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Democrat Primary – It Seems Like We’ve Been Here Before

It sure seems like I’ve already lived through this. Twice.

I was just getting my feet wet in the world of political commentary when the 2008 presidential election unfolded. I remember the primary season quite vividly, not just because my home state of Indiana was still a viable player for the close Democratic contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but because the Republicans had a most indecisive contest themselves.

Coming off the national phenomenon of what could fairly be called Bush-fatigue, Republicans were so underwhelmed by their potential options they bounced from Rudy Giuliani to Mitt Romney to Mike Huckabee, stuck their toe in the Fred Thompson pool, glanced for a moment in the forbidden direction of Ron Paul, all before settling for the boring, old white guy, John McCain.

Truthfully, the 2012 Republican primary was quite similar, with even a wider array of would-be nominees. Rick Perry fever quickly dissipated in light of poor debate performances, and a procession of candidates took their turn surging to the limelight: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul (again), a momentary tease from Donald Trump, even Rick Santorum. All this before eventually settling for the boring, old white guy, Mitt Romney.

And like I said, as I watch this current Democratic primary unfold here in 2019, I can’t shake the feeling of déjà vu. Go with the 2012 comparison:

Bernie Sanders plays the Ron Paul role, albeit with a little bit more of the Democratic electorate supporting his socialist candidacy than mainstream Republicans supported Paul’s libertarian one.

Pete Buttigieg is a Herman Cain outsider candidate who has strong personal appeal, but whose candidacy eventually unraveled due to a scandal – fair or not. Cain was undone by accusations of affairs and womanizing; Buttigieg is dealing with his own embarrassing attempts to court black voters.

In 2012, Newt Gingrich was smart and fiery, but was plagued by personal scandals and had the terrible tendency to just rub people the wrong way. Can you say Elizabeth Warren? Smart and fiery, but can’t stop telling obvious lies about stupid things (being an Indian, not sending her kids to private school) and she really grates on normal people’s nerves.

Kamala Harris was my original pick to win this nomination for the Democrats. Rick Perry was my original pick to win the nomination for Republicans in 2012. And just as I sat shocked at how bad Rick Perry was at campaigning for president, I’m still dumbfounded how awful Kamala proved to be herself.

Cory Booker is Michele Bachmann, a sitting lawmaker who draws attention to themselves but severely lacks authentic charisma.

And let’s even throw in Tulsi Gabbard, a woman with credentials but who everybody looks at and says, “You don’t belong in this group.” Does anyone remember the candidacy of Jon Huntsman, Jr. for the Republicans in 2012? Same thing.

I’m telling you, we’ve been here before. That’s very good news for the old, white guy in the race, whom many voters see as the “safe choice” whose time has come…former Vice President Joe Biden. Of course, before he and his Democrat supporters get too excited about this apparent writing on the wall, they might want to remember how things turned out for the Republicans those years in the general election.

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