Otherwise, Bernie Sanders could have it wrapped up easily within the next two weeks…
New Hampshire was good, because it showed Democratic voters they had choices. Now Nevada and South Carolina—the two contests between now and Super Tuesday (which includes California)—need to take some of those choices away.
Look, we don’t agree with the Bloomberg campaign that others should clear a path for him. But somebody’s got to get out of the way of somebody. Otherwise the pack of moderates is too dense. Especially with Mike Bloomberg now wedging himself in.
If, as candidate Pete Buttigieg said repeatedly in the Democratic debate tonight in Las Vegas, the only candidates left after two weeks could be Sanders and Bloomberg, it’ll be because the Democratic Party has set up the nomination process this year where it almost has to be that way. Also, we don’t agree with Buttigieg: unless Bloomberg soars to the heavens, it won’t be Bloomberg and Bernie. It’ll be Bernie alone.
We hate polls, but let’s look at one right now anyway. Below is a little graphic we made of the latest poll numbers from the Public Policy Institute of California. They’re very fresh, although they come from before tonight’s debate.
The California Primary is still nearly two weeks away. So don’t panic or explode in exuberance yet, depending on whether you don’t like or like Bernie Sanders. But if these poll results are accurate, and if the California results end up matching it, then Bernie becomes virtually unbeatable.
Most reporting we’ve seen on that poll underscores Bernie Sanders being ahead by 18 points. But that’s far less important in our view, than the fact he’s the only candidate involved projected to capture more than 15% of the vote in the state.
Which means he’d get ALL California’s delegates. 415 in all. That alone is more than 10% of what he’d need to seal his nomination. Biden at 14% in California? Nope: no good, 0 delegates. But if Biden could bump up to 15%, Bernie’d have to share those delegates with him. Not such a lock now. What are the chances of that? Less, now that Michael Bloomberg will be on the ballot, adding yet another competitor to the “moderate” pack, pretty much all of whom are hovering a couple of points below 15%. Within shooting range of getting delegates to the Democratic National Convention, but with a better chance of coming away with none.
That’s why it can’t wait until Super Tuesday. If party moderates want a moderate to win the Presidential nomination, they’ll need to consolidate behind a candidate or two who’s capable of clearing 15%. And they’ll need to do it soon. Before California. Otherwise Bernie could be the clear winner in the blink of an eye.
Let get that horse trading started!