Bloomberg Wins Big in Nevada (No, Seriously)
—Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, 1972
Watching last Wednesday’s Las Vegas debate unfold was like a bad drug trip of the type the late, great Hunter S. Thompson often described.
The whole way through it, I had horrible hallucinations.
About socialism taking over the United States…
About 160 million Americans losing their healthcare coverage to a government plan akin to the U.K.’s “death panel” system…
About 1.4 million coal, oil and gas workers losing their jobs, their families and communities descending into desperate, opioid-addicted ruin…
And about trillions of American tax dollars being spent on green technologies that’ll cripple our economy without cooling the Earth a single degree — while China, India, and the rest of the world’s REAL polluters get off scot free.
I even had one particularly hellish vision of a shrill, wide-eyed Elizabeth Warren repeatedly screeching that she’s a capitalist!
And then the drugs wore off, thank God.
Oh, wait, no they didn’t…
That was the actual debate I was experiencing — in a surreal, nightmarish sort of out-of-body-politic way.
Pretenders on parade in steel-toed Elizabethan theatre
First off, I gotta hand it to Liz Warren.
She turned in the most dynamic, vicious performance of the night — in part by kicking every male candidate on stage (except Sanders, with whom she shares a political lane right now) directly in the balls, in one manner or another.
But also in part by her own sheer ballsy-ness in repeatedly invoking her dedication to creating “a level playing field” between white and minority people…
Despite the fact that Wonder-Bread Warren pretended for years to be part of an oppressed minority, which likely tilted that playing field in her favor.
Other worthy performances on the night included Bernie’s defense of his three houses and millionaire status between passionate socialist screeds…
Mayor Pete’s skewering of the trembling Klobuchar for not knowing “the first thing” about Mexico — a country of major focus for at least two Washington committees on which she currently serves…
And Biden’s always chuckle-inducing third-person references to himself, frequent refrains of “Come on, man,” “Let’s get something straight,” “I’m the only guy who (plug in dubious achievement here),” and general verbal incontinence.
But this piece isn’t really about the debate itself, which was indeed a barn-burner.
It’s about how, despite Michael Bloomberg’s poor performance on that stage…
The entire Nevada political spectacle of the last five days, debate included, may have handed him a substantial win in his quest to take the Democratic nomination.
Here’s why I believe that…
Bloomberg backers hang tough, need only a reason to believe
In terms of TV viewership, last Wednesday’s Las Vegas slug-fest was the highest rated Democratic primary debate in history, with 20 million tuning in.
That’s nearly three times as many people as their party’s last debate (on Feb. 7), and a lot of pundits credit this to the first-time presence of Michael Bloomberg.
I totally agree with this assessment, because the exact same thing happened back in 2015 — when another famous New York billionaire with a big mouth and a Me Too problem took the debate stage in the GOP primary race.
That Ohio debate, Trump’s on-stage debut, posted a whopping 24 million viewers.
Now here’s the twist: Despite the fact that every single candidate ripped Bloomberg like a teen’s jeans in this debate, in front of a huge chunk of America’s electorate…
Plus the obvious fact that he was horribly unprepared, and totally on the defensive…
His polling numbers only went down about three points — and his ability to beat Trump in a head-to-head matchup is still ranked third among major Democrat candidates, according to the RealClear Politics average of polls.
That being said, Bloomberg’s debate performance tomorrow night is all but guaranteed to be much better, for two reasons…
One, because unless he’s either a fool or a masochist, he’ll be a lot better prepared, and wearing a cast-iron cup that’ll break Liz’s big toe if she comes a-kickin’ again.
And two, because if I’m right, everyone’s going to be lobbing their grenades at the now-undisputed front-runner Bernie Sanders tomorrow night.
Next to Bernie’s unabashed brand of militant “democratic socialism,” every other candidate on that stage — even Elizabeth Warren — has a golden opportunity in this debate to appear moderate and sane, at least in a relative sense…
So they’re not going to spend a lot of time attacking the only actual capitalist in the mix, for fear of looking more like Bernie, to whom they’re now striving to contrast.
In other words: All Mike’s gotta do is stay upright, not pull up anyone’s skirt, own his mistakes if they come up again, and avoid seeming imperious and arrogant.
If he can do that and maybe flex a little more capitalist muscle to go with his green-love and gun-hate…
His supporters will chalk up the first debate to jitters and come flocking back to him.
Because they clearly want to, if the polling is right. The mainstream media and Democratic leadership want them to come back, too…
Not to sound like Biden here — but come on, man, let’s get real
The DNC does not want Bernie Sanders as their party’s nominee in 2020 any more than they did back in 2016.
The problem is, they’re deathly afraid of another convention scandal, or increased scrutiny of their own ridiculously unfair nominee selection process.
So the easiest solution for them is if another candidate legitimately takes control of the race. Especially one like Bloomberg, who has real leftist political chops…
Yet also has a free-market pedigree that can help them rebuild the moderate center of their party, which has suddenly been taken over by throngs of Pinko snowflakes.
To the jackass leadership, Bloomberg is a savior of sorts. A liberal who can beat Trump at his own game — but who didn’t honeymoon in Moscow.
So you can bet that behind closed doors, they’re rooting for Mike. And if I’m on target here, they’re probably pulling a lot of strings to try and help him.
As just one example, Bernie Sanders was briefed by U.S. intelligence officials approximately a month ago about Russian attempts to help his campaign…
Yet the media only reports it last Friday, forcing Bernie to publically admonish the Russians NOT to help him the day before the Nevada caucuses?
To me, that looks like very suspicious timing, either by the media — or by the Democratic Party insiders who leaked the story to them. Or both, in concert.
Sanders apparently smelled a rat, too. He said as much to reporters Friday afternoon.
I could go on, but there’s no need. Everybody already knows the DNC isn’t feeling the Bern…
Both because they’re afraid he can’t beat Trump in a general election (he can’t), and because Sanders is a bridge too far to the left — even for them.
They’re also afraid that the gaffe-prone, touchy-feely, tired-looking Joe Biden is well past his prime, and has too many skeletons in his closet (he does).
That leaves Michael Bloomberg as the only realistic white knight for the 2020 race…
If he can get out of his own way — and stay in the lane of a common-sense Democrat who won’t crash the U.S. economy, yet still do a bunch of feel-good liberal BS.
Bottom line: Bernie’s decisive win in the Nevada caucuses means he’s no fluke, and it’ll kick the DNC sabotage machine into high gear, which will help Bloomberg.
And let’s not forget that Mike’s roping in some big endorsements, too — even after last Wednesday’s debate.
In fact, since that televised debacle, three more members of Congress have come out in support of Bloomberg. He now has 15 congressional endorsements, second only to Biden, even though he’s yet to appear on a single primary ballot.
Bloomberg also got a high-profile endorsement on Saturday from an incredibly popular libertarian-leaning Republican, the great Clint Eastwood.
That’s a big fish, right there.
There’s one more reason I think Mike won big in Nevada, too…
Bloomberg: Trump’s drug in a generic, easy-to-swallow pill
Think about the things that ushered Donald Trump into the White House in 2016.
He was an outsider — totally detached from the Washington swamp.
He’s rich, which meant to many voters that he didn’t need the wealth and power that seem to attract so many to politics, for all the wrong reasons.
He’s blunt, plain-speaking, and not politically correct.
He’s totally un-coach-able, and confident in his rightness, to the point of arrogance.
He’s a manager, a seasoned executive…
He’s also flawed and somehow very real, despite the hair and tan, which humanizes him to ordinary people — in contrast to ultra-polished politicians like Barack Obama and the seemingly laboratory-grown Pete Buttigieg.
Now think about how many of these traits are embodied in Michael Bloomberg…
He doesn’t have all of them, but he has a lot of them.
The money, the outsider status (at least in terms of the Washington machine), the New Yawk bluntness, the seeming incorruptibility, the management pedigree, the absolute certainty that he’s right — and the all-too-human flaws.
Many of these things were made unmistakably clear to American voters for the first time during the Democratic debate last Wednesday night in Las Vegas.
This is what I mean when I say that Bloomberg may have actually won this debate…
Because simply by being his petulant self, he gives independents and moderates of both parties the ability to vote for someone LIKE Trump — but who ISN’T Trump.
Someone with a very similar set of strengths and personality traits to the ones that have made America great again these last three years…
But without the hair, the obnoxious ego, the carnival barking, the tweeting, etc.
That could end up pulling large numbers of voters away from Trump’s re-election bid — folks who held their noses and voted for him in 2016 because they couldn’t stand the thought of Hillary Clinton in the White House.
The DNC must know this, too. So don’t be surprised to see some craze-o voting and procedural shenanigans in the coming months, all the way up to the convention.
My prediction: Unless something big changes in the pecking order…
Or those unsealed NDAs reveal that Bloomberg was caught in bed with “a dead girl or a live boy” (that’s an old Democrat political joke — so don’t blame me for it)…
I think the odds are better than 50/50 that it’s going to end up being “Battle of the New York Billionaires Who Both Switched Parties” come Nov. 3.
Where’s a drug-fueled Hunter S. Thompson when we need him, huh?
Freedoms Editor, Whiskey & Gunpowder