As Super Tuesday looms, here are five questions and a prediction.
Why hold primaries in 50 states? Joe Biden is praying a southern strategy will resurrect his faltering campaign, that a big win in South Carolina on Saturday will springboard him to victories in Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas and North Carolina on Super Tuesday. Apart from the Tar Heel state, Biden has no shot of carrying those Republican strongholds in the general election? Why credit a candidate for winning meaningless votes?
Where are the moderate Democrats? Biden proposes raising taxes by $3.4 trillion over the next decade – more than double what Hillary Clinton called for in 2016. And he’s Grover Norquist compared to Mike Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar who want at least $5 trillion in tax increases. Still, the press labels them “moderates” because they are in the context of a Democrat party that has moved from liberalism to leftism. Money is power and every Democrat wants to raise taxes to vastly expand the size and scope of government which necessarily diminishes the influence of individuals and markets. This is the key difference between socialism and capitalism. Democrats are only “moderate” to the extent they don’t want to pay the taxes, so they float the fantasy that everything will be financed by a handful of rich guys.
Why does the mainstream media hate Sanders? My Bernie loving daughter is incensed by the press’s disdain for her hero – I told her to remember that the next time I complain about the bias against Republicans. We used to complain that the media just covered the horse race, now they are intent on picking the winners. They see their job as defeating Trump and they are afraid Sanders can’t beat him (sadly, he could). I also told her not to worry. If Bernie wins the nomination, the press will argue that he is really a moderate.
Aren’t Democrats supposed to oppose big money? For years Democrats have decried the influence of money in politics – even as they often raised and spent more than Republicans. This ought to disqualify Bloomberg, who has already spent almost half a billion on campaign ads while buying the support of progressive groups through fat donations. Except for his rivals who are raising money hand over fist, no one seems to care; party leaders changed the debate rules to accommodate him. Their anti-big money rhetoric is corrosive precisely because it so obviously false. So too is the claim that money – much less a handful of Russian Facebook ads – can sway national elections. A recent study by political scientists at Yale and Stanford concluded, “The best estimate of the effects of campaign contact and advertising on Americans’ candidates choices in general elections is zero.”
Why don’t Democrats confront alleged African-American homophobia? A common assumption among Democrats is that Buttigieg is having a hard time attracting older black voters because they are uncomfortable with his homosexuality. If this is true, why isn’t the party that incessantly dismisses Republicans as deplorable bigots confronting bias in its own base? Given the Democrats drumbeat for social justice, their silence suggests the racist belief that African Americans should not be held to the same standard as others.
Finally, while Sanders looks strong, it’s not yet clear who will take on Trump. At a dinner party last year, our hostess asked us to predict the nominee. I said Hillary Clinton. Stranger things have happened.