First thoughts on Super Tuesday:
By moving toward Joe Biden, Democrats are responding to messages in the media. We have a liberal media, not a socialist media, and in these past days it has been imagining the crash-and-burn of a Sanders-Warren ticket (or maybe even a Sanders-Gabbard ticket; imagine that!) and posing tough questions. And for good reason. Bernie had it coming. The media like a horse race, and tend to handicap frontrunners. And they pile on candidates who wander outside the lane markers of the politically acceptable.
In this case, good. The not so good part is that Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. may become the nominee, and possibly even the next president of the United States. Biden has better table manners than Donald Trump. Biden has experience by the tubful. As he keeps reminding audiences, he’s Been There, Done That. In 2008 Obama, who was only two years out of the Illinois legislature, chose Biden for vice president because Biden had been in the Senate since the administration of Richard Nixon.
We have a liberal media, not a socialist media, and in these past days it has been imagining the crash-and-burn of a Sanders-Warren ticket.
Libertarians might ask themselves: which is worse, a President Biden who wheels and deals and Gets Things Done (especially for his boy, Hunter!) — or a President Sanders who puffs up his cheeks, hectors and damns, and demands utopia? You could argue that an effective Biden would be worse than an ineffective Sanders. Two Democrats I know — Biden supporters now, I suppose — have told me that even I should vote for Sanders, if it’s between him and Trump. Their argument was that Sanders could never get his utopian programs through Congress, and is therefore not a serious threat to the Republic, but that Trump is.
I find this argument unconvincing. Trump is boorish and domineering, he likes to bully Congress and the Federal Reserve, and he has some policies I don’t like. But Trump has not dropped the atomic bomb, he has not gotten the country into a major war, he has not attempted to stack the Supreme Court, and he has not ordered an entire minority group into concentration camps. I can think of other presidents who did those things. The Republic survived them, sort of. I could be wrong, but I think the Republic can survive Donald Trump — at least better than it could survive four or even eight years, God forbid, of President Bernie Sanders.
I think of the men Trump has appointed to the Supreme Court — and I think: who would Bernie Sanders appoint?
I could be wrong, but I think the Republic can survive Donald Trump.
The reason for not preferring Bernie Sanders to Joe Biden is the long-term consequences to the Democratic Party of nominating a socialist. It mattered in 1964 when the Republican Party nominated an anti-New Deal conservative, Barry Goldwater. He got only 38% of the vote, but he changed the ideology of the Republican Party and paved the way for Ronald Reagan. And that changed the country. Nominating a socialist would change the ideology of the Democratic Party, and perhaps the country, in the other direction. It would change which proposals were acceptable in the Democratic Party, and which ones were not. To a disturbing extent the Vermont Sandino has already done this. Letting him have any more success cannot be good. That being so, it would be even worse if Sanders won the nomination and beat Donald Trump. Then we would have a new two-party system: the Socialists and the Nationalists. (And yes, I know, some libertarians will argue that that’s what we have now, but all I can say is, just you wait.)
No; it is better that Sanders be defeated, even by Joe Biden, warts (as Liberty Editor Stephen Cox has highlighted) and all.
Goldwater got only 38% of the vote, but he changed the ideology of the Republican Party and paved the way for Ronald Reagan. And that changed the country.
I was going to add, “or by Mike Bloomberg,” but he is finished. Bloomberg has proven once again that it takes more than money to win elections. Votes are what wins elections, and there are never enough votes for sale for a rich man to corner the market and become president. That Mike Bloomberg spent upwards of $500 million is a measure of his ambition, and his foolishness. It was even more so for Tom Steyer, a man I’d never heard of until last summer. Hey, guys! You made bad investments! You earned it in the market and spent it on political campaigns. You should have bought yachts!
The Democratic Party is not going to give its prized spot to a self-funded practitioner of capitalism.
The Republicans are different that way, some. They nominated Wendell Willkie in 1940 and he had been a businessman, sort of; and in 2016 they nominated Donald Trump, who was a businessman, sort of. Really Donald Trump was a showman, a media guy. A much better politician than a developer of high-rise buildings. Trump knew how to wow a crowd, how to use the electronic media, how to intimidate his opponents with crude one-liners. He won because he’s a fabulous bullshitter who delighted in violating the proprieties of the Politically Correct. In 2016 Hillary Clinton outspent him by almost 2 to 1 — and all good Democrats keep saying, we’ve got to get money out of politics . . .
Money helps, to be sure. All by itself, it’s useless. Votes are what counts. Sanders has them, and now Biden has them. Let’s see if one will knock the other out before the convention, and if the winner can unify the Democratic Party. It won’t be easy.