WASHINGTON, DC: Bernice Sanders won the money primary among the leading Democrat candidates, raising $18 million dollars in the first quarter of 2019, and ending the period with $28 million in cash in hand. More significantly, the average donation to Sanders was $20.
With former Vice President Joe Biden showing unmitigated weakness in the face of a kneecapping viral #MeToo attack, Sanders is shaping up to be the undisputed front runner in the process running up to the New Hampshire primary next January.
Bernie leads the pack
California Senator Kamala Harris was second with an impressive haul of $12 million dollars, and more importantly with 218,000 donors giving an average of $28. Senator Harris can go back to the well and keep herself competitive with this donor base, but she is lagging in the polls.
Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke raised $9.4 million in 18 days from 218,000 contributors, with an average contribution of $43. Beto has attracted a cadre of high level Barack Obama staff alumni, although why he masks a namesake legacy like Robert Francis Kennedy with a construed nickname like “Beto” is beyond me.
Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke makes a splash
“Beto” had an impressive launch, and can give a stem-winding address with unbridled enthusiasm. Unfortunately then he starts to talk policy. Open borders. Trump is the devil. Tear down the wall. Change the constitution. Get rid of the electoral college. Green new deal . We only have 12 years to live. Cue the hand gestures.
“Beto” is squandering his potential authority with his embrace of left wing policy lunacy, but the whispers of exploitation and worse in the family investment history around El Paso is the hidden sword of personal wealth and privilege that continues to surround him.
$9 million in 18 days is a good haul, however. Added to his preexisting national voter data from his Texas Senate campaign and it gives him almost unlimited ability to sustain through the early primaries.
The rest of the field
Mayor Pete Buttigeig surprised everyone by raising $7 million dollars from 158,000 people with an average donation of $36, much of it on the strength of his emerging media profile on cable TV. As impressively, Andrew Yang raised $1.7 million from 80,000 donors and qualified for the first round of debates.
Things aren’t so good looking for Julien Castro, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tulsi Gabbard, and Amy Klobuchar. Castro has raised so little money he may not even qualify for the debates. That’s the death knell for him. Not that he will be missed.
Elizabeth Warren recently lost her Finance Chairman. Trouble in Pocahantus country. We still haven’t heard from Cory Booker. When the full numbers come out it will paint a pretty clear picture of where we stand in the snapshot money sweepstakes. A number of would be Presidents will be coming up short.
Bernie Sanders is the front runner for the Democrat nomination
The reality is that Bernie Sanders is in the commanding position to sweep through the Democrat primaries and caucuses and seal the nomination for himself by Super Tuesday in early March. He has a substantial energetic national following, took 40% of the delegates at the last convention, and is swamping the other candidates when it comes to money.
More importantly is the cash on hand. The others campaigns don’t have to report that figure until April 15th, but Sanders has the biggest functional national apparatus in place. Harris, Beto, and Buttigieg can hang in there for a while with the apparatus they have. Online fundraising and ongoing media exposure have changed the potential and possibilities for organic, sustainable, grass roots campaign fundraising.
Sanders has the edge with the primary schedule
While much will depend on the series of upcoming debates and how the field shakes out, Sanders still is in the best position to sweep up at least 30% of the delegates. His strategy depends on dominating the New Hampshire primary, where he is Senator next door in Vermont, and then knocking Kamala Harris off in the California Primary on Super Tuesday March 3.
The schedule will be highly compressed. The Iowa Caucuses are Feb 3rd. The New Hampshire Primary is Feb 11th. Sanders is certain to do well in both.It will be a battle between the others for 2nd and 3rd place bragging rights. But a Sanders victory in one or both would set the big momentum ball in motion.
The Nevada caucuses are next Feb 20th, where Bernie has the distinct edge, followed by the South Carolina primary on Feb 29th, where Kamala Harris has her best shot at an early victory. But the race will all come down to Super Tuesday, March 3rd in California. There will only be a couple candidates able to compete. Bernie will be one of them.
Beating Kamala Harris in the California Primary
If Bernie Sanders beats Kamala Harris in her home state in the California Primary, she is finished, and he is the Democrat nominee. He has a good chance of doing it. At this point he has the only chance of any of the other candidates, except maybe Beto, to do it. He will certainly have the money.
A Sanders win in California on March 3rd would drown out anything else that happened across the South on that day. California would have its say, and not in the way Kamala Harris wanted.
Kamala Harris has to win California. Bernie just has to get his 30% of the delegates, but he could knock her out of the race and secure the nomination for himself if he did win. All of this assumes the structural nature of the race stays static.
Biden is toast, even if he does get in
Poor Joe Biden may get into the run after all, but he is a collapse waiting to happen. Fundraising. Organization. He doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing. If #MeToo doesn’t get him, there is a billion dollar corruption scandal involving him and his son Hunter waiting in the wings. Run Joe run. The billion dollar bribe from the Chinese and your unfortunate dealings with Ukraine are about to be exposed.
But whither the moderate wing of the Democrat Party. If Biden doesn’t get in, then Michael Bloomberg actually might. That would be a lot of fun. He has been scathing in his critique of the pandering, quasi socialist daydream wing of the New Democrat Party.
Moderates are left in the rain
If Bloomberg just got in and kept reminding people of how insane the economic positions of his opponents are, he could capture that zeitgeist of sanity and common sense the country is craving. But Bloomberg is way out there on guns and the 2nd Ammendment, and is more than a little too New York City for the Midwest.
Terry McAuliffe is another “moderate” who could plausibly enter the race and inspire the Clinton/Biden Democrat base. Lets face it. The middle has been abandoned by most of the other candidates. Green New Deal. Medicare for all. Open the borders. Eliminate ICE. Expand sanctuary cities. Late term abortion.
Its hard to see where the constituency is for these policies when their effects are known, but this is where the center of the Democrat party seems to be. Add the degree to which Trump stands to poach increasing numbers of black and hispanic voters, and there are problems for a Democrat coalition whose success always took minority voters for granted.
Bernie still has the inside track
That being the case Saunders is still the odds on favorite to maintain his position at the head of the pack, and potentially wrap up the nomination by March 3rd in California. It will take a surge or breakthrough by Harris or Beto or the unknown Moderate to change the shapes of thing.
Whatever happens in California, even if Kamala wins there, Bernie will still have at least 30 – 40% of the delegates at the convention. All delegates this year are distributed proportionally. The chance of a brokered convention, while slobbered over every four years, is historically distant but mathematically possible. Even that might result in a Bernie nomination.
Convention nightmares and a Trump victory in November
Except on the second ballot the superdelegates get to vote, and that opens all kind of scenarios. Deadlock on the convention floor could clear the way for the return of Hillary Clinton, or John Kerry. All the more reason for Bernie to avoid that nightmare and lock things up early.
Of course, with Bernie at the top of the ticket President Trump will romp to a major re-election victory. It will look like McGovern 1972 or Mondale in 1984 in the scale and scope of defeat. That said, with the current trends in the Democrat Party, regardless of who is nominated, they have simply embraced policies that make them unelectable.
It seems that at the current moment, Bernie has the inside track for the honor of having Donald Trump beat the crap out of him in the General Election. Events may change. Some other lesser figure may take that honor. None the less the result in November 2020 will be the same. Either way, it should be fun to watch along the way to Trump’s second term and the inevitable triumph of reason in America.