What is it? The Collective Dem Psyche? Trump Anxiety Disorder? Their Identity Politics? The Nomination Rules? What’s Making the Dem Primary Look Like a Coming Train Wreck?
Just search, nervous Democrats.
Some of the more illuminating headlines over the last six weeks, this one from MSN, yesterday, first published the day before in the daily spiritual reader for Democrats, the New York Times: “Democrats Agree On One Thing, They’re Very, Very Nervous.”
And, there are these, too: “Anxious Democrats Ask: Is There Anybody Else?” or “Democrats nervous after poll of key 2020 battleground states.” And this too: “High anxiety: Jittery Democrats fear their candidate won’t beat Trump.”
Now that medical doctors and the New York Times have confirmed that “Trump Anxiety Disorder,” is a real thing, and really exists, it is easy to dismiss this phenomenon as a collective psychic pathology.
One unifying theme of the Democratic party has been, over the decades, well, unity.
And the Democrats are not unified.
They are anxious and nervous.
This is making them more nervous.
And more emotional, and more divided.
And as the New York Times piece linked to above points out: “‘Trump anxiety disorder’ has morphed into anxiety about everything, and impeachment isn’t helping.”
Having taught their voters to believe in the power of identity politics, Democratic presidential primary voters have learned that lesson well — vote your tribe.
Biden has tried, repeatedly to appeal to everyone as Americans, but even still, Biden’s tribe is still very tribey (not a word, I just made it up.)
The Democrats have spent decades telling Americans that only one of the way each voter is can represent them, is if the candidate is the same generation, sex, sexual orientation, social-economic class or race — and now, the cognitive dissidence sets in collectively when the four leading candidates all white, and three are male, and three of the leaders are from the silent generation, but are even so, leading different tribes.
This is a gross generalization, but true enough to make about the Dem tribeyness (again, not a word) of each of the four leaders: Senator Warren’s voters are white, liberal, elite women; Senator Sanders voters are white working class with the statistically significant more Hispanic (thank AOC) and African-American voters than either Warren or Buttigieg, and Buttigieg, who has the whitest voter profile (and being teased as being super-white, with the nickname “Pete Romney,”) is heavy Millenials and Gen Xers, and finally there is Biden, whose tribe is heavy African Americans and white senior citizens.
But Biden’s eight years as Obama’s Vice President has protected him from guerilla-warfare-types of attacks that are launched at Mayor Pete by some on the left. They “tracked” him around New York City this weekend, banging pots and pans calling him “Wall Street Pete” as “he continued his aggressive courtship of wealthy donors.”
So Dems are not unified, voting tribally, and that is causing cognitive dissonance about their own choice and party, so they are naturally blaming Trump for creating a “post-Obama environment” for the choices that their own party is making — or something like that.
But this is merely the table setting for the real, destructive and ultimately dis-unifying Democratic Party Presidential nomination rules that will act like real and psychic wedges — what I call “the participation badge problem.”
As it is, if you get more than 15 percent of the vote in most states in the Democratic Party, you get a participation badge, or in the currency of the Democratic Presidential primary realm, you get delegates.
It’s the identity politics nomination rule.
You can see the hand-wringing about someone winning: how unfair that is, who will be left out, which tribe will not be represented by one of their own — but no, this CAN NOT BE — and so the Dems give everyone some delegates. And when everyone has delegates, no one has delegates.
Even a three-time elected mayor of New York City, who is worth $50 billion, has spent about $100 million dollars on the proposition there will likely be a divided convention, and he is investing to be king-maker.
Which means they are divided by tribe, not unified, and collectively freaking out. How they could get to this spot?
But any thinking person can see that if the Tribeyness of the trench warfare does not end (think Sanders and Hillary last convention, except change and add the names: Biden, Warren, Buttigieg and possibly Bloomberg at this convention, and Sanders too, definitely Sanders).
In this division, delegates at the convention will be really, really delegates.
They will have to decide.
The opening is easy to see, the coming compromise candidate who never ran, who did not participate.
Because if no Dem tribe will agree with the other tribe to have their tribe’s leader nominated, then, maybe all the tribes will agree on a different, new and mutually acceptable candidate?
Hillary Clinton? Michelle Obama? Oprah?
Hey, Dems, with Bloomberg as your Presidential nominee, or, for that matter, Vice President nominee you can instantly have a billion dollars for your campaign, plus he will throw in a two hundred million dollar, big data machine.
But voicing these concerns, or thinking this through, just makes the Democrats too nervous.
More nervous than they already are, which, as the New York Times reports, is “very, very nervous.”
Better just bet on one tribe convincing others to join their tribe, and win over all the other tribes.
One tribe to rule them all, or something like that.
Meanwhile, the Republicans are smugly munching popcorn, gleeful in their knowledge that their winner-takes-all-the-delegates rule and non-participation badge culture, has served them well.
P.S. After I wrote this, I read this piece by Phillip Klein, who makes many of the same points, just in a less animated manner.