Will Rogers famously said, “I am not a member of any organized party. I am a Democrat.” For a brief moment this last week, it looked like that sage and witty quote had finally met its sell-by date.
With Sanders coming out of Nevada with a win following strong showings in Iowa and New Hampshire (it’s not a win unless one gets the most delegates), the “No, Not Bernie” part of the Democratic party was in high dudgeon. Could any of the “B” boys save the party from the imminent threat of the modern day Eugene V. Debs and his merry mob of marauding millennials?
Why hadn’t Buttigieg connected with them, being a millennial himself? Could Bloomberg ride in on a white horse with saddle bags full of money and be the one? Going into South Carolina, could Uncle Joe’s firewall hold, but still be too little, too late?
Even with South Carolina’s James Clyburn announcing his endorsement on the Wednesday before the Saturday primary, the Biden campaign seemed to limp into the actual voting but it came out of it with a swagger, having won with 30 points over Sanders and a net gain of 24 delegates.
Suddenly, Democrats (at least some of them) stopped acting like Democrats and started acting like, I don’t know, Republicans.
As is customary, the gay guy was the trendsetter. Being the smartest kid in any room he’s ever occupied meant Buttigieg could read the handwriting on the wall and proceed to translate it into a half dozen different languages. His endorsement was followed by that of Amy Klobuchar, although it wasn’t because of anything Mayor Pete said. I’m not sure those two are on speaking terms, and Uncle Joe might consider starting with them when it comes to this unity thing.
By the time Beto O’Rourke took the stage at the Biden rally Monday night in Dallas to announce his endorsement, it sure looked like the Democratic establishment (whatever that is) had closed ranks around Biden, giving Sanders the same treatment Miss Hilly and the Jackson Junior League gave Celia.
Not surprisingly, Sanders shot back about the coming together of corporate and political establishments in “a massive effort to stop Bernie Sanders”—cringe worthy as always when referring to oneself in third person, and completely ignoring the fact that the vast majority of voters are not part of any establishment, beyond a professional organization, a neighborhood association and their place of worship.
As far as what happened next, the Fox News online headline “Biden roars back: Super Tuesday leaves ex-VP in airtight contest for delegates with Sanders” said it best. We might quibble with the use of “airtight,” but we all get what was meant.
Truth is, there were any number of Democratic voters conflicted by their choices and who deliberately waited until the last minute to decide how to vote. They ignored the dogma of both parties that early voting is best, just in case you keel over dead before election day. With Warren looking increasingly less like a viable candidate and more like a spoiler and her having reduced Bloomberg to something akin to Monty Python’s Black Knight, the winnowing of the field made the decision clearer for a whole lot of folks who gave Biden the biggest win of his political career.
This primary isn’t over, and whether Super Tuesday was a real takedown is yet to be seen. Biden holds the advantage at this point, but we need only look back to the immediate past to see what happened the last time he held it. Will Rogers may still prove relevant.
There was a real takedown this week, but it was the other Biden that did it. After Dr. Jill Biden went all “Hell, no, not today” on the protesters on Tuesday night, I had to find out more about her. To be frank, the whole time she was Second Lady, I really didn’t give her much thought, other than that she’s a pretty lady with blonde hair and a doctorate. (Don’t even think about going politically correct on me for saying that.)
But after that takedown, I asked myself, “Goodness, what part of the South is she from?” Well, she’s not. Born in southern New Jersey and growing up in southern Pennsylvania is as close to southern as she gets. But she took care of business like a steel magnolia and never ruffled her skirt or her hair.