We’ll round out the week’s primary news with the first survey from Quinnapiac of the 2020 cycle. The huge field of Democrats hoping to take a run at President Trump next year continues to fight over scraps, with the same two notable exceptions. But since it gets boring to talk about the consistent frontrunners, some analysts are focusing on two “boomlets” buried further back in the pack. Perhaps the most notable fact here is that while we’re in the midst of the Year of the Women or the Year of the Persons of Color, almost all of the focus remains on four white dudes. (Fox News)
A new national poll provides more evidence that White House contenders Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Pete Buttigieg of Indiana are on the rise in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
O’Rourke, the former three-term congressman who grabbed national attention after coming close to defeating GOP Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 midterm elections, ranked third at 12 percent among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents in a new Quinnipiac University national poll…
Buttigieg comes in at 4 percent in the survey, several slots behind the leaders but still representing a pickup in the polls. The South Bend, Indiana mayor and Afghanistan War veteran was considered an extreme long shot for the nomination when he launched his presidential exploratory committee in January. But he’s seen his star rise in recent weeks, attracting larger crowds on the campaign trail and plenty of positive coverage on the cable news networks and political media.
Is this a case of two candidates building actual momentum, or just a representation of the media’s desire to have a more interesting story to tell? While understanding that it’s still a political lifetime before anyone actually begins voting and name recognition plays a huge role in the early going, the real story should have been that Joe Biden (the guy who isn’t even officially running yet) continues to lap the field with 29 percent support. It’s true that a few folks from the back of the pack, including Beto, Buttigieg and Kamala Harris are gaining some ground, they’re not dipping into Biden’s pool of support. They’re draining it from Bernie Sanders, who was previously in a close race with Biden but has now fallen to 19%.
Buttigieg, while also part of the White Dude Quartet, likely gets more of a pass on the intersectionalist left for at least being gay. And his rise to four percent is definitely notable, considering that he was starting at literally zero and had no name recognition outside of portions of Indiana to begin with. But… c’mon, man. Four percent is still four percent.
The Beto-mania factor is a different story. Say what you will about O’Rourke, coming in third in a field of this size and moving into double digits can’t be sneezed at. There’s still a very large hill to climb, but he and Kamal Harris are thus far the only two showing enough early support to speculate that they might eventually catch Biden and Sanders. Everyone else mucking around below five percent needs to figure out how to make a move before summer gets here or start reevaluating how realistic their chances are.
Just for something to ponder, let me close with this. Of everyone in the Democratic field thus far, “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg strikes me as the most, “aw, shucks, can’t we all just get along” person in the bunch. How well will he hold up at a lectern a few yards away from Donald Trump? Is America really looking for a return to some sort of Whartonesque Age of Innocence, or will they be happier sticking with the raging bull, provided he keeps raging toward a strong economy, low taxes and rising employment? O’Rourke strikes me as someone totally adrift, but given the personality contrast with the President, Buttigieg could definitely wind up being the most interesting candidate in the field.