Today’s Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
Has Pete Buttigieg found the fairway for getting to the Democrat 2020 nomination? – It’s beginning to look as if he might just have stumbled into it. Or a better way to say might be that he has, to borrow a Clintonian term, ‘triangulated’ his way into it.
With new polls showing Preacher Pete, the middling mayor of a mid-size, racially-torn city in the mid-size mid-western state of Indiana, suddenly jumping out to strong leads in polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire, it has become time to take the 37 year-old seriously. Readers will remember that, way back in March I predicted that Buttigieg would become one of two media-created “rising stars” in the Democrat field, with the other being Andrew Yang. Ok, so far I’m just one for two, but there’s still time for Yang and his blatant $1,000 per month effort to outright buy votes to catch fire at some point.
The interesting thing about Preacher Pete is that he has wiggled his way up to the top of the field in the first two caucus/primary states by channeling Bill Clinton and his 1992 campaign strategy of being all things to all people. While Elizabeth Warren has been out there going as far to the left as Fidel Castro in order to steal the Party’s very sizable communist vote away The Commie, and Joe Biden has been focusing on securing the African American vote by telling South Carolinians that Republicans really just want to go back to Jim Crow laws that Democrats in fact created and getting the senior citizen vote with the 1968 tactic of claiming marijuana is a “gateway drug,” Buttigieg has managed to thread his way right in between them to capture the Party’s “middle.”
Just as Bill Clinton understood 27 years ago, Preacher Pete understands that, in the Democrat voter base, a “moderate” is someone who really favors all of the radical leftist nostrums that have utterly failed an murdered hundreds of millions of human beings over the last century, but wants to be able to pretend to their non-crazy friends that they’re really just “open-minded.” These people want a candidate who is radical but doesn’t look or sound radical.
That’s what Bill Clinton delivered to them in 1992 and what Barack Obama gave them in 2008: a radical leftist who’s going to nationalize healthcare and destroy the economy with a raft of Soviet-style command-and-control regulations over the “environment” and pretty much every other facet of our lives, but who looks and sounds like just a guy who you’d like to have a drink with at the local bar or, as in Preacher Pete’s case, the harmless Jehovah’s Witness who knocks on your door and wants to talk to you about his vision of what God actually is.
Preacher Pete is delivering all of that, right down to the starched white shirt and black pants uniform and scripture-quoting (and often mis-quoting) of your local missionary. When radical leftism is packaged like this, you hardly notice how radical it all really is until it’s too late and the harmless missionary is implementing a $2500 penalty on you for not signing up with the medical non-coverage mandated by the bill he just signed into law.
This Clintonian triangulation approach of adopting pretty much all of his opponents’ most radical ideas, but doing so with the demeanor and talking points of moderation has suddenly landed Preacher Pete with a 9-point lead in the new Des Moines Register poll in Iowa, and a whopping 10 point lead in a new St. Anselm poll in New Hampshire. Yes, these are just single polls in each state, but every other poll taken recently in these two crucial kickoff contests have shown Buttigieg’s fortunes rapidly rising.
Supporters of Quid Pro Joe point to their guy’s leads in South Carolina and Nevada, the next two states that will be contested before Super Tuesday rolls around, but history is filled with the rotting carcasses of presidential candidates who thought they could lose Iowa and New Hampshire and then build firewalls around later states and still be the nominee. Reality dictates that if any candidate can win both Iowa and New Hampshire, they will immediately become the odds-on favorite to be the nominee as the momentum from those victories carries over into other states.
Just as in the game of football, momentum is a very real factor in presidential politics. Right now, Preacher Pete, through his strategy of channeling the 1992 version of Bill Clinton, definitely has it. Whether or not it can last is anyone’s guess, but he is proving to be a very formidable presence in this race.
That is all.
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