Bloomberg needs to take down Sanders -- immediately

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After two too-close-to-call elections in Iowa and New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders wound up one delegate behind Pete Buttigieg. Will Nevada help him take the lead?

Posted: Feb 22, 2020 5:50 PM
Updated: Feb 22, 2020 5:50 PM

It seems Michael Bloomberg entered the presidential race for at least two reasons: he wants to be president and he understands the importance of denying President Trump a second term.

His late entrance into the race, however, means every decision he makes is exponentially more consequential as the clock counts down to November 3. His strategy so far has been to spend -- and spend some more -- blanketing the media landscape with the message that he's the best candidate to take on Trump.

In any political campaign, candidates need to know what they stand for, and who -- or what -- they're up against. At this stage in the game for Bloomberg, that enemy is not Trump. It's Sen. Bernie Sanders and the election calendar.

If Bloomberg wants to make it past the Democratic National Convention in July, his strategy needs to change --quickly. His first objective is to nab the nomination, and to do that, he needs to direct his resources to take down Sanders before he even has a chance at Trump.

As it stands, Sanders has a chance to run the table as the rest of the field fights each other for the honor of coming in second. Sanders has emerged as the Democratic front-runner, and his support stands at 25% among Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, according to the most recent Quinnipiac poll.

But that's not enough to win the general election. I don't believe the country is prepared to support a Democratic socialist, and I agree with the theory that Sanders would lose in a matchup against Trump. In a general election battle between two divisive figures who both preach the politics of grievance, I believe Trump will win the battle to the bottom and remain the last man standing.

Given that the primary calendar dictates that 60% of delegates will be determined by St. Patrick's Day, the primary race could be effectively over in less than a month. Of all the other Democratic candidates, Bloomberg may be the only one who can stop the Sanders freight train and still have a shot at winning the White House.

But let's not forget -- Bloomberg is already skipping the first four voting states in favor of concentrating on Super Tuesday. With his disastrous performance in the Las Vegas debate, it appears he won't be building any organic momentum in this race. He has to buy it.

If Bloomberg has any chance of winning the nomination, he has to redirect his resources during the primary and run ads against Sanders -- not Trump.

Bloomberg needs to use the next $400 million in ad spending to attack Sanders on his potential weaknesses in a general election and highlight how far left his campaign is. Hitting him on his past record on guns is a must.

Bloomberg also needs to drive home the fact that very little of what Sanders has proposed has any chance of being implemented without serious challenges and major compromises, as even, for example, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez admitted on Medicare for All.

Sanders' praise of Soviet-backed regimes is ripe for political attack ads -- and if Bloomberg doesn't take advantage of this, Trump certainly will in the fall. Finally, Sanders' legislative record of achievements is lacking, and the difficulty he faces in garnering support among both Democratic or Republican lawmakers can be highlighted.

Bloomberg has a narrow window of time to shift his strategy. As Tim Miller, who served as Jeb Bush's communications director in 2016 wrote in The Bulwark, a big lesson from 2016 is "attack the freaking front-runner for God's sake ... If Mike's goal is to actually beat Bernie -- and not just finish Super Tuesday with a gentleman's 18 percent and embark on a long, losing slog in the hopes something crazy happens -- then his paid media needs to shift to targeting Bernie immediately. Let me emphasize this: Immediately, today, five minutes ago, the fork NOW."

Taking on the front-runner is risky business. By launching an all-out attack, Bloomberg is likely to hurt Sanders. But this plan could also backfire. It may be that Bloomberg succeeds in derailing Sanders -- and damages his own campaign in the process, clearing the way for Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren or Amy Klobuchar if they manage to stay above the fray.

But what's the alternative for Bloomberg? Continuing to focus only on Trump does nothing to stop the Sanders campaign, nor does it do anything to sort out the rest of the field until after Super Tuesday. By then, it'll be too late. If Bloomberg entered the race to become President and to stop Trump, he has no choice now but to try to stop Sanders.

Doing so without taking himself down is the strategic test for Mike Bloomberg. Either way, he has to face it now instead of waiting until Super Tuesday. Winning the White House ultimately means beating Donald Trump.

But to get to Trump, and to deny him a second term, Bloomberg will have to defeat Sanders first, even if that might mean ruining his own chances at the nomination.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 608519

Reported Deaths: 9693
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion840461335
Lake45349684
Allen32803548
Hamilton29394315
St. Joseph27380381
Elkhart24404345
Vanderburgh19411249
Tippecanoe17970138
Johnson15069295
Porter14783169
Hendricks14401248
Madison10965221
Vigo10726181
Clark10677144
Monroe9383110
Delaware9116134
LaPorte9065163
Howard8236144
Kosciusko806983
Warrick672999
Hancock6697104
Bartholomew6484100
Floyd6428110
Wayne6136162
Grant5991115
Dubois555579
Boone551168
Morgan541295
Henry507864
Marshall503984
Cass483263
Dearborn479845
Noble473059
Jackson425047
Shelby417581
Lawrence391079
Clinton373043
Gibson370359
Harrison348144
DeKalb347164
Montgomery345754
Knox335639
Miami321444
Steuben313745
Whitley307326
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Ripley298445
Putnam296850
Huntington291659
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White273243
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Jefferson263338
Decatur247683
Fayette247148
Greene239862
Posey239328
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LaGrange228862
Scott225339
Clay222532
Randolph213548
Jennings198936
Sullivan192333
Spencer191321
Washington186423
Fountain184027
Starke175443
Jay167623
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Fulton164030
Orange159534
Carroll158015
Rush155118
Perry154229
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Franklin148333
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Parke13078
Pike116926
Blackford111022
Pulaski97037
Newton90921
Brown88035
Benton86610
Crawford7999
Martin73713
Warren6817
Switzerland6615
Union6287
Ohio4907
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 859841

Reported Deaths: 10680
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101171707
Cuyahoga855711125
Hamilton64017448
Montgomery43107418
Summit34836761
Lucas31350625
Butler30973232
Stark25786435
Warren19671140
Lorain19017223
Mahoning17321338
Lake16080154
Clermont15926111
Delaware1438878
Licking13204137
Trumbull12809316
Fairfield1279381
Greene12055137
Medina11591168
Clark10942265
Wood10348158
Allen9897126
Portage9296109
Miami916873
Richland9139118
Marion7459113
Tuscarawas7381182
Columbiana7327124
Pickaway726150
Wayne7034171
Muskingum703141
Erie6152129
Hancock552390
Ross548998
Scioto539164
Geauga508455
Darke470292
Ashtabula453073
Lawrence452654
Union451828
Sandusky436662
Mercer433589
Seneca430166
Huron428741
Auglaize422264
Shelby421222
Jefferson419269
Belmont416840
Washington388740
Athens38009
Putnam374975
Madison355129
Knox352622
Ashland344938
Fulton338443
Defiance330086
Crawford322374
Preble320637
Brown312921
Logan307332
Ottawa293943
Clinton290143
Williams278667
Highland275118
Jackson263845
Guernsey254125
Champaign252028
Fayette236530
Morrow23234
Perry231318
Holmes225474
Henry218749
Hardin213033
Coshocton205622
Van Wert202245
Gallia196726
Wyandot196051
Pike176217
Adams176115
Hocking172024
Carroll155616
Paulding144321
Noble120540
Meigs108624
Monroe100732
Harrison89121
Morgan83130
Vinton70213
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