With the Sunday departure of former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Monday’s towel toss by Sen. Amy Klobuchar from the race for the Democrat presidential nomination, the stage may be set for a “Super Tuesday” showdown of sorts between Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden to determine the party’s preference for 2020, but will the actual winner be billionaire Michael Bloomberg?
Even The Drudge Report’s lead story at midday Monday highlighted the unfolding drama. Buttigieg has endorsed Biden, and so has Klobuchar.
Either way, Democrats will still be viewed as “the party of gun control” or “gun confiscation,” depending upon which candidate secures the nomination, and that’s not clear at this point. Biden won big in South Carolina Saturday, but Sanders continues to be a favorite of younger voters and the former vice president’s gaffes have been problematic lately.
Biden was soundly trashed last week for claiming during the recent debate that “150 million” people had been murdered with firearms since 2007, a remark his campaign scrambled to walk back, claiming their candidate “meant to say 150,000.”
“It might be excusable if this were a one-time event,” observed Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms at the time, “but Biden has been bragging for years about his gun control record, claiming he knows this subject well enough to have defeated the gun lobby, so he ought to know the data reflexively. He just told the country that nearly half of the population has been killed by gunfire over the past 13 years. Nobody can make such a preposterous claim and get away with it.”
Gottlieb said if Biden was Pinocchio “right now his nose would be about the size of a California Redwood.” The comment raced across social media.
Biden is now seen as the party’s best moderate choice to slow down Sanders’ socialist surge. Once again, the maverick far-left senator from Vermont might see his presidential hopes crash on the rocks, and there is lots of speculation about what could happen to the party if he is denied the nomination. With Buttigieg and Klobuchar both throwing their support to Biden for the nomination, establishment Democrats may breathe a bit easier.
According to the Associated Press, the South Carolina primary produced “an emboldened Joe Biden,” and Sunday’s Buttigieg departure from the field probably energized his campaign even more.
Pundits are suggesting Buttigieg’s supporters may now largely go to Biden, but that remains to be seen.
Still chugging along is Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, while Minnesota’s Klobuchar just might be looking for a VP slot. Also, there has been no word from Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard for a while, though her candidacy is essentially forgotten.
And nobody is forgetting about anti-gun former New York City Mayor Bloomberg, whose single-purpose campaign theme is not to make the country better but to defeat Donald Trump. Many conservatives, including battle-weary gun rights activists, don’t see that as much of an ambition. While not entirely behind Trump because of the bump stock ban, they acknowledge the president has been filling federal court vacancies with conservative judges, and Bloomberg would stop that cold.
With Buttigieg out of the way, can Bloomberg buy his way to the nomination by attracting Buttigieg’s followers away from Biden? That question may be answered by Wednesday morning.
Bloomberg has what seems like a bottomless bank account to fund his campaign, and he has been flooding the airwaves with commercials in the Super Tuesday states. Bloomberg is seen as the most hostile of all the candidates toward gun owners’ rights.
Another thing is media coverage. When the Associated Press reported on Buttigieg’s departure, it had this to say: “Voters saw Buttigieg in the more moderate lane of the Democratic field, and he flourished early with a top finish in the Iowa caucuses and a close second place finish in New Hampshire. But as the race moved to more diverse states, less dependent on college-educated voters, Buttigieg struggled.”
Is that a subtle slap at people supporting Biden, Sanders, Bloomberg and other candidates?
Super Tuesday will be followed in one week by another multi-state primary vote. By the time all the dust settles from these back-to-back battles, the party should have a better idea about who the nominee will be, and the country will have a better notion just how far left Democrats have gone.