It’s still early and things can change fast, but several new polls show Bernie Sanders surging in Iowa and New Hampshire as well as nationally, as Warren continues to stumble, Biden continues to unimpress, and Buttigieg continues to ignore the propeller beanie hat stuck to his head.
If Sanders sweeps Iowa and New Hampshire and surges in South Carolina and Nevada, he could become well nigh unstoppable. The Democratic establishment, such as it is, will move heaven and earth to stop Sanders, and given the wealth of material in Sanders’s history, you can expect the mainstream media will start running stories on “Just Who Is Bernie Sanders Anyway?” Sanders is an opposition researcher’s dream. A steady drip-feed of his community access TV shows from the 1980s alone will be enough to sink him, though maybe not in time. If nothing else, the media adjuncts of the Democratic Party will want to get all the damaging stories about Sanders out first, before the Trump campaign does in the fall.
The problem for Democrats is that taking down Bernie might well ensure they lose the election because lots of Bernie bros won’t vote for Joe Biden or the other powdered milk substitutes. We know a significant portion of Bernie voters in 2016 ended up voting for Trump in November. What might happen this year? A recent Emerson College poll found that only 53 percent of current Bernie voters said they would definitely support another Democratic nominee. The NY Times offers this typical anecdote from the campaign trail:
Elsewhere on the increasingly broad Democratic spectrum, Pete Doyle, who attended a Sanders rally in Manchester, N.H., last weekend, had a ready answer when asked about voting for Mr. Biden: “Never in a million years.” He said that if Mr. Biden won the nomination, he would either vote for a third-party nominee or sit out the general election.
We know already that if Trump is re-elected, the left will lose its mind. Biden may still win the nomination after all, but the die is already cast. If Trump defeats Biden (or Klobuchar or Buttigieg), the Democratic Party will lurch even further to the left for 2024, because its Twitter base will run with the theme that it lost because it didn’t embrace Bernie and move far enough left this year. And guess who will be constitutionally eligible to run for president in 2024? (Hint: Her initials are AOC.)
The long term interests of the Democratic Party would be best served by a landslide loss for Bernie in November, because as was the case after McGovern’s landslide loss in 1972 it will enable the few remaining adults in the party to try to take it back from the reckless “progressives,” though it will be an ugly process that will drive up popcorn prices. Conservatives living in open-primary states (like New Hampshire!) should consider voting for Bernie for just this reason—it guarantees short term victory, and helps the long-term cause of preventing the Democratic Party from becoming completely crazy instead of just the half-crazy that is their default position.
Meanwhile, impeachment has turned into a total bust. The Senate spectators’ gallery has been half empty most of the time. I guess Democrats overestimated the charisma and animal magnetism of Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler. And the public has tuned it out on television:
According to TV ratings for the first two days of the trial, the six news networks covering Trump’s impeachment averaged a little over 11 million viewers combined, with Fox News leading the pack with some 2,654,000 on their channel from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Viewership dropped by about 20 percent on Wednesday, with a total of 8,858,000 million watching; MSNBC led day two with 1,793,000 tuning in.
Worse for Dems: Quinnipiac, a very reputable polling outfit, now finds a majority of Americans opposed to Trump’s impeachment:
A majority of Americans now oppose impeaching and removing President Trump from office, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll Tuesday that signals Democrats’ month of hearings to make their case has failed. Quinnipiac found 51% of registered voters surveyed said they don’t want to see the president ousted through impeachment. That’s the first time the number has been above 50% since before Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry in late September.
Even worse news: the latest YouGov “generic ballot” poll for the House, which had showed a solid Democratic advantage, is now showing only a 1 point Democratic edge over Republicans. And Trump’s approval rating is near its highest level since he took office, along with new survey data showing the satisfaction with the state of the nation at its highest level in 15 years. The raw number—41 percent—may not seem like much to cheer about, but its the kind of number that gets presidents re-elected.
I just may take the rest of the day off and plant more popcorn in the field.