Let me begin with an old proverb that I just made up: The one time people shouldn’t put their heads together is when their hair is on fire.
Whether watching cable news or reading social media, there are two political messages that are spreading as fast as the Coronavirus with regards to the Democratic primary. In order to best illustrate this complex scenario, instructional graphics are provided below.
- How some people feel who are not supporting Bernie Sanders:
2. How some people feel who are supporting Bernie Sanders:
Well, not exactly subtle but you get the point. Here we are today with only around 3% of delegates decided (yes logicians, that does mean there are 97% of delegates yet to be awarded), and the candidates that are really winning this primary are Chicken Little and The Hulk.
I say this with all due respect to media pundits and emotional Democratic voters…calm the fuck down.
There are two very basic concepts that the fearful and the angry need to fully think about before proceeding with giving themselves a stroke and harming the prospects of the eventual Democratic nominee:
- The only way for Bernie Sanders to win the nomination is to appeal to a MAJORITY of Democratic voters and/or core party members at the convention. If he succeeds at this, he deserves the nomination. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t.
- There will soon be a narrowing of the field to two main candidates as there always is, Bernie Sanders will likely be one of them. Whether fading candidates drop out or are abandoned by voters who see them as not being viable anymore, their voters will consolidate around one of the two remaining contenders and the majority will decide who the nominee will be.
A CBS News/YouGov poll came out today, showing where this race may be heading. As I proposed in my last post, it looks like that the race is on its way to shrinking down to four people after South Carolina or Super Tuesday. Those four being Sanders, Warren, Biden and Bloomberg.
Looking at this poll and considering that Amy Klobuchar has no substantial African American support, losing big in South Carolina this week as it appears she will, should mark the end of her campaign whether she drops out or not.
The shine has come off of Pete Buttigieg as he too has little connection to voters of color and is polling very poorly in SC and many big upcoming states that have more diverse populations.
Tom Steyer has spent hugely in SC and in some Super Tuesday states but while he should do well in the SC primary (you get what you pay for in a Citizens United America), as polling reflects, he isn’t even polling nationally above Klobuchar at 5% so his campaign is likely to be done after Super Tuesday.
Michael Bloomberg, who was competing for 1st or 2nd place in polls before his $450 million Wizard of Oz curtain was pulled back in the last debate, has dropped hugely and while he too may stay in the race despite losing viability, voters will likely continue to migrate away from him as an inevitable loser.
Lastly, if Joe Biden does not win South Carolina by double digits, as he has been leading there for most of the primary and wins with a 5% or less margin as polls are now indicating, he may limp along after that but his “electable” argument, that he is far more electable than the others, will have been devastated and his core argument for being the nominee will be gone.
You don’t need Andrew Yang to do the math (or much else now…sorry, it was too easy a setup not to go for), if just Klobuchar and Buttigieg drop out or are seen as no longer viable, that’s up to 15% of voters who will move to other candidates. In the poll above, Sanders is only 9% above Warren and 11% above Biden so if more of those voters go to them than Sanders, that lead could be slashed or depending, even eliminated. And that’s not even adding in a chunk of Bloomberg’s 13% of voters that will migrate as his viability keeps declining or Steyer’s few percentage points of voters that will move away from him (or Tulsi Gabbard’s supporter…he’s not a bad guy).
To those fearful of Bernie Sanders winning the nomination, if he is as toxic as you think, he is unlikely to win the nomination and a majority of delegates if he can’t appeal to 45% – 50% of Dem voters as the number of candidates narrow.
By the same token, if you aren’t out there advocating for the candidate(s) you think should win the nomination instead of Bernie, if you aren’t contributing to their campaigns or volunteering, you’re not really doing anything to change the course of the race so it’s not fair to resent or fear Bernie because his supporters are active in promoting him.
To those Bernie supporters who are angry at how Bernie is being attacked now that he is seen as the front runner in the primary, that is how elections work. When Biden was the front runner, Trump cooked up the Ukraine fraud to drag him down. When Warren was the front runner, most of the other candidates attacked her on Medicare for All. When Bloomberg looked like he would take over the race, the candidates went after him. Now that Bernie is the front runner, candidates are going after him. How is this surprising to anyone who has ever seen an election before?
Bernie supporters, what do you think Trump and the GOP are going to do with the $1 billion they’ve already raised for their campaign, send the Dem nominee a fruit bouquet? If Bernie is the Dem nominee, he will be savaged like none of us can even imagine right now, the current “outrage” about him being attacked will seem like a light breeze compared to what’s in store. Thin skin won’t protect any candidate.
Here’s a very simple bottom line for the anti-Bernie fearful and the pro-Bernie angry…you are not helping yourselves. Those who are fearful will only become more fearful. Those who are angry will only become angrier. And those who are neither, the undecided or not-so-committed voters, won’t be won over by either group throwing a fit.
At a time of heightened emotions and panic, the approach that will more likely attract others to one’s position is confidence, positivity and reason. This approach is a salve for those exhausted in the Trump Era of emotionality driving so much. Negative emotions are irrational and the use of them to convince people to support an opinion comes off pushy and desperate.
As the Dem primary narrows, a candidate who recognizes this and appeals to the hopes and aspirations of voters could transcend this emotional muck that is bogging down the race now and has been oppressive throughout the Trump term.
It will also help highlight the upcoming race for the presidency on the horribleness and hatefulness of Trump, framing the election as a referendum on him and his destruction of America and its institutions against a Democrat offering a positive and uplifting vision for how things will be better for all Americans if he/she is elected.
The atmosphere of panic, fanned hard by the corporate media (to promote Bloomberg as the needed savior or Trump as the lesser of two evils if Socialist Bernie is the nominee…because from their greedy perspective, it will benefit them most financially) is not something we have to adopt. The only reason for most panics is the willingness of people to join in.
So…just say no to panic and anger. Don’t freak out about Democrats being in conflict in a primary, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be and always has been. Don’t panic because the front runner is being labeled “unelectable” or doesn’t represent your views…when 97% of delegates are still waiting to be won. And don’t think that spreading fear of a candidate or anger towards those who attack your chosen candidate is convincing anyone to join your side. As studies have shown, it just strengthens people’s existing positions or alienates those who don’t feel either way.
As mentioned very diplomatically at the beginning of this thoughtful proposition to those engaged in the Democratic primary, everyone should just calm the fuck down. The process is built to produce a candidate who is supported by a majority and there is a longer road to go than where things are today (remember not long ago when Biden was leading in national polls by 20%?). This is a snapshot, today there are about 7 candidates competing and Bernie is leading because his percentage is higher than theirs…but not a majority. In just weeks, there will be less candidates and the dynamics will change. Maybe Bernie will win over a majority in the end, maybe another candidate will.
Whatever results are desired, fear and anger will not bring them about (at least not in the Democratic Party, in the GOP, that’s all they’ve got). The future isn’t written yet and instead of freaking out because pundits are shouting that we should, seeing the big picture and acting out of purpose instead of panic or hostility, will help bring the political victories we’re all seeking in 2020.