Sanders, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Bloomberg, Warren, Biden—The Final Six?

As you can see, the Spirited Reasoner knows nothing about March Madness. Any college basketball fan knows that the tournament field is steadily reduced by a factor of two, so that those who make it to the Sweet Sixteen battle it out to become the Elite Eight, who are then reduced to the Final Four, with the two semifinal winners facing off in the championship game.

What’s this nonsense about a Final Six?

Truth be told, I was about to eliminate Biden and Warren from the discussion and just talk about the other four. Then it occurred to me that Joe Biden might just survive until the convention, based upon recent polls in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Texas. Elizabeth Warren, third in many polls but fading fast, might also survive a bit longer. Neither has much chance of winning in the long run.

Here’s why.

Joe Biden, who may be the most likeable of all the candidates, has been showing his age a bit too much during the debates. He misspeaks, struggles for facts, and can’t be counted on to top Donald Trump in a showdown. It’s too bad, because his positions on the issues place him right in the mainstream of those American voters who elected Barack Obama twice. He now appears to be the Democratic frontrunner only in the South.

Elizabeth Warren, who has displayed more fire in the belly than any other candidate, suffers from an Achilles heel. On her registration card for the State Bar of Texas in 1986, she listed American Indian as her race, a move that has prompted Donald Trump to deride her as “Pocahontas.”  She has apologized for that—see

yet Spirited Reasoners wonder how much damage that one image could cause in the general election. If she is truly American Indian, why apologize? And if she is not, why did she claim that status on a document as important as a state bar registration? So far, her apology seems more apparent than real. (Is she saying she had a perfect right to claim the status of an American Indian based upon the fact that her DNA test showed a single Native American ancestor six generations ago? Does she really believe her only mistake was that she should have been more sensitive to the Cherokee Nation in the way she put forward her claim. Sorry to use the following phrase, but her apology sounds Clintonesque.)

Oddly enough, that is not the issue which has caused the Warren campaign to flounder; rather, it was the lack of judgment she displayed during her on-camera confrontation with Bernie Sander after a recent debate, when she accused him of lying. If he lied about her, she had her chance during the debate to say exactly that. Yet she chose to wait and confront him after the debate. Why? If she believed waiting was the wiser course of action, why brush off Sanders’ suggestion that they have the discussion somewhere else? Instead, she took what Spirited Reasoners view as an unfortunate and petty route: refusing to shake hands, then accusing Sanders of lying in a voice loud enough to ensure that microphones would pick it up.

So, maybe it’s the Final Four after all. Bernie Sanders holds an impressive lead in major Super Tuesday states, while Mike Bloomberg has been rising in almost every poll. Spirited Reasoners have been impressed by the latter’s pitch-perfect media spots, not to mention his financial ability to stay the course against a sitting president.

As for Buttigieg and Klobuchar, they have surprised everyone with their apparent mastery of retail politics. The more folks see them, the more they like them. But can they match the art of wholesale politics demonstrated by Sanders and Bloomberg?  

It’s still early. We’ll know a lot more in just a few short weeks.