Given the mess-up in Iowa, Democrats did not exactly roll out their official selection season with precision. But, the results both in Iowa and New Hampshire pointed to a more ominous trend that has little to do with election management. The party, united as they may be against President Donald Trump, is facing a divisive primary fight.
Joe Biden despite being perceived as a strong candidate in November is quickly becoming the Democratic version of Jeb Bush. His likeable style appears a bit dull, as Trump would put it “low energy.” Moreover, Democrats prefer the newest face in town not the proven veteran. From John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama, experience has rarely triumphed over charisma. Biden has run into the same problems that bedeviled his earlier attempt to seek the presidency, which tend to be that he is a bit too familiar.
But, Biden does run better than any other Democrat against Trump. Again, this has never been a winning formula among Democrats. Edmund Muskie proved a dud, in 1972, despite being the strongest Democrat in trial heats against Richard Nixon. Both Biden and Muskie are like the dog food that had great ingredients and packaging but failed on one crucial test, dogs didn’t like it. Now, the party is facing a choice between Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and all the rest. Trump’s prospects go up as this situation persists.
However, there is an alternative. Michael Bloomberg’s late candidacy could potentially save Democrats as Dwight Eisenhower rescued Republicans in 1952. Robert Taft of Ohio, colorless and dogmatic, was the favorite until a group drafted Eisenhower. Taft lost New Hampshire to Ike even while he was in Europe. Later on, Eisenhower won Minnesota’s primary on a write-in. Despite all this, Eisenhower barely defeated Taft for the nomination.
Although Bloomberg is no war hero, he is a potential life saver for Democrats. He certainly carries no taint of Socialism, and he would not be an easy target for Trump. Bloomberg would give Independents a reason to support him as an alternative to Trump. Essentially representing all the strengths of Trump without any of the eccentricities, and needless to say, the money would be no problem for the billionaire Bloomberg.
As well, Bloomberg could heal the wounds of the disaster in Des Moines. He took no part in the caucus, and he is not associated with the Iowa debates. Like Eisenhower, he would be a unifying figure in many ways.
But, this does not mean it would be easy. Bernie Sanders’ supporters would see Bloomberg as a sellout to the Democratic National Committee. Tom Perez is proving as partisan as Debbie Wasserman Schultz. However, if Bloomberg wins the nomination despite party functionaires, he might do what Trump did for the GOP unite the party despite nay-sayers and ideologues.
If Trump proved anything, it is that Americans are not as crazy about policies as they are about results. Bloomberg’s candidacy would take the economy off the table and focus on other issues. With a slightly moderate message, Bloomberg could be Trump’s most formidable foe.