by Newt Gingrich
Because of the stunning incompetence of the Iowa Democratic Party’s mismanagement of the caucus, I am writing when we only have 71 percent of the vote in. However even with limited returns it is clear the big loser was Vice President Joe Biden.
You can’t claim to be the front runner and the one person with the electoral strength to beat President Trump when you come in a distant fourth in Iowa (also, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is doing surprisingly well and may pass him).
It is clear that Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, and Elizabeth Warren ran well ahead of Biden..
Biden may stay in through South Carolina, but with each passing day he will have less money and momentum. If you want a more moderate candidate, Mayor Pete is clearly going to be more attractive than Vice President Joe. Biden is going to have an extraordinarily difficult time raising money going forward. He has run a tremendously expensive campaign and burned through a lot of funds. Furthermore, he has tended to raise his money from large donors, so many have already given him the legal maximum. By contrast, Sanders has the largest number of small donors and can go back to them month-after-month for $10 and $20 donations. These add up into millions. It is hard to imagine Biden competing on Super Tuesday in expensive states like California and Texas, because he simply won’t be able to buy statewide ads.
Ironically, the possibility that Biden is on the edge of dropping out the race will not narrow field. This is because former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is coming into the race just when his money can start making a real difference. Unlike Biden, Bloomberg can afford to compete everywhere and simply drown his opponents in ads.
In fact, as I am writing this, Bloomberg has announced that (in light of the Iowa Caucus results) he is going to double the amount of money he is spending. He will certainly start picking up support just from the sheer weight and quality of his advertising.
No one in politics should underestimate Bloomberg’s understanding of public opinion and his willingness to use the best experts that money can attract. Bloomberg made part of his billions out of Bloomberg News. He won the mayoral race in New York City three times (the last time spending an estimated $200 per vote). He has an more than $60 billion in net worth. This means he could spend $2 billion or $3 billion on a presidential campaign and not even notice it.
However, even with all his money, it is unlikely that Bloomberg will sweep the delegates.
The Republicans have a series of winner take all primaries after a certain point. However, the Democrats have a proportional representation beginning at 15 percent. This means that every candidate who can get 15 percent or more of the vote will have an incentive to stay in the race.
Furthermore, Bloomberg has some weaknesses that will be hard to overcome in a Democratic primary. His stop and frisk policing policy was seen as racist and was deeply resented. Large parts of the Black community may go to Warren or Sanders rather than Bloomberg (Buttigieg seems to have a similar problem and gets little support from African Americans). Bloomberg was a registered Republican when he ran the first time for mayor and later ran as an independent. Yet, he tends to dictate what people can do (he outlawed Big Gulp cups in New York when he was mayor). He has been so aggressively anti-gun that in some areas there will be moderate Democrats deeply opposed to him.
Finally, Bloomberg carries the burden of being a big billionaire. He is so wealthy he is almost a model for the kind of rich person Senators Sanders and Warren deeply dislike. For the increasingly radical Democratic Party to nominate a former Republican billionaire purely because he is willing to spend what it takes to buy the nomination would probably lead to a massive revolt at their convention in Milwaukee this summer. It is a little hard to imagine Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Squad passively accepting Bloomberg as their standard bearer.
If everyone who can get 15 percent (and therefore some delegates) stays in the race – and if an assault on Bloomberg keeps him from breaking 50 percent – then it is entirely possible the Democrats are headed toward a wide open convention. This means the super delegates (who are incumbents and officials with no real legitimacy except their titles) could come into play on the second ballot.
Buckle your political seat belt, the Democratic race could become incredibly turbulent.