• The Virus Comes for the Bernie Campaign

    April 15, 2020

    Posted in: Democracy


     


    RIP the Bernie Campaign. We’re left with Joe Biden, and that means the real race is now between Trump and the Virus (capitalized to include the actual virus and the panic and political opportunism surrounding it.)

     

    What will be missed in the post-Bernie analysis is the key flaw since Inauguration Day 2017, the Democratic Party and their media lickspittles telling Americans they need a savior, a hero, a bear daddy, a rescuer and then serving up… Joe Biden. That strategy eliminated Bernie because whatever Bernie was, he was not a hero. He said it himself many times – “this is about a movement, it was never about one man.” The rest of them, the Beto’s and Pete’s and Kamala’s, were props, K-Pop media creations to satisfy a desire for diversity the media itself had mostly created.

    Twitter isn’t real life, and an important rule of the con is never believe your own bullsh*t. The Dems will ignore this and hope like hell some VP choice will negate all of Biden being Biden without realizing they never should have picked Biden.

    If Bernie ever had a chance in 2020 (and that is very unclear, his moment was in 2016 though the Democratic establishment ignored the yearning he represented because it was Her Turn, the big pay off for sticking with Bill, the second half of the pay off for standing aside for Barack) to move his ideas out of his Facebook friends’ circle into the mainstream. The Virus drove a dying progressive movement off the campaign battlefield. New ideas are scary enough in good times. Nobody wants to reform capitalism or talk about reparations in the middle of the war for survival the MSM told us we were in. AOC who?

    And now Joe Biden stands alone. Usually being the last man standing at the end of a fight means you won. But Biden is a black hole for enthusiasm, a dishrag (can you name one signature Biden proposal?) , a stand-in a candidate who through no fault or promise of his own will be the guy in the right or wrong place come autumn (that’s also how he got to be VP.)

    With Trump big footing his way into prime news time with daily press briefings (remember when the MSM chastized Trump for not holding briefings?) Biden is smart to not be saying much now. Whether he has anything worth saying in the autumn is a good question, when it all may be too late.

    There’s the major problem of by choosing Biden Dems took healthcare reform off the table at a time when it might have had a real audience. If the Virus exposed anything, it laid bare our system’s shortcomings. Well, nobody plans to do anything about that. If voters’ big takeaway in November is the healthcare system sucks, you know, the system last tinkered with by Obama-Biden and which Biden sees no need to overhaul, well, so much for Biden.

     

    This is now a one-issue race, the Virus. After more than three years of trying the Democrats (absent Bernie perhaps) have put few ideas forward. They remain cemented at the buttocks with the MSM to auto-criticize everything Trump, while the public remains unmoved as they have through the sagas of Russiagate, Ukraine, emoluments, taxes, wars that never happened, ending of democracy that never happened, etc. Democrats presented no alternatives during the stimulus process, just taking their share of the pork. In a gesture as limpingly sad as it was predictable, Nancy Pelosi did announce an investigation into the coronavirus response. The problem is by November there won’t be much to investigate.

    Long before anyone votes the Virus is going to be some version of “over.” One can always play (as we long did with Russiagate) “but just wait!” blunting every rational argument with an irrational one hoping for a turn for the worse, but as this is written New York City is reaching its Virus apex. Estimates of millions of Americans dead seem silly in the rear view mirror, and scientists are backing off even milder doomsday modeling. Governor Cuomo’s threat Trump would have blood on his hands if New York did not get 30,000 ventilators (it got about 7,000, many still unused) should embarrass him as only a few days later he admitted the state had adequate supplies.

    As time passes the many mini-crises of not enough tests then tests caught up, not enough masks then masks caught up, then not enough ventilators then ventilators caught up, etc. will demand perspective. Hydroxychloroquine, the MSM’s current stalking horse, will either have been shown to help or not and half of us can tell the others “I told you so.” Trump scores a win, or he says “the media never gave me a chance but we tried while they just whined it won’t work.”

    The end result is many people will return to sanity and understand, again, disaster management is a process not an event. Logistics take time. Mistakes get made. A response starts at zero with the disaster at something more than zero. The two curves compete while the media preternaturally assigns blame until mitigation catches hold. Don’t forget the Dems failed with this gambit once before, Trump the lousy crisis manager who will kill everyone after the hurricane in Puerto Rico, and even had the female mayor of San Juan in the current Andrew Cuomo role.

     

    After Russiagate, impeachment, and the imploded primaries, the Virus is the Dems’ last swing at Trump. There won’t be time for another round. It will be a tough sell come November for Dems to get people to vote Biden when all they have to offer is a mistelling of events nine months earlier. Few will remember and even fewer will care because the response will be judged in full, not based on the daily name calling passed off as journalism. Fauci, Cuomox2, the Hero Docs and Nurses, and whatever still-to-come good guys the media will have created so they don’t have to credit Trump with any success won’t be on the ballot. All the faux controversy, like the impeachment hearings, will be forgotten as something that hardly mattered then and certainly does not weigh heavy months later, a whole pandemic having passed specter-like through America.

     

    This measuring of events in full will be exacerbated if the trend we are seeing plays out. There are actually two pandemics in America, one tearing into New York and New Jersey, the other scraping past most of the country. More than half of all cases and deaths nationally are in the New York City area.

    Even that image of the pandemic may be too generous, because at present the Virus is not a pan-New York City phenomena per se. It is instead highly concentrated in the poorest neighborhoods; a Virus patient in the ravaged Bronx is twice as likely to die as one in a “nice” neighborhood. What if the pandemic ends being mostly a passing inconvenience for most of America, and not largely even a NYC-centric tragedy, but a poor-centric tragedy? Throw in California and Detroit if you’re a fatalist, it doesn’t change the basic equation. Other hot pockets will flash, but the draconian quarantine measures won’t last long in places like Ohio and Iowa if things stay steady.

    When nobody in the Heartland cares about all this in November pundits will blame it on racism, the convenient tar baby of all bad things (that will also help blame Trump for a mostly localized disaster without smearing Democratic pin-up Andrew Cuomo.) But the explanation which will elude strategists is that people vote for themselves.

    Looking back to Vietnam, much of Middle America was agnostic toward the war until the draft started sending bodies home to Bloomington, Dayton, and South Bend. Even then many held to their patriotism and sucked up the sacrifice. As long as most people in Iowa think of the Virus as an Other problem, Trump is secure. If they start to realize they all know someone who died of the virus, things get a little more competitive. So don’t be surprised to see desperate liberal pundits rooting for an autumn viral wave as this year’s October Surprise.

    All elections are in the end local. Votes are personal things, big picture issues rendered small. People vote their own experiences, and judge what a vote means for their future. For every game changer you think you see happening now, remember it will be judged by what happened after that on the road to Election Day. Imagine a July 4 Trump rally, him congratulating the crowd for having beaten back the Virus as they shout USA! USA!

     

    The election is between Trump and the Virus. If by November the public concludes he did a good enough job however that ends up being understood he’ll be reelected. Election day will be about adding up the smiles and cries from the coronavirus, with Joe Biden as a slightly interested bystander.

     

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Joe said...

      1

      Like any movement the progressives within the Democratic Party need a leader; it’s now painfully (and unfortunately) clear that Bernie is not that leader. He’s more of an idea man or a Vice Presidential candidate; kind of like Joe Biden, except willing to think outside the box a little more, while also abusing his positions of power quite a bit less. As PVB mentioned most of the others were just vapid lightweights who got their fifteen minutes of fame courtesy of the MSM, with AOC (who of course didn’t run) being the Queen of this category of “celebrity politicians.” The one person I still hold some hope out for is Tulsi Gabbard; this was her first time playing this game and she’s still only a Representative. I’m not conversant with Hawaii’s politics but since they only have two Reps in the House, presumably Tulsi could become a Senator some day; perhaps then she (or someone like her) will be in position to truly challenge the DNC establishment. But that sadly ain’t gonna happen in 2020.

      04/15/20 1:06 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      2

      Joe- I may abstain from voting for POTUS in 2020 now that Sanders has dropped out which sadly means my abstention could benefit Trump. I have always considered Obama an exceptionally sinister creepy guy and not the beatific guy his followers think he is. He most likely got Sanders to quit by threatening to expose Sander’s wife as a pretty flawed gal what with her vocational bungling. I don’t put it past Obama to clear the way for another servant of empire by any means.

      04/15/20 5:47 PM | Comment Link

    • Joe said...

      3

      @John Poole: You probably saw these comments about Saint Barack made by Ilhan Omar, but they’re worth repeating:

      “We can’t be only upset with Trump. His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They were just more polished than he was. And that’s not what we should be looking for anymore. We don’t want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished. We want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and smile.”

      Out of the mouth of babes! (Or newly elected Representatives if you prefer.) Of course Omar was soon pressured into walking her comments back, but it was nice IMO to see a little honesty coming out of a politician’s mouth for a change. And yeah Jane Sanders’ shenanigans were certainly a vulnerability for Bernie, but pale in comparison to Joe Biden’s. I saw that the NYT finally got around to covering the rape allegation against Biden, over two weeks after that story broke – and after Bernie dropped out too, leaving the way clear for Biden to be nominated. What an amazing coincidence!

      04/16/20 2:37 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      4

      Joe: Trump has his evangelical supporters who are sure that a rising seas scenario is an end days sign and they have backed the right guy. The Obamas have openly purchased a mansion with the ocean lapping against its manicured acres which suggests to his worshippers that he is the more powerful deity with his power to conciliate the rising seas.

      04/17/20 10:58 AM | Comment Link

    • Joe said...

      5

      @John Poole: Yeah, it’s all about deifying “your guy” nowadays and demonizing “the opposition.” That’s why I really liked Omar’s comment; she actually wants to focus on issues and polices. What a concept!

      Along those lines one of the (very few) things I like about Trump is that he has (amazingly and despite all the fear mongering) not gotten us into any new wars and actually downsized some as well (i.e. Syria.) Of course he’s also had no luck whatsoever in scaling back defense spending too, but there’s only so much you can hope for when a guy as inept as him goes up against the MICC. Still, for a rank amateur I think he’s done amazingly well in “resisting” all of the war profiteers (some of whom wear uniforms) and chicken-hawks in Washington D.C. (In case you haven’t noticed, I’m no longer a big “Team America, World Police” kind of guy.) That’s why they all kind of hate him too.

      The really bizarre thing about the above is that it kind of lines Trump up with Bernie and Tulsi (to some extent) on the issue of American military adventurism; which just goes to show that politics is kind of a circle, and once you go too far to the left or right, you start sounding like someone on the right or left. It is precisely for this reason that I’m (reluctantly) considering voting for Trump in 2020. While he won’t do anything about income inequality (the issue I’m most concerned about by far) and all its secondary and tertiary effects, neither will Joe Biden. But at least Trump has an actual track record of not being a warmonger (despite many prompts to start going down that very road;) Biden, as Obama’s VP? Not so much. (Jeez, talk about being handed a shitty, shitty choice. This is the best America can come up with??? I need another drink. Stay safe.)

      04/17/20 10:40 PM | Comment Link

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