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Donks 2020: Your Nevada Caucus Preview

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to supporters at a primary night election rally in Manchester, N.H., Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Assuming all goes to plan, by Saturday evening we should know the winner of the all-important Nevada Caucuses — but with two caveats.

• It isn’t all-important, because it’s not much more than a speedbump on the road to South Carolina to see if Joe Biden still has a Wampas chance in a heatwave of surviving, which is just a speedbump on the road to Super Tuesday to see if Mike Bloomberg has enough juice to buy himself a brokered convention.

• It sure doesn’t look like it’ll go to plan.

The Atlantic’s Kenneth Baer really nailed what’s wrong with the Democratic primaries this time around: The Democrats’ attempt to fix them. In a piece headlined “How the Democrats Broke the Primary,” he writes:

The party establishment’s fear is that by splitting the support of moderates, the other candidates will allow self-described democratic socialist Senator Bernie Sanders to secure the party’s nomination with only a minority of the votes cast.

But the problem is not too many candidates left in the race but, rather, too few. By creating a deeply flawed set of rules around who could join the presidential debates, the Democratic National Committee created a nominating process that began winnowing the field months before the first ballot was cast.

The core problem is that the “escalating set of entry requirements for taking the stage buoyed candidates who already were widely known or who could energize fiercely committed online activists… at the expense of those with experience governing and winning elections.”

However, I’m less sure that continuing to pack the stage with relative unknowns would have had the desired effect, either. As always, the DNC is trapped between the radicals who keep the party energized and the less-radical candidates (I almost typed “moderates,” but thought better of it) who won’t alienate independent-minded voters in November.

To give you an example of that in action, Medicare-for-All-Whether-You-Want-It-Or-Not is popular with the Bernie Bros who look poised to take over the party, but it doesn’t play well with more centrist types. Bloomberg (the news org, not the nasty little candidate) just published a piece warning, “Medicare-for-All Threatens Jobs in State Vital to 2020 Democrats.”

Here’s the bit worth breaking out so you won’t have to click on an actual Bloomberg report:

Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have a promise for workers who would lose jobs under their Medicare-for-All plans. They’ll be taken care of, with billions set aside for retraining. As Warren’s campaign website puts it: “No worker will be left behind.”

Tell it to Bob Stein, who sells health benefit plans to employers near Minneapolis.

“I’m 55 years old. What am I going to do? Sell cars?”

I believe “learn to code” is the current sentiment from the Left for middle-class Americans forced out of their jobs by Democratic policies.

Tonight’s Nevada caucuses are where union-member fear of Medicare-for-All — which would take away their generous health benefits — is supposed to boost Joe Biden at Bernie Sanders’ expense. Biden’s campaign has been in free fall since Iowa but Mini Mike isn’t on the ballot and I understand that write-in votes are not allowed. But even with strong dislike for Sanders in union-heavy Las Vegas, RCP’s latest poll average has Sanders out in front by 2-to-1 over nearest rivals Biden and Pete Buttigieg. So Nevada has an anything-goes feel to it.

Speaking of Democratic attempts to make things better for themselves while making things worse, nobody actually needed an app to run the Iowa caucuses, which had been running smoothly since 1972. We all remember what happened a couple weeks ago, but apparently the DNC has learned nothing and forgotten nothing — they’ll use an app again in Nevada. This one is supposed to be better than the one they used in Iowa, but:

Nevada Democrats are holding last-minute training classes to train volunteers on a new tool to calculate and report results of their presidential caucus on Saturday, trying to stave off a repeat of the debacle with Iowa’s caucuses on Feb. 3.

Party leaders caution the results of the presidential nominating contest may not come quickly, even while saying they hope to know the winner on Saturday.

Even if Biden does manage to beat expectations in Nevada, the story might instead be: “DNC Screws Up Again!” instead of “Biden Shows Renewed Vigor” or whatever.

Looking ahead to Super Tuesday on March 3, the AP headlined a story with “Democrats try to blunt strong California showing for Sanders.” The story notes that “Bernie Sanders has been working the state for months.” The result:

That worries his rivals, who fear that if he performs well enough in the state, which has 412 delegates, he could build a delegate lead that would be difficult to catch.

Indeed. And Sanders’ revolutionary zeal plays all-too-well with the inmates running Asylum California.

The DNC rewards delegates proportionally, so once a candidate builds a lead it can be very difficult to dislodge them. Complicating matters, the only other candidate with the money to go toe-to-toe in California’s pricy media market on Super Tuesday is Bloomberg. But by skipping every contest before Super Tuesday, Bloomberg hasn’t shown anyone that he can win anywhere. And that makes it difficult, even with an effectively unlimited bankroll, to take momentum away from Sanders.

If the DNC is going to deny Sanders the nomination, then one of these other jokers is going to have to figure out how to beat Sanders somewhere.

But who? Where?