These are the only 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidates who routinely poll nationwide in the double digits, and methinks that one of them most likely is to be the nominee.
“When people ask me who I think is going to win the  Democratic [presidential] nomination, I shrug my shoulders and say, ‘I have no freaking idea,'” prognosticator-god Nate Silver posted yesterday. He continued:
“It’s worth keeping in mind that in a field of 20-something candidates with no runaway front-runner, all of the candidates are fairly heavy underdogs. Joe Biden is probably going to lose. Kamala Harris is probably going to lose. Elizabeth Warren is probably going to lose. Bernie Sanders is probably going to lose. And so forth.”
Indeed, the race is much more open than many (most of them corporate whores, of course) would have us believe. RealClear Politics’ aggregation of recent nationwide polls puts Biden at No. 1, with 26.8 percent, puts both Bernie and Warren at 15.2 percent, and puts Kamala Harris at 15 percent, so we have a fairly clear front-runner (if not a “runaway” front-runner), and three other candidates pretty much tied for second place.
The aggregation of polls by 270 to Win shows similar results: Biden at 25.8 percent, Bernie at 15.8 percent, Warren at 15.6 percent and Harris at 15.2 percent.
Again, that’s Biden at No. 1 and Bernie, Warren and Harris all within a percentage point of being No. 2.
That’s not very sexy, so what we’re seeing is the results of even just one poll being reported as “evidence” of a new, permanent change in the race (usually a change that threatens to topple Bernie, of course).
It takes several polls over some time to show a real change in a race, not just one poll.
Yes, Kamala Harris got her wholly planned and orchestrated polling bounce by white-shaming Joe Biden in last month’s debate — and when you peel back the thin layers, that’s what it was: simple, craven identity politics — “I’m black and you’re not; I’m good because I’m a victim and being a victim is good, and you’re not a victim, so you’re not good” — but will Harris’ bounce last? We’ll see.
(Seriously, though, Harris is largely substance-free, and apparently expects to fairly coast on being a female Obama. I’m not sure which is more depressing: that this is her campaign tactic in the first place or that it actually might work because voter-shaming — based upon how one was born — apparently is a thing now in a Democratic Party that is enthralled by craven identity politicians.)
There is talk of “lanes” within the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race, and it seems to me that there are two broad lanes: The vote-for-me-because-I’m-not-a-white-man or the vote-for-me-because-I-have-been-associated-closely-with-Obama lane, most notably occupied, of course, by Harris and by Biden.
If Biden and Harris split the black vote between the two of them, that’s fine by me. (I was hoping that Cory Booker would help split it even more, but he can’t average even a full 2 percent in the nationwide polls.)
The other lane is the progressive (or actually Democratic) lane, most notably occupied of course, by Bernie Sanders and by Elizabeth Warren. They rely on progressive ideas rather than on lazy identity politics, whereas Biden and Harris rely on lazy identity politics and on the perpetuation of the milquetoast, status-quo-continuing (and thus, pro-corporate and pro-powers-that-be) Repugnican-Lite bullshit that has been crammed down our throats as “Democratic Party” politics at least since the Bill Clinton era.
I think it’s safe to say that one of the current top four — Biden, Bernie, Warren or Harris — is going to be the nominee, although I think that Harris, being substance-free and being so unknown and inexperienced (she hasn’t been in the U.S. Senate for even three years now), is the least likely of the four to win the nomination (although she might be the one most likely to get the veep spot, if she’ll deign to accept it).
Warren could be the nominee if she satisfies enough camps: mainly, the progressive camp, the camp that really wants our first female president, and the party-hack camp (which sees Warren’s decision not to run against Billary in 2016 as a good thing, not as cowardly and politically craven, as I always have seen it).
If Biden and Harris damage each other enough and the people truly find that they are sick of Bernie (his having been so consistent in word and deed for decades is so boring, you see) and want to give another woman another chance at the White House, then yes, Warren could win the nomination.
I’d say that if Warren weren’t in it, Bernie probably would be at No. 1 right now, but Warren is in it and has the right to be in it.
But if Nate Silver doesn’t know who the nominee will be and I don’t know, how could you?
Yet this doesn’t stop hatefully wishful thinking, such as demonstrably false reports that Bernie is dead in the water, even though he’s still in second place (even if he’s fairly tied for second place). Of course Bernie still has a chance at the nomination, and those gleefully reporting his political death don’t make it true merely by falsely proclaiming it. (Indeed, when these are “news stories” or “analyses,” these are instances of the biased writer trying to make what he or she wants to be true to become true.)
At this point, those Democratic presidential candidates who probably should pack it in are those who can’t sustain even 5 percentage points in the nationwide polls. Right now Pete Buttigieg is coming in at fifth place, around 5 percent or 6 percent, and I’d be shocked if he were to win the nomination, given that he’s about 10 percentage points behind Biden, Bernie, Warren and Harris.
Buttigieg only has been a mayor and isn’t all that well-known, and while his Obama-like attempt to be all things to all people impresses some, I think it spooks others, such as myself, who want a candidate who clearly and strongly states progressive principles — none of this gauzy “hope” and “change” bullshit. We have been there and done that.
Not all of us voters are stupid; Obama used “hope” and “change” to cover up his centrism and noncommitalism, and at the time he was a bright and shiny new toy, but from having been punk’d royally by Obama, we, the people, have some immunity now to The Obama Effect.
(I’d say that at least four presidential candidates have tried to use The Obama Effect to some degree this cycle: Harris, Biden, Cory Booker and Buttigieg. I’d say that it’s not that effective for them.)
Aside from “lanes,” there is talk of “tiers,” and Nate Silver, in the same aforementioned piece, put Bernie Sanders in “tier 2a.” He put Biden and Harris in “tier 1a,” Warren in “tier 1b,” Sanders in “tier 2a” and Buttigieg in “tier 2b.”
Wow. With Bernie still polling as well as Harris and Warren, why demote him to “tier 2a” already? Methinks that even Nate Silver is not immune to groupthink and to the “wisdom” of the dogpile.
I’d say that if you consistently are polling nationwide in the double digits — only four candidate are — then you belong in the first tier.
If you are polling between 5 percentage points and 9 percentage points, I’d say you’re in the second tier. Below 5 percentage points, I’d put you in the third tier. (And frankly, if you are in the third tier as I define it, again, I wish that you’d drop out already, but, again, I recognize that it’s up to the quixotic candidate, not to me, as to when to finally call it quits.)
So we’ll see how things unravel over the coming weeks. Will Harris ultimately be able to pull anything other than the race card from her bag of tricks? Will Harris and Biden continue to take shots at each other, as I hope? Will Warren be able to maintain her double-digit status, which took her a while to achieve? (Note that Buttigieg reached double-digit status but then fell back down again.)
Are the voters really through with Bernie? And even if many of them are, might he at long last be the last one still standing?
Time will tell.