A few weeks ago, I deconstructed an interview featuring Democratic strategist James Carville, wherein he bemoaned the prospect of Bernie Sanders becoming the Democratic presidential nominee. Generally, Carville believes that Sanders as the nominee will all but guarantee a victory for President Donald Trump in the general election.
Specifically, Carville’s objections to Sanders were twofold:
1. Sanders is actually an Independent, rather than a Democrat, and
2. Sanders represents a radical leftist archetype that remains highly unpalatable to most voters.
I’m not certain why the first point upsets Carville so much, and it isn’t really germane to this discussion. The second point, however, is the more significant one and is a concern shared with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic leadership in Washington.
There are a lot of people outside the Democratic Party – including the president – who believe that the party ought to let whomever is most attractive to the base and amasses the most delegates secure the nomination. In theory, this is how it’s supposed to work and why we have primaries in the first place. If the party has become overrun with radical socialists and communists, so be it; have them state their case and let the voters decide.
Unfortunately, that isn’t how the party has operated in recent years, to which Sanders himself can readily attest. Given the momentum Sanders was generating and the relatively poor showing former Vice President Joe Biden had going into Super Tuesday, it looked like Sanders was on track to become the Democratic nominee.
Things obviously look different now, with Joe Biden having captured key states in this week’s Super Tuesday primaries. While this looks really good for Biden, it could wind up resulting in a contested convention, which wouldn’t be good for the party.
A large part of Joe Biden’s Super Tuesday success can be credited to his fellow nomination-seekers, specifically those who dropped out of the race and immediately threw their support behind him just prior to Tuesday’s primaries. It would also be fair to say that these former candidates probably did so for a reason.
All of this isn’t to say that the Democratic leadership wouldn’t love a Sanders win at the convention, because they would. They’re certainly in line with his policies, no matter how communistic they may be; they’re just afraid that Sanders’ overt representation of those policies are “too much, too far and too fast” for the electorate.
As I pointed out in my earlier column referencing the Carville interview: Carville essentially said that in light of the fact that Donald Trump’s election was a mandate against socialism, the Democratic nomination-seekers should tone down their rhetoric and enact their hard-left policies once they’ve been elected, as Barack Obama did.
In other words, the Democratic leadership know that they can’t win elections by allowing radical socialist and communist candidates state their case and let the voters decide. They must be deceived into believing that the Democratic Party is still the party of their parents or grandparents.
Which makes Joe Biden the ideal candidate.
Here, we shall have to put aside any prejudices we may harbor concerning Biden – or any appraisals we have of him based on the evidence at hand, for that matter – and factor in the Democrats’ fear, desperation and their ability to control narratives.
Consider this: When Barack Obama was president, he didn’t really do anything. Even his supporters acknowledged that he was far happier being president than he was actually doing the job. It’s well-known that Obama’s senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, handled most of the day-to-day duties of the president (the Iran nuke deal figures most prominently here); Obama himself largely traveled the world, ran his mouth and signed bills and executive orders.
So if Biden did win, short of his sliding into catatonia, it’s likely that his non compos mentis status could be spun away in much the same way his gaffes are being handily passed over by the press. In theory, Biden would be the perfect puppet; Democratic leaders would simply need to provide an adequate support system to prop him up for optics while they ran the show.
With Bernie Sanders as the nominee, however, their problem is twofold:
1. The Democratic leadership know that Sanders will get pasted by President Trump in the general election.
2. The Democratic leadership know that placing Sanders’ policies, and Sanders himself, front-and-center during the campaign has the potential for doing immeasurable long-term harm to the image of the party in the eyes of the electorate. In fact, they may have considered the possibility that following a Sanders loss, moderate Democratic voters might call for the formation of a new party.
Biden, on the other hand, is eminently more electable than Sanders. As a former vice president who’d been in the Senate since 1973, Biden clearly has name recognition. As such a prominent fixture in American politics, he’ll be far easier to pass off as moderate than a vociferous, unapologetic socialist like Sanders. Despite his many gaffes, Biden still looks and sounds like a moderate Democratic politician rather than a belligerent, drunken moron.
Joe Biden will probably get pasted by Trump in the general election, but perhaps not as badly as would Sanders. A likely – and probably realistic – fear on the part of the DNC is that many moderate Democratic voters will simply stay home on Election Day if Sanders is the nominee.
Finally, as others have pointed out, if Biden is nominated and loses, the party won’t have sacrificed a dynamic candidate with promise whom they might have supported in 2024.
Article posted with permission from Erik Rush
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