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The Wall Street Journal reports Bernie Sanders Drops Out of 2020 Presidential Race, Paving Way for Biden.

“The path toward victory is virtually impossible,” Mr. Sanders said in a livestreamed address. “If I believed that we had a feasible path to the nomination, I would certainly continue the campaign. But it’s just not there.”

Mr. Sanders congratulated Mr. Biden, calling him “a very decent man,” and said he would work with him to move progressive policy ideas forward. However, Mr. Sanders said he would remain on the ballot in the states set to vote in order to continue accumulating delegates, which would give him more leverage to shape the Democratic Party platform at the convention in August.

Path for Victory for Whom?

The progressives and radical Left will undoubtedly claim that this paves the path for a Trump victory.

They have it backwards.

Bernie's actions pave a clear path for Biden.

Appeal to the Moderates

Appealing to the moderates is undoubtedly the correct strategy.

OK, assume some Sanders supporters and millennials sit this out as happened in 2016.

Trump did not win because of that, but it helped. Trump primarily won because he appealed to enough independents and moderates who could not stand Hillary.

More accurately, it took both of those events for Trump to barely win, albeit in enough key states to make it appear as if he won by a big margin from an electoral college perspective.

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What About 2020?

  1. This campaign is not as divisive as 2016 because Bernie dropped out.
  2. Millennials are 4 years older. At least some of them will have learned a lesson about sitting this out.
  3. The most important factor is the huge number of independents and moderates who are now thoroughly disgusted with Trump.

The Math

  • Bernie supporters sitting this out = 1 lost vote each
  • Moderates who would vote for Trump rather than a socialist = 2 vote swing each

Bernie has very deep support but it is not at all broad. He generated extreme energy in his fans, far more than any other Democratic candidate, but enthusiasm in a small group does not win elections.

Trump also has extreme energy in his base. So what?

The base is going nowhere. Trump's base would never vote for Biden or any Democrat. And appealing to the base to generate clapping and praise is precisely the wrong thing to do.

Extreme energy in the base will not win over the moderates and independent swing voters.

Trump has an exceptionally narrow path in 2020. He needs a precise repeat play, but he's starting with a hand in which he has pissed off many moderates and independents.

He also has an economy that will have gone through a recession with millions out of work. Those scars will be deep even if the recession ends by November.

Add it all up and the picture does not look good for Trump.

Unless something happens to Biden, and it could, I expect Trump will get clobbered in November.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock