You’ll hear literally thousands of words in tonight’s and tomorrow’s Democratic primary debates about policies all the candidates favor and propose, each one carefully nuanced to appear dramatically different from the rest of the crowd on-stage.
But it turns out, little of all that policy blather actually matters.
Democrats’ top abiding concern about the qualifications of their presidential nominee is that he or she can beat, defeat, oust, destroy and/or obliterate this evil Donald Trump character who should never have defeated what’s-her-name in 2016.
Hardly anything else matters.
It doesn’t even matter if the nominee is a woman or man or minority of some kind.
Nearly six-in-ten Democrats and Democrat-leaners (58 percent) among the 1,000 polled by Gallup prioritize a candidate’s electability vs the great devil.
Men are slightly more likely than women (44 to 36 percent) to value a candidate’s agreement on issues, as do 56 percent of younger Democrats age 18 to 29. Majorities in the remaining age cohorts all prize electability over any issue concerns.
Those with at least some college education also want an electable nominee over one compatible on issues.
In the run-up to Democrat primaries in 2004 the same Democrat crowd favored candidates who agreed with them on issues. But once voting started, that changed to just wanting a winner over George W. Bush. They didn’t get one.
In 2011-12 Republicans just wanted to conquer Obama. That didn’t work out either, although the incumbent president’s popular vote totals declined significantly over 2008.
Again, about six-in-ten Democrats say it doesn’t matter if their nominee is a woman (59 percent) or a minority (62 percent).
The diverse field of Democratic presidential candidates would be well-advised to focus their debate performances and campaign strategies on looking like they can beat Trump instead of worrying about highlighting their issues positions.
Chances of that happening are slim to none.