The most recent Democrat caucus in Nevada must have the realists on the American left quietly petrified. In a caucus race to find someone to oust a man who is probably the most divisive U.S. President in history, few if any of the candidates look anywhere near Presidential material. Donald Trump might have been impeached by the Democrats, but the near unanimous unity of Republicans behind him means the Republican caucuses might as well wrap up now.
Whilst Bernie Sanders has the support of many on the left, given the generally conservative disposition of Americans such a radical swing to the left would probably result in – eventually, and assuming Mr Sanders survives his time in office – an equally radical swing back to the right. And in doing so, would alienate tens of millions of Americans from both sides of the spectrum at a time when a spectrum wide unity is necessary.
Mr Sanders has a more immediate problem that many have overlooked. He is 82. In New Zealand I am not aware of any politician currently or for that matter ever being in office at that age. His health has failed him once or twice recently, and the stress of campaigning across such a vast country must be immense. Should he die in office, he would join just Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt on the list of those who did not make it out of the White House alive.
Subsequently for these reasons, I do not see Mr Sanders becoming the 46th President of the United States.
But there are more sinister theories at work that Russian agents are working to get Mr Sanders to become the Democratic nominee so as to create a backlash that ensures Mr Trump’s victory. Mr Trump ardently denied these when they were mentioned to him, which no one should find surprising. Admitting it would be to undo years of Trumpian policy in one fell swoop.
If Mr Sanders withdraws from the race, where does that leave the Democrats? Who else has a realistic chance of taking on Mr Trump?
The state of the Democrat nomination race does not impress me in the least. We have Peter Buttigieg, a gay man of 38 standing for the first time. I see no name recognition whatsoever in him, and a quick look at his policy platform was not exciting either. There is a distinct lack of appeal among black voters in the southern states, who say that Mr Buttigieg does not understand or respect the socio-economic challenges facing them.
Elizabeth Warren is struggling. Her campaign had poor showings in both the Iowa and New Hampshire stages. She has not improved in Nevada. Her media coverage is poor and she is struggling for money.
Joe Biden has an inescapable Barak Obama problem. Because Mr Biden was Mr Obama’s Vice President, he is by default attached to a President that the Republican party have expended huge effort trying to undermine, even though he has not been in the White House for more than three years now. They will no doubt expend similar effort on Mr Biden. But also, Mr Biden is too far to the right for many Democrats, too much a part of the swamp problem that Republicans allege to exist in Washington D.C.
Amy Klobuchar is not leading the Democrats, but she is steady. She is credited with having skills and qualities that other Democrats allegedly do not. One is grit. She will not give up easily and her pragmatism is seen as a way to reach out to Republicans and other Democrats on the policy front. Still, a read of her record tells me she is towards the more progressive end of the Democrat spectrum.
The one Democrat whose policy platform I think is realistic is Tulsi Gabbard. But Ms Gabbard’s campaign has been all but abandoned because she has realized she does not have a big enough profile to draw out donors, but also because she has struggled to get serious media attention. Maybe in 2024 Ms Gabbard will try again with the added experience and better media exposure, but I cannot see her campaign reigniting in 2020.
That leaves a rather field for the Democrats. And maybe it was meant to be this way. Maybe the only way America is going to realize what a moron they have in the White House is to suffer another four years of him and wonder why the world is getting so angry.
I hope not, but unless this Democrat field gets its act together in the next short while, this is a preliminary call of the U.S. 2020 Presidential Election.