Bernie, Biden and Bloomberg headline today’s voting

Frank CagleFrank Talk

We will find out today if the Democratic presidential nomination is down to a two-man race or whether a billionaire can buy his way in in the middle of the game.


Will Elizabeth Warren carry her home state of Massachusetts? Will she stay in the race? Amy Klobachar has dropped out, joining Mayor Pete and Tom Steyer in seeing no way forward.

Frank Cagle

Joe Biden ran away with the South Carolina primary where 61 percent of Democratic voters are black. His tie to President Obama and years of campaigning with black members of Congress no doubt contributed to his success. He should also do well today in other Southern states with large black populations. Like Alabama and Arkansas, Virginia and North Carolina. In Tennessee in the 2016 presidential primary election, exit polls estimated 32 percent of Democratic voters were black. And Tennessee Democrats in general tend to be more conservative. That would suggest that Biden will do well today (Tuesday) in Southern states. But does anyone believe that Southern states will vote for a Democrat in November?

My point is that Biden’s ability to win the Democratic primary in each of these states helps him in his quest for delegates to try and stay in the game with Bernie Sanders. But in the final analysis these states will give the electoral votes to President Trump.

If Bernie Sanders wins the California primary, that is a meaningful result. Given the huge number of delegates, electoral votes and its mix of white, black, Asian and Latino voters it is vastly more significant than Biden winning South Carolina last Saturday.

Yes, South Carolina was Biden’s “firewall.” But after today no one will remember it. Can Biden win in Massachusetts, Colorado, Minnesota or Utah? And most importantly, California? The problem for Democrats in our 50-50 country is where a candidate’s primary votes come from, not just how many.

The wild card in California is Mike Bloomberg. He had the money to saturate the state with ads. Does he take enough votes to freeze out Biden? Bloomberg is unlikely to take many of Sanders’ voters. Today is the first day Bloomberg has been on the ballot, and we will see what effect his money has had.

If Bernie and his supporters want the nomination, he had better have the convention delegates to win on the first ballot. You see, the super delegates that helped nominate Hillary Clinton last time, can vote on the second ballot. That will likely be where the “stop Bernie” Democratic establishment will make its last stand. If the effort to stop “The Bern” is successful, what will the turnout of young voters be in the general election? But if they don’t stop him, many think the party will go down in flames and take Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House majority with it?

I can just imagine what Trump and the Republican Party will do with a democratic nominee who is a socialist who has said good things about communist regimes. You can expect to see ads with Sanders praising the Soviets during the Cold War, standing with the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, not to mention his admiration of Fidel Castro’s literacy program. And it will be pointed out that none of the “Social Democratic” countries of Europe that Bernie wants to emulate have outlawed or destroyed private insurance.

The Democratic turnout may equal the Republican turnout today since Trump doesn’t have an opponent. There will likely be criticisms that Republicans voted in the Democratic primary. People who argue that don’t get it. I can’t imagine any of my Republican friends and neighbors going to the local precinct, looking their neighbor at the registration table in the eye, and asking for a Democratic primary ballot. They wouldn’t be able to hold their head up Sunday at church.

We don’t need no stinkin’ permit: Gov. Bill Lee has thrown in with the extremist wing of the Second Amendment lobby. He supports a bill in which no one needs a background check or to demonstrate some proficiency with a gun. Just buy one and carry it. Using that logic, I don’t know why we require people to demonstrate they can drive a car before we give them a license.

If the bill passes you probably should be prepared to leave your gun at home when you travel. Some states have agreements to recognize each other’s permit. But if you don’t have a permit what then? Also, some states that have permit-less carry restrict it to state residents. If you are a non-resident you need a permit. The permit is a handy thing to have, don’t leave home without it. Unless we don’t have them.

Evidence? What evidence? Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon has announced that police officers will be equipped with body cameras by this summer. The problem with such a program is the cost of data storage and having the video available as evidence. Hamilton County (Chattanooga) has announced a “catastrophic” data loss of its in-car cams. The videos from October 2018 until January 2020 have been lost due to a software malfunction. Defense attorneys are examining the effect on current cases.

Frank Cagle is a former managing editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel.

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