With the collapse of Joe Biden and the barely palatable progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), establishment Democrats cannot be happy to have Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and the uninspiring former South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg as the only “moderate” alternatives to a Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) nomination. Given that there is reason to doubt the true depth of any actual grassroots support for Buttigieg or Klobuchar, speculation is rampant that centrist Democrats will turn to moneybags former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as their white knight against the too-radical Sanders.
This sets up a horrifying choice for Dems to offer the nation: Oligarchy or Socialism. Is this how Democrats want to present the state of their party in 2020? Is this truly all they have to offer?
Caught in a Trap
Speaking strictly from an internal party perspective, such a showdown would be disastrous for any sense of unity in a general election tilt against President Trump. Having a billionaire blow in and use a mountain of cash to take out socialist rabble-rouser Bernie would guarantee that his supporters will be even more bitter than they were in 2016 and will stay away in droves come November. If Dems thought the Bernie Bros were incensed about the DNC’s machinations on behalf of Hillary Clinton four years ago, that would be nothing next to a multi-billionaire purchasing the nomination at their man’s expense. The Democrat establishment dislikes Sanders so much that it would undoubtedly accept such a turn of events but that will surely hurt blue turnout on election day, and the party bosses know it.
Bloomberg checks all the boxes in terms of unlikability as a candidate. The eighth-richest person in America is widely perceived as trying to buy the White House. He openly and unapologetically views the world from the perspective of a Manhattan sky-rise, and he doesn’t even pretend to reach out to rural and heartland voters. Furthermore, he comes across as imperious and arrogant in an especially off-putting, urbane way. This is more dangerous for the party than just deciding what kind of nominee is chosen. Do Democratic Party leaders really want to lock themselves into these kinds of negative perceptions that can so easily be reflected onto themselves?
Terrified of Their Own Creation
It’s amusing to watch Dems panic over the prospect of a self-professed “democratic socialist” claiming the party’s nomination after decades of laying the groundwork for exactly such a candidate. This is the party that has embraced the most toxic brand of identity politics, using race, sex and anything else it could think of to foment division and disgruntlement, all in a shallow bid to attract voters. This is a party that has tried to push every kind of grievance into the forefront for naked partisan political advantage. It has for years sown the seeds of revolutionary anger in its economic and cultural talking points, and now it is shocked to see an authentic radical emerge as its leading presidential aspirant.
In looking to a cosmopolitan elitist to save the party from its own inevitable slide into socialism, Dem bigwigs have revealed their ideological bankruptcy. These are the people who vowed to learn a valuable lesson from their crushing 2016 election loss at the hands of populist insurgent Trump. Yet, instead of breaking out of their posh socially leftist and urbanite construct and trying to connect with the millions of Americans who exist outside of their cozy blue bubble. Yet, four years later, the party is about to leave its supporters to choose between an avowed urban supremacist with a net worth of over $60 billion and a New England socialist who can plausibly be accused of being an actual communist. Democrats are suffocating in the narrow blue box into which they have shoehorned themselves and the repercussions should last far beyond November.
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