Why the Others Don’t Have Any Chance At All

The Des Moines Register reports:

The field of Democratic presidential candidates is starting to settle into tiers: Joe Biden leads the pack, and Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg are in close competition for second place, a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom/CNN Iowa Poll shows.

Twenty-four percent of Iowa’s likely Democratic caucusgoers say former vice president Biden is their first choice for president. Sanders, a Vermont senator, is the first choice for 16% of poll respondents, while Warren, a Massachusetts senator, and Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, are at 15% and 14% respectively.

No other candidate cracks double digits. California Sen. Kamala Harris comes closest at 7%, and other numbers within the poll indicate some underlying strengths for her.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke are at 2%.

With full recognition that, since Iowa is a caucus state and polls have no meaning whatever there, it should be clearly understood what that means. In the primary states with proportional allocation of delegates under the byzantine rules that have been set up, only Biden, Sanders, and Warren would get any delegates at all. Buttigieg falls below the 15% cut-off so, although he’s just one point below Warren, it’s bupkis for Buttigieg.

I think that the overwhelming likelihood is that Biden will get an outright majority of delegates in some states, the plurality in most of the others, that Elizabeth Warren could get a majority of the delegates in Massachusetts with a plurality in some, and Sanders could get a plurality of votes in some states. That’s basically what the field will look like coming into the convention. And we haven’t even mentioned the superdelegates.

The media are trying desperately to turn the primaries into a horserace but, unless something dramatic intervenes, it isn’t and won’t be.

6 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw Link

    If it comes down to those three, its curious that those three all hail from East of Washington D.C. The short synopsis of the last election is that Clinton did roughly as well as Obama in his second election, but the votes had sorted out of the Midwest to other places, probably the West.

    It seems to me that there will be more than those three that emerge, probably one or two, but the crystal is murky. I found this 538 survey of Democratic activists in early states interesting. Many of them have multiple candidates that they are supporting or thinking of supporting. Here are the top four:

    Harris (53%)
    Booker (47%)
    Warren (35%)
    Buttigieg (29%)

    Here are the top four they would not consider supporting:

    Gabbard (58%)
    Sanders (50%)
    Biden (42%)
    Delaney (37%)

    Granted this is the subset of voters, but they will be more influential in caucus states and probably reflect potential support that will carry candidates they like further.


  • I’d thought of posting this comment as post of its own but I’ll leave it here instead. Caucuses aren’t tests of candidates, they’re tests of candidates’ organizations. The way to gauge the winner of the Iowa caucus isn’t by taking a poll of Iowans but by seeing which way the unions jump. I think they’ll jump towards Biden. In theory you can win the Democratic nomination without union support but remember what Yogi Berra said about theory.

    But let’s imagine that Biden drops dead on the campaign trail. What then? I think that, following PD’s poll results, Harris, Booker or both would move up in the polls. IMO Kamala Harris has all Hillary Clinton’s charisma without the resume.

    Bernie Sanders will never be the Democratic nominee for president. The superdelegates would not allow it. It would make a mockery of them. The party’s entire post-McGovern structure was set up to prevent a Bernie Sanders from becoming the Democratic nominee.

    As to Pete Buttigieg, at the end of the day he’s still mayor of South Bend. I think he will suffer from the same phenomenon as Mitt Romney. He will underperform relative to polls because no matter what people say they’ll do they still won’t vote for him.

  • Gray Shambler Link

    “which way the unions jump”
    And we”re still waiting to see if the Dems lie to us again.

  • PD Shaw Link

    I think my main point of difference is that I sense space for another candidate outside the top three, but have no way of knowing who that might be or whether that person emerges clearly out of a crowded field to make a difference to themselves or how the race ends.

    I watched a clip of Warren’s recent interview on the Breakfast Club radio show, where she was interviewed by Black hosts, and appeared to say three things: (1) the DNA tests did not support my claim to Native American ancestry; (2) I was wrong; and (3) this was like a white woman claiming to be black, but its what I learned from my family. (Note: I don’t think (1) is true) I can’t tell how much of that was because she is very poor at retail politics; or she’s following advise that she can’t win this issue, so lose it graciously. I can’t see how she will win any delegates attributable to African-American votes.

    But she is well-positioned to attack the Senator from MBNA’s record on finance and debt.

  • PD, the way I see it things are actually pretty tough for Democrats. They’ve got to get out the black vote. That’s essential if they are to win in 2020.

    Biden polls well with blacks—better than either Harris or Booker, better than any other candidate by a substantial margin. Heck, Elizabeth Warren polls better among black voters than either Harris or Booker.

    But they’ve also got to drum up some support among progressives including those progressives who will never vote for Biden. The question is whether they dare field a ticket without a woman on it. If the answer to that is “no”, their best ticket is Biden-Warren. If “yes”, there are other possibilities.

  • TarsTarkas Link

    Biden-Warren: Plagiarism and fraud. What a ticket!

    IMO the Democratic convention is going to be ugly, because the losing factions will scream foul no matter who wins. Plus I don’t think the candidate is going to be anybody who’s currently running now. That candidate pick one of the losers as a Veep, but that won’t satisfy anybody except a fraction of the partisans. And worst of all, if the Democrats lose in 2020, no matter the margin of victory, they won’t accept the results, because 2016 was stolen.

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