Well, Mayor Mike, you can’t just mail in a check—no matter how large—and expect
to win the lottery.
Mike Bloomberg showed what happens when you have so much money and power
that people don’t talk back to you; you’ve lost the ability and the edge to debate. There is
another billionaire around who hasn’t had anyone talk back to him (and survive) in three
and a half years. While folks are kissing his ring, Democrats are honing their skills.
Last night, Senators Sanders, Warren and Klobuchar showed how it works. Warren in
particular set the newbie back on his heels. The question remains: after Super Tuesday,
who emerges from the rubble of debates, caucuses and primaries.
As I wrote on Post Alley a few weeks ago, I believe we may well have a brokered
national convention in Milwaukee. Others are now talking about this and unless someone
breaks through on Super Tuesday, that’s where we are headed.
I’d be perfectly happy to pick from the senatorial trio, but everyone will win some
Super Tuesday delegates. Only Bloomberg and Sanders have the money to dominate
Super Tuesday, but both have limits. Sanders’ base is rock-solid but cannot by itself
nominate Bernie. Bloomberg last night looked old, complacent and out of shape
intellectually. Only his checkbook looks attractive.
Warren made a meal of his relationships with women, and Klobuchar pointedly noted
the dangers of two billionaires in November. Warren was overall impressive, Klobuchar
effective but not up to her performance in New Hampshire.
In the supposed Year of the Woman, these well-qualified and articulate females may
be collateral damage. The most important action Democratic voters must take here in
Washington is to preserve the candidacies of Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for
the late-primary voters.
If we move to a brokered convention, half a dozen candidates will arrive with pledged
delegates, and sophisticated “super delegates” will all have plans for second ballots and
beyond. It is not inconceivable that the situation will require candidates to release a short
list of potential running mates.
Compromise will require candidates who are willing to bend on such key issues as
health care, free college and immigration. Obviously, all will still be well to the left of
Donald Trump. Both Warren and Klobuchar—who, interestingly, defer to each other on
the debate platform and appear to have good chemistry together—may be capable of that
flexibility. It’s a Klobuchar talking point, and Warren is a realist and a results-oriented
If Bernie gets the nomination, he must chose a running mate to appeal to at least one
of three important constituencies: 1) people of color, 2) women, and 3) Midwestern
swing states. Among those who have campaigned, only Klobuchar and Kamala Harris
check two boxes. Other major possibilities are either stuck in the Coastal Elites box or
cannot check a second box.
Democrats need to keep Warren and Klobuchar on the stage in Milwaukee. The
debates have showed that both can face up to Trump and obviously both have the
experience and the intellect to be president. Buttigieg is too soon, Biden too late and
Bloomberg too vulnerable. It’s Bernie and one or both of the female senators moving
forward. In a brokered convention, anything could happen.