Heading out of the Nevada primary last week, the Democratic Party establishment was in a bit of a panic. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., had gotten the most votes in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. The establishment’s initial pick for the nomination, former Vice President Joe Biden, had been struggling for months on the campaign trail, sometimes seeming to be confused about who and where he was.
Megabillionaire Mike Bloomberg, who had entered the fray to save the party from Sanders and Biden, revealed himself to be a teensie tiny statue with clay feet after a humiliating debate performance. And the field remained very crowded, with most of the half-dozen or so non-Sanders candidates dividing up the very-liberal-but-not-socialist portion of the pie.
If the establishment really wanted to defeat Sanders, they had to figure out something big and figure it out quickly. It wasn’t that he would go to the convention with the most delegates, necessarily. But if he marched in there with a strong plurality, it would be difficult to wrest the nomination from him.
Young former mayor Pete Buttigieg — who had respectable showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, a sizable following, and plenty of money — dropped out on Sunday. And Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who had been building support and was headed into a home state primary, dropped out on Monday.