Some Instant Thoughts on Super Tuesday

(Dan here…Late to AB posting…what a difference a day or two can make.  Elizabeth Warren has withdrawn from the election process and is not endorsing either Biden nor Sanders at the moment.  Peter weighs in speculating on what is next.)

1. Biden benefitted from a wave of (orchestrated) last minute endorsements. One effect of this wave was to divert attention from Biden the candidate to the endorsers and their combined bandwagon effect. Particular endorsements helped in specific states: O’Rourke in Texas, Klobuchar in Minnesota. But Biden has flamed out in all his previous runs for president because he is a weak campaigner, not very bright and prone to own goals. He would be mincemeat for Trump. Sanders, however, has vowed to make an issue only of political differences, not personal qualities. We’ll see if that’s enough of an umbrella for Biden to get through to the nomination.

2. There must be immense pressure on Warren to remain in the race. By any logic, she should drop out now and not soak up any more scarce resources, whether money, staff or her own time and energy. If you look at the non-southern state results yesterday, however, her vote share had a big impact on the outcome. If her support would break, say, two-thirds for Sanders and one-third for Biden, this would be enough to put Bernie over the top in close races. I have no doubt the preferred lineup for the Democratic Party, donors and staff, is Biden-Warren-Sanders. It will be interesting to see if she keeps playing the game.

3. I’m not surprised that the party apparatus is so determined to defeat Bernie, even at the cost of re-electing Trump. Sanders has never been a Democrat. He caucuses with them in the Senate, but, aside from the inevitable vote-rustling in congress, he has never coordinated with them politically. His donor base minimally overlaps with theirs. His staff consists of political professionals who were either outliers in the Party or outside it altogether. If he were elected the result would be a hostile takeover of the national apparatus, and almost everyone who is a part of it today would have to find another line of work come January. It’s existential for them. The same probably holds in many or most state parties.

4. To recap #1, the Democrats have decided to place their full bet with Biden. It may well work for them, but based on the man’s history, it’s a risky move. If Biden self-destructs again their only fallback is to put forward a third party spoiler in the general election.