February 19, 2020

Democrat Debate Free For All on Bloomberg

We know that his opponents are going to go after Democratic candidate Mike Bloomberg at the upcoming debate in Nevada.  It's his first debate in a long time, and he does pose an existential threat to all of their chances for the nomination.  If he wants to win, he should be prepared for an onslaught.  Everyone else in that debate has something to prove - either their own ability to withstand an advertising blitz and a faltering campaign of their own (Biden), or their ability to take on a billionaire and ultimately president Trump (e.g. Warren), or the fact that he represents the antithesis of the ideology of the future of the party (Sanders) or even just the viability of their continued campaigns (Buttigieg or Klobuchar  -the former seems oblivious and almost seems to be embracing Bloomberg, the latter too, seems resigned to acceptance).

I expect that save for the latter two, who oddly may have pre-conceded to Bloomberg and are busy vying for a VP slot, there will be a battle for a change from the previous love-in debates.  But what will be the fallout?

Does Bloomberg effectively acquit himself of all of the recent charges of racism and sexism?  Does he falter?  Does it even matter if he has become the perceived first choice thanks to his ad blitz?  This is all hard to predict.  But my suspicion is that this will not be a game changer for everyone.  But I do think it will winnow the field. Anyone who does not go after Bloomberg will become irrelevant and start to fall in the polling in the coming weeks.  Warren has signaled her intent so Sanders has to outdo her and so too does Biden.  The question is who will be the most effective.  

I think the result of this debate is that you will see Buttigieg and Klobuchar will start to fade.  Here are the IFs:

-If Bloomberg looks like he handles it all well, he will knock Biden into an also-ran.  If he does not, Biden may see a resurgence (unless Buttigieg actually does go after Bloomberg and does so better than Biden)
-If Warren does a better job than Sanders in attacking Bloomberg she will experience a mini-revival and continue to pull votes from Sanders.  If not then she will fade as well and it will allow Sanders to become one of the 2 people in what seems to be headed towards a two-person race.

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