Normally this is the time of the week when I do the “Walking Dead” grumble thread but, well, you know. It’s for the best. Imagine having to blog the adorable adventures of do-gooder moppet Judith Grimes in zombieland every week. I drink enough as it is.
On to other things. Now that the midterms are safely past, the next major election on America’s agenda is the Democratic presidential primary. There will be approximately 500 national polls of the race between now and the Iowa caucuses, and I intend to blog them all. Gonna cram every last one down that bloggy piehole.
The earliest of the early polls suggests that this is a two-man race, but then the earliest of the early polls always depends almost entirely on name recognition. Who are the two best-known Democrats (possibly) running next year? Right. They’re in the lead. Apropos of nothing, they also have a combined age of 152 years old. Good luck, boys.
If you don’t see Eric Holder or Michael Avenatti on that list it’s because they’re each polling at zippo. For Avenatti, that represents a decline of one point since last month. Hopefully this latest stunt involving Tucker Carlson, which definitely won’t backfire like the Julie Swetnick thing did, will get him out of asterisk territory.
If not, his very well-funded Super PAC could always start spending.
Three newsy bits from the data. One: This is familiar territory for Bernie.
Black Democrats were nearly twice as likely — 28 percent to 15 percent — to say Biden is their first choice, while Sanders held an 8-percentage-point advantage with the country’s youngest voters (29 percent versus 21 percent). While neither held a significant advantage with men, Biden led Sanders with women by 11 points, 28 percent to 17 percent.
Two: It’ll be interesting to see if O’Rourke has staying power in polls like this as the new year begins. His third-place finish fits with the theory that early-early surveys are little more than tests of name recognition. No Democrat in the country had a higher profile over the past month than he did thanks to his endless media hype during the campaign and his shockingly close finish in Texas. Maybe he placed as high as he did here for no better reason than that Democratic respondents who are lukewarm on Biden and Bernie reached for the next name on the list that they recognized. But if not, if he’s still creeping up behind the top two into next year, that in itself might entice him into the race. Congressmen typically don’t bother running for president, but congressmen also typically don’t raise a trillion dollars for Senate races in the other party’s stronghold that turn out to be nailbiters. Maybe the demand for a charismatic candidate who wouldn’t enter his 80s during his first term if elected is real.
Three: Check this out.
Nothing too surprising in the first column. Big surprise (to me) in the second, with Elizabeth Warren in fourth among the Berniebros. Warren is hoping to inherit Sanders’s base next year if the old guy decides not to run after all, with political media already wondering if the Democratic primary is big enough for the two of them given how similar their platforms are. Warren has begun trying to distinguish herself just in case, emphasizing that she’s a capitalist contra Bernie’s self-professed socialism. Even so, you’d think she would fare better among his fans, particularly given her status as a progressive rock star in the making prior to his 2016 effort. Is this a rivalry thing? I.e. Sanders voters might appreciate her politics in a vacuum but they’ve already entered a competitive mindset ahead of 2020, knowing that there can only be One Progressive To Rule Them All.
More broadly, if it’s true that this poll is really just a metric of fame, I’d be worried if I were Team Warren. She’s been a senator and a progressive “star” for six years; Kamala Harris has been a senator for only two and Beto O’Rourke has been on the Democratic radar for a matter of mere months, yet both are already competitive with her. Why isn’t she stronger in polls like this one given her leftist bona fides and her high-profile sparring with Trump? She’s typically treated as a top-tier candidate in analyses of the 2020 primary field, but is she really? Or is she sort of a joke at this point even among many Democrats for the “Pocahontas” thing?
Go read this and enjoy liberals getting sexually excited at the sight of Beto O’Rourke carving a steak. Exit question: For all the hype about a Democratic field featuring dozens of candidates, if Biden and Bernie both get in will this end up a two-man race? The neoliberals will have their candidate and the progressives will have theirs, right from the start. Both candidates will have populist cred to fend off the hungry second-tier challengers too. Biden will end up winning, though, and then progressives will be mad at themselves for re-running the same losing primary campaign as in 2016.