Every presidential election is unique, but the 2020 Democratic race is quite extraordinary. To prepare for the craziness to come, I discuss the state of the campaign in this week’s episode of Newt’s World.
I am carefully watching Mike Bloomberg’s candidacy. We have never had someone try to buy the presidency so blatantly. Bloomberg said he would spend $1 billion of his own money on the campaign and has already spent more than $300 million on advertising. No other candidate can afford to campaign in every state simultaneously. A net worth of $62 billion comes in handy.
However, no ad campaign is good enough to overcome a bad product. Bloomberg is gambling he can drown voters — especially those who don’t pay attention to politics — under waves of positive advertising. The real Bloomberg, who made money dealing with the Chinese dictatorship and offended minorities by defending stop and frisk, is very different from the Bloomberg on television.
Can the other candidates take their much scarcer resources and channel them into specific states to get delegates?
Bernie Sanders is the only one who we know will have enough money to last. He has an army of small-dollar donors who are ideologically committed and can give him $20 or $30 every month. And after strong performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, he is a front-runner.
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Pete Buttigieg, on the other hand, has peaked but doesn’t know it. He is like Beto O’Rourke, an appealing candidate on paper who is inauthentic and says nothing of substance. When you listen to Buttigieg actually talk, he devours his own candidacy. Just look at last week, when he told a pro-life Democrat that she has no place in the Democratic Party.
By Super Tuesday, I believe the race is going to be between Bloomberg, Sanders, Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar. Klobuchar now has a chance to get into the game, even though I doubt she’ll sustain her performance.
You’ll notice I didn’t name Elizabeth Warren. She was unable to translate being known in New Hampshire into getting votes. It’s hard to imagine why she's going to do dramatically better elsewhere. And that makes it hard to imagine her raising any money. For all practical purposes, she'll be out of the race soon.
Similarly, I think Joe Biden is done. He’s losing every week and saying bizarre things. His only chance is to be aggressive and get into a brass-knuckle fight in the next two debates before South Carolina. But that is not Biden’s personality. Plus, his first two presidential runs were complete failures.
So, I expect a four-person race after Super Tuesday. And that’s when the Democratic Party’s rules become important. With their wacky rules, the Democrats could easily slide into a brokered convention. And a brokered convention for the Democrats would be chaos, triggering sharp divides within the party.
This is all going to be fascinating and potentially historic. I hope you will listen to this week’s episode to get my take on the Democratic race and what to expect going forward.