Ira Lacher: “Democrats have never gotten it through their heads that the primary season is not about picking the person who would make the best president.” -promoted by Laura Belin
“I think the vast majority of primary voters are now realizing there’s only one of two or three possible winners.” — Paul Maslin, Democratic pollster, in Saturday’s New York Times
I suppose those would be the candidates who have led the polls from the get-go: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren.
If that remains the case, get used to four more years of Donald Trump.
Democrats have never gotten it through their heads that the primary season is not about picking the person who would make the best president. It’s about picking the person who would make the best candidate in the general election. And none of those three fit the bill.
There are two keys to winning in November 2020: regain a good proportion of the 9 percent of Democrats who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 but defected to Trump in 2016; and bring people to the polls who don’t usually vote: younger Americans and Americans of color.
A study made after the 2016 election found that most of the Obama disaffecteds were whites without a college degree. Many of those abandoned the Democrats because they were convinced the party had betrayed them under President Obama, by refusing to fight for worker rights and by championing a health care bill that caused many of them to lose their health insurance. Why would they vote for a candidate whose main stump speech has been that he was Obama’s vice president?
Other defectors weren’t really defectors at all — they were independents whose votes swing back and forth based on myriad factors. Many, who are of means, lean socially on Democratic positions but tilt Republican on economic policy. Why would they vote for candidates who have staked their entire positions on combating capitalism?
Black Americans voted en masse for Obama in 2008 but weren’t that enthusiastic in 2012 and 2016. Fewer than 50 percent of black voters are enthusiastic about Biden, and even fewer have flocked to Warren and Sanders.
Democrats have a greater problem with younger voters — only 13 percent of millennials voted at all in 2016. Why would younger Americans vote for candidates 70 and above, and one who just had a heart attack?
The best outcome for the Democrats at this point is for a candidate to emerge who can recapture the trust of some of the disaffected and appeal to the no-shows. The good news is that there are candidates who fit that bill.
“The second tier is flush with candidates who have solid electability claims,” David Byler, a political analyst and columnist writes in The Washington Post.
[Sen. Amy] Klobuchar [of Minnesota] has posted eye-popping margins in the Midwest, the country’s key swing region. [New Jersey Sen.] Cory Booker and [Calif. Sen.] Kamala D. Harris have focused on building strong ties with black voters and either could reenergize Obama voters who stayed home in 2016 (though testing the waters with the extremely unpopular idea of reparations for slavery might harm them with the broader electorate). I’ve been bearish on Beto O’Rourke since he entered the national political arena, but his almost-victory in Texas in 2018 should count for something. Some of these candidates might have undiscovered skeletons in their closet, but it’s unlikely that all of them do.
Of that group, only Harris has qualified for the November debate. Fortunately, Iowans and New Hampshirites will have a solid opportunity to see many of them in person. Take advantage of those opportunities. And keep them in mind when you caucus. Because only those candidates will have the best chance to keep America from sinking further into Trumpism.