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Assault on America, Day 343: Would civility survive a post-impeachment Dem convention?

Bernie Sanders
Why sugarcoat it?

In today’s political world where it seems practically everyone comments moment by moment via social media, few opinions are spared in favor of decorum and comity. Last Saturday, for example, former Obama campaign aide Thomas Bowen tweeted, “This [Republican] Party is so full of sh*t. It needs to be burnt to the ground.” Bowen was apparently unimpressed with always wishy-washy Alaska GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski’s assessment of the Democrats’ lack of cooperation with Republicans on their impeachment fantasy, which she claimed was even more partisan than it appears.

Murkowski is a gadfly within Republicans circles -- so if she’s caught condemning the Democrats and their underhanded one-sided impeachment farce, something must be amiss among the ruling class. She’d be one of a handful of GOPers Democrats would target for a possible “yes” conviction vote; if they lose her, few collaborator possibilities remain and there are only so many times the media can beg Mitt Romney to come on camera and say something stupid and disparaging about his own president.  

Not that many conservatives would enthusiastically deny (because of the party’s failure to passionately advocate for limited government, individual liberties, trim the budget deficit, cut the size and scope of government, pass workable immigration reforms/fixes when they had a chance, eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, etc…and the list goes on and on), as Bowen insists, that the GOP is full of human waste product in a number of ways today. But it’s unlikely anyone would air their dirty laundry so noticeably in the old times -- and certainly they wouldn’t have used profanity. Suggesting something should be “burnt to the ground” is fighting words where many of us come from, whether the threat was real or not.

It's just not nice to utter something so vindictive. Right mom?

Face it, we’ve crossed a civility line where tact is a distant memory in political discourse. Last week Joe Biden called an Iowa man a “damn liar” and Nancy Pelosi reiterated how she has only “love in her heart,” but then blubbered how President Donald Trump is a liar and a “coward” and needs to be impeached and removed from office now, less than eleven months from a national election. Democrats aren’t saying a lot of nice things about the opposition these days (not that they ever did…remember George W. Bush?).

But their current rancor could be considered tame compared to what might arise next summer if Democrat voters fail to settle on a single presidential candidate and party members convene their convention as split and unsatisfied as they appear to be now. Democrats might be saying their own house needs to be burnt to the ground at that point. Would conservatives and Republicans agree and provide the lighter fluid and matches? It could get really ugly.

“Bush’s Brain” Karl Rove wrote about it at MSN News, “Democrats allocate delegates proportionally, meaning if you get 15% of the vote or more in a state or district, you’re in the money—you split the delegates with every other candidate who reaches that threshold. In addition, Democrats are front-loading the contest: More than 69% of delegates will be elected in February and March, when more candidates will likely still be viable and split the vote. That’s 13% more than the number of delegates selected in the first two months of the Democrats’ 2016 nomination battle...

“It could get even more splintered if the major candidates lurking right below the 15% threshold in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina get a little wind in their sails. Unless someone gets huge momentum with big early wins, the race could remain fractured through March, making it mathematically impossible for any candidate to waltz into Milwaukee with a first-ballot majority.

“In that case, the 765 superdelegates (the Democratic National Committee prefers to call them ‘automatic delegate votes’) could decide the nomination. A new rule prohibits them from voting on the first ballot but allows them in on the second. Imagine the anger on some parts of the convention floor if the superdelegates—party insiders and elites—go for someone other than the first-ballot leader.”

Should that first-ballot leader be Senator Bernard Sanders and the “super delegate” poohbahs then opt for Biden instead, we won’t need the establishment media to record the audible gasp and boiling rage in the room. Fist fights could break out. Security forces might struggle to contain the delirium. It would be liberal vs. liberal, animal style.

If this actually happens the jilted and annoyed left might just burn the conference venue to the ground. In his article Rove talked about the fractured 1952 Democrat convention where then President Harry Truman swooped in to broker a compromise between competing party factions to nominate a man who didn’t even run for the nomination, Gov. Adlai Stevenson II. Party elders and elites held the respect and support of the various voting groups back then, so what Truman did was viewed as conciliatory and helpful.

Not so in 2020. The battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in 2008 -- and then the former first lady’s nastier than anticipated brawl with Bernie Sanders four years ago -- has driven a wedge between the party upper echelon and the storm troops at the grassroots level. Clinton was the clear leader all throughout the process but counted on her huge margin in pledged “super delegates” to appear as though she had an uncontested path to the nomination. Sanders backers claimed the race was fixed by the DNC (led by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz) to dampen their candidate’s chances. They were probably right.

This year, as Rove alluded to, the “super delegates” will play a lesser role leading into the convention, but without an established frontrunner, anything can happen. “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg maintains polling leads in Iowa and New Hampshire, Biden will most certainly roar back in South Carolina (if his support among black voters holds) and Sanders’ loyal leftist army probably wouldn’t abandon him even if he ordered them to play nice with the establishment’s choice. Buttigieg is polling at virtual zero with African-American Democrats in South Carolina, but here’s thinking his strength would rise considerably with impressive victories in the first two voting states. The race’s lone openly gay man also would register on radar screens in places like Nevada, where Biden currently leads by nearly double-digits.

So there probably will be at least a trio of Democrats in contention when things slow down.

National polls don’t mean much at this point but they could have real value as Super Tuesday approaches on March 3. On that day, voters in Alabama, American Samoa, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Democrats Abroad, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia head to the polls to choose among the current Democrat cast of lightweights and losers well past their prime.

A week later (March 10), Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, and Washington hold their primaries and North Dakota its firehouse caucuses (identical to a party-run primary). Then, on March 17, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio conduct balloting.

Hard as it is to believe, three months from now the field will have been winnowed to a few ambitious liberal pols and the media won’t be talking about impeachment anymore. The remaining contenders -- likely Biden, Buttigieg, Sanders and maybe Elizabeth Warren -- will attempt to steer the party’s direction to capture the remaining 30 or so percent of the delegates. Michael Bloomberg could win a sprinkling of delegates here and there but won’t emerge from his early season slumber as the “white knight” candidate he envisions himself to be.

Buttigieg and Biden will conduct an intra-party cold war to win the affections of “moderate” voters while talking liberal and crazy enough to remain in good stead with the leftist crowd. Warren and Bernie will have made a pact for one to drop out and endorse the survivor at a critical point. “Medicare for All” will make it to the convention one way or another!

Hillary Clinton will stay on the sidelines but continue hinting she might enter the race if no establishment frontrunner emerges. Obama and other prominent Dems will rally to Biden’s side if it ever looks like he might be teetering on the edge of losing. And the super delegates will receive more than their share of media attention/adoration as the party train moves ever closer to the collision point station in Milwaukee.

By then hardly anyone will remember impeachment, but Pelosi, “Chucky” Schumer, Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters will nonetheless ramp up their investigations while shouting, “See, we told you he was guilty!” And life will go on…

For now, there’s still the Democrats’ impeachment pursuit. Everyone knows Trump will not be convicted by the senate, but all eyes will still be on a few Republicans who could break the party unity (hint: Lisa Murkowski is one of them). Alexander Bolton reported at The Hill, “Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) caused a stir Friday when he said a ‘handful’ of Senate Republican colleagues have privately told him they would consider voting to remove President Trump from office....

“His remarks created buzz since no congressional Republicans have publicly said they would even consider taking such a step, and not one House GOP lawmaker voted for the resolution establishing the rules for the impeachment inquiry. But Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.), an independent who left the Republican Party in July, said Friday he would vote for articles of impeachment.

“Senate insiders and outside political observers say there are only three GOP senators who might vote to convict Trump on any articles of impeachment.”

Bolton lists the potential turncoats as Senators Susan Collins (Maine), Mitt Romney (Utah) and finally, Murkowski (Alaska). Others mentioned (because they’ve been critical of Trump’s Ukraine policy) are Senators Rob Portman (Ohio), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.). Then there are Senators Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Martha McSally (Ariz.), both up for reelection next year and targeted by Democrats.

The demonstrated weakness of the House Democrats’ case is revealed in part by the scarcity of Republicans purportedly willing to vote to impeach him. Democrats would need to hold the votes of everyone in their caucus plus add twenty GOP senators for a conviction, so theoretically there’s plenty of room for politically opportunistic Republicans to join with the Dems and still stay safe from true ramifications.

Democrats won’t get a majority if the impeachment effort reaches the senate, just as Republicans didn’t get one against Bill Clinton in 1999. Yet still they persist with the ruse. Some people never learn. Liberals should be careful about calling for something to be “burnt down,” since the ones feeling the heat might just be them very soon.

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