I guess the appropriate category for this one is – now they tell us!
“The Primaries Are Just Dumb” shouts the headline judgment of the New York Times editorial board on the race for the Democratic Party’ s nomination for president.
What has this panel of august journalistic professional sounding like an 8-year-old about the sweep all the pieces off a chess, checker or Monopoly board? The usual reason: the “dumb” game has gone against them.
The “stupidness” that provoked the Times editorial was the debate, which like the recording of this program, preceded the South Carolina Primary. That made-for-TV talk-show “often descended into an unintelligible screaming match,” according to the Times editorial board, while their colleagues on the news side reported, “The forum plunged repeatedly into an unsightly spectacle of flailing hands and raised voices, and even outright chaos.”
At this point, a comparison – not made in either article – might be worth keeping in mind: this chaotic and ill-mannered, undignified yammering of Democrats versus the focused, hate-filled, often physically menacing spew loosed on reporters (including some from the NY Times) at rallies for President Trump, sometimes led by the man himself.
But the real focus of the Times’ editorial disappointment isn’t the pettiness of the complaints and foolishness of the behavior of the un-supporting cast of Everybody Hates Bernie, it’s that the debate was cluttered with too many of these petty fools. Some of them, says the Times, should drop out so that one of them can become anointed, or to put it in their words, “to clarify the choice and ensure that a consensus nominee can emerge.”
The key question about a consensus is who forms it. The clear consensus of the Times and the people it consults or claims to represent and all the other candidates is that Bernie Sanders should not be the nominee because he can’t beat Donald Trump.
On the other hand, there is a clear consensus among Sanders and all his opponents except Michael Bloomberg that the billionaire former NYC Mayor should not be able to “buy the nomination.”
My guess is there would be a clear consensus on the Times editorial board in favor of this principle – elections are not for sale—but not on whether, in this time of Trump Crisis, the standard should be applied to “Mayor Mike.”
But – and this is my main point – there is strong evidence that Democratic Party voters in 2020, like Republican voters in 2016, specifically reject the politicians and the politics driven by the consensus of the last 40 years. Voters feel, not confirmed or represented, but betrayed by the political consensus accepted by established party professionals and conventional media and academic pundits.
In Nevada, the three “moderates” fighting for the consensus candidate crown, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar drew a combined 38% support … in more recent national surveys the trio gathers a total of 33% support.
Dividing three slices out of just a third of a pie is not fun at the pizzeria, and less fun at this stage of a presidential campaign. If individual tallies don’t go up, “no hope” candidates like Steyer, Klobuchar, Buttigieg and even Warren may be hard-pressed to continue past today’s Super Tuesday vote. Not that “clarifying the choices” will mean voters will be more inclined to choose the Times’ “consensus” way.
John Zogby, founder of the “Zogby Poll” and the Zogby companies, is an internationally respected pollster, opinion leader and best-selling author. He has joined with his sons Benjamin and Jeremy in a new company called John Zogby Strategies, a strategic visioning firm specializing in preparing companies and agencies for the coming wave of dynamic changes. Zogby is also the inaugural Director of the Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship at his alma mater, Le Moyne College. He also has a podcast The Zogby Report: Real and Unscripted
His newest book, published in 2016, is entitled We Are Many, We Are One: Neo-Tribes and Tribal Analytics in 21st Century America, is an exploration of the American people from the vantage point of their attributes and values, not demographics or geography. Zogby writes weekly columns on Forbes.com and contributes a weekly Trump report card to The Washington Examiner’s Washington Secrets, by Paul Bedard. He is also a founding contributor to The Huffington Post. His analytical expertise has also been published on the opinion pages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times.