About that post on the Democratic race…

Now that Bernie Sanders is out of the contest for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, I think we can safely say that my take from late December was more or less correct. Oh, I might have wobbled a little bit in my confidence some time in February. But I never did believe the various projections that Sanders had become the favorite, even when things were looking rather bleak for Joe Biden. I certainly did not see things going through all the twists and turns that they did. That Biden would come out on top was not inevitable. Nonetheless, Biden’s dominance of the period before any actual voting started always seemed likely to play out in some fashion with him as the nominee. Or so I said in late December. That was my story and I was sticking to it!

Biden was not my first choice. He might not even have been my fifth choice in the original field (I am glad I never had to rank them!). But I am glad Sanders finally bowed to the inevitable, and got out of a contest in which his only real chance always depended on prolonged fragmentation and implausible “theories” about voter mobilization.

6 thoughts on “About that post on the Democratic race…

  1. We will never know how implausible Sanders’ claims about mobilizing new voters actually were. I think they were a lot more plausible than the “mainstream” Democratic Party has ever acknowledged, but not really plausible enough to win. Except against Trump. I continue to believe that Sanders would be a stronger candidate (from the Democrats’ point of view) against Trump than Biden will prove to be. Sanders was the only Democratic candidate with the potential to “turn” a significant number of Trump voters. Combine that with some amount of new voter mobilization and you have a winner.

    Even so, I agree with you that Sanders did the right thing for the Democratic Party. But that’s because of COVID-19 rather than because his mobilization claim is implausible.

    My guess now is that COVID-19 makes all such speculation irrelevant, because it makes Trump essentially unbeatable by anybody. (His actual performance in office during the crisis is less important than the fact that he is getting all of the media exposure and Democratic candidates are getting close to none.) This is especially true if the effects of the epidemic last into the fall and significantly impact voter turnout in ways that help Trump.


    • Will there be virtual conventions? No contested conventions. Why even have conventions with delegates? Why don’t primaries just elect the party nominee directly as with the primaries to elect governors unless some states do it differently?


      • On paper, at least, party conventions do more than nominate candidates for President and Vice President — for example, they adopt platforms (although platforms are sometimes window dressing). I don’t know to what extent major party national conventions also choose party officers and adopt party bylaws and rules. State level conventions certainly do these things.


    • Most national leaders received significant coronavirus bumps. Scott Morrison’s approval rating increased by 21% and is holding steady. The Trump bump (someone had to write that phrase) was minuscule and already appears to have evaporated.

      It would be news to Churchill and Chamberlain that crises and wars make you unbeatable. It would be news to the four prime ministers of Australia defeated by parliament or their caucus during WWII. (Okay I am stretching that number with Frank Forde who only served 7 days between Curtin and Chifley, but I won the Frank Forde medal for poetry at y university.) It would even be news to Lincoln, who was widely expected to lose in 1864 until a string of Union victories saved him.

      A crisis is an opportunity but it is also a danger.


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