by Newt Gingrich
The amazingly combative – and perhaps personally destructive — debate in Nevada produced two winners and a big loser.
The biggest winner was President Donald Trump.
There is a huge stature gap between the president’s recent speeches and rallies and the petty bickering and bitter attacks on the debate stage. It will be easy for voters to differentiate the powerful incumbent and the confused, tiny opponents yammering in the background. Also, when Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced that Bernie Sanders would be a disaster in the general election, he gave the Trump re-election campaign a perfect ad for this fall if Sanders is the nominee.
Every time the Democrats describe their more radical positions, they further isolate themselves from the independent voters and moderate Democrats they need to win. When they support gun confiscation, extremely late abortion, massive tax increases, taking away people’s private health insurance, the Pete Buttigieg proposal to legalize heroin and methamphetamine, and Iranian terrorist commanders (over brave American soldiers), they lose more and more rational Americans. The more you listen to the Democratic presidential candidates; you realize just how radical they have become. Real moderates have been driven from leadership positions and only exist on the sidelines as fossilized reminders of the Democratic Party that used to exist. I’m not alone in this assessment. Several Democratic analysts watching the mess on stage said the big winner was President Trump – they were right. The Democrats’ radicalization will be a huge help to Leader Kevin McCarthy and Republicans, who are aggressively seeking to take back the House in 2020.
The second big winner was Sanders. Senator Sanders entered last night having won more votes in Iowa than anyone else (a fluke in the weird way Iowa counts delegates allowed Buttigieg to claim more state level delegates, but the fact is Sanders got more votes). Sanders came in first in New Hampshire. Given the size of the crowds he is getting – and the recent polls – there is a good chance Sanders will win Nevada.
The next major test for Sanders will be South Carolina, and the most recent polls show him within two points of Joe Biden as the front runner. Since South Carolina is Biden’s supposed firewall, where his support from African Americans is going to keep him in the race, it will be a catastrophic outcome for the former vice president if he finishes only one or two points ahead of Sanders. And, since there is plenty of time for people to digest the Nevada results, it is conceivable that a Sanders victory there will propel Sanders to a victory in South Carolina over Biden.
Further, if Sanders wins Nevada, his front runner status will be so formidable that the other candidates may have to shift their attacks from Bloomberg to Sanders in the debate between Nevada and South Carolina.
This position of strength means you have to score Sanders as the other winner. Other than Bloomberg asserting that Sanders can’t win, no one really laid a glove on him. The intensely personal Buttigieg-Amy Klobuchar exchange weakened both of them. By definition, this helped Sanders. Every time Elizabeth Warren hammered Bloomberg; Sanders must have been smiling to himself. As a seasoned veteran, Bernie must have stood there and watched in amazement as his competitors gave him a pass and fought each other.
So, if the President and the Socialist had a good night, who was the big loser?
Well, Bloomberg was the most battered. Klobuchar and Buttigieg were the most childish. Warren was the most effective as the rage candidate, but she was ineffective at drawing votes to herself (rage drives people away, it doesn’t attract them). And Biden had a decent but inadequate night.
Clearly the big loser was the Democratic Party.
Coming after the absurdity of the Iowa caucus meltdown – and with warnings that Nevada may also have counting problems – the Democrats do not need to look incompetent or deeply divided. Yet, incompetent division is exactly what came out of the Nevada debate.
The simple fact is: There is a deep division between the Socialist-radical wing of the Democratic Party (Sanders and Warren) and the Capitalist-radical wing of the Democratic Party (everyone else). It is a falsehood for the national media to suggest that any of the Democratic presidential candidates are moderates. They all espouse positions that are opposed by a substantial majority of Americans. They all represent an elite leftwing cultural view which believes America is a bad country of ignorant “deplorables.” So, they all believe their mission is to use government to profoundly change America – even if it is against the wishes of many millions of Americans.
At the same time, this radical Democratic Party proved last night that it has no coherent policy for creating jobs, solving problems, or defending America.
This is why the Democratic Party was the big loser.