Looking forward to nonstop surprises
It's true for politics as well as investing: Bubbles will burst. Right now, for example, the economy that seemed to be riding high has suddenly been laid low by a virus that was discovered only a couple of months ago. And in politics, if I were Joe Biden, I'd be really worried about the spreading virus of success.
Suddenly he's up, to the point that all of us are anointing him the Democratic Party nominee and writing epitaphs for the candidacy of Bernie Sanders. You remember Sanders, don't you? He's the socialist who just a week or two ago was at the top of the heap. The filthy rich were sweating buckets about their future accountability for conduct like how they game the system by bribing all the lawmakers -- excuse me, make campaign contributions -- to exempt them from paying their fair share and distribute their wealth to the rest of society.
But their panic was for naught. They should have known that the Bern would be burned, come tumbling down from his perch, a victim of the political law of gravity. And sure enough, he did fall to Earth. Meanwhile, Joe Biden, who the pundit herds had counted out, seemed to score a knockout punch on Super Tuesday, followed by another in Michigan and the rest of the states that came up a week later, vacuuming up nomination delegates, which is, after all, the name of this game.
So, Bernie Sanders has Joe Biden just where he wants him. Biden is now the favorite, and we all know what happens to favorites. Their former opponents who crowded the debate stage are now offstage, all of them ... left, middle of the road. More importantly, they take all the diversity that the party bragged about with them.
The women are gone, the people of color, the variety of ethnicities, sexual preferences and generations. All gone. We're left with two old white guys, both in their 70s, running as the wave of the future, post Donald Trump. Trump is also an old white guy, also in his 70s, who is currently endangering the nation with his bumbling during the coronavirus crisis. Handling cleanup is left to his vice president and presumed running mate Mike Pence, who is 60 but has always seemed like an old white guy.
Speaking of running mate, now that the Democrats' advantage seems to be Biden's, most of his former opponents are flocking to endorse him. What they are really saying is that they'd love to be No. 2. It's not as blatant as handing out their resumes, but it's close. Guaranteed that if the pendulum swung back Bernie's way, they'd immediately stumble all over themselves to run away from Joe, whispering something to Sanders like, "I always wanted you anyway."
Meanwhile, Trump is preparing nicknames for all of them, so he can ridicule "Sleepy Joe" or "Crazy Bernie" and whichever candidate ends up chosen as No. 2 at the convention.
That assumes that there is a convention, that we are not still in some sort of lockdown because of coronavirus. For now it's Biden and Sanders who must go toe to toe in their two-person debates, with no live audience ... just them and the moderators and a slew of production people. At least they're not wearing hazmat suits.
Sanders announced shortly after his latest clobbering in Michigan, etc., that he had no intention of pulling out. The fact that he had to announce that was telling in itself, but Bernie Sanders insists that a lot of Democrats share his ideas but they don't think he's the one to beat Donald Trump.
Besides, it's four months until the party convention, three and a half months until a "June surprise" engineered before the convention by disgruntled Democrats, Donald Trump's gruntled people or perhaps Vladimir Putin that could knock Biden for a loop. At that point those other candidates could stop groveling for the No. 2 spot and go for No. 1. Stranger things have happened. And are.
(c) 2020 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.