So it is entirely possible that, following South Carolina, Sanders will have won three or all four of the contests. If nobody has emerged as a viable alternative by then, Michael Bloomberg’s campaign will be stepping in. It is extremely hard to estimate the probability of success of a candidate who has skipped the first four races. FiveThirtyEight’s model currently gives Bloomberg less than a one percent chance of winning.

To be sure, if Bloomberg is the last Democrat standing against Sanders, he may well attract substantial support from Democratic elected officials and put up a strong fight. Still, he would face enormous opposition from the left. This is, after all, a billionaire who endorsed George W. Bush in 2004. And while the left has previously whipped itself into an angry frenzy against, successively, O’Rourke, Biden, Harris, and Buttigieg, the rage against Bloomberg would reach a new level.

At that point, the victory scenario would involve a long, bloody struggle all the way to the convention, with the Sanders movement claiming at every step of the way that the party is rigging the race against them, culminating in a convention where his enraged supporters will again try to shout down the proceedings. Unless one of the non-Bloombergs can somehow get off the mat and defeat Sanders, this is probably the best-case scenario for liberals at this point. It seems more probable that Sanders crushes the field and brings his historically unique suite of liabilities to the ticket.