As the summer wears on toward Labor Day, a growing feeling among many political observers is that the two “old white men”—Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders—are declining in support, and that two women—Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris— are rising in the Democratic Presidential sweepstakes.
One can see that Sanders is clearly slipping in support, while Warren, in particular, and Harris lesser so, are clearly rising, but what about Joe Biden, who remains as the front runner?
Well, Biden has been making a lot of gaffes recently, blunders that are embarrassing, and making one wonder if he is in mental decline, a sad thought, but not uncommon in the late 70s. Joe is loved by millions, and certainly is far less harmful and dangerous than Donald Trump, but the fear is that he will not be able to perform well in debates with Trump. When he debated Republican Vice Presidential candidates Sarah Palin in 2008 and Paul Ryan in 2012, he was outstanding, as he was in the Presidential debates in 2008 although he could not get voting support once the caucuses and primaries began in that year.
This is 11 and 7 years later, and it is worrisome that Joe Biden may not be up to the grueling demands of a campaign and to serve as President from age 78 to age 82 or 86. And although Bernie Sanders may seem in better shape by comparison at the moment, he would be 79-87, 14 months older than Biden in a one term or two term Presidency.
After the experience of Ronald Reagan’s decline in office, notable in his second term, and Donald Trump’s every day signs of dangerous decline, the question is whether electing either Biden or Sanders, or even Elizabeth Warren, who would be 71-79 in two terms of office, older at inauguration than Donald Trump was, is a wise idea.
So even with Warren surging, it could be that Kamala Harris, who would be 56-64 in two terms of office, might have the edge as voters look to the Democratic caucuses and primaries, and the election itself in less than 15 months.
Democrats in North Carolina: ‘Vote Blue No Matter Who’
They may have a favorite candidate in the primary, but mostly they want to win in November 2020.
To help us understand one portion of the 2020 Democratic electorate, Jonathan Capehart provided us with some interesting tidbits about how African American voters are evaluating the race after attending a family reunion in North Carolina. Here are some of the highlights.
â€œWarren is eliciting excitement among black voters because she talks to them not as voters to whom she must pander but as voters worth pursuing.â€
â€œI couldnâ€™t help but be surprised by how many times Buttigieg was mentionedâ€¦â€™I like him because he was straightforward,â€™ one relative said.â€
â€œTwenty of the 26 people said Biden was their first choice. The No. 1 reason mentioned is Bidenâ€™s experience.â€
From one aunt: â€œThe whole world is in a crazy state, and somebodyâ€™s gotta put it back in order. And I think a lot of the young people who want to put it back in order, want to change it completely. But first, youâ€™ve got to put it back in order before you can start changing it.â€
â€œWhile â€˜no second choiceâ€™ got the most votes when I asked for a Plan B, Harris was the person who was most mentioned as a second choice for Democratic nominee.â€
â€œI came away with the distinct impression that where Harris is with these black voters is where Obama was with African American voters about this time in 2007.â€
â€œMy 26 relatives want to win. While they love Biden (or whoever their first choice is), they will vote for the Democratic presidential nominee next November, thus making them part of the growing â€˜vote blue no matter whoâ€™ chorus among the Democratic Party faithful.â€
Among Capehartâ€™s family, Biden is big. But he also heard a lot about Warren, Buttigieg, and Harris. It was also interesting to hear the pragmatic argument for putting things back in order prior to making big changes. But the major takeaway is that these voters plan to vote for the Democratic nominee, no matter who that is.
I hadnâ€™t heard the â€œvote blue no matter whoâ€ mantra before, but it seems to be making waves in the merchandising business. Apparently there are those on the far left who donâ€™t agree, but I suspect theyâ€™re in the minority.
Capturing the same theme is the â€œWe Are Indivisible 2020 Pledge.â€ They have both a grassroots and candidate version. Here is the latter.
We must defeat Donald Trump. The first step is a primary contest that produces a strong Democratic nominee. The second step is winning the general election. We will not accept anything less. To ensure this outcome, I pledge to:
Make the primary constructive. Iâ€™ll respect the other candidates and make the primary election about inspiring voters with my vision for the future.
Rally behind the winner. Iâ€™ll support the ultimate Democratic nominee, whomever it is â€” period. No Monday morning quarterbacking. No third-party threats. Immediately after thereâ€™s a nominee, Iâ€™ll endorse.
Do the work to beat Trump. I will do everything in my power to make the Democratic Nominee the next President of the United States. As soon as there is a nominee, I will put myself at the disposal of the campaign.
Of the 25 Democrats in the race right now, only five have not signed the pledge: Bennet, Gabbard, Messam, Sestak, and Yang. Perhaps that is merely an oversight. But it could be that one or more of them wants to keep the door open to run as a third party candidate. As Josh Marshall explains, that would play right into Trumpâ€™s hand.
As weâ€™ve seen both before his election and since, Trump is a minority candidate, essentially a factional leader, who has incredibly durable support of between 35% and 45% of the population. He really, really needs the presence of spoiler candidates to pull the contest down into the mid-40s where it was in 2016. Iâ€™d never say never. But I think thereâ€™s a good argument that a significant third party/spoiler candidacy â€” or ideally more than one â€” are the necessary predicate of Trumpâ€™s reelection.
Back in 2004, I went to hear a speech by the late, great Molly Ivins. At the time, I was trying to decide whether to be bold or pragmatic in my choice for who to support in the presidential primary. She uttered these few words that sealed the deal for me: â€œIn the primary, vote with you heart. In the general, go with your head.â€ Knowing that, Iâ€™m pretty sure that Ivins would approve of the â€œvote blue no matter whoâ€ mantra when it comes to the 2020 presidential election.
Texans want Beto to run for Senate against Cornyn.
Bernie attacked the Washington Post this week because he doesn’t like negative coverage about himself, falsely claiming that Jeff Bezos tells the reporters what to write.
The Post’s executive editor, Marty Baron, responded back with this: “Sen. Sanders is a member of a large club of politicians — of every ideology — who complain about their coverage. Contrary to the conspiracy theory the senator seems to favor, Jeff Bezos allows our newsroom to operate with full independence, as our reporters and editors can attest.”
Good for Marty Baron, and shame on Sen. Sanders for contributing to the erosion of faith in the press. With the Idiot in Chief droning on about â€œfake newsâ€ every day, journalists have their hands full defending themselves from attacks on the right. We donâ€™t need progressive politicians joining in the assault.
Totally in agreement, Princess Leia!
Bernie Sanders is, in many ways, the left wing Donald Trump, critical of the news media, temperamental, grouchy, and living in a dream world of unreality. He would be a nightmare in the White House, as I see it.
And he is falling fast, as Warren accelerates, and having such an old man in his 80s after 8 months, is a horrible idea, and nothing would be accomplished, as Bernie is NOT a team player!
There’s talk on the news today that Hickenlooper may drop out and run for Senate.
Sanders struggles to explain the details of his 14 trillion dollar MFA plan, but Warren is able to lay out her proposals step by step, she shows up prepared, which makes her more preferable to me.
Agree with Martin Longman. The primaries are surprisingly stable so far. Unless someone has a significant bump, it’s a four-way race between Biden, Sanders, Warren, and Harris.