The Green Papers
The Green Papers

The 'landscape' of the Democratic Party presidential nomination
battle is now greatly changed

Mon 9 Mar 2020

Wow! Even "brokered convention"-skeptic *I* was taken aback by how swiftly events I honestly thought, going into South Carolina's Democratic presidential primary at the end of last month, might take weeks- if not even as long as, say, at least a month and a half- to transpire had actually taken place.

In the space of but a little over a half a week, the field of leading 2020 Democratic presidential contenders (those I had referred to as the 'Las Vegas six') was cut by two-thirds!

About the only thing I had written, just before the Iowa caucuses a month before 'Super Tuesday', that came to pass most fully unscathed was my back then notion that Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, the candidates I had at that time denominated 'the big three' (I had said these made up what we might fairly classify as the (as of this typing) top-tier Democratic Party presidential contenders, while all the other viably challenging Democratic contenders, at that same time, had a more immediate- as well as more important- goal (however unstated): to simply survive until 'Super Tuesday' and then (albeit only if so surviving, obviously) take it from there), would with little doubt... be fighting on into 'Super Tuesday' during the first week in March in any event...

and so they were (along with latecomer to the 'party' Mike Bloomberg)!

But, once the smoke of 'Super Tuesday' had at least begun to clear- after all of the voting that day (and, in all too many cases, well into the night) was over- only two men (and, yes, they are both men) were left to fight on into the ensuing weeks of the Democratic Party's Primary/Caucus process: former Vice-President Biden and Senator Sanders.

It is altogether rather tempting to now consider the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination contest as being, simply, '2016 Hillary vs. Bernie' 2.0 (with Joe Biden playing the role of 'Hillary' in the remake of this particular political "movie"); however, this coming week's Presidential Primaries (in but 6 States, as opposed to 'Super Tuesday''s 14) will go a long way to telling us all just how much, or not at all, this initial view of the now-changed political 'landscape' might prove to be true.

As a result, most eyes now turn to Michigan, the State where four years ago (at around this same time of year), it can be fairly argued, 'Hillary vs. Bernie 1.0' first really began. Back then, despite Senator Sanders (as he did this time round as well) winning in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton trounced him in South Carolina, and then went on to win big on 'Super Tuesday' (Sanders winning only his own State of Vermont, as he also did last week, while also narrowly winning Oklahoma in 2016).

Mrs. Clinton would top off her 'Super Tuesday' pulling away from Bernie Sanders in delegate count with a landslide win in Louisiana (which, back in 2016, held a Presidential Primary on the first Saturday in March): because of all this, the Tuesday after 'Super Tuesday' 2016 was expected to pretty much be Mrs. Clinton "setting things up" for a set of victories in a large set of Primaries the week thereafter, and Michigan- in particular- was supposed to show that it was Mrs. Clinton, and not Senator Sanders, who was the real liberal champion of the American Worker...

but it didn't turn out that way.

Instead, Sanders took Michigan (albeit narrowly: 49.7% to Clinton's 48.3%). Yes, while it is true that Mrs. Clinton would win most of the Primaries (while Sanders the more showed his strength in Caucuses) yet to come, the result in Michigan showed that Sanders was going to be nipping at her heels all the way to the Convention in Philadelphia (meanwhile, it could also be argued that Mrs. Clinton's poorer than expected showing in Michigan's Democratic Presidential Primary that year may well have foreshadowed political/electoral difficulties in the upper Midwest that would, come November of that same year, cost her the Presidency).

Now, in 2020, Michigan again looms quite large, a "Supermoon" among all the Presidential Primaries of 10 March this year; and, having once been the veritable launchpad for 'Feel the Bern' last time round, the Wolverine State cannot now become Senator Sanders's "Waterloo" for him to have any real chance at derailing the so obvious momentum Joe Biden has enjoyed since South Carolina but a little over a week ago as of this typing.

Similarly, Washington State also rises in importance this coming Tuesday: for, back in 2016, Senator Sanders at first did a virtual "dance on Hillary Clinton's head" during voting in the Evergreen State. But it has to be noted that Washington held caucuses last time, and that there was also an Advisory Primary held in that same State a couple months thereafter (one in which Mrs. Clinton narrowly defeated Senator Sanders: although it might be argued that, by that point, many of its voters did not consider Sanders as being able to wrest the nomination away from her at a Convention only two months hence).

This time round, however, Washington is holding a bona fide Presidential Primary: can Bernie Sanders afford to do badly in two such States (especially if Biden does well in the other four)?

Thus, it seems that what appears (at least for now) to be but the first round of 'Bernie vs. Joe' will be the Primaries of this coming Tuesday- a now "Fourth Ballot", as it were, of a presidential nomination contest "brokered" by the voters themselves: with Michigan and Washington the respective "canaries in the coalmine" as to just how this contest may well continue to unfold in the weeks, and months, thereafter.

Modified .