Daily Archives: March 11, 2019

It’s (still) Bernie vs. Biden

Updated below (on Wednesday, March 13, 2019)

Image result for bernie sanders joe biden death match

Indeed, Bernie Sanders represents the future, while Joe Biden’s probable candidacy is a lazy, unimaginative throwback to the past that never was that hopey or changey.

It’s too early to know how it’s going to pan out, many (if not most) people say of the 2020 Democratic Party presidential race. I disagree.

Running for a party’s nomination for president is such a monumental task that if you haven’t started already, you’re already at a disadvantage, unless you have the name recognition that Joe Biden does.

Indeed, in nationwide poll after nationwide poll, Joe Biden remains at No. 1 as to Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters’ preference for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, with Bernie Sanders close behind.

Two recent Morning Consult polls with gargantuan sample sizes (one at more than 12,000 respondents and the other at more than 15,000 of them) both put Biden at 31 percent and Bernie at 27 percent.

That makes two old white guys the choice of almost 60 percent of the respondents, even though we’ve been told incessantly by the “pundits” that the voters are demanding a woman or a non-white candidate, but preferably a non-white woman (and, the younger the better!).

On that note, in the two aforementioned Morning Consult polls, Kamala Harris came in at No. 3, with only 10 percent in one of the polls and 11 percent in the other; this far in, she has only about a third of the support that Biden does and that Bernie does. (I still say that her best shot at this point is for the veep slot, if she’ll accept it.)

Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee and Amy Klobuchar (and almost everyone else who has announced) might as well pack it in; they can’t sustain even 5 percent in Morning Consult’s polling.

Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke, who are tied at fourth place in Morning Consult’s polling, don’t do much better, with neither of them able to reach double digits. (Indeed, after third-place Harris, no one in the Morning Consult polls reaches double digits, which she only barely does.)

O’Rourke was a flash in the pan — stick a fork in him, because he’s done already — and if Warren hasn’t had any traction by now (and she hasn’t), she’s never going to.

This thing isn’t going to drag on and on and on with 10 or 12 or more (at least minimally viable, non-cuckoo) candidates, as has been predicted. The field will be winnowed probably by the first debate in June, I surmise, to fewer than around, oh, say, seven candidates, or maybe seven or eight of them. I don’t think that we’ll really have to worry about overcrowded debates, not after the first one or two of them, anyway.

Success breeds further success (and, conversely, the lack of success breeds further lack of success), and if you’re stuck in the low single digits — or even if you can’t reach even double digits — in nationwide poll after nationwide poll, who really wants to give his or her time, energy, emotional investment and monetary investment to someone who essentially has failed to even launch?

(As a gay man, I find Buttigieg, also a gay man, to be an interesting candidate, but if I’m realistic, no, he doesn’t have a chance. I’d like to see him run for the U.S. Senate or for governor, win, serve out at least one term, and then later perhaps run for president. I do think that he has potential.)

Again, I don’t think that this thing is going to drag out; I think that they’re going to drop like flies, and soon. Who can take on heavyweights like Bernie and Biden over the long haul?

Again, these two old white men already have the support of almost 60 percent of those voters who are up for grabs; sure, it’s early, but come on — what, exactly, is going to happen that is going to change that?

Well, to answer my own question, the only thing that would change that is if Biden doesn’t actually run, which I find unlikely to happen. He’s an asshole and I don’t want him to run, so I fully expect him to run.

On that note, interestingly, a Monmouth University poll taken March 1 through March 4 has a small sample size (only 310 respondents, and I’m a size queen where it comes to sample sizes, which is why I’m in love with Morning Consult, with its huge sample sizes) but asks respondents who their pick would be if Biden did and if Biden did not join the race.

With Biden in the race, he garnered 28 percent to Bernie’s 25 percent, which is somewhat close to Morning Consult’s findings, and with Biden out of the race, Bernie’s support went up to 32 percent, putting Harris at a distant second place at only 15 percent. So, again, even though the Monmouth University poll has a smaller sample size than I’d prefer, it’s easy to predict that if Biden doesn’t run, then Bernie immediately shoots to No. 1.

Indeed, I’ll happily go out on a limb and say that if Biden doesn’t run, then Bernie wins the nomination.

But the most likely scenario, I think, won’t be a repeat of what we saw with the Repugnicans in 2016, with ridiculously overcrowded debate stages, and a long, painfully slow winnowing process that ultimately benefited political outsider Pussygrabber (and thus ultimately would benefit political outsider Bernie, even though this time around he’s not nearly as much the outsider as he was in 2016).

The most likely scenario for 2020, I think, is that Biden runs and that it’s essentially a repeat of 2016: the establishmentarian, corporate-friendly, center-right, Barack-Obama-linked “Democrat” against actual Democrat (ironic!) Bernie Sanders — the dead hand of the past vs. the future.

Only this time, I think, Bernie will dispatch his party-hack opponent more quickly than it took Queen Billary, with her bots within the Democratic National Committee and elsewhere with the national Democratic Party power structure, to dispatch Bernie.

It was, after all, Bernie’s first rodeo. Not so this time.

Update (Wednesday, March 13, 2019): Once again, I have posted something and then felt quite vindicated by prognosticator-god Nate Silver, who on fivethirtyeight.com writes today in a piece titled “Joe Biden’s and Bernie Sanders’s Support Isn’t Just About Name Recognition”:

… But on balance, I suspect that smart observers of the political process don’t give enough consideration to early polls, such as the CNN/Des Moines Register poll of Iowa caucus-goers (conducted by top-rated polling firm Selzer & Co.) that came out last weekend. As we documented in a three-part series back in 2011, the notion that early polling is meaningless or solely reflects name recognition — a popular view even among people we usually agree with — is wrong, full stop.

Other things held equal, for instance, a candidate polling at 25 percent in early polls is five or six times more likely to win the primary than one polling at 5 percent. It would be equally if not more wrong to say whoever leads in early polls is certain to win the nomination. (A candidate at 25 percent is still a sizable underdog relative to the field, for instance.) But I don’t hear anyone saying that. At least, I haven’t heard anyone saying it about the Democrats leading in the polls — Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders — so far this year. …

It certainly is worthwhile to account for name recognition and to go beyond the top-line numbers when looking at these polls, however. In particular, favorability ratings are useful indicators: few voters have a firm first choice yet, so it’s helpful to know which candidates they’re considering, which ones they’ve ruled out, and which ones they don’t know enough about to have decided either way.

When you look at those things, Biden’s numbers still look quite decent, even if he isn’t the sort of prohibitive front-runner that, say, Hillary Clinton was in 2016. Sanders’s numbers look a little weaker than Biden’s, but nonetheless pretty good. Both candidates have plenty of genuine support. …

Yup. That’s what I intuitively believed, so whenever I hear assertions that “it’s too early” to have anything like a decent idea as to who the eventual Democratic presidential nominee will be and that someone who barely polls in the double digits, like Kamala Harris, actually is the front-runner — and that there’s no way that an old white guy could win the nomination, I cringe.

Yes, it’s early, but Biden and Bernie are known (and, again, together the two of them garner almost 60 percent of the support for a Dem presidential candidate right now), and there isn’t much time between now and the first debates for the lesser-knowns to overcome either of them, especially when there are so many lesser-knowns splitting the remainder of the vote, which is only about 40 percent anyway.

Again, this crowded field isn’t really so crowded, not when you look at who really has a chance at the nomination, and those who don’t have a chance are going to drop like flies, probably sooner rather than later.

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