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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 4:50 PM
Updated: Feb 22, 2020 4:50 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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 261167

Reported Deaths: 5713
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17561191
Hinds16687329
Harrison14050202
Rankin11102217
Jackson10729188
Lee9014143
Madison8495168
Jones6607114
Forrest6135122
Lauderdale6067192
Lowndes5490120
Lafayette511794
Lamar499865
Washington4904125
Bolivar4087109
Oktibbeha403581
Panola380981
Pontotoc374757
Monroe3651106
Warren3649103
Union353263
Marshall352069
Neshoba3464154
Pearl River3422105
Leflore3090109
Lincoln304287
Sunflower290373
Hancock288461
Tate279062
Alcorn270754
Pike268180
Itawamba266662
Scott256048
Yazoo253756
Prentiss251153
Copiah247649
Tippah247550
Coahoma245954
Simpson241471
Leake236167
Grenada222471
Marion220273
Covington219072
Adams212370
Wayne208432
Winston205870
George203539
Newton197346
Attala196461
Tishomingo193861
Chickasaw188444
Jasper177838
Holmes171368
Clay164237
Tallahatchie155635
Stone149525
Clarke144762
Calhoun139922
Smith127725
Yalobusha121134
Walthall114037
Greene112929
Noxubee112225
Montgomery111236
Carroll106422
Lawrence105617
Perry104031
Amite100826
Webster95424
Tunica88221
Claiborne87825
Jefferson Davis87727
Benton84823
Humphreys84224
Kemper80020
Quitman7049
Franklin69617
Choctaw62513
Wilkinson59625
Jefferson56520
Sharkey44817
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 436087

Reported Deaths: 6486
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63969994
Mobile31211565
Madison27851208
Tuscaloosa21233271
Montgomery19698326
Shelby19093130
Baldwin16981188
Lee13036105
Morgan12526134
Etowah11987179
Calhoun11441206
Marshall10357123
Houston8886158
Limestone827876
Cullman8203108
Elmore8120104
DeKalb7828103
Lauderdale7798103
St. Clair7763125
Talladega6394111
Walker6002177
Jackson594644
Colbert545276
Blount543986
Autauga532761
Coffee456762
Dale406883
Franklin372448
Russell349212
Chilton342873
Covington336068
Escambia330144
Dallas312096
Tallapoosa3120107
Chambers301170
Clarke293336
Pike261131
Marion251558
Lawrence250752
Winston232742
Bibb221248
Geneva208746
Marengo206529
Pickens199031
Hale182742
Barbour179337
Fayette177029
Butler172459
Cherokee164330
Henry158224
Monroe151320
Randolph144336
Washington140127
Clay129146
Crenshaw122944
Macon120937
Cleburne120724
Lamar119721
Lowndes113736
Wilcox106622
Bullock102228
Perry99118
Conecuh96821
Sumter90026
Greene76823
Coosa63215
Choctaw51724
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