The Corner

Elections

No, You Drop Out!

Michael Bloomberg speaks in the Manhattan borough of New York, N.Y, May 30, 2019. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Mike Bloomberg has decided that he and Bernie Sanders are the only candidates in the race for the Democratic nomination, and, in consequence, that everybody else should drop out stat.

Per Axios:

Mike Bloomberg’s campaign is sounding the alarm that Bernie Sanders will soon amass an unsurmountable delegate lead if the Democratic field stays split — and took the extraordinary step of suggesting laggards should drop out.

Kevin Sheekey, Bloomberg’s top strategist, said: “The fact is if the state of this race remains status quo — with Biden, Pete and Amy in the race on Super Tuesday — Bernie is likely to open up a delegate lead that seems nearly impossible to overcome.”

Bloomberg isn’t wrong to worry that if most of the not-Bernie candidates elect to stay in to the bitter end it will make life easier for Bernie. But, as Megan McArdle points out, the argument he is making could just as easily be applied to . . . well, to Mike Bloomberg:

Which is a big problem. Four years ago, when Republicans were in a similar position, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes argued that the refusal of the many not-Trump candidates to get together and appoint a single not-Trump representative was indicative of the Republican Party’s underlying ideology of individualism and selfishness. The GOP, Hayes smirked, was being undone by precisely the sort of “collective action” problem that it was set up to ignore.

This argument, which Hayes repeated frequently, was self-serving, post-rationalized nonsense. The reason that not one of the not-Trump candidates chose to fall on his sword was simple: All of them wanted to be president, and all of them thought they might have a shot. As usual, it was immutable human nature, not abstract ideology, that best explained the behavior.

Because Democrats are not exempt from human nature, the same thing is happening here, and will probably continue to happen until it’s too late. Essentially, Bloomberg’s message is, “We need to do something for the greater good, so you must make a sacrifice that directly helps me.” This is a poor sales pitch in most circumstances, but, among the sort of sociopaths that want to be President of the United States, it is almost comically inept.

I am not a good electoral prognosticator, and I will happily own my deficiencies in this area. But I’ll tell you this much: As it stands, Bernie is set to acquire at least a plurality of the delegates on offer, and, if he does, to become the Democratic nominee. Unless there are some perfectly calibrated victories and losses in the next few days, the rest of the cast is going to make sure his path is as comfortable as possible.

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