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.

Sanford’s Out and Bloomberg’s A Little More In

That was quick.

Mark Sanford has suspended his presidential campaign.

Sanford was a presidential candidate for 65 days and never got any traction. Sanford tried to run on the issues, overlooking that politics today is all about personality and resentment.

Sanford, of course, was once taken very seriously as a presidential candidate.  That was before he “hiked the Appalachian Trail” and all the rest of that.  His career never recovered from the scandal and he really doesn’t have anyone to blame but himself.  Infidelity is one thing.  Abandoning your job so you can sneak down to South America to visit your mistress is something else all together.

While Mark Sanford’s campaign comes to an end, Mike Bloomberg’s now includes Arkansas.  He has filed for the Arkansas Democratic Presidential Primary but he still says he’s undecided on whether or not he’s actually running.  Bloomberg does this every four years.  I get the feeling that Bloomberg doesn’t want to run for president as much as he wants there to be some sort of national movement that will declare, “Only Bloomberg can save us!”

Bloomberg has said that, if he does run for President, he’ll ignore Iowa and New Hampshire and concentrate on the later contests.  I guess he’s assuming that none of their current candidates will come out of Iowa or New Hampshire with a convincing mandate.  That may be true.  Warren’s momentum seems to have momentarily stalled and Biden is Biden.  Buttigieg seems like he could do very well in Iowa but there’s doubts about how he’ll do in the rest of the country.  Still, it’s hard to imagine desperate Democrats turning to a 77 year-old billionaire who most people associate with soda bans and stop and frisk.

It’s hard to say what will happen for sure.  For now, all we know is that we won’t have Mark Sanford to kick around anymore.

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.

Gracie Mansion: Where Dreams Go To Die

It’s been said that being Mayor of New York City is the “second toughest job in America.”  Only being President is tougher.  Of course, the President doesn’t have to deal with trying to fix the subways so how tough is his job, really?

I can understand why so many New York politicians dream of being mayor.  New York City may be “ungovernable,” as John Lindsay used to put it, but it’s still the center of both America’s culture and its economy.  Being mayor means that you’re in charge of one of the most important cities in the world.  It also means becoming an instant celebrity.

The job is also a political dead end.

Since 1665, there have been over a hundred mayors of New York City.  Only two of them have gone on to higher office after serving as mayor.

DeWitt Clinton was appointed the position in 1803, after having briefly served in the U.S. Senate.  While still serving as mayor, Clinton ran for President in 1812 and came close to defeating James Madison.  Clinton would later be elected governor.

Fernando Wood was a former Congressman who was twice elected mayor, once in 1854 and again in 1860.  During the Civil War, Wood suggested that the city should secede from the United States so that it could continue to trade with the Confederacy.  Wood’s opposition to the Civil War put an end to his presidential ambitions but he was reelected to Congress after his mayoral term ended.

And that’s it.  Others have tried but none have succeeded.

In 1940, President Roosevelt reportedly considered naming Fiorello H. La Guardia to be his running mate but it’s not known how serious Roosevelt was about the idea.

In 1956, Mayor Robert F. Wagner was the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate but was defeated by Jacob Javits.  That same year, Wagner was briefly a candidate for the Democratic vice presidential nomination but lost to Estes Kefauver.

John V. Lindsay, who was once compared to JFK, probably could have been named Nixon’s running mate in ’68 or been appointed to Bobby Kennedy’s senate seat if he hadn’t made an enemy of Governor Nelson Rockefeller.  Instead, the Republican Lindsay ended up switching to the Democratic Party in 1971, running unsuccessfully for President in 1972, and making a final and futile grasp for political relevance by running for the U.S. Senate in 1980.  (He came in third in the primary.)

Ed Koch tried to parlay his national popularity into a run for governor in 1982 and was defeated in the primary by Mario Cuomo, whom Koch had previously defeated in the 1977 mayoral election.  Upstate voters were not as enamored with Koch as New York City was.  (And the city would later turn on Koch in 1989, rejecting him in favor of David Dinkins.)

The presidential campaigns of George B. McClellan, Jr., William Jay Gaynor, Lindsay, and Rudy Giuliani all failed to go anywhere and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2020 campaign has become a national joke.

And then there’s a case of Michael Bloomberg, who flirts with an improbable presidential run every four years.  Because he’s rich, Bloomberg is always taken seriously as a candidate, despite the fact that his every attempt to influence policy outside of New York has been a flop.

The most successful politician to run for Mayor of New York was someone who not only lost the election but came in a poor third, behind the winning Democrat and an insurgent socialist.  Teddy Roosevelt may have lost the 1886 mayoral election but, 15 years later, he would become President of the United States.  Would Roosevelt have ever become President if he had won that mayoral election?

Gracie Mansion is where dreams go to die.