Nobody is banking on Mayor Mike any longer. First Mayor Pete, then Sen. Amy Klobuchar, suspended their campaigns, offering a big boost to Joe Biden as the Democratic establishment seeks to rally behind him and to prevent Bernie Sanders from pulling a Trump.
Buttigieg is havering, at least publicly, about whether he’ll endorse Biden. Klobuchar, by contrast, has gone all in. She’ll appear at a rally in Dallas, Texas with Biden tonight. It’s unlikely that she will be tapped to become Biden’s vice-president, but joining him now ensures that Klobuchar would be in line for a plum cabinet post if he’s elected president.
Still, it isn’t simply self-interest narrowly defined that’s prompting these moves. The terminations of the Buttigieg and Klobuchar campaigns offers the most vivid sign of just how deeply worried mainstream Democrats are by the Sanders phenomenon. Sanders cleaned up last month, pulling in over $46 million — a harbinger of his ability to extract wealth from the general population if he’s elected president?
But it’s Biden who seems to be on a roll, at least for the moment. Contrary to predictions that his was a Pyrrhic victory in South Carolina, Biden seems to be capitalizing on his triumph quite nicely. Odds are that he will do much better in California and elsewhere than is commonly assumed. He’s become the savior for Democrats who tremble at the thought of Sanders leading the party in the fall against Donald Trump. Trump has been palpably salivating at the thought of running against Sanders, who might not simply lose the presidency but also lead the Democrats to defeat in the Senate and House. A reelected Trump would be well-nigh omnipotent which is why Klobuchar & Co. are doing everything in their power to avoid running an impotent Sanders.
The only remaining question-mark is Bloomberg himself. Will he continue to run after Super Tuesday, lavishing his millions on a quixotic quest for the presidency? Or will he obediently fall in line behind Biden? His entry was premised on the conviction that Biden was a spent force, a has-been, a duffer who couldn’t make the cut. Democrats needed a winner. A liberal Republican turned Democrat, by contrast, could persuade voters that he was it. Then came Bloomberg’s dismal performances in the past two debates. He was hobbled by his own vanity and ineptitude. Had he only refused to enter the debates, he might have entered Super Tuesday as a kind of deus ex machina intent on rescuing the Democrats from their foibles. Now his machinations appear to have rebounded as his incessant ads remind everyone that his ego is as swollen as his bank wad.
The contrast between him and Biden could hardly be starker. One is a peevish billionaire whose career is about to end in ignominy. The other is a gregarious pol who is on the verge of one of the greatest comebacks in modern political history. The stage is set for Biden. Come Tuesday it’s Sanders who may be feeling burned by the party he hoped to commandeer.