What if Bernie has already won this thing?

Virtually all of the political oxygen in the room over the past two weeks has been consumed by former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s recent rise in the polls. After skipping almost an entire year of campaigning, more than half a dozen debates, and the first four caucuses and primaries, suddenly Bloomberg is finding himself taken seriously. 

Spending nearly half a billion dollars will buy you some attention, it turns out.

Certainly, Bloomberg is due for scrutiny, with his extensive history of horrifying statements about the trans community, the financial collapse, stop and frisk, sexual harassment, the National Security Agency — honestly, pick a topic and Bloomberg has been on the wrong side of it — but I want you to consider the possibility that this 24/7 Bloomberg media frenzy is hiding the real story of the 2020 Democratic primary: Has Bernie Sanders already won this thing?

I know. I know. I’m probably getting ahead of myself. We hit Nevada, but we’re still waiting on Super Tuesday and the truly delegate-rich states. There’s a lot of campaign left to be had, and any number of twists and turns could develop between now and the (possibly contested) Dem convention.

But hear me out. By every traditional standard, Bernie Sanders is in a stronger position at this point in the primary process than any Democratic candidate stretching back decades.

Bernie received the most votes in the disastrous Iowa caucuses and won the New Hampshire primary as well. 

South Carolina follows, and while Bernie is not yet positioned to definitively take first there, he has turned Biden’s once-dominant lead into an effective tie. In the most delegate-rich Super Tuesday states, the RealClearPolitics polling average for California has Bernie up by 12 and Texas effectively tied between Sanders and Biden. He’s looking quite strong in a number of other states. 

Nationally, Bernie Sanders now holds a 15-point lead over second-place Joe Biden. That’s a jump of 8 points in just one month as Biden has plummeted. The story is effectively the same when you turn to the much-discussed “electability” measure, with Bernie now leading at 30 percent when asked who has the best chance to defeat Donald Trump.

You get the picture. The polls are looking very, very good for Sen. Sanders.

This already-strong position is buttressed by unprecedented grassroots fundraising. Bernie apparently pulled in nearly $3 million during the Nevada debate. That follows a record-breaking $25 million haul in January alone.

So he’s already notched multiple wins. He’s got the money. He just might go 4 for 4 in the initial contests. He’s positioned to dominate on Super Tuesday. What exactly is the path that will lead another candidate to end this process with more delegates than him? If it exists, we’re seeing no evidence of it.

Indeed, at the Nevada debate, all of the other candidates seemed to concede that they don’t have a hope, let alone a plan, to win the most votes or delegates when they all signaled they’d support the Democratic establishment handing the nomination to someone the voters had rejected.

This fundamentally anti-democratic plot would destroy not just any notion of “unity” (which is a scam the Democratic establishment has been opportunistically and hypocritically pushing throughout the election) but also hand the election to Trump, who wants nothing more than a fractured Dem party ripe for accusations of rigging the process. Imagine how many voters would be driven from the system by the unprecedented injustice of a stolen convention.

It would be an unmitigated disaster to so fully reject the will of the voters. It would likely be the end of the Democratic Party.

So where do we go from here? I have a suggestion.

We’ve heard throughout the campaign that at some point we all need to cut the attacks and rally around the front-runner. Well, now we have a more obvious front-runner than we could have imagined possessing at this point in the primary. So let’s do it. If you fear to weaken the eventual nominee to the point where Donald Trump will have easy reelection, then former critics of Bernie Sanders can lead by example and speak more carefully about the likely nominee. Along the way, they can draw strength from the numerous general election polls showing Bernie Sanders crushing Donald Trump stretching back literally years. 

And for those candidates currently lobbying to be chosen at a contested convention by the Democratic establishment in spite of their inability to convince the voters to support them, the message must be sent loud and clear: If you participate in this plot, you will have earned the contempt and opposition of voters for the rest of your (likely short) career.

But maybe it won’t get to that point. Maybe Bernie Sanders will come out of Super Tuesday positioned to win a clear majority of delegates, ensuring a short primary and a comfortable period of preparation to defeat Donald Trump in November.

We should be so lucky. For the sake of the party and the country, I hope we will be.

John Iadarola is the host and producer of the daily political news show “The Damage Report” on TYT. 

Tags Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign Democratic Party presidential primaries Donald Trump Elections in the United States FiveThirtyEight Iowa caucuses Joe Biden Joe Biden politicians Super Tuesday

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