Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

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Paul Waldman: Warren’s wrenching downfall says something terrible about 2020

Is it enough, as a presidential candidate, to have smarts and charisma, to have a clear and concise message, to even be the best debater, and most of all to be the best prepared to do the job effectively?

No, it is not. Which is why so often during this primary campaign, we’ve heard supporters of Elizabeth Warren ask plaintively, “Hey, what if we got behind the person who’d actually be the best president? Why not do that?”

They asked because the number of voters willing to do that was not what it might have been, which is why Warren has announced that she’s ending her bid for the White House.

There is a temptation to say the presidential primary process is brutal and unsparing but ultimately fair. It tests you in the way no other campaign can. If you don’t win, it’s because you didn’t have what it takes. Lots of it may be out of your control, but if you were a once-in-a-generation talent like Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, you could have overcome any obstacle cast before you. Nobody deserves the nomination; either you win it or you don’t.

Which is true as far as it goes. But we can’t consider Warren’s candidacy without seeing sexism, both in fact and in perception, for the hindrance it was for her.

Amanda Marcotte: After Super Tuesday, it looks like Bernie Sanders has a ceiling. This is not good news

Joe Biden is winning as the anti-Sanders candidate — but voters should worry how he’ll hold up against Trump

That Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has a floor in this Democratic primary race is undeniable. His base of supporters has been enthusiastic and loyal, and apparently not even a little tempted to decamp to Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has largely the same policy goals but a more detailed roadmap for how to achieve them. Sanders’ base has been an invaluable asset, creating a floor of support of about 20% below which his numbers never really dipped, even after he suffered a heart attack that threatened to end his campaign.

The only question really is whether or not Sanders has a ceiling — a level of support where he maxes out and cannot expand further— and how close to that floor the ceiling is. Would the self-described democratic socialist who isn’t a registered Democrat be able to win the majority of Democratic voters? How many people outside the Sanders base can be persuaded that he’s the Democratic Party’s best bet against Donald Trump in November? [..]

But the results of Super Tuesday should trouble Sanders and his supporters all the same, because it’s not clear that Biden’s success has much to do with Joe Biden himself. On the contrary, it looks like the result of Democrats who aren’t comfortable with Sanders coalescing behind the one remaining candidate who seems best poised to beat him.

Karen Tumulty: The Super Tuesday results have Trump spooked — for good reason

One of the many things we learned on Super Tuesday is this: The perception that the Democratic Party has lurched to the left is greatly exaggerated.

The results of what amounted to a nationwide primary were an endorsement of gradualism over revolution, and pragmatism above both of them.

This, more than anything else we’ve seen lately, should scare President Trump’s campaign.

And it obviously does, as evidenced by the increasingly desperate and pathetic efforts by Trump and his team to shill for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a democratic socialist.

The president has been filling his Twitter feed with laments that Sanders is being mistreated and faux concerns that the race is being rigged against him. No doubt Russian bots are adding to the chorus as well.

But then, what would you expect? Trump is apparently so terrified of former vice president Joe Biden that he felt compelled to commit an abuse of power that led to his impeachment.

The campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination has taken more than its share of seemingly impossible turns, and there may well be more to come. The velocity with which expectations have formed and then exploded has been unlike anything in memory.

But at least for now, the party has returned to its original theory of the case, which is that the man who served as No. 2 during Barack Obama’s presidency is the Democrats’ safest bet to bring an end to Trump’s.

Greg Sargent: Trump’s latest coronavirus lies have a galling subtext

President Trump is now claiming he has a “hunch” that the World Health Organization is wrong about the death rate from coronavirus — it’s far lower, Trump claims — while also suggesting that going to work with the virus isn’t dangerous.

Meanwhile, Trump is attacking Democratic criticism of his administration’s response to the virus as nothing more than an effort to hurt him politically — a move that’s designed to place his government’s handling of a public health emergency beyond scrutiny entirely.

Each of those things is profoundly galling on its own. But if you put them together, they add up to something substantially worse than the sum of their parts.

To wit: It is now falling to Democratic elected officials to correct Trump’s lies to the American people about something that poses a dire threat to them. At times Democrats are literally going around Trump to get the real truth out to the public.

Yet even as this is happening, Trump is working to delegitimize what those Democrats are saying. It’s a double whammy of gaslighting: Trump is misleading the American people while making it harder for other elected officials to responsibly inform them where Trump will not.

Richard Wolff: The resurrection of Joe Biden is almost complete: the race is his to lose

Super Tuesday’s super wins for Biden change nothing about his flaws, but they do underscore the strength of his sales pitch to a Trump-weary world

The resurrection of Joe Biden is almost complete. In less than a week, the former vice-president has walked out of the tomb of loser candidates into the glorious sunshine of frontrunner greatness.

This is a remarkable turnaround by any measure. It also reflects no change in Biden’s qualities or character, and everything about a party with a singular focus on one factor: kicking Trump out of office.

Super Tuesday’s super wins for Biden change nothing about his flaws as a candidate but they do underscore the strength of his sales pitch to a Trump-weary world.

Biden’s wins also change nothing about Bernie Sanders’ strength as an insurgent critic of the establishment; they may even boost them.

But they most definitely blow a hole in his sales pitch to Democrats: that he can build a vast turnout machine to energize the base of the party to beat Donald Trump.