What a night! The Democrats in New Hampshire at least know how to run an election. Those early write-in votes for Bloomberg were red herrings; instead, the old-school red ran away with the most votes and delegates from New Hampshire, with his twinky acolyte nipping at his heels. Pete Buttigieg still leads Senator Sanders by one delegate thanks to his performance in Iowa (and the possibility of insider rigging).
With two competitions under their belts, the Democratic field is narrowing out rapidly. Andrew Yang, the pro-math, pro-universal basic income candidate, dropped out early in the evening. Joe Biden slunk away to South Carolina, where he will make his stand. Elizabeth Warren, the shrill cat lady in the race, was fairly drubbed.
Amy Klobuchar, the slightly-less shrill, younger cat lady with a fiery temper, managed to come in third, putting her one delegate behind Warren and one delegate ahead of Biden.
Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and Sanders are going to struggle in South Carolina, although Sanders perhaps a bit less than others. We have open primaries here in SC, and Republicans here are encouraging conservatives to vote for Sanders, reasoning that he’s the easiest prey for Trump to pick off in November. I don’t know if I can bring myself to vote for any Democrat, much less a self-identified socialist. At best I might could vote for Congressbabe Tulsi Gabbard, the least terrible of them all (and the best looking), but even that would weigh heavily on my soul.
Regardless, we’ll see how much a spoiler Republicans could be. I suspect not much of one. Sanders struggles with black voters. He comes from a lily-white State, Vermont, and he’s an old Jewish socialist. Blacks don’t much care for members of the Tribe (unless it’s A Tribe Called Quest). The young, true-believer progressives here—black, white, or otherwise—will probably vote for Sanders, but they’re a (thankfully) small contingent outside of the cities and college towns.
Black Democrats definitely aren’t going to vote for Buttigieg. An openly gay white boy from Indiana? Gimme a break. Similarly, Klobuchar will struggle with that demographic for the same reason Hillary Clinton did.
That’s why Biden is hopeful he can inject some life into his failing campaign in SC. He’s really playing up the angle that he’s Obama’s successor, which he can plausibly claim as he was Obama’s VP. Now that the telegenic mulattoes are out of the race, Obama might be willing to endorse—finally—Biden. Indeed, the DNC may call on him to do so after Sanders’s win last night.
Bloomberg is still floating around there, menacingly, but, again, I think he’s likely a paper tiger. Plus, he’s not on the ballot in SC. My buddy Tom Steyer suspended his campaign last night, and he was aggressively courting black voters in his ads. Every YouTube ad of his that I’ve seen lately—and they come up constantly—featured one of three scenarios:
1.) A curly-haired black lady and an ethnically-ambiguous-but-black-ish lady earnestly saying that they “think he can beat Trump.”
2.) An overtly black woman saying, “I’m putting in the air”—a magical incantation, I suppose—“he’s going to win South Carolina.” She also fawningly related how he got “choked up” (gay) about his day in South Carolina, and how he talked about “equality” and “African-Americans.” She doesn’t mention anything specific about those points; she was just thrilled he talked about “equality” and “African-Americans.”
3.) A former South Carolina State Representative, a nerdy black man, campaigning with Steyer, and Steyer hugging the man in a kind of noogie headlock.
We’ll see what transpires, but it looks like South Carolina’s is Biden’s to lose. But he’s been phenomenally good at losing so far. If he does win SC, it’s going to increase the likelihood of a brokered convention that much more.
All I know is, the Democratic primaries are finally interesting. After months of boring, unwatchable debates and lots of moral preening, we’re now getting into a bunch of unpredictable primary battles. We’re already two in, and there’s not an apparent front-runner (yes, Buttigieg is ahead by one delegate, with Bernie right behind; that doesn’t mean anything—yet).
Or Sanders could end up walking away with this whole thing, especially if he wins SC. I will be really surprised if Buttigieg does well here, outside of a handful of lifestyle/limousine liberals in Charleston and some tonier districts.
Who knows! On to South Carolina and Nevada!