Chris Matthews: How can we beat Trump by outsourcing our nomination to a socialist or a Republican?


A leftover from last night’s New Hampshire coverage via Newsbusters. The “socialist” in the headline is Bernie, of course, of whom Matthews is not a fan. The “Republican” is Mike Bloomberg, although I’m not sure that’s a fair description of him. Yes, I know he switched to the GOP to run for mayor of New York in 2002, but that’s because he concluded at the time that there was no path for him through the Democratic primary. He was a Republican of opportunity who eventually switched to independent before migrating to the Democratic Party, where he seems more at home.

I mean, really. Does “Republican” sound like the right word to describe, uh … an authoritarian Manhattan billionaire who’s crass towards women, spends money without limit, and looks dimly on civil liberties vis-a-vis law and order?

You know what? Forget I brought it up. Moving on.

The hard truth for Matthews is that Democrats are unlikely to beat Trump regardless. New from Gallup:

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That’s *the* question that voters ask themselves when they go in the booth, no? And Trump’s outpolling every incumbent of the past 30 years on it, all of whom won reelection but one. And that one exception had to contend with the most formidable third-party candidate in decades.

Matthews has an effective line at the beginning of the clip below when he says that centrist liberals “just want to be secure in their own economy, in their own lives and see their kids once in a while” instead of remaking America’s economic system. A lot of middle-class Democrats (and Republicans) fall into that category. There was — and technically still is — a guy running this race who might have adopted that as his own credo. But paradoxically, that guy may have inadvertently wrecked his party’s chances of nominating anyone who’d carry out that mission, forcing them ultimately to choose instead between a radical and a plutocrat. Liberal Jonathan Chait knows who to blame for the terrible dilemma Democrats now find themselves in:

Biden’s candidacy almost single-handedly stunted the growth of every other center-left alternative. Cory Booker ran the Freaks and Geeks of campaigns — praised by critics, but never registering with the broader public. Booker might well have attracted Biden’s constituency, before low polling forced him off the debate stage and out of the race…

[O]nly now are Bloomberg and Klobuchar — along with Pete Buttigieg, who has won a sizable niche with well-educated white voters that he seems to have difficulty expanding — beginning to try to consolidate the party’s center-left vote. If not for Biden, a mainstream liberal Democrat might well have begun to consolidate support of a party Establishment that is not looking for 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.

For nine months, Biden sucked up all of the oxygen in the room that might have been used to sustain a more talented moderate retail politician. By the time he was finally revealed to be a paper tiger, some had already suffocated and the remainder were on the brink. Even Bloomberg, for all his money, may find himself at an insurmountable disadvantage on Super Tuesday because the centrist vote is just too hopelessly divided even into March for any one person to gain traction against Sanders. Bernie’s path to the nomination may have been impossible without Joe.

Bloomberg’s going to take a shot, though. I was surprised this morning to see that he’s attending Stacey Abrams’s voting rights summit in Georgia on Friday. The strategy doesn’t surprise me; obviously Bloomy’s trying to win over black voters in anticipation of Biden’s departure from the race soon. Abrams’s invitation surprises me since Bloomberg’s been hit repeatedly with oppo research the past few days about his old comments on stop and frisk, with even Trump chiming in to call him a racist. You’d think a progressive star like Abrams would be cautious about lending Bloomberg any lefty cred knowing how viciously the left will oppose him if he blocks Bernie’s path. But I suppose it’s nice to have one of the world’s richest men owe you and your nonprofit group a favor, especially if he has an outside shot at the presidency and might soon be in need of a VP. He’s playing to win, however far-fetched that may seem. Right now.

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