My mantra for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination
contest a year before the election and three months before the
first primaries is “Wait for the voters.”
So far we have only speculative opinions from editorialists,
pundits and unreliable polls (the latter mostly have had small
samples and include “registered” voters instead of more
credible “likely” voters)
Looking at similar speculations in 2003, 2007, 2011and 2015
(each the year before the actual election).we see that most
editorialists,pundits and polls did not then successfully predict
the outcome of the race to nominate the challenger to the
incumbent (in the case of 2015 the identity of the GOP nominee).
This year, there are two early frontrunners, Joe Biden and
Elizabeth Warren, and a tenacious third serious candidate,
Bernie Sanders --- each of whom have a notable and loyal base.
In addition, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard and
Kamala Harris now have bases of heir own. The other twelve
candidates, it needs also be said, have not yet been measured by
The punditry is now alleging that Mr. Biden is going down, and
Mrs. Warren is ascending. After a heart attack, Bernie Sanders
returned to the fray with the reported largest rally of all so far.
And, although he suspended his campaign months ago, Michael
Bloomberg is dropping hints of getting back in (that’s why
candidates say they are “suspending” their campaign instead of
saying they are “ending” it).
It is fair to say we are now past the “name recognition” stage of
the campaign. Media coverage, candidate campaigning and the
TV debates have put the identities of the candidates before at
least the “activist” Democratic voters. There is no compelling
evidence, however, that the general Democratic voters, most of
those who will vote in the primaries beginning next February,
are yet paying much attention to the contest or have made up
their minds about whom to vote for.
It is fair to say, however, that most Democratic voters have
made up their minds that they very much want to defeat the
re-election of Donald Trump. This would suggest that
“electability” will be a primary concern for them next year.
I did note in previous columns that Elizabeth Warren was
suddenly attracting large crowds to her rallies, and that was at
least a sign of her strength. But now Bernie Sanders is drawing
even larger crowds. (And so is Donald Trump.)
The two major political parties always have factions, and do
now, but in the present tense, the Democrats have the more
What does it all mean?
I think it means: Wait for the voters.
Copyright (c) 2019 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.