When an exasperated Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford said, “Why must everything be a contest?” in Mommie Dearest, she was only complaining about the recalcitrant Christina refusing to eat her meat. How quaint when one considers the contests fate has in store for those of us, beleaguered as we are, in February.
First up is this football game which, super or not, I had to google to find out which teams are playing in it. My interest in the sport is limited to the unexpected football metaphor and who will be performing at halftime. This year, the show will include Jennifer Lopez, fresh off not getting an Oscar nomination for Hustlers, and leads me to the next contest for your consideration.
When it comes to the gold plated Academy Award snub, Ms. Lopez is in pretty good company. After all, Marilyn Monroe was never nominated and suffered the indignity of seeing Doris Day’s performance in Pillow Talk get the nod when her Sugar Kane in Some Like It Hot didn’t. Besides, an Oscar snub is nothing compared to having the first line of one’s Wikipedia page include “also known by her nickname J. Lo.” Abbreviate your name this way and see how you like it.
The annual contest for Hollywood’s most desired little man has shown us over the years how a contest involving five nominees can lead to some totally unexpected results. My favorite example of this when arguably the greatest actors of their generation—Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson and Al Pacino—were nominated against each other for the first and only time in their careers. None of them at that point had won despite multiple nominations. So who took the prize? Art Carney. Go figure.
Armed with this wisdom, we can look a bit more clear-eyed at the next bunch of February contests—the upcoming Democratic caucuses and primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. We’ve got four or five still in the race, depending on whether or not you’re counting Amy Klobuchar. Now if those prognosticating polls are correct, Biden will win three of the four, with Sanders taking New Hampshire. Sounds kind of bad for the others candidates, until you realize that we’re carving up about 155 pledged delegates, and Buttigieg and Warren are poised to get at least some of them.
Still, the cable news networks’ narratives will probably focus on the top line winner, and Democratic primary voters will be rattled or reassured, depending on who they like, by truisms from the media like, “No Democrat since 1992 has won the presidential nomination without winning either Iowa or New Hampshire.” Does that mean if Biden wins one and Sanders the other, this becomes a two person race? Only in the media, and only by those who would buy it. Should Buttigieg or Warren win Iowa instead, would that leave Biden out in the cold? No, of course not.
What is true is a candidate must have the majority of delegates at the convention vote for them to get the nomination. Looking at the results we’ll see next month is no more predictive than a Ouija board or tea leaves.
Come March 3, or Super Tuesday, 14 states plus American Samoa and Democrats Abroad (how glamorous!) will vote. Two of those states (Texas and California, not named alphabetically because I’m a Texan) account for more than four times the sum of pledged delegates from the February contests. If Bloomberg is going to be a factor in this primary, we’ll know it then—and not before. About 40% of pledged delegates will be allocated at that point, and then it’s arithmetic from that point forward.
Personally, I wish Texas had hung back so we could vote more strategically. All I’m getting out of this early March voting date is my share of the quarter billion dollars Bloomberg has spent on political ads. And you know the number is correct because Bloomberg reported it. Not Michael himself, but his news network.
Oh, and there is a contest going on in the Senate. While all these others we’ve talked about can be rigged by deflated footballs, studio block voting, media narratives and profligate spending, no one sets a fix better than M. Mc.
He might not like that nickname any better than J. Lo likes hers, but I’m sure he would like it better than what Nancy Pelosi calls him.