The process of election primaries should be similar to athletes competing to go the Olympics. The athletes compete at the state level and then national level and eventually the winners go to represent their country in the Olympics. Each country wants their best athletes to represent them and hopefully win, this process ensures they get the best. Each political party wants their best most qualified candidates to be selected.

With the primaries, candidates present their views and let voters assess their personalities, skills, electability, accomplishments, and past choices. Hopefully big money and powerful interests don’t interfere with the process. If all goes well, we end up finding out who the best individual candidate is. The Party goes into the general election with the candidate most able to win.

When Pete, Amy, and Beto began actively campaigning for Biden the day before Super Tuesday, this setup a situation where Bernie Sanders was competing against the combined forces of multiple candidates united with Biden. So, it appeared to be a competition between Biden and Bernie, but it wasn’t a fair competition. Progressives were split. Moderates were suddenly united behind a single candidate.

Imagine if there were an Olympic qualifying event for ice skating, where some of the ice skaters dropped out of the competition and began cheering and helping one competitor while throwing rocks at the others. We wouldn’t find out who the best skater was. We’d only learn that a group of united skaters are able to push out others.

Imagine if the tables were turned and just prior to Super Tuesday, Sanders or Warren dropped out and began supporting the other. This would have allowed a united block of progressives to have a big impact and moderates would have been splintered and had a poor showing.

The strategy of almost locking in Joe Biden as the Party’s nominee early on is an effective one. It will rally voters around a single candidate and greatly increase the lead time before November for the Party to organize. The problem with this approach is that people will clearly see that a handful of power brokers determined the election outcome without allowing a natural democratic process to unfold. The remaining states that hadn’t voted in the primary will be adversely impacted because voters there will feel like their votes don’t matter and the decision has already been made.

Nobody likes to be invited to a democratic process and then be told, “Okay, now that we’ve determined the outcome you can have a chance to vote.”

In the future, Democratic Party leadership and other influencers in the Party would be better off trusting the democratic process by letting the primaries naturally unfold and letting all voters equally participate and influence the process.

Further Reading

The following excerpt is from the article “I just spent a year helping elect Joe Biden, and I didn’t know it.”

“Shock and Awe”

On 2 Mar 2020, 24 hours before Super Tuesday, Pete Buttigieg halted his own campaign and endorsed Joe Biden. He not only endorsed Biden but a few hours later was on the campaign trail with Biden giving speeches encouraging people to vote for Joe. Amy Klobuchar, another candidate I supported for similar reasons, also dropped out 24 hours before Super Tuesday and began actively campaigning for Biden in Minnesota. Beto O’Rourke held a massive event with Biden in Texas. The timing seemed like a pre-planned coordinated effort, and doing this just before Super Tuesday gave Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth warren no time to organize an equivalent Super Tuesday strategy for progressives.

The day after Super Tuesday, billionaire Michael Bloomberg ended his campaign and endorsed Biden. It was as if to say, “My work here is done” after seeing Bernie Sanders pushed out as a front runner. I was supportive of Bloomberg because he was making some good points overlooked by the other candidates. I also felt he created an important billionaire ‘firewall’ that the other candidates would need to prove themselves able to overcome, and prove they could win against the billionaire in the White House.

The following day, Elizabeth Warren ended her campaign and seemed to express some resentment toward Sanders, unwilling to endorse him. Had Warren dropped out the day before Super Tuesday, even if she didn’t endorse Bernie, it would have been a courtesy to progressives who might have wanted Bernie to do better on Super Tuesday with the support of an undivided progressive base.

The sudden and unexpected surge of support from Pete, Amy, Bloomberg, and O’Rourke along with the non-endorsement from Warren was like a 3-day non-stop political equivalent of shock and awe. A daily punch to the collective gut of progressives in general and Bernie supporters in particular.