The Democratic Primary season is not yet under way and the field of Democratic candidates is already enormous. Figuring out who will rise to the top can seem like an impossible task, at this point. However, if you pay close enough attention, you can read the tea leaves and see which way the political winds are blowing.
The first thing to realize is that Pete Buttigieg has never really been running for President. He is a mayor of a relatively obscure town and has a political resume as short as Sarah Palin's. His eye is on the Vice Presidential slot. From the moment he stepped onto the political field, he took aim at his true political enemy: Vice President Mike Pence. On April 7, less than a month after participating in a CNN town hall and a week before his candidacy officially launched, Buttigieg said this:
"That’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me—your quarrel, sir, is with my creator."
It is a safe bet that high level Democrat operatives are behind Buttigieg's vice-presidential bid. Democrats know that he is the perfect person to take on Mike Pence in the coming Vice Presidential debates. The Achilles heel of evangelical political figures is the fact that they have so recently opposed same-sex marriage. Buttigieg is uniquely poised to harp on this weakness and remind moderate Americans of the Democrats' victories on social issues during the Obama era. Consider this possible answer he might give to a question about abortion:
"You know, Mike, you have said that your opposition to gay marriage arose not from hatred of gay people, but from your Christian faith. You also now say that your opposition to women's healthcare choices—and your defense of Trump's lies on this score—do not come from hatred of women, but from your faith. Now, look, I am not here to tell you that your understanding of Christian faith is wrong—although I see things very differently. But I am here to tell you that those religious beliefs have no business being imposed on my relationship with my husband or on women's bodies."
The next thing to realize about the current political situation is that Joe Biden's campaign announcement video was the most professional piece of political propaganda produced by any candidate thus far. It immediately took aim at Trump in precisely the direction the Democrat establishment has decided to go. Talk of impeachment is off the table, as it has been for Pelosi and Schumer for months. A message of unity and civility is loud and clear. The ad even praises the historical contributions of the Southern city of Charlottesville.
It is easy to understand why the Democratic establishment would want warhorse Joe Biden for the top of the ticket. As Obama's Vice President, Joe reliably carries on the Obama legacy which brings with it the goodwill of moderate Democrat voters. Moreover, Joe lacks Clinton's high unfavorables in key battleground states. Also, every other Democratic candidate currently running has been vying for the progressive base—a base which has proved troublesome for the political establishment. As the debates heat up and old, white Bernie Sanders loses his enchantment for millennial voters, the progressive base is likely to fracture—which would benefit a moderate candidate like Biden.
There is only one problem. Joe Biden has historically had a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease. It is possible that, despite being the only moderate candidate running, he still manages to lose to whichever candidate survives the upcoming progressive game of thrones. If that happens, and it looks like Biden will lose the primary race, the establishment may be forced to abandon ship. But, at that point, will anyone be able step in to be their savior?
Hillary Clinton, again?
Or, perhaps, Michelle Obama?