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The Sanders scare: Will the remaining Democratic candidates take a cue from the 2016 GOP primary?

02 / 22 / 2020

The political irony is thicker than a six-deck Blackjack shoe.

The dilemma that moderate and establishment Democrats confront in this electoral moment is the very same one that Republicans faced four years ago – and resulted in Hustler Don winning the nomination.

In ’16, by Super Tuesday, the GOP field had thinned out – but not enough. Trump still had four other competitors on the ballot, Rubio, Cruz, Kasich and Carson. On that Tuesday, Hustler Don won 35% of the vote. Of the remaining 65%, Texas Teddy took 25% and Miami Marco took 23%.  

More importantly, Hustler won 254 delegates that day – and the other four horses took a total of 338. Don had the math on his side from that point forward. If the more moderate, qualified candidates had all bowed out before Tuesday and closed ranks around one candidate, they could have very well been able to beat Trump.  

Y’all see where I’m going here. Millions of Dems are freaked out that Sanders is the clear frontrunner after IA, NH & NV. Among those freaked out are some of the remaining candidates THEMSELVES. 

There are seven Democrats still on the ballot. All big egos. It’s a presidential race, after all. None of them are likely to get out before Super Tuesday – 13 days from now. 

On that date, 1,334 delegates will be allotted out of the 3,979 total in the race – 35%. 

While I, myself have been very concerned whether Sanders could beat Trump in a one-on-one, I’m not so worried anymore. When you look deeply at the numbers on who’s turning out, the anti-Trump vote and voters’ feelings about healthcare, the whole “Socialist” label feels like less of a threat. 

But setting aside my own opinion on that matchup – the real question right now has to be answered by the six candidates who are substantially lagging behind Sanders: 

How much do you REALLY believe that Sanders will lose the general election and give four more years to Trump? Because if you REALLY believe that – and you say that eliminating Hustler Don is your NUMBER ONE priority – then you’ll get out BEFORE Super Tuesday. You’ll all get on the phone with each other and close ranks behind ONE of you. 

This is really hard stuff. It’s not likely to happen. 

You’ve got a honey-badger billionaire who has enough dough to not give a Vegas ____. 

You’ve got a brilliant and inspirational 38-year old candidate who did amazingly well in the first two contests. 

You’ve got a former Vice President whose entire life since the age of 29 has been about serving in elective office, and who spent eight years in the White House and got a ton done. 

And you’ve got two experienced Senators in Warren and Klobuchar, who the NYT co-endorsed and who are both highly qualified for the job. 

When you’ve spent decades of your life doing work that has led up to this epic final career challenge of running for president – it’s hard to let go. These candidates are digging their nails into the turf and holding on for dear life. It’s understandable that no one wants to pull up stakes until the last possible second. 

But if they all wait until that last proverbial second, they will be consciously rolling the dice on the prospect of Bernie being the nominee – whom they’ve all public said will have the steepest climb to eliminating a historically terrible American president. 

If the time to decide how they play their cards is not yet upon them, it’s only days away.