Lazy Sunday LII: Democratic Candidates, Part I

The last week saw some major momentum for Joe Biden, as he smashed through big chunks of the Super Tuesday primaries.  Then his most logical competitors, one by one, dropped out, no doubt after receiving some threatening phone calls from the DNC.  That’s narrowed the field, essentially, to Biden and Bernie, with Congressbabe Tulsi Gabbard out there with some Somoan delegates and a dream of a debate appearance.

What seemed so unlikely even ten days ago—but was the conventional wisdom last summer—now seems plausible:  Biden, possibly struggling with dementia, is on track to become the Democratic nominee for the presidency.  There’s still a chance for a brokered convention, which would no-doubt devolve into chaos as angry Bernie Bros watched their doddering hero stripped of any chance at the nomination, but the safe bet at this point seems to be a narrow Biden win.

It’s a good reminder that these primaries can be incredibly unpredictable, but also that the establishment choice usually wins.  I remember the 2012 Republican primaries, in which, week after week, one of the second-tier candidates would take the lead, only to fall behind or get knocked out of the race.  Romney was the presumed front-runner, even though he was second in most of the polls, but none of the other candidates could stay out in the lead for long.  It finally came down to Rick Santorum to offer some kind of alternative to Romney, and he, too, fell.

It’s why so many of us were dismayed when the media was trumpeting JEB! Bush as the Republican front-runner in early 2015.  I was Trump-skeptical in those days (how wrong I was), but the thought of another Bush, even a capable one (JEB! was a great governor in Florida), getting the nomination was disheartening.  Fortunately, Trump upended everything like a bull in a gold-plated hotel china shop.

Trump’s nomination now seems like an historical aberration—one for which I am extremely thankful.  I’m hoping it’s the start of a new trend of populist firebrands (at least on the Republican side), but the circling of the DNC wagons around Biden suggests that the elites are still running the show, at least on that side of the political spectrum.  Republicans do seem to listen to their base a bit more—sometimes.

Regardless, I thought it would be interesting to look back at some posts regarding the Democratic primaries to see some of the figures that rose and fell during the process.  I’ll continue this review of recent history next Sunday.

  • Box Wine Aunties for Williamson” – a social media savvy, New Age-y guru, Marianne Williamson was all the talk in the early days of the Democratic debates.  That was during the point when the party, chastened by claims of a rigged primary season in 2016, was letting everyone and their brother get on television if they had enough small-ball donations.  Thus, Williamson became an Internet sensation.  In reading back through that post, my analysis relies a great deal on symbolism, which is increasingly important in an age in which memes and images convey complex meanings.  Buuuuut the moon-bat dropped out.
  • The Collapse of the Obama Coalition?” – The identity-politics-obsessed Left now bemoans the fact that the Democratic primaries are down to two old white dudes.  It turns out there are many Democrats that don’t care about identity politics, but in 2019 the candidate I most feared was Senator Kamala Harris, the concubine-turned-prosecutor-turned-pandering-politico who seemed to check off all the intersectional boxes.  She was a woman, black(ish), exotic—like Obama.  If anyone could revive the frayed Obama coalition of the “marginalized,” it would be her.  Of course, her inauthentic pandering to blacks was so transparent, they rejected her out-of-hand.  Turns out black folks don’t like a half-Jamaican prosecutor who pretends to know about African-American culture and who spent her career locking them up.
  • Iowa Caucuses: Disaster on the Prairie” – The Democrats love to sell themselves as do-gooding technocrats who “know how to get things done” (I’m pretty sure Elizabeth Warren has said that, with all the earnestness of every girl who cried over making a 98 on a quiz, constantly over the past year).  Yet they botched the much-watched Iowa caucuses in spectacular fashion, using suspect technology with close ties to some of the candidates to calculate the results.  Sometimes good old pencil and paper really are the way to go.  Of course, that muddying of the waters screwed up the momentum for both the Bernie and the Buttigieg camps, and may have had downstream effects on both campaigns.

That’s it for this (unintentionally long) Lazy Sunday.  Part II of this retrospective will be next week.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

18 thoughts on “Lazy Sunday LII: Democratic Candidates, Part I

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