After almost a year and a half, the Democratic Primary Race came to an end this week.
On Wednesday, Bernie suspended his campaign for president of the United States, ending a battle that ultimately saw the moderate path come first against the progressive one. Biden is now beginning to roll out his general campaign amidst the most life-altering event of many of our lifetimes. For the next six and a half months, he will have to wade against a president who has been utilizing national briefings on a pandemic as campaign stump speeches. Biden will have to figure out how to ensure that the people that didn’t turn out in 2016 will turn out in 2020 to ensure that he does end up winning.
Bernie dropping out this early, or late depending on how you want to look at it, no doubt was the final blow that ended a chance for a true progressive, leftist president for the foreseeable future. Given the circumstances of the world, it does make sense that he would have dropped before the convention (now almost certainly a virtual one). Even though he will remain on the ballot in order to push for policies on the Democratic platform for 2020, there was no viable path any longer to winning the election for him. It feels like it’s been an eternity since Super Tuesday at the rate with which things have occurred as of late, but it was not long ago that he seemed poised to take the nomination, at the very least claim a plurality win.
And then, the Monday before Super Tuesday all ended that momentum.
The rapid alignment by the centrist candidates under Biden following his strong performance in South Carolina was swift and completely altered any sort of chance at a Bernie victory. In a single day, Pete, Amy, and Beto all endorsed Biden before the biggest primary date on the calendar. This unprecedented move was smart on the side of the moderates and was the reason why we are now in a Trump vs Biden general election.
There are so many reasons why I saw Bernie’s lack of victory that were a combination of being in his control and also not at all. I’ll go through those as we get closer and closer to the convention and the general, but I keep thinking about how at times Bernie’s tactics and decisions about pressing against Biden were not in alignment with his team. There’s plenty of internal reporting that’s been released throughout the campaign as well as in recent days, but many of the decisions to call out the concerns they had about Biden were not made because Bernie didn’t want to go there. That’s something to follow over the next few months.
Perhaps the biggest challenge at this point is for Democrats to figure out how to rally around the candidate that, at least at the start of this race neither the party nor any progressives wanted, and build a coalition needed to defeat Trump in November. Biden’s ability to turn out older black voters is something that Clinton did not do (well she failed to turn out many black voters regardless of age). I saw a clip earlier today about how Clinton has recently mentioned that Biden was building a coalition similar to hers, and it caught me off guard mainly cause that coalition lost against a candidate who remains the most antagonistic in modern politics. To be fair, this time the DNC does not appear to underestimate Trump as they did in 2016, and that’s crucial. But, it seems ridiculous with a pandemic out of control and the two candidates we have right now to be able to predict who could win in November.
When I started talking about the 2020 election over two years ago when I started the blog, I remained firm in my stance that Trump would be certainly re-elected unless two things happened: either he was impeached and removed, or if the economy fell apart. We all know that the second half of that statement severely understates how devastating this past month has been for Americans. The way that Trump raved about the economy his whole presidency has now evaporated. I’m not willing to assume anything yet, but Trump had a near-automatic victory if he had at least kept his ego in check and handled this pandemic with a resounding smart response. But he didn’t. And now, he is more vulnerable than he ever has been. So, we’ll see how things continue to evolve as we inch towards the general.
Till then, as always, wishing everyone the best of health. Stay inside, stay safe, and find some joy in the time we have amidst everything affecting our lives. I’ll see you all next week…
Being Noah Tesfaye #126: A Primary’s Bizarre Conclusion
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