August 9, 2019

2020 Update

According to a Monmouth University Poll released Thursday, “Former Vice President Joe Biden maintains a lead in [Iowa], but Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is hot on his heels while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has slipped down the leaderboard… Biden continues to lead the Democratic field with 28% support… Warren is now closing the gap at 19% support, up from 7% four months ago. Support for Sanders has gone in the opposite direction, now at 9% compared with 16% in April.” Monmouth University

See past issues

From the Left

The left sees Biden as the current frontrunner and is generally optimistic about the Democratic nominee’s chances against President Trump.

“Was the former vice president great in the CNN debate? He was not. Was he better than in the first debate at the end of June? He was -- by a significant amount. After a polling slide in the wake of the first debate, Biden appears to have stabilized in the low 30s, which gives him double the support of his next rival. We still have doubts as to whether his message -- Trumpism is a fever that will break and politics will be good again -- is one that an angry Democratic base will buy. But for now, Biden remains the frontrunner -- and clearly so.”
Chris Cillizza and Harry Enten, CNN

“If [Biden's] rivals want to take him down, they need to take him down with the kind of arguments that could hurt him in a general election. And that means embracing right-wing talking points… he’s an old guy who’s served in the senate forever as a member of a corrupt political establishment… Trump is going to run these arguments no matter what happens in the primary — and Biden’s numbers will go down somewhat…  

“Maybe Biden will prove to be a highly effective counterpuncher, in which case they won’t go down very much, his head-to-head polling against Trump will still look super-strong, and his electability argument will likely carry the day. Or maybe he won’t, in which case his head-to-head polling will plummet and his electability argument will collapse. Either way, the country will be better-served by having this argument sooner rather than later.”
Matthew Yglesias, Vox

Regarding Warren, “[she] is not only among the most liberal candidates in the 2020 field; she’s also an older, white, intellectual woman running in the aftermath of the Hillary Clinton debacle, and she follows in a long line of failed presidential nominees from Massachusetts. Dukakis ’88. Kerry ’04. Romney ’12. It’s entirely too easy to caricature her as a liberal-elite former Harvard professor whom President Trump could drub with those oh-so-important working-class white voters…

“Polls suggest, for now, that Democratic voters are more concerned with beating Trump than with ideological purity. Warren’s job will be to convince them that she’s got enough of the former for people to vote for the candidate with the latter.”
Aaron Blake, Washington Post

Dated but relevant: “Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are two of the most ideologically aligned candidates in the Democratic primary… But the fellow enemies of the 1 percent have surprisingly different bases of support. In poll after poll, Sanders appeals to lower-income and less-educated people; Warren beats Sanders among those with postgraduate degrees. Sanders performs better with men, Warren with women. Younger people who vote less frequently are more often in Sanders’ camp; seniors who follow politics closely generally prefer Warren.”
Holly Otterbein, Politico

“Right now I’d say there’s… a 45 percent chance of Trump winning reelection… 1) The economy will not get any better for Trump and probably will get worse… 2) Trump cannot count on Democratic apathy in 2020… 3) Democrats in 2020 are not Republicans in 2016. One of the more amusing elements of post-debate punditry has been to see right-wing commentators desperately trying to pump up Democratic presidential candidates who might roil the party, such as Marianne Williamson or Tulsi Gabbard… [But] Democrats seem both energized and pragmatic. Neither trend bodes well for the 45th president.”
Daniel W. Drezner, Washington Post

“President Trump touches down in El Paso, Texas, today amid a national furor over racist gun massacres, a plummeting stock market, and growing signs that his trade war with China will fail to produce the historic deal he promised during his 2016 presidential campaign. Each of these three developments hurts his standing with a key voter group he’s counting on to win a second term…

“Of course, Trump still has 15 months to go before Election Day and can count on the support of millions of diehards who won’t be swayed by racist massacres or sudden swoons in the Dow. But he’ll need to build a broader coalition to win a second term. Any week that he alienates farmers, suburbanites, and Upper Midwest voters makes it less likely that he can pull it off.”
Joshua Green, Bloomberg

From the Right

The right sees Biden as the favorite in the Democratic primary and is generally optimistic about President Trump’s re-election chances.

The right sees Biden as the favorite in the Democratic primary and is generally optimistic about President Trump’s re-election chances.

Biden “doesn’t want to fight with his Democratic rivals. He wants to draw contrasts with his rivals where necessary but sees no profit in turning on them the way they are turning on each other. He wants to be the person who unites the party without having to fight trench warfare to get there… the real question is whether the case he makes against Trump is effective enough to convince fence-sitting Democrats to move toward him in the primaries — and whether what he says resonates with the Democratic voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin who stayed home in 2016 and thereby handed Trump the presidency.”
John Podhoretz, New York Post

“The Iowa caucuses are still half a year away, and Biden has plenty of time to lose this race, but the very makeup of his support bodes well for his longevity. Yes, he has that pivotal support from black voters, but he also dominates among voters older than 50 and still wins with voters older than 35. His support is also constant across income brackets…

“If Sanders eventually gives way to Warren in the left lane of the primary, there could be a head-to-head bloodbath between two candidates drawing stark ideological lines but both capable of courting the party elite. But if that left lane remains splintered, Biden could have this primary locked up pretty quickly.”
Tiana Lowe, Washington Examiner

“Black Democrats’ clear choice now is Biden (47% in Quinnipiac), with Sanders (11%) a very distant second. Warren, the white college grads’ favorite, lags behind with blacks at 8%. Quinnipiac has black candidates Harris and Booker receiving 1% and 0% from blacks – they do better in other polls, but always struggle to hit double digits. Their left-wing issue stances may not help; Echelon Insights polling shows that fewer black Democrats identify as liberal than their white counterparts (by 13 points).”
Michael Barone, Washington Examiner

In 2004 “[John] Kerry had been in the Senate for almost 20 years. He had done little as a senator and was a wooden and often sanctimonious insider. But he was considered a safe liberal option… The result was that the safe Kerry won the Democratic nomination, but the plodding candidate went on to lose to Bush in a close election. Something similar is shaping up for the Democrats in 2020…

“Biden, like Kerry, is an old political warhorse. For now, he poses as the Democratic establishment’s only safe bet. Like Kerry, Biden has lots of flaws, is an erratic campaigner and is gaffe-prone. Yet Biden continues to poll as the front-runner, mostly because the majority of Democratic voters realize that none of the scary hard-left alternatives have any chance against the hated Donald Trump… Democrats may have no choice but to try the 2004 formula again, even if it ends with the same close but ultimately losing result.”
Victor Davis Hanson, National Review

Some, however, suggest that “if [Republicans] want to win in 2020, it will require more than just pointing at Democrats and yelling, ‘Socialist!’ in a manner reminiscent of Donald Sutherland in ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers.’ Republicans have 15 months in which to build a positive case for why voters should return them to power. It is also 15 months in which Donald Trump’s tweets and public comments will be threatening to undermine their argument.”
David Thornton, The Resurgent

“At the moment, Democrats are faced with a problem they have not faced since 1988: running to take the White House from the Republicans at a time when the economy has clearly been growing… the Labor Department’s jobs report on Friday showed that unemployment has fallen to levels not seen in half a century and wages are growing. Inflation remains subdued. Since 2001, Gallup has been asking Americans if they think it’s ‘a good time to find a quality job.’ In May, a record 71% said yes…

“Trump’s job approval rating, for obvious reasons, is lower than presidents with this kind of economic performance usually enjoy. But his rating on the economy is stronger than his overall rating. For Democratic presidential candidates, then, the best strategy on the economy is twofold: Switch the subject, and hope for a recession.”
Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg

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