Bob Franken




The Democrats’ presidential battle is starting to shape up as a war between the socialist who will never win any congeniality competitions and the antisocial anti-socialist, Michael Bloomberg, who is also not known as “Mr. Personality.” Bernie Sanders, at this point, is the one whose ragtag organization is creating the momentum for him to go all the way to this summer’s party nomination.
There is a primary next weekend in South Carolina as the Democrats are weakened by division. Then it’s on to Super Tuesday, which is the big prize. That’s where the candidates show their ability to run a national campaign and put the embarrassment of the party’s meltdown in tiny Iowa behind them.
But it’s historic South Carolina, home of the first shots fired in the Civil War, that could also become known as the home of Joe Biden’s Last Stand. Put another way, if Biden doesn’t win South Carolina, he’s toast. He did finish a feeble second in Nevada, although Pete Buttigieg is challenging that result. Nevertheless, to Biden that would be construed as progress, but if he doesn’t prevail big time in South Carolina, his march to Super Tuesday will be stuck in shattered expectations.
Super Tuesday brings its own set of expectations and risks. It’s 14 states — north, south, east and west — holding their primaries on the same day, including California, with its massive number of nomination delegates. Sanders must maintain his winning momentum. Others — Biden and the rest — must recover theirs, but perhaps the stakes are highest for Michael Bloomberg.
You’ve probably heard of Michael Bloomberg. He’s the rich guy who will have spent half a billion dollars from his fortune’s petty cash on TV ads. They appear whenever you turn on the set and don’t stop until you turn it off.
Super Tuesday is his target. It’s the first time he’s on a ballot, so it will determine whether he’s a credible candidate going forward or just another rich dilettante with an ability to spend hundreds of millions of dollars for a bodacious ego trip.
Bloomberg’s main selling point is that he can save the Democratic Party from Bernie Sanders and save it from itself. With Joe Biden and the others faltering, their argument is being overwhelmed that a socialist (Sanders’ word) will be easy pickings for Donald Trump and his upcoming demagogic campaign. He’s had lots of practice with his demagogic presidency.

Vladimir Putin is licking his chops. We’ve learned about two intelligence briefings recently. In one, members of Congress were told the Russians are running another misinformation campaign aimed at getting Putin’s buddy Trump re-elected. In the other, intelligence analysts contended that Moscow is sending trolls out to assist Bernie Sanders’ nomination. The logic is obvious.
Bloomberg’s main sales pitch is that Democrats must choose him or some other moderate and take down Sanders, or Donald Trump will have a field day labeling Democrats the modern-day version of a new “red menace.” He also would destroy the campaigns of the down ballot who are running with Sanders no matter how hard Democratic candidates for Congress try to run away from him.
Elizabeth Warren, whose super progressive policies are also viewed in horror by the plutocrats, has reinvigorated her campaign at Bloomberg’s expense, leaving him somewhat battered. But while raising millions of dollars from her onslaughts, she has demonstrated that she’s not above taking some cheap shots of her own.
Bloomberg claims to be 5 feet, 8 inches, 2 inches shorter than the average American male. When Warren was trying to make the most of her dismal showing in Nevada, she called him “a big threat, not a tall one, but a big one.”
Who is it that calls Bloomberg “Mini Mike”? Donald Trump is not company that Elizabeth Warren should like to keep.
Politicians can get desperate. Democrats are looking for any formula to avoid disaster … even by resorting to the dirty tricks of Trump and Putin.

© 2020 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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