“Anxious Democratic Establishment Asks, ‘Is There Anybody Else?’” Jonathan Martin of the New York Times reported today. The story told about how a handful of panicked Democratic donors gathered in New York last week and discussed their alarm at the current state of the Democratic race.
The event was organized by a Super PAC called American Bridge, which was founded by longtime Hillary Clinton hatchet man David Brock. He has founded a number of other Democratic operations, including Correct the Record, which basically functioned as part of Hillary’s press operation in 2016.
The problem, the story summarized, is this:
With doubts rising about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s ability to finance a multistate primary campaign, persistent questions about Senator Elizabeth Warren’s viability in the general election and skepticism that Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Ind., can broaden his appeal beyond white voters, Democratic leaders are engaging in a familiar rite: fretting about who is in the race and longing for a white knight to enter the contest at the last minute.
Bernie Sanders, of course, is not an option, to the Democratic establishment, and in addition to her potential electability problem, Warren’s brand of liberalism makes Wall Street — and Hillary Clinton — nervous, the story says. So who are the potential white knights?
Options discussed included Hillary, naturally, Michael Bloomberg, John Kerry, Michelle Obama, Eric Holder and even John Kerry.
Sources for the story included Harold Ickes, a veteran of the Bill Clinton administration who now serves on the Democrats’ Rules and Bylaws Committee, and Leah Daughtry, who ran the 2016 Democratic National Convention. The latter was quoted in a very similar story Martin wrote last April, “‘Stop Sanders’ Democrats Are Agonizing Over His Momentum.”
That story said that Sanders was causing concerns from “canapé-filled fund-raisers on the coasts to the cloakrooms of Washington. In it, Daughtry had just met with about 100 big Democratic donors in San Francisco to raise alarm bells about Sanders. “I think I freaked them out,” she was quoted as saying.
Brock was also quoted in the story, which said “he has had discussions with other operatives about an anti-Sanders campaign and believes it should commence ‘sooner rather than later’.” Which it no doubt did.
Buttigieg would be establishment’s wettest dream, which explains how this until recently unknown mayor has raised $51 million for his presidential campaign. That places him third among all of the Democratic contenders, behind Elizabeth Warren ($60 million) and Bernie Sanders ($73 million), with the last two taking in a far greater amount from small donors. Joe Biden has raised $36 million, two-thirds from big donors.
But Buttigieg is not going to win the presidency. Warren’s economic policies are troubling to the corporate class, but they can play ball with her. While her “campaign rhetoric has made the influence industry nervous, many lobbyists who’ve worked with the Massachusetts senator’s office say she’s far from antagonistic when it comes to doing business with K Street,” Politico said in a story yesterday.
Sanders, on the other hand, is verboten to the political establishment, and much of the media. It’s not at all clear he can win the nomination, but it’s apparent that the Hillary wing of the party hates him as much, if not more, than Trump. When he tweeted yesterday, “People can disagree on issues, but it is outrageous for anyone to suggest that Tulsi is a foreign asset,” here’s what he got from Adam Parkhomenko, a Democratic strategist and National Field Director for the DNC in 2016.
If Sanders does win the nomination, much of the Democratic establishment will likely sit out the election and its corporate wing may quietly back Trump. They don’t like him but his tax cuts alone have been a godsend and they’ll be happy to keep the money flowing and hope to get a moderate “white knight” in 2024.