The Coming Bloomberg-Sanders Train Wreck

Monday, February 24, 2020
By Paul Martin

By Jonathan F. Keiler
February 24, 2020

While Michael Bloomberg’s Nevada debate performance was justly and widely panned, he attacked Bernie Sanders effectively, demonstrating he’s probably the only candidate who can derail the Vermont senator’s nomination. By the same token, Sanders can wreck Bloomberg’s hopes by mobilizing his own base against the billionaire at the convention or even running as an independent candidate. Each man has the ability to take the other one down, and that dynamic is the key to who eventually wins the nomination.

The sudden ascent of Bloomberg to the top ranks of Democrat contenders is generating plenty of speculation about machinations within the party to derail Sanders, quash the Democrat far left, or sacrifice the presidency in return for down-ticket success. Such conspiratorial speculation is natural, but it requires assumptions about backroom plotting for which there is little or no evidence. Better to go with what we can see with our own eyes, which suggests that, whether by design or accident, Bloomberg has the capacity to severely damage Sanders and vice versa.

In Nevada, we saw Sanders really attacked for the first time in the campaign, and only by Bloomberg. Why the reticence by the other candidates to go after the demonstrably wacky socialist senator? Because to do so, they have to either call him out as a phony or attack his socialist agenda.

They can’t attack him as a phony because they are all phonier than he is. Sanders’s great strength in this campaign is his relative authenticity compared to his opponents. Sanders may be a kooky “democratic socialist,” but he’s been a consistent kook, and he revels in it. He deliberately displays it, from his loud-mouthed Brooklyn patois to his studiously rumpled appearance. By contrast, his remaining opponents are a bunch of insincere, dishonest Democrat ticket-punchers, and the voters know that.

Secondly, they can’t really attack his socialist agenda, either. They are just a hair or two to his right. And as a practical matter, the Democrat Party has been heading toward outright socialism for two generations.

So they’ve left Sanders alone, and he’s cleaning their clocks. Nobody not named Bloomberg is likely to really take on Sanders in the nomination race.

Bloomberg doesn’t care about authenticity. He’s one of the richest men in the world and didn’t get there by being authentic; he got there beating his rivals, however necessary. He knows there is no road to the nomination unless he breaks Sanders.

Bloomberg effectively attacked Sanders’s authenticity at the Nevada debate — first by calling him a communist, which Sanders called a “cheap shot.” Really? If Bloomberg had called Sanders a capitalist, would that have been a cheaper shot? Certainly, Sanders wouldn’t have taken it as a compliment. He spent his honeymoon in the Soviet Union, for crying out loud. Be proud, Bernie — be authentic!

The Rest…HERE

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