In the Democratic presidential debate Wednesday in Las Vegas, Michael Bloomberg the candidate badly underperformed Michael Bloomberg the brilliant campaign architect.
Architect will insulate candidate this time, preserving the hopes of many center-right Democrats that he can prevail over front runner Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), an ardent socialist whom they consider unelectable.
Before the debate, Bloomberg the campaign
architect had maneuvered Bloomberg the candidate into third place in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls. Most likely, former Vice President Joe Biden’s epic collapse will soon leave Bloomberg in second place behind Sanders, setting up the showdown that is the predicate of Bloomberg’s candidacy.
Not being on the ballot guaranteed Bloomberg’s survival post-Iowa and post-New Hampshire, and it insulates him from paying the normal price, in Nevada and South Carolina, for his dismal debate performance in Las Vegas.
There’s no such safety net for the other candidates, who failed to carry out their necessary debate mission — namely, to slow a surging Sanders. Instead, they attacked Bloomberg and each other in a badly moderated food fight. For former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), this was a missed opportunity to revive themselves following disastrous finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.
So, unless pre-publication polling is totally wrong, Sanders will win resoundingly Saturday in Nevada’s caucuses. A big Sanders victory means yet another defeat, and perhaps a fatal one, for each of the other candidates. That includes Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Ind., for whom it would create a serious loss of momentum going into South Carolina where his lack of black support is sure to be fatal.