Bernie is Surging — and Dems Could Lose the House; Coronavirus, the Great Wild Card
Author: Greg Valliere
February 24, 2020
DEMOCRATS ARE IN FULL-FLEDGED PANIC: Not only is Donald Trump increasingly likely to win re-election, the Democrats now are facing the unthinkable: the House of Representatives could fall in an election debacle with Bernie Sanders at the top of the ticket.
THE EXTENT OF SANDERS’ WIN ON SATURDAY IN NEVADA stunned party operatives. He’s rapidly gaining momentum among Latino voters, young people and African-Americans. It appears to us that there are only three ways to stop this locomotive:
First, a careful look at Sanders’ positions. He’s gotten a free ride — no one seems to care about his kind words for Latin American dictators — and there’s been astonishingly little focus on the trillions of dollars required to pay for Medicare for all, the Green New Deal, student debt forgiveness, etc. Sanders vaguely says taxing the rich and Wall Street will pay for these plans, but there simply isn’t enough money from those sources to pay for his agenda; “fuzzy math” is an understatement.
Second, some candidates need to drop out, ASAP. We’re hearing that party leaders this weekend implored candidates like Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Ton Steyer to drop out before Super Tuesday on March 3, throwing their support to Joe Biden as a unity candidate. But those three are very reluctant; they have seen Biden up close, and they know he’s out of gas.
Third, Mike Bloomberg scrapes off the rust and offers a compelling vision in tomorrow night’s debate, dropping his lame boast that he would be a good manager. That’s not what the party’s voters want to hear — they want red meat, Nevada proved that. Can Bloomberg deliver red meat? He’s no Bernie.
THE PARTY’S GREAT FEAR is that the House could fall, even though the Democrats have 232 members, the Republicans have 197 with one independent and five vacancies. Until the past few weeks, the Democrats were heavily favored to keep the House; now we’d put their chances at 55-45, with the radical Sanders dragging down moderate Democrats who already are running — sprinting — away from him.
[IF SANDERS IS THE NOMINEE, Republicans almost certainly would retain the Senate, where they could add two or three seats to their 53-47 majority. Democrats are terrified at the prospect of a second Trump term with GOP control of both houses.]
ONE VETERAN DEMOCRAT, powerful Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, surely worries that Republicans will regain control the House; after declaring earlier this winter that he wouldn’t endorse a candidate in this Saturday’s South Carolina primary, Clyburn reportedly will endorse Biden this week.
BUT IT MAY BE TOO LATE: Biden’s support has slipped dramatically in South Carolina, where he had counted on African-Americans to construct a “firewall.” Clyburn’s endorsement probably will be good enough for a modest Biden victory, but the outlook for the former vice president on Super Tuesday is shaky — the headlines on March 4 will focus on a blowout win for Sanders in California.
COULD SANDERS RIDE A TIDAL WAVE TO THE WHITE HOUSE? We put together a best case Electoral College scenario for him last week — and there’s an outside chance Sanders could win the presidency, largely because he could start with nearly 200 of the 270 votes needed. But Trump will ruthlessly mock Sanders as communist with an impossibly expensive agenda that will require massive tax hikes.
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IT WOULD TAKE QUITE A WILD CARD TO DEFEAT TRUMP, but there’s a serious one that is impossible to handicap. The Coronavirus has caught the Chinese off guard, it’s caught most of Asia off guard, and it may catch Europe off guard. Economic growth in much of the world is about to take a major hit, with corporate earnings sliding.
WE’RE CLOSE TO A GLOBAL PANDEMIC, and the U.S. is not invulnerable. For Trump, this is an issue that may require measures that haven’t been well thought out. The risks on the Coronavirus are clearly downside risks for everyone, including Trump. Not even a very accommodative Federal Reserve could bail out Trump if Sanders somehow succeeds in blaming Republicans for being unprepared for a pandemic.
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