As the phantom candidacy of Joe Biden sinks slowly, lifelessly to the ground, the question increasingly on Democrats’ minds is not only which of their shrinking band of candidates can beat President Donald Trump but which of them can even stagger to the finish line. Of their remaining front liners, Pete Buttigieg is too young and cocky, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is too old and phony, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) too dowdy, Andrew Yang too weird. What remains are two outsiders, each of whom bears only a tangential relationship to the Democratic Party: opportunistic plutocrat Mike Bloomberg, a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat; and “democratic socialist” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), with no major party affiliation.
Amazing as it sounds, one of those two is likely to be the nominee.
Although tipped as the “frontrunner” by a compliant media, Biden, all bluster and no brains, was never a serious candidate: He has failed every time he has sought an office higher than senator from Delaware, with the sole exception of the vice presidency, bequeathed to him by President Barack Obama. True, Biden had “name recognition,” and polled well in the black community, thanks to his association with Obama. But of smarts, charisma, intelligence, accomplishment, and just plain common sense, Biden has none. He will not be the nominee.
Indeed, his only usefulness was during the sham impeachment proceedings against the president. Having failed to celebrate Mueller Time as they had hoped during the Russian-collusion hysteria, the Democrats needed another proximate cause to damage Trump before the campaign season began in earnest. And so in desperation they seized upon Trump’s harmless July 25, 2019, phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he asked Zelensky for help in investigating possible wrongdoing by Biden and his ne’er-do-well son, Hunter. Aha! They cried: Trump solicited a foreign power to “dig up dirt” on a political rival! Never mind that the Joe Biden of last summer was already a Potemkin Village of a candidate, all hair and teeth and no substance. The Democrats had to prop him up in order to make their charges against Trump stick.
Instead, the real buzz has long belonged to a far more formidable opponent: Bernie Sanders. The blustering Brooklynite isn’t even a registered Democrat but these days that hardly matters—Trump didn’t finally settle on the GOP as his political affiliation until 2012, having switched parties multiple times since 1987. Like Trump, Sanders is a political outsider who doesn’t need a party to spread his message via a mesmerized and, in his case, adoring media.
In 2016, Trump effected a hostile takeover of the Republican Party, demolishing more than a dozen party stalwarts, including the dynastic hulk, Jeb Bush. Sanders would have done the same to the Democrats in 2016, except that the Democrats rallied around their own Jurassic candidate, Hillary Clinton, and euchred Sanders out of the nomination that rightfully should have been his.
Now he’s back, for what he knows will be his final shot at the nomination. At 78, and having recently suffered a heart attack on the campaign trail, Sanders is five years older than Trump, and would far and away be the oldest man ever elected to the White House should he go all the way. He would also be the first openly socialist—some might say communist—candidate ever to win the White House.
The mainstream Democrats know this, too, which is why the party regulars are so desperately trying to stop him. To them, a Sanders candidacy would be an unabashed disaster, as Americans time and again overwhelmingly tell pollsters that they won’t vote for socialism. Sanders, they think, would get slaughtered by Trump in the general election, especially in the Electoral College. Insiders are hoping against hope that Klobuchar, the least controversial of their mainstream candidates, might turn out to be the silver bullet, but so far she’s failed to catch fire. Nor will she.
So Mike Bloomberg is their last, best hope. The pint-sized Bostonian, 77, was an effective mayor of New York City in the post-Giuliani years but he’s already backpedaled on his successful, but now anathema to radical Democrats, “stop-and-frisk” policing policies that disarmed young, mostly black and Hispanic, criminals before they had a chance to use their illegal weapons. A dedicated opponent of the Second Amendment, Bloomberg also plays to the Democrats’ anti-gun mania, which gives him a leg up on Sanders, whose home state of Vermont is one of the most gun-friendly in the country.
If Bloomberg becomes the stop-Sanders candidate, we could be looking at three geriatrics battling for the White House going into the conventions. They have a lot in common. Two of them are immensely wealthy (although Bloomberg’s personal fortune dwarfs Trump’s); two of them were born in New York City outer boroughs (Sanders and Trump), and the other was its mayor; two of them (Sanders and Bloomberg) are Jewish running in a country that has never elected a Jewish president.
And yet this, perhaps, is the choice the nation needs. For the Democrats, the party of the “little guy,” running Bloomberg, one of the richest men in the world at the top of their ticket seems like the height of hypocrisy; that he’s also a lifestyle bully and anti-constitutionalist makes him even more of a difficult sell. But he’s likely the only thing standing between them and the Bernie Brigades. The young, radical Democrats have fallen in love with Sanders and will be furious if they think he’s been cheated again out of what’s rightfully his: the opportunity to go up against the hated Donald Trump.
A Trump–Sanders race, however, at least would be honest, and would give Americans a real choice. A stark contrast between gilded capitalism and redistributive “democratic socialism.” America First vs. America Last.
Socialists have been trying to put one of their own in the White House for more than a century: This is their chance to finally put up, or shut up. Let’s hope the Democrats give it to us so we can settle this ideological argument once and for all.
Michael Walsh is the author of “The Devil’s Pleasure Palace” and “The Fiery Angel,” both published by Encounter Books. @dkahanerules
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.