As we go to press, Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., is back.
According to the latest tally, which is a risky thing to depend on from Iowa these days, Sanders is tied in the delegate count and ahead on both the first and second ballots in the popular vote.
As Mayor Pete threatens to lead the already crowded center lane, and once-frontrunner Joe Biden prepares to explain another big loss to come in New Hampshire, Bernie is becoming a betting line favorite to capture the nomination.
So, in predictable fashion, the drumbeat to stop Bernie has begun in full roar, with party elites painting the pending predicament with the colors of Armageddon.
Is it happening again, an electoral freefall that Democrats know all too well and seen far too often?
Remember George McGovern (1972), they warn. Prepare for another Mondale (1980) or Dukakis (1988) blowout, they scream. If Bernie Sanders, the socialist-cum-(well)-socialist claims the Democrat mantle, they fear the onset of a political ice age at a time of global warming.
Yet every time the establishment sends up the red flares, Bernie backers see only blue as it fits their populist narrative that defenders of the "rigged system" have to be replaced if progress is to be made. On climate change, the minimum wage, gun and immigration reformm, as well as income and gender equality.
The end of American involvement in foreign wars.
To the chagrin of Hillary "nobody likes Bernie" Clinton, and other Party deniers, a shocking truth is begin to emerge: Bernie Sanders may be the Democrats’ best bet to challenge the president.
There are three reasons for this:
First, if Bernie Sanders captures the first three contests (now a real possibility), maintains strong numbers in Democrat strongholds from New Jersey to California, and centrists split among Biden, Bloomberg, Klobuchar and Mayor Pete, Bernie will amass more delegates than any other contender headed to the mid-July convention in Milwaukee.
Second, if Sanders is still denied the nomination in a brokered convention affected by DNC insiders monkeying with the rules, 2020 will bring back memories of another convention: Chicago 1968.
Back then Hubert Humphrey, benefitting from a deal struck between LBJ and Mayor Richard J. Daley, secured the party nomination despite massive protests and thuggish violence.
Nearly 50 years later, at the 2016 Philadelphia Convention, Sander’s agreement to endorse Hillary Clinton led to protests from Independence Hall to the Convention hall among his own. Do this again, in 2020, and the betrayal would so infuriate his supporters that the Democrat nominee would have more to fear from Bernie’s base than the president’s.
Third, among all the contenders, a Bernie Sanders-Donald Trump debate brawl would be the hottest ticket (and highest rated show) in town. It would be reality theatre at its best, a sequel to "Mad Max’s Thunderdome" where the ringmaster proclaimed, "two men enter, one man leaves."
Yes, Bernie has a philosophical bent scaring a lot of people (trillions in new spending and new taxes, coziness with dictators, an end to trade deals).
Yes, when he is flanked by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., a member of the vulgar "Squad," many of us just want to run for the hills.
Yet establishment Democrats continue to dismiss and denigrate a Sanders candidacy as he increasingly occupies center stage. His rallies are large and laconic. His fight against corruption and privilege is compelling. And his patina of genuine-ness is unmistakable.
Last year, anticipating Sanders (the Democrats’ Che Guevara) would try again, The Washington Post tried to write off a second campaign as "quixotic," arguing with full intellectual fervor that Bernie’s too old, carries too much baggage, and has too little attraction for older voters, African-Americans, and the American mainstream.
Like 2016, the campaign against Bernie is suffering from a boomerang.
Short of a few Biden wins in the early states, or a Bloomberg boomlet in the later states, Bernie Sanders will become the Democrats’ 2020 nominee for president of the United States.
May God help us all.
Adam Goodman is a Republican media strategist who has advised Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Jeb Bush. He also is the first-ever Edward R. Murrow Senior Fellow at Tufts University’s Fletcher School.
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