The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Mullings by Rich Galen ®
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Rich Galen

Monday February 24, 2020

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  • Lesson about political debates.

  • On the morning of the Nevada debate last week, I was on WTVN radio in Columbus, Ohio. Host Joel Riley asked me what I thought was going to happen that night.

  • After my usual demurral about my predictive skills: "Until about 7:15 pm on election night in 2016 I still thought Hillary was going to win," I said I thought Mike Bloomberg was in for a rough night.

  • I compared it to a really good player for the Ohio State Buckeye football team getting drafted, and then deciding to skip training camp, skip exhibition games, and skip the first eight games of the regular season.

  • As talented as this mythical kid might be, when he finally gets into a real game he ends up staring up at the sky. Everyone else on the field had been at this since the previous August.

  • The debate last week was the ninth. Debates (as I have told you before) are a contact sport and no matter how much practice someone does, the game is much faster and tougher when it's live than even the best prep sessions can duplicate.

  • End of Debate lesson.

  • As I type this on Monday morning, another caucus state, Nevada, has failed to be able to count all the votes even after 72 hours.

  • Even with some outstanding votes, it is more than clear that Bernie Sanders won.

  • By a lot.

  • According to's counting, Bernie is sitting on 47.1 percent of the county delegates with Joe Biden limping in at second with 21 percent. Pete Buttigieg (13.7), Elizabeth Warren (9.6), and Tom Steyer (4.7) finished out the first screen.

  • Those numbers may change a little, but the only one such changes might affect are Pete Buttigieg is on the cusp of making the 15 percent threshold, so we'll have to keep an eye on that.

  • My favorite Conservative strategist in Nevada, Chuck Muth, told me in advance of the voting that the word on the street was that the ABB (Anybody But Bernie) establishment was SBB (Solidly Behind Biden).

  • But, with the Not-Bernie vote split between Biden, Buttigieg, Steyer, and Amy Klobuchar it's tough, if not impossible, for Biden generate much forward momentum.

  • Muth also echoed something we heard (and ignored) in Pennsylvania in 2016. He said he was at a McDonald's the other day and was struck by the number of Trump bumper strips he saw. In Pennsylvania it was yard signs in the western part of the Commonweath, but you see where this is going.

  • In the first three contests, Sanders has gone 2nd (in delegates), 1st, and 1st. As the carnival moves onto South Carolina this Saturday with an old-fashioned primary. It is hard to get a handle on what's going on because there isn't enough polling to make sense out of it.

  • Watching one of the cable chat shows this AM, they put up a CBS News poll showing Biden had dropped 20-something points since the last poll and was leading Bernie by only five percentages points.

  • CBS has an excellent polling unit but the last poll was all the way back in November and this poll was out of the field before the Nevada caucuses had even been conducted.

  • It is not unlikely that Sanders will pull out another win in South Carolina on Saturday, especially if Tom Steyer grabs a significant share of moderate votes that might have gone to Biden.

  • But, before that there is another debate. Tuesday night that same Tom Steyer will join Sanders, Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Bloomberg, and Elizabeth Warren on the debate stage Tuesday night.

  • The last time we saw Steyer he was being brushed off by Sanders following Elizabeth Warren telling Bernie that he had called her a liar on live TV.

  • That was Steyer's first debate, too. See what I mean?

  • Bloomberg isn't on the ballot in South Carolina. The first time Democrats will have a chance to register their support - or lack of - for Bloomberg will be on Super Tuesday, the 14 state and territory tsunami of votes cast on March 3.

  • Once we get beyond South Carolina, we might see the field shrink by two or three candidates and questions for Bloomberg's staff - "How well do you have to do on March 3?" - will be the top topic of the political panels.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Nevada Entrance polls (WaPo) and latest results (Politico) as well as that CBS poll.

  • The Mullfoto is from another time.

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