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The establishment strikes back
Michael Reagan

Everyone talks about the power of the Republican and Democrat party establishments.

It’s real - just ask Bernie.

He quickly found out how powerful the Democrat establishment is this week when Mayor Pete and Amy Klobuchar both called it quits just in time to help Joe Biden rack up some impressive primary wins on Super Tuesday.

Bernie Sanders is a socialist, an outsider.

Outsiders always have a tough time. But good, likable candidates like my father in 1980 can defeat the party establishment.

Bernie isn’t exactly likable, but he was looking pretty strong there for a while  - almost unstoppable.

He had a lot going for him.

Big, energetic crowds. A clear and unchanging message calling for bigger government, radical economic change and social justice. Lots of campaign money rolling in. Friendly coverage by the liberal mainstream media.

But his big mistake - the one that caused Democrat powerbrokers to quickly crush him just as he seemed to be cruising to the nomination - was when he went on “60 Minutes” and staunchly defended Fidel Castro’s literacy and educational programs.

The Democrat establishment woke up and said, “Whoa, wait a minute. We just lost Florida in the fall.”

Bernie had to know that with half a million Cubans living in Miami, a presidential candidate in a general election who says nice things about Cuba’s communist government is committing political suicide. 

But “principled” Bernie couldn’t help himself.

He’s a living ideological relic of the 1960s, when leftists like him excused, justified and even applauded the oppressive, impoverished and primitive dictatorships of Cuba and the Soviet Union.

Half a century later, with the USSR’s evil empire long gone and Eastern Europe free, Bernie still actually believes all that 1960s leftwing claptrap.

He’s one of the reasons the Cold War lasted so damn long.

When the Democrat bigshots heard Bernie praising his hero Fidel  - and stubbornly refusing to pull it back - it scared the bejesus out of them.

Biden was getting weaker and goofier every day, but to the party establishment he was suddenly again looking like their only hope to beat Trump.

So the Democrats - the party of diversity - got rid of the rest of their women candidates, their young candidates, their billionaire candidates and their candidates of color and ended up with two very old white guys.

Anything could happen, but Biden now looks like he’ll win the nomination unless he completely goes off the rails - which might happen in the next CNN debate on March 15.

By then Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington will have held their March 10 Democrat primaries and half of all delegates will have been chosen.

Biden and Bernie will debate one-on-one for two whole hours - if the old coots can last that long.

Both of them are going to need extra doses of vitamin B-12. Instead of water on his podium, Biden will be swigging Red Bull.

Whoever wins their debates, Bernie is never going make the Democrat establishment happy by obediently dropping out of the race like Mike Bloomberg and the others did.

That means it’s going to be hot and nasty at the Democrat National Convention in Milwaukee this July.

If Biden wins the nomination, according to the Democrat establishment’s plans, the party’s big problem will be getting Bernie’s young army of left-wingers to get out of bed and vote for Biden on Election Day.  

Good luck with that.

In the general election, no matter which woman he picks as his VP, old Joe Biden and his stale, “moderate,” leftover Obama-era policy ideas will be a longshot to beat Donald Trump.

But the Republican Party and the Trump campaign better be careful.

Voters don’t always vote on policy. They often vote on personality - “Do I like you?”

That “likability” advantage helped Donald Trump pull off his upset of Hillary. But whatever weaknesses Biden has, he will never be as unlikable as she is.

 Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author. Send comments to