- - Tuesday, March 12, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

By the most recent count, there are at least 19 Democrats who have either announced they intend to run for president of the United States or have put all the pieces in place and are likely to make that announcement in the coming weeks. Each tries to spin the media to demonstrate why they are the likely to win the nomination.

How then does the average person tell who has an actual shot at the nomination and who is just angling for a future cabinet position or gig on cable news? More importantly, does the average bear care nearly two years before the Presidential election? Some do and for them what follows is a brief summary of several of the top Democratic candidates, why they do or don’t have a shot and my prediction for who the nominee will eventually turn out to be.

The Losers:

Beto O’Rourke lost a Senate run in Texas. Stacey Abrams lost a gubernatorial bid in Georgia. Andrew Gillum lost the Florida governor’s race. All three are young. All three have been fawned over by the mainstream media as the future of the Democrat Party. All three have shown ambition. Most importantly, all three lost. The losing streak is highly unlikely to end with a victory in a bid for the presidency of the United States. A White House run would raise each of their profiles nationwide, but in the case of O’Rourke at least, the “F” bomb dropping former congressman is likely to find the more people see and hear him, the less they like him. None of the three will be the nominee.

The Pretenders:



There is no shortage of U.S. senators hoping to move to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Among them are Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Cory Booker (N.J.). Each suffers from a lack of what marketers and campaign officials refer to as authenticity. When Hillary Clinton secured the nomination in 2016, after more than 30 years in the  ublic eye, she still commissioned focus groups to determine her stand on select issues and how she should act. That inability to be her true self was an essential part of her loss.

Sen. Gillibrand said during a debate for her Senate re-election bid that she would serve out her six-year term if she won. But just two days after the election on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” she hedged on that and has since made it clear she intends to run. Thats hardly her only flip flop. She has done a U-turn on gun rights, immigration, LGBT issues and after seeking the support of Bill and Hillary Clinton in her first Senate run, famously betrayed them when the #MeToo movement became the flavor du jour. Her inability to take a stand won’t withstand public scrutiny.

To the casual observer, Sen. ooker has all the pieces necessary for a successful run. A closer look shows an amateur trying too hard. During the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings Booker apparently thought it was his moment to steal the spotlight and shine. His poorly choreographed Spartacus moment instead became the stuff Saturday Night Live skits are made of and his presidential intention announcement in front of a chain link fence showed a distinct lack of understanding of the importance of theater in politics.

Senator Warren is the darling of corporate haters everywhere. In the world of Warren, big business is bad and somehow equates to the little guy being hurt. Never mind the simple lessons of Economics 101 where when a business thrives, it expands, hiring more people, increasing wages and boosting the economy. Elizabeth Warren is hell bent on penalizing success. Her “look at me I’m just like you drinking a beer” social media announcement had the opposite of the intended effect, showing her to be stiff and unnatural. Combine that with the now well-known fact that she isn’t actually American Indian despite paving her own road to success by claiming to be a minority and Elizabeth Warren is an also ran.

The Old White Men

The Democrats have assembled an amazing coalition of minority voters and women voters in great part by demonizing the white male. White privilege, white fear, you name it and they’ve used it. It is no small irony then that the two leading candidates in virtually every poll of potential Democratic nominees are former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders (VT). In the latest national poll Biden drew 27 percent, Sanders 25 percent. No other Democrat was in double digits. Biden, if elected, would be 78 years old when sworn in. Sanders would be 79. Undeniably old. Both are white and assuming they’ve not reconsidered their recognized gender, both are male. Both are the exact opposite of what their party is seeking and yet between the two of them, a majority of Democrats polled prefer one of them. A paradox for sure.

If Sanders were actually to become the nominee he would prove to be his party’s Barry Goldwater (1964) going down to flaming defeat and causing a complete rebrand of his party.

What about them?

On the surface Senator Kamala Harris has everything the party wants. She is downright youthful at age 54, dynamic, well spoken and clearly provides a bridge to women and minorities. Her track record is sufficiently short so as to provide very little to argue about (the Obama approach). She has however, made several early missteps. She got big media for bragging about smoking pot in college but apparently fudged the details. She endorsed the Green New Deal but backtracked a tad when asked about universal income for those unwilling to work. Even on a mainstream issue like healthcare, she said it is time to get rid of insurance companies. In short, she has shown an amazing lack of discipline.

If Harris can harness the strengths and ditch the free wheeling style that has her endorsing crazy ideas, she has a shot. We’ve not heard the last of the open extra-marital affair she had with then San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown but with the story getting attention so early she may be inoculated against it doing any real damage in the general election. If you want legal pot, legal prostitution and health insurance companies to be banned, the junior Senator from California is your candidate.

Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota has gotten off to a rocky start with ex-staffers claiming she was rude and downright mean to them. Complaints that she interfered with staff efforts to get other jobs don’t play well either. Klobuchar isn’t exactly a household name and if her first impression on much of America is that of a callous, overbearing boss, don’t expect her to get much traction.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii is an interesting underdog in the Democrat potpourri of candidates. She came to Washington in 2013 at age 31. She got involved in the DNC and by the beginning of the 2016 Presidential cycle had become Vice Chairwoman. She left the DNC in the midst of that campaign however, claiming the organization had not been an unbiased party in the race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. As it turned out she was right and the fix had been in for Hillary. Her decision did not endear her to the party apparatus however and her candidacy is a long shot at best.

Taking all of the above into consideration, who then will be the nominee when the primaries are done and the dust has settled? Brace yourself because I have the answer.

In early 2006 Barack Obama pledged to serve out his six year term in the United States Senate and very specifically said he would not run for President or Vice President in 2008. Despite that pledge we know that Obama did enter the race, overwhelmed fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton and swept to victory in November of 2008.

Fast forward to April of 2018. Michelle Obama when asked, said publicly and very forcefully that she had no interest in running for President in 2020. Like her husband she managed to compliment herself mightily in the process “Just because I gave a good speech, I’m smart and intelligent doesn’t mean I should be the next President.”

Michelle Obama’s book has been an overwhelmingly successful best seller. She is currently on tour all over North America, selling thousands of tickets like a rock star at every stop to “A Conversation with Michelle Obama.” According to Gallup polling Obama is currently the most admired woman in America. Is it possible then, that she will follow her husband’s blueprint by ditching her commitment not to run?

Absolutely.

While Biden and Sanders are at the top of the polls right now, it is due in large part to name recognition. They have their constituencies but are unlikely to electrify the base of their party. No one else is cracking double digits. It is completely plausible that no clear front runner will have emerged by the fourth quarter this year. Enter Michelle Obama in a completely unexpected announcement. The big splash will rocket her to the top of the polls. The wave will capsize the campaigns of at least eight low polling candidates. The media will fawn over her shamelessly. Donald Trump will say unflattering things about her.

Because her announcement will come late in the calendar year, she will have to make very few 2019 public appearances and instead ride the holiday wave of excitement and goodwill into the new year. In the first days of 2020 she’ll announce plans to engage the American public and she will make selective appearances in non-traditional media outlets, thus avoiding taking any real policy positions. The Obamas know the key to victory is to play heavy on optimism and avoid hard and fast positions at all cost.

Michelle Obama will be declared the winner of the pre-Iowa nationally televised debate based primarily on her charm and breeze to victory. At that point another three or four candidates, short on cash and emotionally broken by the Obama magic will drop out of the race. At least two will endorse Obama. Sanders will put up a fight in New Hampshire but South Carolina and beyond will go to Mrs. Obama. She will run the table and set up a summer/fall showdown with President Trump (who will have beaten Ohio’s John Kasich for the GOP nomination).

There you have it. The 2020 Democrat nominee for President of the United States will be Michelle Obama. Doubt it at your own peril.

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