Me and the Idea Fairy had almost finished airing out the house when there was a knock on the door. It was Richard Nixon, and his case worker Beelzebub, back from covering the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary for Hell TV.
They flopped exhausted onto the asbestos Lazy Boys I had acquired after one too many couch fires.
I offered Dick a cool one and ’Bub a flaming Dr. Pepper, which they gratefully accepted. I try to be a good host.
“Let’s talk politics,” I said. “Iowa, New Hampshire, state of the race, who’s hot, who’s not…”
“Ask me anything.”
“OK,” I said, “Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up. What do you make of Michael Bennet dropping out?”
“That’s the wrong question,” the Tricky One said. “The correct question is why did he ever drop in? He brought nothing to the table, no interesting ideas, no interesting personal story, no money, no organization. The only thing he accomplished was getting more than 900 New Hampshire Democrats to waste their votes.”
“Well that’s something,” ’Bub interjected, blowing two plumes of sulfurous smoke out of his nostrils.
I quickly cranked up the giant shop fan in the front window to Hypersonic.
“Let’s move on to Andrew Yang,” I said quickly. “What do you make of his candidacy now that it’s over too?”
“Yang is a more interesting case,” Nixon said reflectively. “Yang had a lot of interesting ideas. But you know the old saying about no force on Earth being stronger than an idea whose time has come? Yang’s problem was that his big idea — the $1,000 a month guaranteed income for everyone — came before its time.
“But I have a feeling it’s an idea that isn’t going to go away,” Nixon added. “Two or three election cycles from now he might be able to get some traction out of it if he chooses to run again. In the meantime, he ought to get himself elected to some sort of a starter office if he wants to stay in politics — governor, congressman or even county commissioner somewhere in flyover country, maybe.”
“What about Biden and Warren?”
“Zombies,” he said. “Dead man and dead woman walking. But with different causes of death.
“The only thing Biden brought to the table was his supposed electability, because he had been Obama’s vice president and had been in Congress since the rocks cooled before that. But once he started campaigning it turned out he was an empty suit and kinda dumb. And it didn’t help that the Trump impeachment got him a lot of earned media he could have done without. Finishing fourth in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire put a spike in the electability argument. After Super Tuesday he’ll be gone, if not before.”
“As for Warren, she was campaigning as the thinking voter’s alternative to Bernie Sanders, with well-thought-out solutions to everything. It gave her traction until she couldn’t come up with a plausible way to pay for her well-thought-out health care plan…
“But Bernie hasn’t come up with plausible ways of paying for all the stuff he wants to do either, and no one seems to care,” I interjected. “Isn’t this a double standard at work?”
“It is, but not the one you think,” the Trickster said. “Bernie is a socialist, so no one expects him to be financially credible. But Warren was running as the adult in the room, so she was asked the adult question: ‘How are you going to pay for all the cool things you want to do?’ If she had a believable answer, she’d probably be the front-runner today.
“It doesn’t matter what office you’re running for,” he continued. “You should always say some sensible things about money without having to be asked. It won’t guarantee that you’ll win, but it will improve your chances of being taken seriously.”
“What about Mayor Pete and Senator Amy?” I asked.
“They’re the ones who ate Biden’s and Warren’s lunch in New Hampshire, and maybe even some of Bernie’s,” he said. “But they didn’t win.
“It’s anyone’s guess how they’ll do in Super Tuesday in states that have significant black and Hispanic voting cohorts with which they don’t seem to have gotten much traction. But neither has Bernie.
“Southern Democrats of all stripes tend to be more conservative than northern ones, which theoretically would favor the non-Marxist candidates, but southern Dems have also had strong populist inclinations — and Bernie is running a populist campaign. So go figure.”
“And what are the chances that Bloomberg could swoop in and blow them all away with a shitstorm of money?” I asked.
“Like I told you last time,” the Trickster said, “Bernie has gotten six million contributions from more than a million-and-a-half contributors. Bloomberg has gotten all his campaign money from one contributor — himself.
“Successful candidates listen to what their contributors have to say. Bernie is listening to contributors spread all over the country. He’s hearing what resonates and what doesn’t from a million-and-a-half supporters with skin in the game. Bloomberg is listening to himself in the echo chamber of his skull. Who do you think is going to be more in touch with the voters?”
He got up abruptly. “Gotta run,” he said. “All Hell is about to break loose in South Carolina, and we’re providing color commentary.”
And in a flash they were gone.
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.