My hometown paper the Tampa Bay Times is a pretty good bellwether for the state of the Democrat primary race as it exists right now—and if their recent editorial is any indicator, the word that best describes it is panic. Much like its uber-leftist fellow traveler the New York Times, which couldn’t quite seem to make up its mind about who to endorse, the TBT editorial board has instead taken the rather unusual step of advising readers to do. . .well, nothing for now, because with everything so up in the air at this point, discretion is the better part of valor, I guess:
More than a million Florida Democrats have been sent their mail ballots for the March 17 presidential primary, but they should let those ballots sit on the hall table or the kitchen counter for a bit. The race for the Democratic nomination is too fluid for Florida Democrats to pick a candidate now who may not be competitive by Election Day. They should not waste their votes, and they should keep their eye on the goal: Backing the candidate who has the best shot at beating President Donald Trump in November.
Did I happen to mention that the Tampa Bay Times has never endorsed a Republican for President in my lifetime?
While Iowa and New Hampshire pride themselves on being the first to vote, those contests have provided little clarity and no clear front-runner. The Iowa caucuses, already a byzantine relic, were such a fiasco that they should never be the first votes in selecting a presidential nominee again. The New Hampshire primary also wasn’t much help, with the top three candidates each finishing with at least 19 percent of the vote but no one breaking 26 percent.
So in other words, we don’t have the first clue as to where this thing is headed. Mind you, this is from the same paper that urged its readers to vote for Dukakis over Bush back in ’88, so when they’re telling their liberal audience to keep its powder dry, you know the prognosis isn’t good.
Later on in the editorial, however, is where you get to the real meat and potatoes of the thing:
How could Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who received fewer votes in narrowly winning the New Hampshire primary than he when he won that primary four years ago, build the support from more centrist voters he would need to seriously challenge Trump? How would the self-described democratic socialist do that as he advocates for government-run health care for all, free college tuition and forgiveness of all college loans?
Ah, yes. The old reliable Democrat establishment party line—and TBT is toeing it harder than a social justice warrior trying to convince everyone that the new Charlie’s Angels is a good movie. Sure, we’re all socialists who basically want the same stuff as Bernie—but does he have to be so open about it? Whatever happened to fooling people into thinking we’re moderates?
Then there’s this bit of fun:
How could former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who finished a strong second in New Hampshire, convince general election voters he is prepared to be president after running a city roughly the size of West Palm Beach? Can he build any support among minority voters?
The first question is valid. The second. . .well, let’s just say that it implies a lot that the Times isn’t mentioning out loud, and could very well be called out as a bigoted argument. It would be interesting, to say the least, to hear the editorial board explain exactly what they meant by that—but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
The piece goes on to pose some genuine concerns about Amy Klobuchar and Joe Biden—the former whom they consider ill-equipped to build an organization that can effectively take on Trump, while the latter is all but pronounced DOA based on his declining poll numbers and the stink of loss that has followed him around since he crashed and burned in Iowa. But then the board has this to say about Mikey-Come-Lately Bloomberg, which makes it increasingly clear that they—much like the party establishment—are starting to view him as the White Knight come to save their voters from themselves:
Can former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg take advantage of this muddled situation and make the case with his unlimited resources that he would be the strongest challenger to Trump? How will he perform if he appears in his first debate on Wednesday in Las Vegas?
Pretty tame questions compared to what they’re flinging at Bernie and Mayor Pete—which is pretty amazing, considering that they’ve emerged as the two front runners after Iowa and New Hampshire. One almost gets the sense that the party has already designated both of them as non-starters, and has already begun the process of seeing to it that neither snags the nomination—no matter what the actual vote tallies end up being. Sounds a lot like Hillary and her superdelegates when she snatched the nom back in 2016, doesn’t it?
We now know from the DNC emails posted by Wikileaks that the Democrat Party had preordained that outcome, and that the actual vote mattered very little in how the nominating contest turned out. It merely served as an illusion for the base—a somewhat ham-handed attempt in retrospect—to convince Democrat primary voters that they actually had a say in who would get the nomination, when the decision that Clinton would win no matter what had already been made. This time around, of course, things are a bit more complicated with so many players remaining in the game—but, it seems, the party’s insistence that Bernie be excluded hasn’t changed much, except that Buttigieg has now joined him on the list of undesirables.
That the media are joining in that effort only adds proof to that particular pudding. So if you’re a Bernie Bro or a member of Team Pete, best be prepared: your guy is probably about to get relegated to also-ran status, if the party establishment has anything to say about it.