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February 24, 2020
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Democrats’ big Bernie Sanders headache and other commentary

Democrats’ big Bernie Sanders headache and other commentary
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Iconoclast: Dems’ Big Bernie Headache

While the Democratic Party’s hard-left wing “remains united in favor of” Bernie Sanders, notes The Week’s Matthew Walther, “the larger moderate one remains split, not quite evenly, between Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden.” Party elites are determined to block Sanders’ path, but it won’t be easy, with the moderate vote “spread thin across five campaigns — and likely to be subdivided even further when Michael Bloomberg begins to appear on ballots.” Realistically, “beating Bernie will require all but one of these people to drop out, and soon.” But not even the party’s higher apparatchiks “are sinister enough to remove the names of unhelpful has-been moderates from ballots in order to make room for Buttigieg or Klobuchar or whomever they decide in March to coalesce around.”

From the left: Biden Takes Dems to Disaster

Joe Biden’s campaign is “now almost certain to fail,” sighs New York’s ­Jonathan Chait, and it should’ve been no surprise: In three presidential runs, Biden hasn’t “managed to finish higher than fourth in any primary or caucus.” This time around, his “languid” and “unsettling” campaign ­“almost single-handedly stunted the growth of every other center-left ­alternative.” If not for his “disastrous” run, “a mainstream liberal Democrat” could have won over the party establishment and voters who don’t want “a candidate who will embrace wildly unpopular policies and a wildly unpopular socialist label while emphasizing transformative economic change in the midst of the best economy in a generation.” Biden’s 1988 and 2008 runs “ended in disaster for Biden.” His 2020 campaign made Bernie Sanders “the favorite” — and will “end in a disaster for the whole party.”

2020 watch: Bloomy’s New Hampshire ‘Win’

The “top-three finishers” in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary had “every right to give their victory speeches” — but, says Howard Fineman at RealClearPolitics, a candidate who wasn’t on the ballot could claim “quiet satisfaction.” Michael Bloomberg’s “vast and not-yet-fully-visible national machine” gained “confidence” from the results: Bernie Sanders is “too far to the left to defeat” President Trump, while Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar are “pleasant, under-sourced and underwhelming foes, whom they can flatten in three weeks on Super Tuesday” thanks to Bloomy’s “well-funded campaign.” The billionaire has “grants to make, advice to give and huge ­financial support to offer,” and, a confidant insists, “He’s drawing the crowds. It’s real.” Well, Fineman allows, We’ll “soon find out how real is ‘real.’  ”

From the right: What’s the Point Now, Liz?

Elizabeth Warren was “facing a fourth-place finish in New Hampshire after a third-place showing a week ago in Iowa,” reports The Washington Examiner’s Byron York, so when she “walked onstage without fanfare” Tuesday night, supporters feared she was about to quit. Instead, she claimed, “Our campaign is best positioned to beat ­Donald Trump in November — because we can unite our party.” Hmm, says York: “She has the organization and money to keep going, at least for a few more states. But to what end?” She has dropped out of the news and plunged in the polls. Her supporters “still cannot figure out quite how it happened,” but they “sense that she is now in a very difficult position, with no indication that things will get better anytime soon.”

Urbanist: California’s Gig Debacle

California’s new anti-gig-economy law was supposed to target labor ­exploitation by “Uber and Lyft, whose business model depends on drivers working as independent contractors,” Phillip Sprincin writes at City Journal. But lawmakers drafted it far too broadly: “A limit on the number of articles that freelance writers could produce for one publication resulted in layoffs for some California journalists and a First Amendment lawsuit from others. Workers in more than 135 occupations claim that losing contractor status hurts them, while independent theater and arts groups are facing thousands of dollars in costs they can’t afford, because they must now treat staff as employees.” Meanwhile, Uber is rejiggering its app to work around the new regs — meaning an effort that aimed to hit “multibillion-dollar corporations” wound up “hitting community theater instead.”

– Compiled by Karl Salzmann & Sohrab Ahmari

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