Not only will official presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Cory Booker split the black vote, but are 2020 Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters really eager to be punk’d again by a Barack Obama 2.0 promising — but not delivering — “hope” and “change”? (Booker and Harris are shown above during the September 2018 Senate hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, which they used to showboat their presidential aspirations.)
As much as Kamala Harris incorrectly has been painted as a front-runner for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination over the past several months — it has been the wishful thinking of the identity politicians — the first time that she reached double digits in a nationwide poll of preference of Dem presidential candidate was quite recently: a Morning Consult poll taken January 25 through January 27 put her at a whopping 10 percent.
But that 10 percent came right after she’d announced her candidacy on January 15 (Martin Luther King Day) and had basked in the ensuing media attention. Once her 15 minutes are up, will she sustain double digits, even low double digits?
I doubt it, especially now that Cory Booker officially has jumped into the race. (I’ve already written what I think of Cory Booker [two words: corporate whore], so I won’t regurgitate all of that here.)
Not that Booker is doing great in the polls. In the nationwide polls of Dem presidential preference taken in January*, he averaged only 2.6 percent. (Harris averaged only 6.25 percent in those polls.) But once you’re officially in the race, your poll numbers tend to go up if you’re anything like a viable candidate at all, since voters would rather support an actual candidate over a hypothetical one.
And until today, Harris was the only black candidate in it officially. We’ll see now how much black support Booker does or does not siphon away from her.
Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders remain the top two front-runners, averaging 27 percent and 15.75 percent in the January polls, respectively.
Right now it’s probably safe to say that Harris is at No. 3 behind Biden and Bernie, but will she keep that place now that Booker has made it official? And right now it’s probably also safe to say that just behind Harris are Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke.
I still don’t expect O’Rourke to gain traction. He apparently thinks that he can jump in the presidential race whenever he wants to and reportedly stopped fund-raising months ago.
For someone who lost his last election, I don’t think that O’Rourke can afford to act like this, and my guess is that he knows that having lost his last election, he can’t win the Dem presidential nomination on the strength of only having been an unremarkable member of the U.S. House of Representatives with a squishy, centrist political philosophy, if you can even say that (much like Cory Booker) he has a political philosophy other than trying to be all things to all people, which means that he probably actually stands for nothing at all.
Warren seems to be in it to win, seems to be taking the long view, and with O’Rourke most likely flaming out and with Harris and Booker probably splitting the black vote, my guess is that Liz will find herself at the No. 3 spot sooner rather than later.
And Joe Biden. Joe. Biden. He’s so uninspiring, such a centrist sellout, with his last act being his sarcastic defense of his love for Repugnicans. This is not at fucking all where the Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters are at today, Old Joe, but please, please, please keep up your stale act.
Biden is the pick of those who haven’t paid much, if any, attention, to the primary race that’s already under way, and they knee-jerkedly pick the candidate they think most likely can win. He was Barack Obama’s veep, so he’s a shoo-in, right?
If Biden runs, it will turn out like his first two runs for president (in 1988 and in 2008): Once they hear him speak, the voters will be turned off and they’ll reject him.
Biden can’t win on the strength of having early support only from low-information voters, and he won’t generate the enthusiasm that several of the other contenders (you know, those who don’t love Repugnicans) can.
As far as the other candidates and potential candidates go, it’s much easier to say that you’re going to run for president, to tease a presidential run (and to even officially start one), than to actually run for president over the long haul.
Yes, for a long time now we’ve looked at a crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field, but once reality hits, I think that we’ll see candidates and potential candidates drop like flies — that is, those who were talked about running will announce that they won’t run after all (like Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California billionaire Tom Steyer), and those who prematurely got into the race, like Richard Ojeda, will drop out sooner rather than later, Martin O’Malley-style.
My prediction: Your being a billionaire won’t help you in this election cycle, in which income inequality is taking the spotlight, but will hurt you. Look at the vitriol that Starbucks billionaire Howard Schultz quite deservedly has received for talking about being an independent presidential candidate.
Also: If the highest level that you achieved was the U.S. House of Representatives or the mayor of a city or an Obama cabinet member, you are toast. You better have had been at least a U.S. senator or the governor of a state. You very likely won’t replicate “President” Pussygrabber’s feat of having ascended to the Oval Office without first having been at least a U.S. senator or a governor.
And: If you haven’t been a consistent champion of the working class, but have been only a feel-good-platitude-spewing corporate whore, God save you.
On these notes, finally, I’ll go out on a limb and prognosticate that in the race for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination, identity politics probably won’t be the problem that I’ve long thought that it would be. (The fact that Biden and Bernie have been at No. 1 and No. 2 in the polls for a long time now alone indicates this.)
Not only will Kamala Harris and Cory Booker probably split the black vote, but thus far neither Harris nor Booker (especially Booker) has offered anything other than generic, feel-good platitudes, refusing to take any courageous, controversial stances (that is, to lead).
Obama really ran with his platitudes of “hope” and “change” and “There are no red states or blue states, just the United States,” but that political pablum won’t fly this time. Obama, an uber-opportunist, took advantage of a political window that was open only around the time he decided to run for president.
And, because Obama didn’t deliver on his ubiquitous promises of “hope” and “change,” but was a caretaker president at best, I don’t think that the voters have the appetite to be punk’d again by an Obama 2.0, such as Harris or Booker. I sure the fuck don’t.**
I wasn’t going to talk him up in this piece (honestly), but when you dissect the current political dynamics, as I have done above, it seems to me that the one candidate who benefits the most from those dynamics is Bernie Sanders.
It is, methinks, his time.
P.S. This is a recent quote from Cory Booker, per Politico. The occasion was Martin Luther King Day, but still; this is what I mean when I say “political pablum”:
“King said we can never let someone pull us so low as to hate them. We need each other in this nation. We need people that are gonna put the indivisible back into this one nation under God. We need folks that are gonna mend up wounds and bind us back together.
“We’re not going to be measured by how much we hate someone just because they vote differently than us or think differently than us. No, we will be measured by our defiant love and our ability to pull people together and help them to recognize that the lines that divide us are nowhere near as strong as the ties that bind us.”
This is rehashed Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama, more the latter than the former, and this “Kumbaya” bullshit didn’t work for Obama. How would Obama knock-off Booker have any more success than Obama didn’t?
Repugnicans don’t respond to unity talk; they just ram their right-wing agenda through while clueless, centrist Democrats talk about love and unity and kittens and butterflies and fluffy bunnies as a distraction to try to mask the ugly fact that they are corporate whores. Jesus fucking Christ.
*My methodology: I’m looking at only the January 2019 nationwide polls of 2020 Democratic presidential preference that are reported here on Wikipedia. And of these polls, as I have noted before, I reject and exclude the Emerson College poll taken on January 20 and January 21 because its results differ so wildly from all of the other polls’.
**I voted for Obama in 2008, thinking that he might actually deliver on his promises, but then when it became clear that he was only about style, about being a very presidential president, and not about substance — or, at least, certainly not trying to push through a boldly progressive agenda — I could not vote for him again in 2012.