December 18, 2018

Democratic Primary Polls

Polls of the Democratic primary both nationally and in Iowa show former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the lead, followed by Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX).
CNN, Des Moines Register

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From the Left

The left is leaving open every possibility.

“Even if political junkies are already sick of hearing about the presumed top contenders in the 2020 Democratic presidential field, most of America isn’t yet familiar with them… Roughly half of Americans have never heard of Harris or Booker; Warren fares a little better, but one-third say they haven’t heard of her either… The 2020 campaign is just starting.”

In addition to the familiar names, there is a long list of as-yet-unknown 2020 hopefuls. “On the speaking list at Progress Iowa's sixth annual holiday party: California Rep. Eric Swalwell, businessman Andrew Yang, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg… In the last week, Julian Castro [also] threw his hat into the ring -- kind of -- by launching a presidential exploratory committee.”

“With everyone racing to the left, maybe Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has a shot at owning a moderate lane all to himself and sneaking in. Or with everyone talking about health care, maybe Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has a shot at owning climate change as a distinctive issue and sneaking in… in a field that big, really anyone can win.”

Regarding O’Rourke, some posit that “so much of centrist-Democrat fantasizing about 2020 already seems aimed at repeating a golden past… For Democrats excited about O’Rourke, his primary draw is his similarity to Barack Obama… If all the Democrats can manage is to hark back to the past and focus on winning for its own sake, they’re missing an opportunity to lay out a blueprint for the future.”
Washington Post

Others counter that “as a presidential candidate, O’Rourke would rightly ensure that criminal justice reform, campaign finance reform and Medicare for everyone are prioritized by the Democratic Party… Ignore the skeptics. Beto O’Rourke has the policy chops to run for president.”
Houston Chronicle

Regarding concerns that the current front-runners are all white males, many note that “Democrats have come too far to be stuck still in entrenched factions and the false perception that an African-American woman can't represent white men, or a white man can't represent African-American women. All wings of the party have more in common than they have differences, especially when compared with Trump…

"Instead of asking what kind of candidate can win, the question should be: What makes a good President?

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

From the Right

The right argues that Democrats would be best served by nominating a candidate who can appeal to midwestern voters.

From the Right

The right argues that Democrats would be best served by nominating a candidate who can appeal to midwestern voters.

“Democrats' best hope of defeating Trump may be the Biden or Bernie strategy — appealing to the white working class… Racial minorities and women might be able to energize the Democratic base, and there may be a perfect candidate out there that can galvanize midwestern white working class voters and minority voters the same way Barack Obama did, but as of now it does seem one of the three Bs might be Democrats' best chance against Trump in 2020.”
PJ Media

“Voters [in the Iowa poll] said they are looking for a seasoned hand rather than a young upstart to challenge Trump, with 49 percent reporting they’d prefer an experienced candidate compared to 36 percent who called for a fresh face… The results bode well for Biden, who at 76 is reportedly considering a run and looking to 46-year-old O’Rourke as a possible running mate whose youth could balance out the ticket.”
New York Post

Meanwhile, “Bernie Sanders may be done – thanks, ironically, to his success in getting the Democratic Party to swallow his mantras and then digest them. Sanders is no longer radical, standing outside the party. He’s in the mainstream of the party, and there are more attractive candidates in the mainstream than a near-octogenarian with a penchant for wild misstatements.”
Daily Wire

“After Biden and Sanders, both in their late 70s with many vulnerabilities, there is a huge drop-off… The fact that O'Rourke, without doing much, could leapfrog all of the other candidates who had been clearly positioning themselves to run for years, suggests that none of the Democratic candidates enter the race in a particularly strong position.”
Washington Examiner

Interestingly, “when asked recently who Republicans should fear most in the 2020 presidential campaign, two prominent GOP figures, both women speaking independently of each other, gave the same response: Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota

“She pleased her party base in the hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh when she challenged him about his use of alcohol… [but] also won re-election this year with more than 60% of the vote in the one state Trump forces lost in 2016 but think they have a legitimate chance to flip their way in 2020… Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio [could be]… the dream ticket.”
Wall Street Journal

“If Joe Biden can win his way through the primaries, he’s almost lab-engineered to beat Trump. He doesn’t cause Republican panic, he has the potential to connect with white working-class voters in a way that Hillary couldn’t in 2016, and he has a potential to connect better with black voters than Hillary did… if Biden emerges from [this] crucible, Trump will face a very different challenge than he faced in 2016.”
David French, National Review

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“The fans who avidly followed the men’s tournament certainly weren’t doing anything wrong. And it’s hard to argue that each of them had a moral obligation to be exactly as interested in women’s soccer. Even if we could stop them from watching the men more than the women, should we?…

“It’s tempting to answer that the fan choices aren’t innocent, they’re sexist. But since we can’t peek into their hearts, to say that definitively, we’d have to assume that men’s greater speed, strength and endurance definitely make nodifference to the sport’s quality. Fair enough, but then why do fans prefer to watch Megan Rapinoe play instead of the sedentary elderly who could presumably use some exercise? Alternatively, maybe pay should be equalized precisely because biology is unfair. But that seems to be an argument for curbing the pay of all top-level athletes, who have to hit the genetic lottery just to get on the field. It might be easier to focus on the distributions across society at large, rather than every individual industry, especially when fundamental biology is in play.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

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