“It Ain’t Over, ‘til it’s Almost Over!” Sunday Political Brunch - March 15, 2020


CHARLESTON, W. Va. – It’s been quite a week in the world of politics as the coronavirus scare has now greatly overshadowed everything in the universe, including the presidential primary season. But we may be headed toward some sort of closure, so let’s “brunch” on that this week.

“A Fish Out of Water”- Let me apologize in advance for even broaching the idea of political strategy this week. We’re in a worldwide crisis - and suddenly - petty political differences seem small. On the other hand, we’re trying to pick the best people to lead when we get into an emergency such as this, so trying to vet who might handle it best is just human nature. There’s no such thing as a Democratic or Republican coronavirus. What matters is that we get the solution right.

“The Voices of ‘Junior’ Tuesday” – It was a week of six primaries – certainly not the magnitude of last week’s Super Tuesday, but it is still consequential. I mean, you had Michigan, Missouri and Washington voting, three states of considerable influence. But Joe Biden carried all three states, plus Mississippi and Idaho. North Dakota was Sander’s lone win.

“Looking Forward” – This coming Tuesday could be the beginning of the end. You have four of the nation’s most populous states castings ballots: Illinois, Florida, Ohio and Arizona. If Biden makes a clean sweep, or even takes three of four, his nomination is inevitable. Sanders really must win two, to call it a draw and move on.

“Delegate Counts Matter” – Before we get to this coming Tuesday, here are the delegate numbers so far: Biden 887. Sanders 731, Elizabeth Warren 71, Michael Bloomberg 61. The magic number needed for the nomination is 1,991. If Sanders can at least keep pace on Tuesday, he stays in the race.

“What’s Trending?” – Here are the latest Real Clear Politics composite polls for Tuesday’s key states: Florida – Biden 65 percent to Sanders 23 percent; Arizona – Biden 48 percent to Sanders 26 percent; Ohio – Biden 57 percent to Sanders 35 percent; Illinois – Biden 60 percent to Sanders 32 percent. Look, it’s getting to be a tougher road for Sanders.

“Sealing the Deal?” – I have pondered this for months, how a frontrunner might seal the deal not just for the nomination, but for the general election in November. The traditional focus has been on naming the vice-presidential running mate, but what about naming the whole team? Biden, for example, could make a huge statement by naming Amy Klobuchar as his VP, but then going on naming Kamala Harris as his Attorney General designee, Pete Buttigieg as his HUD Secretary, Jay Inslee as Secretary of Energy, and John Hickenlooper as Interior Secretary. You can imagine all kinds of names. Why wait until November, when you could assemble a cabinet now?

“Coronavirus Implications” – Louisiana has already cancelled its upcoming primary due to coronavirus concerns. Who’s next? Suddenly, the primary season is taking a back seat to a real health crisis. You must wonder if it may affect – or cancel – this summer’s national political nominating conventions in Milwaukee and Charlotte.

“The Politics of Crisis” – Any politician can appear strong when the economy is humming, and the “trains are running on time.” But, the real measure of leadership is how you handle a crisis. Timing matters, too. Had Hurricane Katrina happened in September 2004, President George W. Bush might have been trounced at the ballot box. But the storm hit in 2005, and he was already secure in his second term. If President Trump appears to handle this emergency well, he’s on a possible glide path for reelection. If he falters, he’s toast. In politics, timing is critical and decisive.

Who are you supporting for the Democratic nomination for President? Has your choice changed in recent days? Click the comment button and let us know!

Mark Curtis, Ed.D., is Chief Political Reporter for the five Nexstar Media TV stations serving West Virginia, its five neighboring states and most of the Washington, D.C. media market. He is a National Contributing Political Writer for the White House Patch, at www.Patch.com.

© 2020, Mark Curtis Media, LLC.

Photo courtesy: Getty Images

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