Good News: Two major Democratic candidates have entered the presidential race. Bad News: They have the same drawbacks as Dems already in the field.
Isn’t there anyone else? Is it too late for new entries to pick-up enough steam to win the Democratic primary?
Of all the questions floating around Democratic donor events and political functions lately, the above two have probably been the most prevalent. There has also been a definite uptick in the frequency and volume of these questions since former Vice President and Democratic primary front-runner Joe Biden crashed and burned so unspectacularly- by failing to deal with the Hunter Biden situation before it dealt a mortal blow to donor confidence in the Biden campaign.
The weakness of the Biden campaign, coupled with a rise in the polls for Democratic socialist Sen. Elizabeth Warren, combined to create a perfectly irresistible environment for two new candidates to enter the already overcrowded race.
With Biden floundering, and major Democratic donors signaling an unwillingness to support Warren as the Democratic nominee, former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and former Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick saw an opportunity and both have moved to seize it.
That the Democratic field has grown by two notable names, with another notable name teasing her return to the presidential field, is the ultimate vote of “no confidence” in the Democrats currently vying for the nomination.
Democrats have lately been pointing fingers at other Democrats, with Democrats accusing each other of everything from sexism- for failing to support Warren or any of the other female candidates- to racism- for choosing four white people as front runners from a field that includes so many equally qualified candidates of color.
Leadership Democrats, and even Democratic cultural luminaries like former President Barack Obama, have been cautioning voting Democrats and Democratic donors away from the idea of a “Goldilocks” candidate.
Democrats want Joe Biden, but younger. They want Mayor Pete Buttigieg, but older, with more experience. They want Warren and Sanders, but more moderate. They want Klobuchar, only more liberal.
They want a woman, just not that woman. Democrats want another African-American president but Sen. Cory Booker just doesn’t connect and Sen. Kamala Harris was a prosecutor.
And no establishment Democrat, including that bastion of the Democratic establishment, MSNBC, wants Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Each of the candidates running as of last week had their own unique set of drawbacks that made them uniquely un-electable for a wide swath of the Democratic electorate.
All four of the Democratic front runners are white, and three of them are white men. With the exception of Joe Biden, all the frontrunners have a major problem appealing to minority voters. Indeed, Biden’s sole remaining strength is his association with former President Barack Obama- who remains imminently popular with Black voters.
Warren and Sanders are too far left. They risk alienating moderate Dems from California to Maine with their embrace of hyper-progressive, massive overhauls of the U.S. government.
These major electability issues are hardly resolved with the entrance of Michael Bloomberg and Deval Patrick.
Michael Bloomberg has already began his apology tour, begging forgiveness from the Black community for “Stop and Frisk” at a mostly African-American church this morning in New York City. An apology isn’t likely to cover it.
Donald Trump, who is ramping up efforts to sway minority voters on the heels of a remarkably strong economy and jobs market, will not miss an opportunity to hammer home that Mayor Michael Bloomberg wholeheartedly embraced the program.
Indeed, Bloomberg can hardly tout his relative successes as Mayor of New York without mentioning the specific policies he embraced to achieve them.
In addition, Bloomberg is yet another older, white male- albeit a significantly wealthier one than Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden. It is difficult to believe that African-American and Latino voters will feel any more predisposition to Bloomberg than they do to Biden, Sanders, Warren or Buttigieg.
Deval Patrick might find it easier to court the Black vote as an African-American man himself, and his close personal friendship with Barack Obama certainly doesn’t hurt. He is also a moderate, which is good for appealing to the swing-state voters Democrats desperately need to win in 2020.
Foremost is his professional history. Patrick has worked for Bain Capital. Which means that endless loops from 2012 of Barack Obama destroying Mitt Romney over Bain Capital will be played ad nauseam by the Trump campaign.
Patrick also worked for Ameriquest, of the subprime mortgage fiasco fame.
The progressive-liberal Twitter wing of the Democratic Party is going to have an absolute field day. By the time liberal Democrats finish picking apart Deval Patricks resume, no Democratic donor is going to be willing to go within a mile of him, Barack Obama’s blessing on him or not.
The electability issues dogging each candidate are indicative, not of the weakness of the Democratic platform of candidates, but of the growing weaknesses fracturing the Democratic party.
The Big Tent Party has less and less room these days for the pro-life Democrat, the pro-border security Democrat, the religiously devout Democrat. Certain sections of the Democratic Party, young white liberal Democrats and older Black socially conservative Democrats for instance, are becoming increasingly opposed to each other, their legislative priorities mutually exclusive.
There is a battle for the soul of the Democratic Party, and it isn’t against Donald Trump or Republicans.
It is an internal battle, a generational battle, and Democrat on Democrat aggression is only going to intensify as more time goes by and Democratic voters still fail to solidify behind a single candidate.
It is a weakness the re-elect President Donald J. Trump campaign will not hesitate to exploit.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)