Thursday, November 14, 2019

Deval Patrick and Michael Bloomberg are not going to help their constituency win the nomination

I think both Deval Patrick and Michael Bloomberg are symptoms of the panic within the really rich people faction in the Democratic coalition over both the perceived weakness of the Biden campaign and the perception that Warren seems to have staying power among the front runners.

Sure, Sanders has always been up in the top or second tier, but he was still viewed as a long-shot to actually win. Warren has a more plausible path to the nomination. Warren is not just doing better than Sanders, and she is the second choice for most Democratic primary voters (which is super-important considering that the field will narrow considerably before the majority of Democratic primary voters get their turn to vote). Plus, if you combine the Warren and Sanders support, that puts about 40% of the Democrats supporting as their first choice candidates who are running with an overtly anti-plutocrat message. It is understandable why that would disturb the Democratic-leaning plutocrats.

What is less clear to me is why the rich Democrats didn't throw its support behind, say Cory Booker. Booker is also closely tied to the financial industry. He could easily be the "moderate" (i.e. Democrat who won't raise taxes to institute a single payer system, won't impose a wealth tax, and won't try to regulate the financial industry) nominee. As many have noted, Micheal Bloomberg's campaign is likely going nowhere, but he could have had a much greater impact if he spent "whatever it takes" to support a Booker candidacy instead of running himself. If both Bloomberg and the rest of the moneybags faction coalesced around Booker, he would get an enormous boost, without any of the latecomer liabilities that Bloomberg and Patrick bring to the table. Plus because both Bloomberg and Patrick are running (and other "moderates" like Biden, Buttigieg, and Booker, are still in the race), that faction's vote is going to be divided.

The Patrick and Bloomberg candidacy are a sign of panic within a powerful portion of the Democratic coalition. But it also makes it less likely that that faction will win.