What if Michael Bloomberg's attempt to buy the Democrats' presidential nomination doesn't work, in spite of the billion dollars or so that he's spending? And worse for him, what if Bernie Sanders goes all the way and is the party's selection? Would Bloomberg endorse Sanders? Could he possibly?
He can't really back Bernie with a straight face. Sanders is way too far to the left ... even though Bloomberg is really good at keeping a straight face. He's not in the Vladimir Putin straight face category, but a smiling Joe Biden glad-hander he's not. He does have a little bit of Biden's gift of gaffe though, as he demonstrated in the South Carolina riot masquerading as a debate when he talked about how he had plowed so much money into electing a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.
"They talk about 40 Democrats. Twenty-one of those are people that I spent a hundred million dollars to help elect. All of the new Democrats that came in and put Nancy Pelosi in charge and gave the Congress the ability to control this president, I bought -- I, I got them."
You gotta give Bloomberg credit; he's fast on his feet, quickly realizing that "bought" is not a word he should use, considering how so many are accusing him of trying to purchase the Democratic presidential nomination.
But he wasn't that fast, and the Twittersphere went bonkers, particularly because when he was going through his GOP phase, he was showering campaign contributions on Republicans, like Lindsey Graham, as Elizabeth Warren was only too happy to point out.
He can't go back to being a Republican, unless he's willing to stomach Donald Trump, which would seem to be like his voluntarily taking ipecac. And for those who don't know, ipecac makes you barf.
Of course, Lloyd Blankfein, former head of Goldman Sachs -- but a Democrat, for some reason -- told Financial Times that if the party goes with the "Bern," "I might find it harder to vote for Bernie than for Trump." Sanders is far too radical a socialist for a radical capitalist like Lloyd Blankfein. Is it possible Bloomberg would follow Blankfein out the Dem door?
Would they stay home, counting their money? That's a real overall problem for the Democrats, rich or not. Whether it's Bernie or one of the more centrist lot who somehow survives the free-for-all and claims the big prize at the top of the ticket, millions of voters who would normally cast their ballots against Donald Trump will be antagonized and simply show their antagonism by not showing up on Election Day.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump will have no trouble whipping his followers into a MAGA-hat-wearing frenzy. All he will have to say is "immigrant" or "guns" or "fake news," and he'll get all the turnout he needs. Besides, if it's Sanders, he can scream "commie" or some such, and his followers will trip all over themselves to come out in droves.
Put House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the stoic department, telling reporters, "I think whoever our nominee is, we will enthusiastically embrace, and we will win the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives." What else would she say? "We're doomed"?
Of course, a lot can happen between now and July, when the party gathers for its quadrennial food fight, also known as the nominating convention in Milwaukee. It's always possible that Bloomberg's strategy of covering any embarrassments or failures with TV ads -- putting lipstick on a pig, in other words -- will work. Or that Uncle Joe will ultimately carry the day. Or even somebody else.
We can be sure of the Republican nominee. The question is turnout. Will the Democrats turn out in far greater numbers than the Trumpsters? Or will they be too demoralized and just stay home?
(c) 2020 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.