How did everything go so wrong so suddenly for Biden and the establishment Democrats? Go back to December, when Nancy Pelosi rushed two articles of impeachment through the House on a party-line vote. Even while Democrats were voting to impeach him, the president was campaigning in Michigan, speaking to a packed arena in Battle Creek. Watching that scene unfold, William Jacobson wrote on his website Legal Insurrection, “Tonight is the real start of the 2020 campaign.… I think Democrats will rue the day they forced this impeachment through the House.” That prophecy seems to have been fulfilled. The Senate last week voted to acquit Trump, two days after Democrats bungled the count of their Iowa caucus. Sandwiched between those two events was the president’s State of the Union Address, which ended with Pelosi throwing a childish tantrum on national TV, tearing up her copy of the text of Trump’s speech.
“This was the worst week for Democrats since Donald Trump’s election-night shocker of 2016,” veteran political reporter Mike Allen wrote Sunday at Axios. “There’s a new fatalism in my conversations with Democrats, with many telling me that what once seemed unthinkable — Trump’s re-election in November — is now starting to look more likely than ever.”
There has long been a consensus among mainstream Democrats and their media allies that if Bernie Sanders wins the nomination, there is no chance he could defeat Trump in November. Sanders and his supporters, of course, reject that consensus view and blame the centrist instincts of the party establishment for Hillary Clinton’s stunning 2016 defeat. After the votes are counted tonight in New Hampshire, the anti-Sanders forces in the Democratic Party are likely to be faced with the necessity of abandoning Biden altogether in the hope that some other candidate — perhaps Buttigieg — can prove viable as the “anybody but Bernie” choice. Such a scenario, however, would risk alienating the Sanders voters, who already believe Democrats cheated their man out of the nomination four years ago.