* “In the context of previous presidential elections, Biden isn’t so very moderate. Nor are Klobuchar, Buttigieg or other Democratic aspirants lumped in that category. They have carved out positions to the left of the party’s nominees over the past decades, including the most recent three: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Kerry. And you know who gets the most credit for that? Sanders.”–Frank Bruni, New York Times.
* “The media scorned Biden’s obvious defects in debate performances, verbal clarity and fundraising without understanding the deep bonds of affection between him and Democratic voters.”–Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post.
* “We have come a long, long way.”–Bernie Sanders.
* “I went to the supermarket. I got milk.”–Sen. Amy Klobuchar on life after the presidential campaign.
* Endorsements, as Joe Biden has been notably reminded, are critically important in political campaigns. From Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar to Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Mike Bloomberg and Cory Booker. And some resonate better than others. For Biden, none were better timed nor better articulated than that of U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, 79, of South Carolina. The House Majority Whip and the highest-ranking black member of Congress viscerally manned the South Carolina firewall that saved the foundering Biden campaign before Super Tuesday. He helped rally black voters for Biden, but it wasn’t via pep-rally rhetoric. The pitch was personal. “I know Joe. We know Joe. But most importantly, Joe knows us.” And it was pitch perfect, as was proven three days later.
* Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, is leading an inquiry into Hunter Biden’s ties to a Ukrainian energy company. The Biden campaign has branded it an abuse of congressional authority. Having said that, Biden will need to say a helluva lot more–finally–about the family Burisma connection with the awful optics. If he’s the nominee, he’s going to get hammered on this. His response should begin with: “You want to talk family conflict of interest? OK. Game on.”
*Yes, it’s disappointing for the Democratic Party, for all of its diversity bona fides, to have its presidential candidates reduced to two white guys. Who can forget that post-debate confrontation between Elizabeth Warren and Sanders over a woman candidate’s electability this cycle.
Two points: First, had it not been for that perfect storm that included unforced errors, the incumbent president right now would be Hillary Clinton, who won the most votes in 2016. Second, the viability of a female candidate should be addressed, in effect, by whatever woman–California Sen. Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, to name three–fills out the ticket. The septuagenarian at the top, if successful, will likely bow out after one term. That means the Dems 2020 vice presidential choice will likely be the Dems de facto presidential nominee in 2024.
It’s yet another reason why the Democrats can’t afford to have another post-convention hissy fit by those who didn’t get their favorite Democrat nominated. The Trump base, assorted greed heads and Republican Party eunuchs are still outnumbered. But it only matters if the Democrats rally and unite as if their country and their planet were, well, worth it.
* A two-candidate debate means one thing: a real debate. Sure, there will be mercurial moments and gotcha lines, but it will no longer be performance art among too many candidates, most of whom were not viable. As for those gotcha lines, some pulled punches should be in order; otherwise, they will show up in Trump ads.
* The Democratic base will be monitoring how Michael Bloomberg keeps his word and helps underwrite the campaign to remove Trump. He knows his presidential candidacy deserves a better legacy than having spent more than a half billion dollars to win American Samoa.
BTW, doesn’t it always seem weird when primaries remind us that the U.S. still has “territories?”
* Can you imagine career politicians who have been practicing grip-and-grin retail politics forever, having to work crowds with fist-and-elbow bumps? Neither can I.