There are silver linings to the February 29-March 3 political tsunami that vaulted Joe Biden ahead of Bernie Sanders, and the race is far from over, but the Super Tuesday results are disappointing for Bernie. A real bummer.
What are some of the silver linings?
-It looks like billionaire mogul Bloomberg is either done as a candidate or is on his way out sooner or later. His rapid rise and fall would be a much bigger story if not for the unexpected, Biden Super Tuesday victories.
-It is now a two-person race, and Bernie has already begun concentrating on exposing Biden for his billionaire class connections and his many, past regressive votes and actions on a number of issues.
-In the upcoming debates, the next one March 15th in Arizona, it will be at most a four-person, possibly a three- or even a two-person debate. Think about Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, or just Sanders, articulating why a return, in essence, to the incrementalist, corporate-friendly approaches on issues of Obama/Biden just isn’t what we need, on issue after issue. Since there won’t be seven or eight people on the stage, these differences can be much more clearly laid out and argued for.
What about Elizabeth Warren? She did not do well yesterday. There is no basis for her or anyone else to believe that she can win the Presidential nomination. Should she drop out and throw her support to Bernie?
My views on this question are shaped in part by my former (no longer) involvement with the Green Party. For years I had to contend with people telling me I was wasting my vote, spoiling it for the Democrats, not being realistic, etc. And I took that input into account, arguing as far back as 2003, for example, that if the Green Party was going to run a Presidential candidate it should only do so in states where it was certain, based on polling and past voting history, that either the Democrat or Republican was going to win. It should not campaign in any of the swing states.
Unfortunately, I was attacked internally for having this view, and much more unfortunately this “the Democrats and Republicans are equally terrible and we’ll campaign anywhere and everywhere we want” strategic approach is still the dominant approach.
So back to Elizabeth Warren. In part because I have supported candidates in the past who have had no chance of winning but who have important things to say, to add to the political debate, I have not taken and am not now taking the position of other progressives, that Warren should drop out and throw her support to Bernie. I think that is her decision to make.
I do think, however, that those who are supporting her should speak up about some of the things she has been doing and saying, most recently and most particularly like taking $12 million from a shadowy superpac. To the extent necessary, she needs to be pressured to hold firm to her progressive platform and be allied with Bernie in the debates.
What about Bernie? It was clear from his rousing speech last evening at 10 PM in Vermont that he and his campaign see silver linings and a path forward to possible victory at the Democratic Convention in Milwaukee. I hope that is true, and I will continue to do all I can to make it so.
The truth is that this Democratic Party Presidential primary campaign has had an awful lot of twists and turns already, and the likelihood is high that there will be more. Joe Biden has some very significant issue and personal liabilities, some of which have been exposed via poor and stumbling debate performances. It remains to be seen if the Super Tuesday results were a decisive turning point for Biden, enabled mightily by SC Congressman Jim Clyburn, or more of a “sugar high” that fades and fades as the Biden liabilities are exposed.
Ted Glick is the author of the forthcoming Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left’s Resistance to the Vietnam War. Other writing and more information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick