“There’s a whole operation going on, which is genius,” one Democratic strategist says
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has an entire operation “quietly” working to block the nomination of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., at the Democratic National Convention if the surging frontrunner fails to win a majority of delegates, a new report reveals.
Every Democratic candidate except Sanders said at Wednesday’s primary debate that he or she would let the “convention work its will” if the leading candidate has a plurality of the vote but falls short half of the 3,979 delegates needed to clinch the nomination on the first ballot. This could lead to a brokered convention and a second ballot, in which about 770 superdelegates excluded from the first ballot under new Democratic National Committee rules could swing a close race.
Bloomberg has quietly moved to shore up support for a potential second ballot by trying to “poach” supporters of former Vice President Joe Biden and other moderate candidates, Politico reports. Those efforts come as election forecaster Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight model projects the most likely outcome of the crowded Democratic primary is that no candidate clinches a majority of delegates, and rivals worry that Sanders will build an “insurmountable” lead before the convention.
Bloomberg’s state-level advisers are lobbying moderate Democratic Party officials who back Sanders’ centrist rivals in an attempt to flip and “block Bernie Sanders” in the event of a contested convention, according to Politico. The billionaire’s team has reportedly met or spoken with supporters of Biden and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and superdelegates in the states of Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia.
“There’s a whole operation going on, which is genius,” a Democratic strategist unaffiliated with Bloomberg told Politico. “And it’s going to help them win on the second ballot . . . They’re telling them that’s their strategy.”
While other candidates have also reached out to superdelegates, none have staked their candidacy on their help in the same manner as Bloomberg, according to the report.
“We have an enormous apparatus that is constantly reaching out to all types of people for support and to explain why we think Mike is the best candidate to take on Donald Trump,” Bloomberg spokeswoman Julie Wood told the outlet.
The report comes after a Bloomberg campaign memo urged the other moderates in the race, all of whom won delegates in the first two nominating contests, to drop out. “They will propel Sanders to a seemingly insurmountable delegate lead by siphoning votes away from [Bloomberg],” it read. Bloomberg has not yet won a single delegate.
He pitches himself as more electable than Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, despite being roundly criticized for his performance during his very first appearance on the debate stage. Bloomberg has also come under a deluge of negative headlines over his support for New York’s racist stop and frisk policy, allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination against women and his past comments about people of color and the LGBTQ community.
Sanders slammed his debate rivals on Wednesday. He was the only candidate to argue that whoever has the most votes should win, while the other five candidates on stage called for the convention “process” to play out.
“Well, the ‘process’ includes 500 superdelegates on the second ballot,” Sanders said. “So I think that the will of the people should prevail. Yes, the person who has the most votes should become the nominee.”
Bloomberg aside, Democrats worry a brokered convention would quickly devolve into a “sh*tshow.” The overwhelming majority of candidates who won past contested conventions went on to lose in the general election.
Some Democrats worry an ugly intraparty fight could hand President Donald Trump the election and alienate millions of Sanders supporters who could balk at switching their support to a billionaire that ran for mayor as a Republican, opposed raising the minimum wage, contributed millions to Republican candidates, and supported former President George W. Bush, opposed former President Barack Obama.
“There are going to be a lot of people who are going to be very upset if they feel like the election was stolen from them by a cabal of corporate types,” top Sanders adviser Jeff Weaver told The Atlantic earlier this month.
And it is not only Sanders supporters who worry Bloomberg and a contested convention, which has historically doomed candidates, would do more harm than good.
“The answer to one Republican New York billionaire is surely not going to be a slightly richer Republican New York billionaire,” a Biden ally told The Atlantic. “It’s laughable we even have to say that out loud.”
Trump gambling his presidency on a voting group that may no longer exist
President Donald Trump is betting that his law-and-order scare tactics will energize white suburban voters -- but that demographic may no longer exist as it once did.
The president remains popular in rural areas, and he won over suburban voters by 4 percent in 2016, and Trump and his Republican allies are betting he can turn out non-college educated whites who may be disgusted by police violence but don't support protests, reported Politico.
“There’s a lot of concern about the way the Minneapolis police acted,” said former Rep. Tom Davis, a seven-term Republican from the northern Virginia suburbs. “But whenever you start looting — and now the stuff’s spread out to Leesburg, it’s in Manassas … the politics takes a different turn.”
‘One racist down. Hundreds in office to go’: Applause as Steve King is ousted in Iowa primary
"Goodbye, Rep. Steve King. You are certainly not the only white supremacist in federal government, but you were among the most prominent," tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
While acknowledging that the important work of ridding Congress of racist lawmakers is far from finished, progressives celebrated the ouster of white supremacist Rep. Steve King in Iowa's Republican primary Tuesday as a significant victory and a step in the right direction.
Amid pandemic, White House race becomes digital dogfight
The 2020 US presidential race is becoming a digital-first campaign as the coronavirus pandemic cuts candidates off from traditional organizing and in-person events.
On the surface, President Donald Trump has the edge over Democrat Joe Biden because of the incumbent's extensive digital infrastructure and large social media following.
But Biden has been stepping up his digital presence and is getting a boost from a handful of outside organizations seeking to counter Trump's messaging on social platforms.
Both sides agree that digital will play a critical role in the 2020 White House race as social media have taken the place of rallies and door-to-door campaigning.