Monday, September 23, 2019

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff In 2020

The 2020 presidential cycle is coming to the end of its beginning,
even as no votes have been yet cast --- and will not be for another
four months.

The cycle began with 26 “major” announced Democratic
candidates, many of whom participated  in the early TV debates.
Unlike previous cycles in which most candidates were current or
former governors or U.S. senators, the 2020 cycle has included
mayors, U.S. house members, business persons, a former cabinet
member and an author, as well as governors and senators. Perhaps
the precedent of 2016, when a real estate developer/TV celebrity
won the election, induced this quantity and variety.

Announcing a candidacy is the easy part. If you are relatively
well-known or already have a political base, you can quickly raise a
minimal amount of money.. Initial media attention is intoxicating. 
Then it becomes daunting. You have to put together an organization
and hire staff from a limited number of experienced campaign
managers as well as media, scheduling, transportation, financial,
strategy, issues development and other nuts-and-bolts staff. Then
you have to recruit and develop organizations in almost every
state --- and particularly in key early primary and caucus states.
You begin a very heavy travel period for speeches. local forums,
meets-and-greets, and debates. Every day also includes media
interviews. Presumably, you also have a regular day job, either an
elective or bureaucratic one, or a business position --- and you
must balance those responsibilities with time used for campaigning.
If you are a current elective official, you must weigh the cost of
missing votes, important meetings or any crises back home.

Of the seven announced candidates who have now withdrawn, most
have been elected officials, and one has switched to a run for the
U.S. senate in his state. Few had participated in any TV debates, and
none of them were putting up notable poll numbers. All of them
were running out of money.

There will now be at least eleven candidates qualified for the third
TV debate, presumably causing a two-session format once again.
One more candidate, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, has
signaled he might withdraw soon. Seven candidates who have not
qualified for the debates could withdraw later, although some of 
them could remain in the race until the first voting.

The establishment media story is that the race is now a  two-person
or three-person contest. There are a few suggestions that, in addition
to former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren and
Senator Bernie Sanders, there remains the possibility that Senator
Kamala Harris or Mayor Pete Buttigieg could win. Non-politicians
Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang, however, are getting some
attention, and businessman Tom Steyer is spending a great deal of
his own money o advance his candidacy.

Although Mr. Biden has already faced some criticism from his
opponents, Mrs. Warren has not yet faced the scrutiny of being a
so-called frontrunner. All three of them have an existing national
political base.    

I cannot repeat often enough that no votes have yet been cast, and
will not be for several months. Meanwhile, much of the 2020 drama
is coming out of the White House and the Democratic-controlled
U.S. house of representatives (where impeachment talk remains
active). President Trump is under relentless attack in the media,
and an attempt to revive the Brett Kavanaugh controversy has
backfired. Notable international events in he United Kingdom,
Israel, Kashmir, South and North Korea, Brazil and Canada
compete for daily news headlines. The domestic stock market is
volatile. Unemployment continues to hit amazing lows.

The 2020 presidential  campaign has barely begun.

Copyright (c) 2019 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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