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CA Voters: Biden’s the Centrist Who Can Beat Trump

Sunday, March 1st, 2020

nopasaran!After the contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, Calbuzz — still committed to the United Front Against Trump (UFAT) — began to wonder if the Democrats might have to settle for the benevolent plutocrat to take out the malignant autocrat.

We’ve seen some very smart and committed Democrats, like our friend Rose Kapolsinski, Barbara Boxer’s longtime chief adviser, sign up with moneybags Michael Bloomberg in desperate belief that he’s the best hope for defeating Donald Trump in November.

If Biden were not viable, that would make sense.

But what South Carolina proved, with Biden’s smashing victory, is that there is one actual lifelong Democrat with the experience, skills and heart to unite the Democratic Party, win over the independents and give anti-Trump Republicans a safe harbour. It’s Joe Biden.

Now, with Tuesday’s mega-primary finally in position to help shape the race, California has an opportunity to help, as Biden put it, win big or lose big. By giving Bernie Sanders a massive victory in California, we would help the Democrats lose big. If the centrist voters of California — who constitute a majority — consolidate around one candidate, California can play a constructive, corrective role.

As we’ve said before — and this post lifts from our offering back in January — while programs, policies and principles all are important aspects in most elections, in 2020 there is and should be only one overriding consideration among fair-minded, decent human beings: defeating Donald Trump.

Some of us decided long ago that this is not a year to hang onto hopes, dreams and aspirations for progressive advances in the social order. We face a dire, life-threatening common enemy – much like competing forces did in the past to fight against Hilter and Japanese imperialism – whose continued survival poses a mortal danger that is far greater than the ideological and programmatic differences among competitors on the left.

UFAT is dedicated to one first principle: the defeat of Donald Trump in the 2020 general election. So who’s best to do that?

leonpanettaListen to Leon As our friend Leon Panetta, one of the great Wise Men of modern politics said in endorsing Biden:

“When I was President Clinton’s Chief of Staff, then-Senator Biden led the fight for civil rights, common sense gun safety, equality for women, and protection of the environment. When I was President Obama’s CIA Director and Secretary of Defense, I saw then-Vice President Biden’s immense experience and keen judgment in national security affairs. He was respected by our allies and feared by our adversaries. And, he cared deeply about our troops, intelligence professionals, diplomats, and their families. Both he and I had sons deploy to the warzones after 9/11. We shared the worry of the many families whose loved ones are deployed in harm’s way.

“Joe Biden is unquestionably the most qualified individual to be President. He knows and understands the responsibilities of being President. He does not need on-the-job training. He has a proven record of fighting for working class Americans, pursuing equality for all, expanding health care accessibility, protecting our environment, and supporting strong American leadership in the world. At a time when we are facing serious threats abroad, he will rebuild our alliances, support not undermine military discipline, restore American credibility and deterrence, bolster our cyber defenses, invest in the readiness of our diplomats and our troops, listen to our intelligence professionals, and stand up to dictators like Putin and Kim Jong Un.”

fourstatesVotes that Matter A cold-hearted analytic look at the upcoming national election in the Electoral College, recognizes that most states’ electoral votes are already baked in. There really are only a handful of states where the outcome is uncertain, starting with Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and possibly including Florida, Arizona and a few other states.

Which means the only concern for UFAT is which candidate has the best chance of winning 270 electoral votes – without reliance on longshot strategies like vast increases in the youth vote, which sadly has never worked. Rather the candidate who can win is the one who can capture all of the electoral college votes that Hillary Clinton did in 2016, along with – at a minimum — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, which she lost by a combined 70,000 votes or so.

That means fielding a candidate who can appeal to the moderate Democrats and independents in those states and boost the black vote in Milwaukee, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia that Hillary Clinton did not inspire. And luckily, there is one moderate Democratic candidate in whom black voters have considerable confidence – Barack Obama’s former vice president – Joe Biden.

bidenblacksBlack Votes Matter While we always advise readers ABC (Always Believe Calbuzz), you don’t have to take our word. The Washington Post offers actual data about who black voters prefer and why in a recent poll of black voters that shows overwhelming support for Biden, “boosted by his personal popularity, his service in the Obama administration and perceptions that he is best equipped to defeat President Trump.”

In South Carolina on Saturday, Biden won a staggering 60% of the black vote in an election with turnout that rivaled 2008, when Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards were fighting it out.

But why a moderate and not a progressive? Because that’s who Democrats actually support and that’s who can widen UFAT. If – as few analysts have done – you divide all the national and state-by-state polling out there, you find that Democratic voters give about 40% of their support to the progressive candidates – Bernie Sanders and about half of Elizabeth Warren’s people – and about 60% of their support to the moderates, with Biden far ahead, followed by Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Michael Bloomberg and others.

This is true even in California, which many Beltway analysts continue to confuse with the Peoples’ Republic of Berkley or the Sovereign State of Santa Monica. Yes Sanders has a huge lead, but it’s because the rest of the field is so divided. To keep Sanders from sweeping California’s delegates, another candidate must breach 15% statewide and with November in sight, Biden is the best choice to rally around. With Andrew Yang, Tom Steyer and Pete Buttigieg now out of the race, Biden has a good chance of winning a portion of California delegates.

bloombergdncBloomberg Fugetaboutit There’s one other moderate candidate who has attracted considerable attention because he has unlimited resources to build name recognition and write his own commercial TV narrative – billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The question is, can a candidate without serious black support – and his stop-and-frisk policy in NYC is just too fresh to be forgotten – use his vast wealth to overcome long odds against a candidate with a lifetime of public service who also happens to have worked for a black guy?

Our experience in California, with Al Checchi, William Simon, Meg Whitman, Michael Huffington and others tells us “no.” Neither Bloomberg nor fellow billionaire Steyer get to jump to the top of the pack in a Democratic primary season. Nor would either of them beat Trump in key states.

As for Biden’s running mate, as much as we thought she was in above her head for president, we think California’s Sen. Kamala Harris would make a good pick for Biden, gaining some national and international experience, learning some vice-presidential humility and helping to boost the black vote in critical states. Moreover, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom would appoint her successor, which could even be U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, who’d make a terrific junior senator.

Amy Klobuchar, Stacy Edwards and others could run alongside Biden – whoever would do the most to reassure women, minorities and younger voters that the White House would be in good hands. Whoever Biden picks for veep is far less important than having him at the top of the ticket.

bernielarryMeanwhile, the biggest threat to the UFAT strategy may be a rear guard, deadender action almost certain to be conducted by Bernie “Red Skunk” Sanders and his Twitter Brigade that helped defeat Hillary Clinton. As a loud-mouth, armchair socialist, do-nothing, Sanders might have a shot at capturing Brooklyn College but he has zero chance of winning back the key swing states needed to triumph inthe Electoral College.

So it will be up to the rest of the Democratic Party to pressure Sanders to join the United Front Against Trump. Which is all that matters in 2020.