I’ve been talking about the polarization of the democratic party for quite some time now. Not surprisingly, a few days before ‘Super Tuesday' it reached a new apex. As predicted, the ideologically conservative wing of the party has coalesced under Joe Biden, with all but one candidate dropping out to endorse the former vice president. Not knowing precisely who the flag-bearer of that coalition would be, it was still an easy prediction to make given the common interests of corporate backed candidates.
Rallied under a common threat, the established interests faced their true contender, real populism. It was obvious 'centrist' candidates would have stern closed door meetings, choosing a champion among themselves and unifying their efforts. Surprising to me was the awkward execution of choosing that champion. It has been a wildly spastic ride watching mass media’s failure to prop up candidates. One after the other. Suffering from ups and downs media’s darling changed from back when Harris’ questionable record cut her short of her 15 minutes of fame, Clinton’s embarrassing attempt at the limelight by smears, Klobuchar’s tepid opportunistic tactics of claiming victory, Buttigieg’s young politesse variation of Obama’s silver tongue identity politics and finally a last minute surprise interjection of the un-charismatic billionaire Mike Bloomberg’s dystopian proposition of a different flavored strong man. This is truly a case where fantasy beats fiction when it comes to traditional politics in America.
The progressive wing currently composed of Gabbard, Warren and lead by senator Sanders, has interestingly not coalesced. Warren and Gabbard are still on the race, effectively fracturing the ideological vote, weakening Sanders' nomination and overall progressive interests. In the case for Gabbard, her numbers are low and her impact is proportionally important. Given that she gave up a prominent spot on the DNC last election to support Sanders, her continued participation seems strange. But not as strange as Warren’s. With very little digging it is clear her intent is aligned to undermine Sanders chances at the nomination knowingly of not having a 'path to the nomination’. Effectively exposing her shallow stance on her self-branded progressive label by going on an aggressive campaign against Sanders. This is effectively giving Biden a pass in a tacit endorsement perhaps paving way for a vice presidency or even the presidency given the right conditions. The argument that she does not know this political calculation is preposterous given she has a plan for everything, or so she says. In a way she has proven that you can’t have a plan for political instinct.
Warren’s campaign, at one point leading the pack surpassing the then front-runner Biden by a few points, is now but a shadow of what it once was. Like clockwork, her campaign took a nosedive as she started to drift apart from her progressive message by flipping many of her initial policies that took her to the front spot. Making her infamous phrase, ‘I am just a player in the game’ proof of her ideological vacuity.
She attempted a slight of hand by tweaking her healthcare plan with technicalities that rendered it sterile, like conditioning it to a second ballot on a second term. In the aftermath of her descent, she did not take her failure with any degree of grace. She broke her vow to not take super pack funds in the primary race to outright desperation mode taking any donor willing to fund her stance. Many interest groups ceasing the competitive effect this has on the Sanders campaign sprung into action giving artificial air to Warren’s campaign. What once seemed shallow attacks on her character by the president, like her bizarre claim of Native American heritage, now seem substantiated, giving weight to the signature name calling given her by our president, despite complete disregard of Native Americans.
We know that ideology is not what moves masses. These are swayed by personal, irrational and more intuitive processes that are fragile at best. This brings perhaps the second most deterministic argument in this article. The case of a Biden nomination automatically implies a handover of the reelection to Trump. Any Republican wishing to secure this cycle would prop Biden’s nomination vigorously because they know a match-up between Trump and Biden is advantageous. This would be to say the least celebratory for the GOP. Not all men and women age as gracefully, and nowhere is it more clear than in the contrast between Sanders and Biden. The latter showing clear signs of cognitive decline while the former showing mental acuity. The signature gaffes Biden is having at an ever increasing rate act as fuel to a Trump style insult driven discourse. Effectively solidifying the base. The case between two populist campaign is less effective. If Biden faces Trump he will lose, partly because entire blocks of the voter base will fail to show up at the polls make a mathematical likelihood the reelection of the incumbent president.
This leads to the most deterministic argument in this article. The brokered convention, super delegates and laboratory conditions. The 2015 democratic race was ridden with anomalies and systematic favoritism for the then, not yet nominee, Hillary Clinton. Controversy shook the public as proof of direct intervention of Clinton’s campaign taking over the Democratic National Convention was released during the climax of the 2016 election. By assuming the financial responsibilities of a DNC left broke by the Obama team they demonstrated the modus operandi at play. Outright autocratic behavior in the most important responsibilities of the party with democratic in is name. Super delegates, (who in my opinion act as a continuation of autocratic practices veiled under an archaic myth of elder wisdom in state matters) swayed the contested nomination critically, to Clinton’s surprise. Nobody saw Sanders coming, much less Trump. There is an unquestionable rise in populism in America. Proof of it is abundant birthing the wildly successful anti-establishment campaign of Donald Trump that plowed through Republican choke-hold on nominees, defeated the world’s top political machine behind HRC and changed American politics. Rampant cronyism has proven Trump’s narrative to be false by introducing the most corrupt cabinet and appointees seen in modern American history. Ranging from secretaries of education who do not believe in education to an attorney general complicit with the executive branch.
After the 2015 debacle, Sanders negotiated with some newly attained negotiation power but still without much leverage, the suspension of super delegates in the first round of this 2020 primary during the controversy. A folly in Sanders part. He was not able to completely remove the super delegates from the process. A popular spin used by Warren and Biden last week implying it was Sanders choice of rules, since he set them. These arguments are worthy of a playground. It makes no sense to hold a concession as proof of his lack of commitment to his obvious interests.
Ironically, this made the Democratic party more democratic despite of the overwhelming criticism in the removal of super delegates in the first round. A clearly arbitrary rule with reasonably clear intent as well. It is predicted and publicly stated by super delegates themselves the intention to deny giving Sanders the nomination. Therefore, in the case of a brokered convention were Sanders have the plurality of votes but not the majority. They would give way for the party to take the nomination from the popular vote. It is my analysis this would have profound consequences in the fabric of American politics.
The most deterministic argument is, the effect of a brokered convention in the event that it does not give the nomination to the candidate with most votes. This would likely unravel the democratic party for cycles to come and maybe even introduce the end of bipartisanship mechanics. This would send shock-waves through the system as well. It’s a catch 22 for established interest. Similarly expressed in smears actually fueling his campaign contribution efforts.
Party segregation is a trully bold prediction I largely wish I’m wrong. Numerically it is evident how this would cause a loss. Take note how Sander’s strategy, not to necessarily convince the already polarized voter base of his take on politics. But getting new voters on the booth. He targeted new and previously unregistered nonvoters, included most minority groups and young voters. Clashing with the previous narrative that Sanders supporters where mainly white millennial males. One of many failed narratives generated by mass media.
Certainly conscious of the consequences, the leaders of the DNC are willing to take party damage by effectively stealing the nomination from an enormous group of newly introduced members of the DNC, who have given their time and effort only to see it overridden by party officials. Potentially, an entire generation would be disenfranchised and jaded from the Democratic party giving the GOP the opportunity to continue their political superiority despite having a dwindling voter base.
A day before what could easily be the most decisive day in the near future of American politics, I see a voter base that has been fear-mongered and red baited into submission to vote for an ever increasing trend towards Fascism. In a case worthy of laboratory design, we might discern those otherwise unwilling, support a Trump administration if Sanders wins the nomination.
Beyond any social or economic plan that the Sander’s campaign might propose, there is a fundamental opportunity to reverse the authoritarian tendencies the government has had for many decades by the cleansing of the institutions. Tackle corruption. Exactly what a Sanders administration would bring to the table and the very reason behind the massively coordinated effort to thwart a largely popular candidate. This is the crux.
With these last statements I will hold my breath until tomorrow. First, the breadline is a myth. A Sanders administration would stabilize an economic time bomb created by the erratic behavior of the current administration. And second, it would slow down or even turn around our path into another gilded age. For now, I say appropriately. Good night, don’t let the bed bugs bite.