The Democratic Party’s argument against Sanders for years has been his alleged inability to grow beyond his base. Now, things have been arranged so that he may not have to dispel these notions before Super Tuesday. This may or may not be a good thing — beating Trump is important and the Democratic nominee should have to demonstrate the widest appeal — but the brutal irony of Bernie Sanders boosted by horse-race luck and conventional-wisdom miscalculation is difficult to miss.
As with Republicans in 2016, the defining characteristic of the 2020 Democratic race has been the unwieldy size of the field. The same identity crisis lurking under the Republican clown car afflicted this year’s Democratic contest: Because neither donors nor party leaders nor pundits could figure out what they should be pretending to stand for, they couldn’t coalesce around any one candidate.
These constant mercurial shifts in “momentum” — it’s Pete! It’s Amy! Paging Mike Bloomberg! — have eroded the kingmaking power of the Democratic leadership. They are eating the party from within, and seem poised to continue doing so.