knows that Sanders biggest support comes from the youth vote; this weird ghostly group that never seems to come through for anyone. Shit, kids didn’t vote against Nixon during the draft or against Reagan when their generation was under attack. And although the youth vote came out for Obama, that isn’t a fair example, because not since George Bush Senior over four decades ago had we seen a candidate for president as popular or impressive as Barrack Obama. Everyone else has won without the popular vote or by a teeth’s skin.
So, no matter which way you look at this right now–and it is fluid, so stay tuned–there is a Bernie Sanders problem in the Democratic Party. It is rightly seen as a muddled construct that needs to cut to the chase and begin to form a workable movement to stop this madman in the White House or continue to be a political pratfall.