I live in South Carolina, and I cast my vote today for Sanders. But it's looking like Biden is going to get the most votes in this state, as he does disproportionately well with African-American voters, who are a larger share of the population in the South (and who, esp. if they're older, tend to prefer moderate establishment candidates; it's one of the main reasons why Hillary won the nomination in 2016). However, even if he sweeps the Deep South, that doesn't mean much if he's unpopular elsewhere. Biden will probably still far short of Bernie in terms of pledged delegates by time the primaries are over and done.
My only concern is that Bernie will fail to get a majority of pledged delegates, and the Democratic Convention turns into a repeat of 1968, when the Democratic leadership at the time decided the primaries didn't matter at all. Granted, neither party even held primaries in all 50 states back then, but in the states that did have primaries it was clear that Democratic voters wanted Eugene McCarthy (Bobby Kennedy was also a leading contender, but he was assassinated that June). Instead, the DNC gave its base a great big middle finger and made Hubert Humphrey the nominee. The fallout was disastrous, and Richard Nixon won in a landslide that November.
Ever since Trump took office, I've been saying that the only way he can win re-election in 2020 is if the Democrats do something incredibly stupid to fuck themselves over. Trump is the weakest, most vulnerable, most unpopular incumbent president since LBJ in 1968 (why does it seem to keep coming back to this year?). He "won" in 2016 with the lowest percentage of the popular vote in any election with no major third-party or independent candidate ("major" defined as "winning at least 10% of the popular vote and/or one state"). He didn't so much win as Hillary lost because too many Democrats couldn't bring themselves to vote for her. His approval ratings are still in the toilet despite modest improvements, even in key states he (barely) picked up in 2016 like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. The 2018 midterms were clearly a referendum on Trump, with Democrats gaining significant ground. Every time we've seen a president this unpopular, they weren't elected to a second term. Johnson, Ford, Carter, and Bush I were all incredibly unpopular, and they all failed to be elected a second time (LBJ was effectively primaried out, having dropped out early on after a poor showing in early states, which is what ultimately led to Humphrey's nomination).
This could be the first exception to that rule.
There was a huge enthusiasm gap on the Democratic side in 2016. When Republicans get angry they vote, driven by a single-minded objective of defeating Democrats. Their anger is far more consistently directed at Democrats. When Democrats get angry, they sit at home or vote third-party out of protest, with the objective of beating Republicans frequently not a top priority (as we saw in 2000 and 2016). Their anger is far too often directed at each other rather than toward the GOP. The Democratic base has for quite some time been far, far less united that the Republican base, who consistently rally behind whoever the eventual nominee is (see how quickly the "never-Trumpers" changed their tune when he won the nomination in the 2016 GOP primaries).
I'm afraid we could see something similar if there's a contested convention and Bernie isn't granted the nomination even if he has a plurality of pledged delegates. If the DNC decides to make the second or third or fourth place candidate the nominee, it would likely hurt Democratic turnout. I mean, look how many of my fellow Bernie supporters refused to vote Hillary in 2016, and Bernie lost because he didn't have a majority of pledged delegates (which the polls clearly showed would end up being the case). Imagine the outrage from the pro-Bernie base if he actually did get screwed over this time. The DNC is delusional if they think the base will show up as a united front on Election Day if Bernie has the most pledged delegates but doesn't become the nominee. If we do see such shenanigans from the DNC and turnout suffers as a result, then even if Trump has fewer votes than he did in 2016, he will still have a very good chance of winning. And if he does win, Democrats can say goodbye to the Supreme Court for the next 30 years. Ginsburg will likely not survive until 2024, and the Senate will likely remain controlled by the GOP due to down-ballot effects caused by a divided and demoralized Democratic base, so a still-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will almost certainly fast-track whatever replacement for RBG that Trump chooses. And even beyond the Supreme Court, we will continue to see more disastrous policy as our current national nightmare continues and we spend another four years being "led" (if you can call it leadership) by an incompetent, egomaniacal, authoritarian-minded man-child.
And believe me, a lot of hardcore conservatives are absolutely ecstatic whenever they see division within the Democratic base, and are licking their chops at the prospect of continued total control of the federal government and a Supreme Court that will have a conservative supermajority for the next two generations. They may like dirty tactics and subterfuge, but voter suppression and gerrymandering won't have near the impact of the failure of wide swaths of the Democratic base to get out and vote, and the Democratic base has definitely demonstrated that a lot of them can't be bothered to vote unless they get their ideal candidate. But if the Republicans win again in November, this time the blame could also be placed squarely at the feet of the DNC itself, and not just at the feet of a base that's notoriously difficult to unite and motivate.
Then again I'm a cynic and a perpetually pessimistic worry-wart, and I may be worrying myself sick over nothing, and that dislike of Trump will still unite the Democratic base in November to vote him out of office.
Last edited by Shadow1980 - on 29 February 2020