Super Tuesday and the Democratic Race

We are going to wake up to a two-person race on Wednesday. There is no way around it. Reading state-level polls, not national, I can predict that Bernie Sanders will open a large lead, giving him momentum. At this point, I believe Sanders will reach the convention in the same situation as Hillary Clinton. He will have the plurality of delegates, without enough to avoid a brokered convention.

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In 2016 Sanders saw the obvious and ended nominating Hillary Clinton on the floor. He worked like hell to get her elected, and Clinton thanked him for it. It was a moment of unity, and it is a good question if Democrats, especially the center-right of the party, will be able to do the same.

In my view, a status quo candidate is a recipe to another four years of Trumpism, especially if Bernie’s army perceives this to be a stolen election. Granted, a brokered convention is well within the playbook, but most people are not familiar with it, or how strange elections can get. The party will not unify if they perceive this as stolen and will likely stay home, and as I said in 2016, this will lead to the re-election of the President. Granted, less Sanders fans did that in 2016 than Clinton fans did in 2008, but Barack Obama still won due to turnout. So that became a footnote of interest to historians and political scientists. Also, people staid home who were not enthused by either candidate in very large numbers

I know that red-baiting is all the rage. But any candidate will be a communist, run for the hills, un-American traitor, as far as the Republicans go. Some Democrats, especially older people, are doing the same when it comes to Sanders.

The reality is that Sanders is going to be ahead in the delegate count. And it may be impossible to overcome as far as Biden is concerned.

There are two things to pay attention to:

Voter turnout and the age of the electorate. So far Sanders has not pulled in a slew of new younger voters. However, the four states are older, and Sanders did well with Latinos in Nevada. There is some limited evidence that he did better with younger African Americans in North Carolina, but this is a state with an older demographic.

Super Tuesday will clarify the race and the appeal of both Joe Biden and Sanders. I expect the former to win Alabama, but I know the latter will win in California. At this point, it’s a numbers game.

In my mind, Democrats have a similar decision to that made by a very different, albeit conservative, party in 1931. The rules of the convention were very different. But it was then that the party realized the country was at another transformation point and needed a change agent.

I also know older Democrats fear the results of 1972 when George McGovern was selected and lost to President Richard Nixon. The conditions are very different. For starters Nixon was popular and Trump is not. Also, and I will be honest, not to the fault of the President, the economy is about to take a dive. The management of the COVID-19 pandemic also shows issues. People are going to blame Trump. So no, the world looks very different from 1972. And Nixon promised (triangulated the issue away from McGovern) to get out of Vietnam. While leaving Afghanistan is a good thing, most people don’t have family there. They did in Vietnam.

As usual, this is a general disclaimer, this is not an endorsement.

Written by

Historian by training. Former day to day reporter. Sometimes a geek who enjoys a good miniatures game.

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