Joe Scarborough Thinks It's Time The Ladies Left This Primary So The Menfolk Can Sort It Out
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough finds Bernie Sanders's success so far in the Democratic primary quite alarming, just like everyone else in his tax bracket. Monday morning, Scarborough referenced Ross Douthat's latest op-ed in New York Times, which is actually worth reading. It's a solid recap of the 2016 Republican primary dumpster fire. The "Morning Joe" host leaps to some odd conclusions, though. For instance, he suggested that Donald Trump benefitted from Jeb! Bush and John Kasich "hanging around" long after it was clear they couldn't win. Jeb! dropped out after a disappointing fourth place finish in South Carolina where he managed barely eight percent of the vote. It wasn't as if Jeb! was hoarding all the "sensible Republican" votes. Kasich had placed a distant second in New Hampshire, but his campaign plan all along was to rope-a-dope his way through the South and pick up steam in the later, Midwest and Northeast primaries. No one ever said it was a good plan, but that's why he stuck around as Trump racked up victories.
Right now, there is no clear non-Sanders alternative. Pete Buttigieg did well in Iowa and New Hampshire, but as expected, he did much worse in Nevada where the electorate is more diverse. This will likely prove a problem for him during the next set of contests. However, Joe Biden has reason to remain optimistic as the race shifts to southern states. No one needs to drop out until they run out of money. However, Scarborough thinks the solution is obvious: Both remaining women in the primary who aren't Tulsi Gabbard should quit. Everyone's happy!
SCARBOROUGH: Amy Klobuchar finished a really disappointing ... fifth place [in Nevada]. People are talking about how, as well as she's done, as good of a campaign she's run, it is time for her to get out of the race.
Scarborough sounds like a guy who wants to get hit with a binder. There's no reason for Klobuchar to drop out before Buttigieg. They're both likely waiting to see how Biden performs in South Carolina. If it's really close or Sanders even beats him, then that's fatal for the former vice president. However, no one expects much from those two in the Palmetto State, so they can live to fight over the scraps of Biden's campaign.
SCARBOROUGH: Also a lot of people starting to talk about Elizabeth Warren, who finished weak again. She finished in fourth place in her neighboring home state where she was supposed to win, in New Hampshire last week. This week another disappointing finish [in the Nevada caucus].
Elizabeth Warren hadn't led a poll in New Hampshire since November of 2019. Buttigieg, who came in second, and Biden, who finished somewhere after my aunt, had both topped more polls leading up to the primary. Overall, though, Sanders was the clear polling favorite with few exceptions. The media created this damaging narrative that Warren was "expected" to win New Hampshire because it's next to Massachusetts, and while the geography is compelling, the states are politically very different. Hillary Clinton destroyed Trump in Warren's home state by almost 30 points, but Trump came within half a percentage point of flipping New Hampshire.
SCARBOROUGH: Is it time for Elizabeth Warren — if she keeps finishing in fourth or fifth place — is it time to her to get out of the race to help consolidate efforts against Bernie Sanders?
How the hell does Warren dropping out, endorsing Sanders, and actively campaigning for him across the country help "consolidate efforts" against the Vermont senator? Please explain, Mr. Morning Joe. Warren prooooobably ain't endorsing Bloomberg, Biden, or Buttigieg. GTFOH.
There's an argument that if a plurality of primary voters supports Sanders and his policies, then maybe someone who shares most of those policy views but is more "mainstream" and less overtly socialist might prove a good "compromise" candidate. Democrats normally love making compromises, but maybe that's only with Republicans. The #PleaseNotBernie folks won't rally behind Warren as their best hope. No, they still believe that after Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, they can still decisively beat Sanders, and somehow this primary will end with Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, or -- what the hell -- even Bloomberg accepting the nomination.
"Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski agreed that it's time for candidates to drop out so the field can "narrow." Narrowing the field didn't stop Trump in 2016. Once his competition had narrowed to just Kasich and Ted Cruz, Trump soon started winning races by more than 50 percent of the vote. This is just bad advice. The race is still fluid. Warren and Klobuchar still have as much to contribute and just as much a chance as anyone else who isn't Bernie Sanders.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).