Bernie now No. 1 in WaPo’s ranking

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake’s quasi-quarterly ranking of the 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidates has Bernie Sanders topping the list of 15.

(Blake notes that “this list is in order of likeliness to be the Democratic nominee” and also notes that “The field is also largely set now, with just a few big question marks outstanding,” with which I pretty much agree.

The Post notes that Bernie returns to No. 1, but I don’t remember that he ever made No. 1 before — that spot usually was reserved for establishmentarian candidates who weren’t actually No. 1, like Kamala Harris.)

In ranking him at No. 1, Blake too-briefly notes of Sanders: “Sanders’s $18.2 million raised in the first quarter tops in the field. Now we’ll see if he can rekindle some of the magic of 2016, which I’m not sure we’ve really seen just yet. It would sure help if he can get past this tax-return unforced error.”

Even while calling him No. 1, the establishmentarian, corporately owned and controlled media can’t resist taking a shot at Bernie.

Bernie’s “tax-return unforced error,” I guess, is that although he’s been railing against millionaires and billionaires (or millionayahhhs and billionayahhhs) for years now, he has become a millionaire himself from book sales. (Bernie has promised to release 10 years of his tax returns no later than tomorrow.)

If you’re already a Bernie hater, then you ignorantly, smugly, disingenuously scoff at his financial success — a millionaire democratic socialist! — but how you earn your money fucking matters.

Bernie wrote books that people chose to buy, including his best-selling Our Revolution; he didn’t obtain his money by paying a bunch of overworked employees a non-living wage and/or by outrageously overcharging someone for a live-saving pharmaceutical and/or by contributing to the destruction of the planet in order to get his million. He earned it fairly and squarely. Therefore, I have no problem with his financial success — which, compared to the income of the titans of capitalism, is a fucking pittance anyway.

And why would it be a shock that someone with Bernie’s national renown — he did quite well against Billary Clinton in 2016, and because of his 2016 run he starts out in a much stronger position this election cycle — should have some money?

And as fucked up as it is, we do still live in a capitalist system — in which anyone, if he or she writes a best-selling book, for example, can get some moolah.

But I digress.

In his current ranking of 15, Blake drops Joe Biden all the way down to No. 6, noting:

Whatever you think about the complaints women made against Biden alleging inappropriate physical contact, Biden’s handling of it — deciding to turn it into a joke — was a reminder how quickly things can go awry with the freewheeling Biden.

I’ve been arguing for a while that his stock is too high, and this episode has helped affirm it. He’s got a front-runner’s poll numbers but needs to actually show he’s a much better candidate than he was in 1988 and 2008.

I agree wholeheartedly that Biden’s “stock is too high” and that he “needs to actually show he’s a much better candidate than he was in 1988 and 2008,” and not only do I very much not want the uninspiring, centrist, corporate-friendly Biden as the nominee (again, to me he is Billary 2.0), but I don’t think that he’ll emerge as the nominee, not in the current political climate, in which the party’s nominee won’t be decided by the national electorate (which for the sake of argument we’ll say is centrist), but will be decided mostly by party animals, who these days lean to the left.

But as much as I’m not a fan of Biden, I think that putting him at No. 6 is too low; I think that he still probably still belongs in the top three, as we never should underestimate the power of Democrats to pick (or just sit back and allow…) a shitty candidate to become the presidential nominee. I mean, they just did that in 2016 with Billary.

Blake ranks Kamala Harris as No. 2 (still too high, probably, given her single-digit nationwide polling numbers), Elizabeth Warren as No. 3 (probably too high, given that her polling numbers are even lower than Harris’), Cory Booker at No. 4 (way too high, as he can’t even get 5 percent in most polls), Beto O’Rourke at No. 5 (I believe that the ideas-free O’Rourke stands almost no chance, although he polls closely to Harris), and Pete Buttigieg at No. 7, behind Biden.

Buttigieg actually has a better chance than many if not most might believe, I think.

He has polled in the top three in at least two polls of Iowa voters taken over the past month, and polled in the top three in at least one poll of New Hampshire voters taken this month.

We shouldn’t forget the case of John Kerry, whose presidential campaign was on life support until he came back, Lazarus style, when he won the Iowa caucuses (which Howard Dean was “supposed” to win [he came in third]) and then won the New Hampshire primary — and then went on to win five of the seven states in the next contest, dubbed “Mini Tuesday.”

After that, the nomination was all Kerry’s.

Thus far I’ve focused on the nationwide presidential preference polls and have neglected to talk about the slingshot effect that winning Iowa and/or New Hampshire usually has on a presidential race. (The Iowa caucuses are the first contest of the presidential primary season, followed quickly by the New Hampshire primary.) Win one or both of those two states, and you are in good shape.

(The only Democratic presidential nominee who hadn’t won Iowa or New Hampshire in my lifetime was Bill Clinton, who came in at second place in New Hampshire but still eked out a win of the nomination.

In case you were wondering, in 2016 Billary “won” Iowa by 49.8 percent to Bernie’s 49.6 percent — yes, it was that close in the midst of talk about cheating by Team Billary — and Bernie blew Billary out of the water in New Hampshire, 60.1 percent to 37.7 percent.)

I think it’s unlikely that Pete Buttigieg will pull a surprise win like John Kerry did in 2004 — I mean, Kerry had been a U.S. senator at that time, whereas Buttigieg has been only the mayor of a not-huge city — but it’s not impossible.

As the voters on the Repugnican side chose outsider Pussygrabber in 2016, it’s not impossible that the Democratic voters in 2020 will want a fresh, young face, and that would be Buttigieg’s.

Still, though, if I had to put my money on it, I’d say that Bernie Sanders is going to be the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee — not just because he’s the candidate I want to become the nominee, but because he came surprisingly close to Billary in 2016 and because the party today is more Bernie’s than it is the Billarybots’, as evidenced by how most of the contenders for the 2020 nomination have adopted Bernie’s key positions.

You don’t mimic a loser. You mimic a winner.

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