Why Not Hillary? A Deadlocked Convention Might Produce a Surprise

November 14, 2019

To Understand Why It’s Impossible to ‘Cancel’ Hillary Clinton, Study the Story of Jane Fonda Before Her

By Al Giordano

Note: This is an excerpt from the November 13 issue of Al Giordano’s América sent via email to subscribers. To read the entire 7,000+ word analysis, subscribe using this link, and gain full access to all content through the rest of 2019 and all of 2020.

On the same day last week that The Nation published an editorial labeled an “anti-endorsement” against nominating Joe Biden for president, its correspondent Jeet Heer published a piece, “Michael Bloomberg should stay home – and pay his taxes.” The Nation and Heer have plenty of company this cycle in their lack of strategic consideration regarding the Democratic presidential primaries. “Opine first, get clicks, think later” is the operating principle that has infected many corners of Democratic and left-of-center media and activists in the US these days.

After all, if you don’t think Joe Biden to be the best possible nominee, wouldn’t you want him to have to fight for his center lane in a way nobody has so far made him defend? (By “center lane,” I mean that sector of Biden’s coalition that are moderate white Democrats.) Wouldn’t having to defend that terrain against another moderate white male politician, one like Michael Bloomberg who has unlimited funds to spend, pin Biden down enough to open wider lanes for other candidates currently blocked or eclipsed by him? Bloomberg doesn’t necessarily get to take Biden’s place even if he knocks him down. Especially if Bloomberg can’t win the support of the most important piece of the Biden coalition, African-American voters.

A Bloomberg candidacy, however doomed itself, could prove useful in loosening Biden’s grip over some parts of the Democratic coalition that others would need to win the nomination. (Bloomberg’s gambit, reportedly to skip the first four contests and enter on Super Tuesday, banks on Biden – and possibly Pete Buttigieg, too – tanking before then, leaving the former New York mayor as the last “moderate” standing in what could be, by then, shaping up as a Warren vs. Sanders finale).

And if you want someone other than Biden, wouldn’t you also want, frankly, for another candidate or candidates to compete effectively for his African-American supporters with more success than others have so far been able to generate? My sense is that if, for example, former attorney general Eric Holder jumps in and does exactly that (Washington Post editor and columnist Eugene Robinson said last week that Holder was meeting with Democratic strategists and contemplating a 2020 run), there would be similar howls of “how dare he!”

The same goes for former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick (purportedly his geographic proximity to New Hampshire could work in his favor but he’ll have to make it official by Friday’s deadline to enter the Granite State primary to qualify).

Potential new candidates are only circling in the water because they smell the blood of candidacies they perceive as weaker or weakening. They are coming for those waters because the existing candidates have not proved able to seize the moment – at least not on the “moderate” Democrat terrain. There are reasons for why – misogyny and misogynoir among them – men in politics seem to think nothing of skipping the first year of a campaign and still feel worthy and able to sprint at the eleventh hour before primary o’clock to supplant women as qualified or more so than they.

Bloomberg, Patrick or any other man that seeks to jump in late to plant himself in a field already hoed and weeded by current candidates may have made a gross miscalculation regarding the large bloc of Democratic primary voters – women and men – that want a woman to be the 2020 nominee and view one or more of the current crop as already presidential.

In sum, any man who rides in and is perceived as taking away what a woman has already earned risks triggering all the pent-up anger over 2016 that has so far found its outlet in support for Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and/or Amy Klobuchar.

By that logic, this ride may get even rougher: Bloomberg, Holder and Patrick might not be the last bigfeet to cause commotion with a rumored late entry. If any of them succeed in eclipsing the candidates we have already, you do know who I’m talking about, right?

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