Any time anyone in the media tells you a candidate is "unelectable," or has "electability" issues, you can just go ahead and assume they are full of shit.
The first time I can remember hearing this term was in 2004 when Howard Dean ran. Every story about Dean was about "wow, this guy's raising all this money on this new 'internet' contraption, and boy people sure are excited about him," and at some point, one of the talking heads would interject "of course, he's totally unelectable!" And everyone would agree "oh, of course. Completely unelectable." Which I eventually figured out meant "not one of the pundit-approved candidates."
They had a few candidtates they had predicted would run. John Kerry was one. I think Dick Gebhart was another. So when this unknown whom none of them had ever talked about showed up and started doing well, I think they got a bit upset that he was making them look bad, and if he were to win, he would really show the weakness of their powers of prognostication.
Which brings us to the latest in the Bret Stephens evil of banality oeuvre:
Mike Bloomberg should run for president
Okay, I'm just going to stop you right there, because I feel like I have to correct that. NO, he should not.
Okay, please continue.
Mike Bloomberg should run for president, for two reasons that ought to be dispositive.
Ooh, "dispositive!" Someone certainly has an undeservedly high opinion of his, um, opinions.
First, he would be a very good president, potentially a great one.
Ahahaha! "a very good pres-" He's not even a good mayor!
What are you basing this assertion on? What in Bloomberg's CV makes you think "this is a man with the potential to be a great president?" I mean, if your reasons are going to be dispositive, they really ought to be backed up with some sort of evidence, right?
Second, he stands a much better chance of beating Donald Trump than anyone in the current Democratic field
Okay, Bret. Sure. No one in the current field has as good a chance of winning as a billionaire businessman and former mayor of New York whose name recognition outside of the bubble is practically nil, who has zero charisma and is known to most people, if he is known at all, as the guy who banned large sodas! Oh, yeah. Landslide, here we come!
How popular is Micheal Bloomberg? Well,I'm glad I pretended that you asked! According to YouGov:
Yep, no other democrat has as good a chance of beating Trump! Well, other than 29 of them, I guess.
And those favorability ratings? Is "boffo" still an expression?
The main question is whether Democrats are inclined to allow the former New York City mayor to save them from themselves.
Oh, fuck you, Bret! This is more of the "oh no, Democrats, don't nominate a progressive" bullshit that the right trots out every four years and pretends is honest advice. No one's buying it anymore.
Until last week, the conventional wisdom was that they weren’t so inclined. Then came that New York Times Upshot/Siena College poll showing Trump competitive with, or ahead of, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in the six battleground states that will likely decide the 2020 electio
Oh a poll? There was A poll that shows Trump is "competitive with" Warren, Sanders and/or Biden? There's one poll that says that? That he is "competitive with or ahead of" a centrist, a liberal and a progressive candidate? Well, obviously, the answer is to nominate an even more centrist Democrat, one who was a Republican until yesterday. That's just basic logic. And of course, we should ignore all the polls that indicate otherwise, because the only reliable polls are the ones that reinforce whatever is considered the current conventional wisdom of the punditry class.
If Trump is this strong now, in the midst of his impeachment woes and all the general distaste for him, where is he going to be in 11 months in a contest against opponents with nicknames like “Sleepy Joe,” “Crazy Bernie,” or “Uber Left Elizabeth Warren”?
Oh my God. Where to even begin with this sentence?
First of all, Trump's popularity is never going to change much. He will always have his 35-40% base of white supremacists and conspiracy theorists, no matter whether he's being impeached or not, plus the scumbags who know that he's dangerously incompetent and monstrously unsuited to the presidency but support him anyway because they want more tax cuts and theocratic judges. He's not losing any of them and he's not gaining any new voters.
Second, where the hell are you getting "uber-left Elizabeth Warren?" Trump has a nickname for Warren. He calls her "Pocahantos." Everyone knows that. And no one other than his drooling knuckle-dragging q-anon believing base is impressed with his stupid juvenile habit of assigning nicknames to people he doesn't like.
And third, do you really think he won't have a nickname for Mike Bloomberg? You don't think he'll call him "Little Mike" or Mike the Midget" or "Jewy Mike?" The nicknames are irrelevant. You really think that being referred to by a dumb nickname is some sort of impediment to election? That's just stupid.
This was no doubt the thought that induced Bloomberg to hurriedly dispatch staffers to Alabama to file primary paperwork in time for its Nov. 8 deadline.
I guarantee you it was not. Bloomberg didn't get to where he is by being stupid. There is not a chance in Hell that the thought that motivated him to throw his hat into the ring was "I can win because Cheeto Mussolini hasn't come up with a stupid nickname for me and I don't think he'll be able to!"
The case against a Bloomberg candidacy is that he can’t possibly win the nomination when so many Democratic primary voters want to cancel billionaires, soak the rich, and relitigate the crime-fighting strategies that defined his 12-year tenure as mayor.
Yes. True. Also, he couldn't possibly win in the general because the entire country, other than the aforementioned racist pizzagate-believing troglodyte Trump base is sick of fucking billionaires who think they should be running everything. Even the peoplke who voted for Trump did so in large part because they somehow inexplicably believed that he was going to be the champion of the common man who would stand up to the "elites." How they came to believe this about a man with a gold-plated toilet in his Manhattan penthouse is a subject for another conversation about the 40-some-odd-year program of brainwashing and enstupiding of the American electorate by right-wing assholes.
But the case for a Bloomberg candidacy is stronger and infinitely simpler: In a field divided between politically feeble centrists, unelectable progressives, and one talented but awfully young small-city mayor, he … can … win.
No. . .He. . .Can't.
There's that "unelectable" bullshit again. Why are progressives supposedly "unelectable?" Look at this poll from the conservative business network CNBC:
Or check out this article from The Hill:
70 percent of Americans support 'Medicare for all' proposal
Seventy percent said they supported providing "Medicare for all," also known as single-payer health care, for Americans, according to a new American Barometer survey.
The results mirrored a Reuters-Ipsos poll released in August, which also found that 70 percent of Americans supported "Medicare for all."
Or this from VOX:
Poll: the Green New Deal is popular in swing House districts
So why would candidates who champion these very popular policies be considered "unelectable?' It's bullshit. Bret Stephens is a conservative. He is also rich. I don't know how rich, but I know the New York Times pays its bullshit providers pretty handsomely. Obviously he sees progressive candidates as his enemies. And he expects that the electorate will share this view because he can't conceive of a majority of voters wanting things that he finds frightening.
You want to see what Bret does consider "electable?" You want to see his reasoning for whyt Bloomberg is the best choice? Check this shit out:
he … can … win.Yeah, he's super rich, so he can throw a bunch of money into a campaign. So was Steve Forbes. And Herman Cain. And Carly Fiorina. And Tom Steyer who is already running in the Democratic primary and has already thrown some $50 million of his own dollars down the drain and is polling at like two percent. I get you need money to run a campaign, but which Republican candidate had the biggest war chest in 2016? Remember? Mr. "please clap" himsel, Jeb Bush. How did he do, again? Must've done awfully well, right? Since he had so much money.
How so?Because his money instantly neutralizes the Trump campaign’s formidable fund-raising advantage, which as of last month had twice as much cash on hand as the Obama campaign did at the same stage of his re-election campaign.
Because he also neutralizes Trump’s strongest re-election argument, which is that “whether you love me or hate me, you’ve got to vote for me.”
That's not the argument Il Douche is running on. He's running on Keep America Great Again, or some such stupid twist on his 2008 slogan. Trump will never acknowledge that he is hated. And even if he did, how does Bloomberg "neutralize that argument?"
The right’s charge-sheet against today’s Democrats is that they hate capitalism, hate Israel, hate the cops, think of America as a land of iniquity, and never met a tax or regulation they didn’t love. Against Bloomberg it all falls flat.
Sure it does, Bret!
Just like nominating John Kerry, a decorated war hero, made it impossible for Republicans to paint the Dem nominee as "soft on terror" or whatever. Yeah, it's not like they didn't immediately attack his record of military service!
The GOP attack plan is always the same. The Democratic candidate is " a far-left, God-hating, America-trashing, Happy-Holidays-saying terrorist-sympathizing, criminal coddling pinko commie weakling." For Barack Obama, they were able to add a bunch of racist shit, too, but it's pretty much the same no matter who the nominee is. You think they waon't go after Bloomberg as a "socialist?" I'm old enough to remember when centrist "triangulator" Bill Clinton was president and there were bumper stickers with the word "Clinton" on them with a hammer and sickle as the C. And they have gotten a whole hell of a lot crazier and shittier since then.
So they will have no problem accusing Bloomberg of being a tax-and-spend liberal who wants to regulate every aspect of your life right down to what size soda you're allowed to drink. They won't have any problem finding some FOX-addled former New York cops to trot out on stage claiming that Bloomberg was anti-police. Honestly, would you even be all that shocked if they called him anti-Semitic? Or claimed that he had more loyalty to Israel than to America? Or both? I mean, they had no problem saying that Barack Obama was both a communist and a fascist, both a "secret Muslim" and a follower of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. They don't give a shit. They'll throw everything at the wall knowing that something will stick.
TRying to nominate a candidate based on "electability" is a sucker's game. You know who was "electable?" Had a great resume', was well-spoken, always the smartest one in the room? Hillary Rodham Clinton. How did that work out? And you could say the same about Joihn Kerry. And Al Gore.
You know who seemed "unelectable?" A skinny young black man from Chicago with a weird Muslimy-sounding name and a paper-thin resume. But he offered us Hope and Change and he electrified crowds. And he got himself elected. Twice.
No one is "electable" or "non-electable." If "unelectability were a thing, Donald Trump would be the poster boy for it. Completely unqualified, no relevant experience, stupid as hell, brags about committing sexual assaults, been a fraud and a con-man his entire adult life. If anyone was "unelectable," it was that guy.
The idea of :"electability" is the kind of thinking that brought us New Coke. If you're under 40, New Coke was a thing that Coca-Cola came out with. A new recipe to replace the classic Coca-Cola we all knew and loved. And the idea was to make it taste more like Pepsi. Why? Well, Coke had always been number one. Always. But, it saw that Pepsi was starting to catch up. So they decided to "triangulate." They had the idea that if they made their cola a bit sweeter, they could keep all the regular Coke fans while peeling off some of Pepsi's customers. New Coke was born and was probably the biggest flop any successful company has ever produced. There were protests in the streets. (we had weird priorities in the 1980s. We were truly the worst generation.) Seriously, check it out: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Tz-47sI-AYM
Anyway, the point is that Coke probably didn't gain any Pepsi drinkers, but they sure a shell lost a lot of their previously-loyal customers. It's like Harry Truman once said. If you give the people a choice between a Republican and a Democrat who acts like a Republican, they'll go with the real thing every time.
So no, Bret, we aren't going to nominate Bloomberg. We aren't going to make our Coke party taste more like the Pepsi party. Because trying to play the "electability" game is a fool's errand. And it never ends well.