Bloomberg Was Not Ready For Prime Time

I just finished watching the latest Democratic Debate.  It was broadcast on NBC and it’s the final debate before the Nevada Caucus on Saturday.  It was also the first debate that Michael Bloomberg qualified for.

It was certainly the feistiest debate so far.  Warren’s trying to make a comeback after blowing it in New Hamsphire and Iowa so she was on the offensive tonight.  Biden needs to make a comeback but tonight, he was just rambling Joe, bragging on himself nonstop and coming across as confused whenever anyone disagreed with him.

Everyone focused most of their attention on Mike Bloomberg and, for someone like me who has always found Mike Bloomberg to be insufferably smug, it was glorious to watch him have one of the worst debates that I have ever seen in my life.  Bloomberg’s problem is that, like a lot of 79 year-old billionaires, he’s not used to people disagreeing with or challenging him to his face.  Other than his first campaign, I can’t remember Bloomberg ever having a tough race in New York City.  (And his opponent in that first election was Mark Green, one of the few politicians who comes across as being even more smug than Bloomberg.)  Bloomberg seemed to be lost on stage and, after the endless hype that has surrounded his candidacy, that was not the right impression to make.  After spending weeks bragging about how only he could take on Donald Trump, Bloomberg struggled to even keep up with Amy Klobuchar.  Bloomberg came across as being the boss that everyone hates and, watching him live, it was easy to imagine Trump dismantling him if the two of them ever end up on the same stage.

As much fun as it was to watch Mike get taken down a peg or two, everyone spent so much time going after Bloomberg that hardly anyone lay a finger on Bernie Sanders and Sanders is the one that they should have been trying to take down if they want to stand any shot at winning the Democratic nomination.  I get that the candidates don’t want to get Sanders’s supports angry with them (because they’ll need those so-called Bernie Bros to vote for them in November) but it’s hard not to feel that the 2020 Democrats are making the same mistake that the 2016 Republicans made with Trump.  They’re all assuming that, if they can just get everyone else out of the race, they can beat Sanders in a one-on-one race or they can at least keep Sanders from winning enough delegates to take the nomination on the first ballot.  It’s a foolish plan, though.  It didn’t work for Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich and it probably won’t work for Biden, Klobuchar, and Bloomberg.

Final thought: No one, tonight, came across like someone I would trust in the White House.  I thought the 2016 election provided me with the worst options of my lifetime but it looks like 2020 is going to prove me wrong.

Iowa Predictions

Really?  We’re just three days away from the Iowa Caucus?

I’m shocked that it slipped my mind.  I guess with the Super Bowl this weekend, the Oscars next week, and the news being dominated by the coronavirus, it’s easy to forget that the first Democratic nominating contest is on Monday.

I’m going to go ahead and predict that Sanders will win but probably not by as much as some people are expecting.  Biden will probably be a little bit stronger than the polling indicates. Warren will probably underperform while Buttigieg and Klobuchar will do just well enough to keep their campaigns alive.

If Biden’s campaign underperforms or if Sanders turns out to be stronger than expected, which is always a possibility because Iowa is not always easy to poll, look for a lot of anti-Bernie Democrats to suddenly develop a strange new respect for Michael Bloomberg.

A New Day With A Double Endorsement

Last week was a busy one and I feel like I missed a lot.  When last I checked in with the news, Cory Booker was suspending his campaign and Elizabeth Warren was refusing to shake Bernie Sanders’s hand at the end of the Democratic debate.  That seems like a month ago.

Today, on the other hand, feels like an entirely new news cycle.  The 49ers and the Chiefs are going to the Super Bowl and The New York Times turned their presidential endorsement process into a reality show.  Last night, people stayed up late to discover that the New York Times can’t even do an endorsement right.  That they endorsed Elizabeth Warren is not a surprise as Warren has always been the media’s favorite Democrat.  That they also endorsed Amy Klobuchar is a head scratcher.  I get the feeling that they secretly know Warren’s campaign is doomed so they tossed in a second endorsement to cover their bases.  Since Tulsi Gabbard is hated by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party and all of the other major candidates are white males, tossing a second endorsement to Amy Klobuchar was a safe way to be woke without tossing all in behind a campaign that is obviously self-destructing.

I think the real winner of the New York Times endorsement show was probably Donald Trump because the whole affair just made the NYT look like the collection of out of touch elitists that the majority of MAGA people already assume that it is.  (The New York Times seems to suffer any time that it tries to turn its top people into TV stars.)  As for the Democrats, the big winner was probably Michael Bloomberg because he wisely refused to degrade himself by begging the Times for their endorsement.  The Times‘s petulant response to Bloomberg’s refusal to kiss their ring probably did more to help Bloomberg than any endorsement ever would.

There’s been a lot of talk about what the media needs to do to regain the credibility that they’ve lost over the past few years.  It’s an important question because, as easy as it is to dismiss the media’s self-regard, they does have a very important role to play in America society.  It’s hard to know what the media has to do to repair the damage that’s been done to its reputation but turning their presidential endorsement process into a reality show was probably not the right direction to go.

Bloomberg’s In (Maybe)

After previously saying that he would not run for President in 2020 and would instead devote his efforts and money to supporting whoever the Democrats did nominate to run against Trump, Michael Bloomberg has filed for the Alabama Democratic Presidential Primary.

Alabama has an early filing deadline so it’s possible that Bloomberg only filed to keep his options open.  He may not have yet officially decided to run for president but, by filing, he can make sure that he appears on the ballot just in case he does decide to make it official.  When you’ve got as much money as Mike Bloomberg, a wasted filing fee or two is not going to set you back.

According to the New York Times, Bloomberg’s reconsidering his decision not to run because he doesn’t think any of the current Democrat contenders would be strong candidates in the general.  He may be right but I don’t know that Michael Bloomberg would be much better.  Joe Biden may be too old but he’s actually a year younger than Bloomberg.  Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg might be out-of-touch elitists but Michael Bloomberg hardly speaks the language of blue collar populism.  Bernie Sanders might be preaching the politics of authoritarianism but Michael Bloomberg is best known for banning large sodas in New York City.  It may be that Michael Bloomberg took a look in the mirror and realized that, at his age, this is probably his last chance to run.

Could Bloomberg, if he somehow won the Democratic nomination, beat Trump?  At this point, I feel like only Trump can beat Trump and that often seems to be exactly what Trump seems to be intent on doing.  Bloomberg could very well could be our next president but first he’d have to win the nomination and that would mean convincing the increasingly pro-Socialist Democratic grassroots to support a  billionaire.  (That’s not even taking into consideration the disturbing strain of antisemitism that has been growing on the Left like a cancer.)

Bloomberg is not the only one rethinking an earlier decision.  Apparently, Eric Holder is thinking about jumping into the race as well.  Just when you thought the field was getting winnowed down, it’s starting to fill up again.

The AARP Election

Bernie Sanders had a heart attack and there’s been a lot of talk about whether or not he should get out of the race as a result.

I don’t have any opinion about whether or not Bernie should keep running for President.  That’s really up to Bernie.  What I will say is that Bernie does have a firm base of supporters who believe in him and who will probably stick with him no matter what.  At the same time, Bernie having a heart attack is not going to help him with the people who were trying to pick between him and Elizabeth Warren.  It doesn’t help that Bernie’s style of campaigning involves a lot of yelling and a lot of pointing and a lot of other things that usually inspire people to reply, “Don’t have a heart attack, mister.”

The main takeaway from Bernie’s heart attack is that all of the presidential front runners are really, really old.  Bernie and Biden are in their late 70s.  (Biden, meanwhile, looks like he’s in his 90s.)  Donald Trump is 73.  Elizabeth Warren will be 71 on election day.  It’s not just that they’re old.  It’s also that they all often come across as being more like the cranky inhabitants of a retirement home instead of as potential leaders of the free world.  It sometimes feels like we’re watching an election for the next president of AARP instead of a world super power.

We keep hearing about how the young people are America’s future but you wouldn’t know that looking at the leading presidential candidates.