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Bernie Sanders, Tacoma
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Rantz: Bernie Sanders Tacoma rally means WA could decide nominee

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to supporters during a rally at Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Feb. 14, 2020. Now, he's making stop in Tacoma. (David Foster III/The Charlotte Observer via AP)

Vermont Socialist Bernie Sanders makes a campaign stop in Tacoma Monday evening, as former Vice President Joe Biden stumbles. This move suggests Washington is very much in play to decide the Democratic candidate.

The free Sanders rally at the Tacoma Dome starts at 6 p.m. with a performance from Portugal. The Man (with a lead singer who has such a high voice, he declares himself a man in the band title), followed by speeches by supporters, including Seattle Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (currently facing an ethics complaint) and actor Tim Robbins (who ruined an otherwise decent remake of War of the Worlds).

That Sanders picks Tacoma over Seattle is telling — it means the campaign believes the entire state is in play.

Washington matters

The state’s primary was moved to March 10 after much campaigning by Secretary of State Kim Wyman. Now, thanks in large part to Wyman, our votes actually matter.

Sanders could have easily come to Seattle for a quick rally. After all, his many Socialist and Progressive supporters live there.

Instead, Sanders chooses Tacoma. I assume much of it has to do with venue availability, but it also makes the commute a bit easier for everyone south and east of Seattle to be part of the rally. Seattle die-hards will make the drive, of course.

Meanwhile, he’s throwing a bone to supporters who don’t want to make the long commute from Vancouver, University Place or Kennewick.

And he’s not just likely to attract those who feel the Bern. He’ll bring in some Elizabeth Warren supporters, too. Her campaign is likely toast with her two big losses in Iowa and New Hampshire. She’s going after the same demographics as Sanders: Younger progressives who aren’t scared by pie-in-the-sky socialist policies.

The only other demo she attracts are those who fraudulently claim another racial or ethnic identities for personal and professional gain. So, other than Rachel Dolezal, Warren has little additional support. Odds are she won’t make it past Super Tuesday, so Washington voters won’t be choosing between her and Sanders.

In fact, by March 10, we may actually have a Democratic race that comes down to two (or maybe three) candidates who can win the nomination.

“Mini-Mike” and his fortune

Biden stumbled hard after humiliating defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire. His campaign is in deep trouble and he’s getting desperate.

Unless Biden over-performs in Nevada and South Carolina (he can’t have a marginal win), Sanders may benefit from what he hopes is insurmountable momentum leading into Super Tuesday. But there’s one candidate banking on the demise of Biden, a significant delegate pick-up on Super Tuesday, and then the Washington primary where our result could determine the Democratic nominee.

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is pitching his campaign as the only truly viable Democrat to take on President Donald Trump. Bloomberg is deeply flawed and he’ll lose Bernie supporters if he’s the nominee. He may also have a hard time convincing black and Latino voters to give him a shot, with such a controversial background, as President Trump has overseen historic black and Latino unemployment rates and actual criminal justice reform victories.

But Bloomberg has the best shot at winning white independents in swing states.

The fix is in — it doesn’t just benefit Bloomberg

Biden was seen by the establishment as the only viable candidate until recently, giving this opening to Bloomberg. Establishment Democrats and the DNC know Sanders can’t win a national election: This country is very unlikely to elect a Socialist. They’ll try to sway the electorate away from Sanders and to Bloomberg, mirroring the same game plan they used to give Hillary Clinton the nomination.

This benefits Bloomberg to get the nomination. But it also benefits Washington.

Bloomberg, using his own fortune, is making a play for delegates on Super Tuesday to put him in that number one or two spot. Washington is part of Bloomberg’s long-game. His campaign just opened offices in Spokane and Everett.

Depending on how he does on Super Tuesday, Bloomberg is poised to spend big dollars campaigning in Washington. A portion of our 107 delegates could pit Bloomberg (or Sanders) over the top. That explains the Sanders Tacoma rally.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter.

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