by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Though he may not yet be inevitable, we’ve reached the point where it will be hard for establishment Democrats to stop him without inflicting a great cost on their eventual nominee. …
… Here’s the problem that any other Democrat faces at this point. In 2016, a number of embittered Sanders voters refused to vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election, which came down to tight races in a few key states. That was during an election in which Clinton went into the convention with a clear majority of delegates. If a subset of Sanders fans thought he was robbed four years ago, how will they react if he gets to the convention in July with the most delegates and loses the nomination as a result of deal-making among other campaigns and party insiders?
The only way to avoid that outcome at this point would seem to be either have all other candidates drop out and unite around one of the more center-left Democrats, such as Joe Biden — which is very difficult to see happening in the next week and a half, especially with billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s entire strategy based around hundreds of millions in ad buys in Super Tuesday states. Or, alternatively, have Bloomberg unload a blizzard of negative ads targeting Sanders — a strategy outlined by former Jeb Bush communications director Tim Miller. But if a billionaire managed to nuke Sanders successfully with ad spending, it would anger Sanders’s supporters just as much if not more than him losing due to convention shenanigans.