Bernie won in Nevada, and by even larger than polling was expecting. Biden was a distant second and Buttigieg was third. Warren pulled a single digit fourth place. With Bloomberg’s poor debate performance, which did affect some polls, Bloomberg still has to wait weeks before he is on a single ballot. He never filed for South Carolina! Bernie himself is within margin of error of passing Biden in SC polls. It is Bernie’s to lose, right?
Wrong. While the path looks good for Bernie, let’s play out some alternatives. What are Bernie’s strength’s though?
- Fired up core support group.
- His polling looks great in a wide variety of Super Tuesday contests.
- Bernie is the only candidate right now polling above 15% in California.
- Early wins and a steady message of free stuff are pulling in bandwagon voters.
- Still the only genuine sounding politician at any Democrat debate.
- While a softy, has charisma that no one else does.
- Has the old grandpa vibe or old uncle vibe, not the old pedo uncle vibe like Biden.
- Legacy media hates him, which helps the underdog bit.
- Counter-argument that still works to his favor is he could be a sacrificial lamb for elite donors to discredit entire progressive wing of the left that wants to run the show. They Corbynize him, have him lose, then clear house of the far left/woke wing as the neoliberals absorb some of his messaging to trick their vote banks. Dukakis’ loss in ’88 was the final straw to show the DLC that their path and methods should be placed in charge of the Democrats. In four years, they won the White House and began their takeover of the Democrats.
- Biden, Buttigieg and Bloomberg are all set to stay in the race through March. Warren had an infusion of cash, and looks set to be in it through March as well.
How can it go wrong for Bernie?
- All Out Anti-Bernie Messaging – There is one more debate before SC. Everyone hammers him for 2 hours. He loses big time there and black bandwagon voters avoid him like the plague on Super Tuesday, hurting his ability to reach the minimum delegates needed to win. Problem is that there are pro-Bernie media figures and the online game helps him out.
- Warren Drain – Despite no mathematical shot, the annoying avatar of AWFLs stays in pulling 5-10% of potential voters away from Bernie. This hurts his ability to rack up extra delegates. Because of proportional allotment, if she bleeds 5% from his totals, it bleeds delegates from every win of his. Her quixotic candidacy seems to bond her to the wine aunts and cat ladies that make up her core constituencies.
- The Biden Comeback – Fred is a believer of not counting out Biden. We are skeptical as Romney in ’12 was positioned much stronger than Biden compared to the field, and Romney had early wins and 2nd place finishes. All polling for Biden has been hollow as he underperforms state polls. Biden can still win SC, and then roll into Super Tuesday hoping his black vote banks hold. He can then watch as non-Bernie candidates drop out and the non-Bernie vote coalesces around him, which means he comes into the convention with either the minimum or a delegate total more than Bernie. Problem is that Bloomberg and Buttigieg are in the race for March, cannibalizing his votes.
- The Bloomberg Tsunami – Bloomberg goes nuts for all of March and while unable to overcome Bernie in northern and western states, he accumulates the black vote and eventually NY. Right now, Bloomberg leads polls in Florida at 27% and Bernie is below delegate threshold at 11%. Being shut out from any delegates in Florida would be a horrible setback for Bernie. Problem is that Biden and Buttigieg are in the race, cannibalizing his votes for March. The other problem is that he gives off lizard person vibes, and the candidates now all know he sucks on the debate stage. If Klobuchar wants the VP slot for Biden or Bernie, she could shiv him next week at the debate like she did Pete.
- Brokered Convention – No one hits the minimum for the nomination on the first vote, the super-delegates block him, and either Bloomberg buys out non-Bernie delegates or Bloomberg plays kingmaker for someone like Biden, Booker, Warren, Kamala or even Hillary Clinton.