It seems that nine out of 10 headlines this week have been about Democratic angst that there's no clear, already anointed primary front-runner.
Get over it. We've had one primary contest — the botched Iowa Caucus — and we'll have another of no real and lasting consequence Tuesday evening in New Hampshire. Soon to follow will be Nevada and South Carolina, neither offering any great heft to their victors. Frankly, that means going into the March 3 Super Tuesday primaries in 14 states, the early results likely will be all over the place.
That's why Wednesday's seemingly surgical strikes — in Tennessee, anyway — of the Johnny-come-lately candidate, Michael Bloomberg, are so interesting.
Bloomberg, a billionaire and former New York City mayor, will visit Chattanooga and Nashville on Wednesday to mark the first day of early voting in Tennessee before Super Tuesday. Bloomberg won't be on any Democratic primary ballot until that day; he chose to sit out the first four primary contests of the political season.
We're betting his chances of winning the Democratic nomination for president won't be any the worse for the long wait.
After all, Bloomberg already has outspent Trump and every other Democratic candidate combined — with what has been almost entirely his own money. That means he's not owned by anyone but himself.
Mike Bloomberg in Chattanooga
Democratic candidate Mike Bloomberg’s Chattanooga event Wednesday will be held at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. EST, and the event is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.
Here's the thing. Democrats this year don't have to rush out with a too-early candidate coronation. The truth is that we have a full house — a slate of incredibly strong candidates, any one of whom should be able to beat Donald John Trump.
But if you listen to the pundits, we Democrats are shooting ourselves in the foot by not crowning our front-runner right now.
At the risk of sounding like we're from Tennessee, we say that's pure hogwash. No, Democrats are not "in disarray."
Nor are pundits — sometimes this one, too — right when we worry that we Democrats are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory (like when we worry about some candidates being too progressive or too moderate).
Come on. The opponent is Donald Trump. Not our young.
New York Times columnist David Leonhardt on Monday wrote, "The current moment, when nobody knows how the primaries will end, is a good time for both sides of the Democratic Party — left and center — to ask themselves how they'll respond if their side loses the nomination. Reacting negatively would be a big favor to Trump. I instead ask both moderates and progressives to think about the strengths of the other side of their party."
Better yet, ask moderates and progressives if they want to cede the race to Trump when at present all Trump really has is that hard-core 30% or so base of Trumpites.
Yes, in recent popularity polls he got a bump at the immediate end of the impeachment process. But it won't hold. This is the man who couldn't bask in his own victory for a moment. Instead he used that moment to bash prayer and to fire nonpartisan bureaucrats who testified because they were subpoenaed and because they thought doing what's right is more important than party.
Here's the thing: Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren aren't too left-wing to get elected. Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bloomberg aren't too moderate to get elected.
Yes, voters will elect a woman, an openly gay man, a person of the Jewish faith.
Voters will elect whoever Democrats nominate — if we can keep the polls open, and if that nominee, whoever he or she is, can deliver a not-too-complicated message: They will do everything humanly possible in office to slow climate change, raise taxes on the rich, expand voting rights, lower health care and education costs and protect abortion access.
Borrowing from Leonhardt, again, a winning Democratic candidate also needs to be strong on enforcing civil-rights laws, appointing progressive judges and rebuilding overseas alliances. And obviously they need to promise they will stop the Trump trend of treating the Justice Department as a personal enforcer.
Locally, we have a chance to see one of these contenders in person this week. And if you haven't seen all of the debates and town halls, dedicate a rainy afternoon and evening or two to finding them online and watching them.
Super Tuesday is called "Super" for a reason — the result will be big enough to really begin having an impact on voter decisions and enthusiasm.
That's what Bloomberg is counting on, and maybe it's a good plan. He's been courting Tennessee since December, when he began spending steadily on Tennessee television and radio. That same month he also announced his national health care policy in Memphis and kicked off the grand opening of the state campaign headquarters in Nashville. In January, he was in Knoxville to open a regional field office there.
Whoever you finally support, don't fall victim to Democratic angst. Watch the debates and go to the rallies. See for yourself what these candidates are about, and help end Donald Trump's corrupt reign as self-appointed king.