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Will Democrat ‘Super Delegates’ Save Gaffe-A-Minute Biden?

Biden Slips in Polls
The Democratic Party’s primary field continues to be dominated by the much-maligned “old White people” in the persons of former Vice President Joe Biden (age 76), Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (age 77) and Far Left Progressive Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (age 70).

But Biden’s gaffe-prone campaign appearances are costing him support in the crucial early primary state of Iowa.

And the major beneficiary seems to be Senator Elizabeth Warren.

According to a recent (August 15) Change Research poll, the Iowa Democratic Primary now stacks up as:

Warren 28% (+9)

Sanders 17% (+8)

Biden 17% (-9)

Buttigieg 13% (+5)

Harris 8% (-3)

Just a week earlier, the Monmouth University poll stacked up the race in Iowa this way:

Biden 28%

Warren 19%

Harris 11%

Sanders 9%

Buttigieg 8%

Spence Rogers of Go Right Strategies compared the results of the Change Research poll to the August 8 Monmouth University Iowa poll to arrive at the gain/loss numbers above and then looked at the candidates’ cash on hand at the end of the last quarter.

Bernie Sanders: $27,269,049.56

Pete Buttigieg: $22,668,871.95

Elizabeth Warren: $19,781,162.48

Kamala Harris: $13,272,360.17

Joe Biden: $10,897,066.96

After looking at the poll numbers and the fundraising results, Mr. Rogers concluded, “I don't think with that amount of cash and dropping poll numbers, there is any way Biden wins Iowa. I also don't think he beats Warren and Bernie in New Hampshire. The only state Biden has a chance is South Carolina (where he is still polling pretty high), but he will be out of money by then unless he gets a new fundraising team.”

However, says Rogers, with so much cash on hand South Bend Pete Buttigieg is still a contender is Iowa: “If Pete wins in Iowa (which is a possible scenario), we could have a 3 way Democrat race between Pete, Bernie, and Warren. Pete definitely places in the top 3 in Iowa, especially with that strong of a cash position.”

In Rogers’ analysis, if Buttigieg doesn't win in Iowa, then it will most likely be Bernie vs. Warren all the way through. A repeat of Hillary vs. Bernie. But this time, says Rogers, Bernie already has the donors and the volunteers in his database and the Bernie people will be more ruthless.

If the Democratic primaries play out as suggested above, then Rogers says it will come down to how the Democratic Party’s “super delegates” vote, and in his analysis, they will probably vote for Elizabeth Warren over Bernie Sanders.

The origin of the Democratic Party’s “super delegate” system has its roots in two blow-out defeats for the Democrats: Richard Nixon’s 1972 defeat of Senator George McGovern and Ronald Reagan’s 1980 defeat of President Jimmy Carter.

After their 1980 loss Democrats “reformed” the delegate selection process to include “superdelegates” who would be party leaders and elected Democrats who would come to the 1984 convention untethered to any candidate. According to WETA Washington Week Fellow Joan Greve, Democratic Party leaders believed that these superdelegates, perceived as more moderate and more politically seasoned than pledged delegates, would provide a counterweight to more "insurgent" forces.

That was most certainly the case in 2016 when the influence of the Democratic Party’s “super delegates” arguably cost Bernie Sanders the nomination in 2016.

According to Ms. Greve’s research, in 2016 712 superdelegates made up about 15 percent of the total Democratic delegation, or a third of the 2,383 delegates needed to secure the nomination.

Sanders' campaign raised early protestations to the superdelegate system when some 400 had already pledged their votes to Hillary Clinton months before a single vote was cast.

Which brings us back to the fading prospects of “Sleepy Joe” Biden.

Senator Warren has no lock on the “super delegates” -- far from it. If Biden’s campaign is to be re-energized, or perhaps a Lazarus-like reanimation would be a more accurate description of what the Biden campaign needs, then the influence of the Democratic Party’s “super delegates” must be brought to bear on the former VP’s behalf.

A significant group of “super delegates” coming out for Biden would signal donors that the seasoned Democratic Party elders have confidence in Biden’s ability to take on President Trump, and that would help him close the fundraising gap.

However, after the grassroots outrage caused by the revelation that former Democratic National Committee leaders Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Donna Brazile (and perhaps others) bent the process or just plain cheated to help Hillary Clinton, any overt acts against Bernie Sanders might lead to an irreparable split in the Democratic Party.

Absent such an effort by the Democrats’ party leaders to tilt the nomination to Biden, it is difficult to argue with Spence Rogers’ conclusion that Biden is fading and the race is moving toward an Elizabeth Warren vs. Bernie Sanders marathon.

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