We are about to enter a pivotal year in politics. The direction of our country has never been more on the line. Democrats are fighting for more than just winning back power, they are fighting for America’s Constitution.
That may sound a little melodramatic but the Republican Party has destroyed its former self and jumped on a bandwagon that is taking us into a twilight zone existence. The Trump Party does not value the American Dream or America for that matter. We are teetering on the brink of a party in control that is dedicated to one person and his personal wealth.
So it is imperative that we, as Democrats, find the right candidate to take on this fight. The choices are many – the search for the right campaign, complex.
The Democratic field has narrowed, but only slightly. No one has emerged clearly and without question. So we continue this evaluation. I am taking a look at the tiered field and eliminating those who do not seem sustainable. So let’s leave out John Delaney, Marianne Williamson, Michael Bennet and Deval Patrick. This is not to say that their situation has zero probability (nothing is zero at this point) but it would take an unlikely surge out of nowhere to happen.
And for the sake of argument, let’s take out Tulsi Gabbard, because I am still not convinced she is an actual Democrat.
So that leaves 10 Democrats still in the hunt.
I will narrow it further by putting a few others in a second tier. Which only means that they are still in the hunt and have viable credentials but are either lacking some critical campaign component (money or name recognition) or seem to be staying in, seeking to advance personal prestige or another future position.
These candidates are in this category:
Julian Castro: I very much like Julian Castro and I have no doubt he will have a large future role (VP?)….but he is just not breaking through. That may be because the field is too large….or maybe not enough money… or a lack of a larger profile….or a combination of all of it. Julian’s days are in the future.
Andrew Yang: Andrew has done very well and has a number of unique ideas worth more than just a look. He communicates very well and has a loyal following. But it does not look like he can process this into a national campaign. Still, I hope we hear more from him.
Tom Steyer: I do not like the idea of using your wealth to buy political standing. And that is what Steyer is clearly doing. He moved the needle on impeachment at the beginning….parlayed that into a candidacy….and then made a strategic shift to climate change. There is nothing wrong with that and I value the profile he is generating on those issues. But he has no past political profile and to me, he is gaming the system.
Michael Bloomberg: I hesitate to put him in this tier because 1) he has a long political profile, 2) he has strong credibility on the gun issue, and 3) he has been successful in buying his standing. That puts him in the same category as Steyer but with more relevant experience. However, it is still trying to buy a nomination. And that just seems flat out wrong.
Cory Booker: I have to admit that Cory is one of my favorite candidates. He has a captivating speaking style and he brings a positive energy to his campaign that seems unique to the field. But, for whatever reason, he has never made any traction – and now that he struggles to get into the debate field, his candidacy appears doomed.
That leaves us with 5 viable Democratic candidates. I will assess them by appearance of rank, bottom to top:
5. Amy Klobuchar: The Minnesota native has been riding a positive wave since the last debate. What that means is still difficult to assess, but if she can somehow manage a top 3 finish in Iowa, the momentum could give her a shot. She stumbled a bit out of the gate but has worked hard and kept herself relevant against some bigger monetary campaigns. Amy has placed herself in the moderate camp – competing directly with Biden and Buttigieg, and she is closing some of the gap. Still, she needs a classic game changer.
4. Pete Buttigieg: Pete is one of those people that you can’t help but like. He is a very personable campaigner and although a clear underdog, he has steamrolled himself into someone to be reckoned with. His strategy hinges on Iowa. He has to do well there and end any doubt about having a national presence. The one major drawback has been his inability to break through with black voters. He has to change that to have any hope of a nomination.
3. Elizabeth Warren: Elizabeth has slipped in recent weeks. It is hard to put a finger on it, but I have to believe it has something to do with her gender. It has the same feeling of the intangible that HRC worked against in 2016. But Warren has certainly not faded out of the picture. She and Bernie are competing for similar base progressive voters and she is still holding her own in that regard. If she regains momentum again, she will be difficult for the rest of the field to stop.
2. Bernie Sanders: Back on the upswing, it is hard to articulate why their is this up and down momentum for a guy who has been shouting the same message for several decades. Bernie doesn’t get into pinpoint specifics but that may be intentional – specifics can be relentlessly attacked – but he reaches out to a constituency that is critical for the future – the young. How this old crotchety character does that is beyond my pay grade, but he just has that something that works. Although he has made some progress, Bernie still has the same problem that Buttigieg is saddled with – support among African American voters.
1.Joe Biden: He started out as the front runner and despite a few hiccups along the way, he still is the front runner. Where Buttigieg and Sanders falter with the black vote, Biden rides them as his strength and nomination claim. Whether it is his association with Obama or his blue collar ethic, black voters have hung in there with his roll your sleeves up style. There is still a jury to convince that his age will not be a factor (same for Bernie) and he tends to be a gaffe machine – (which may not matter with Trump the lying malaprop), but at this stage of the game, this is Biden’s to lose. And it would seem that Donald Trump concurs.
That’s the field as I see it. This will obviously change over the course of the next few months as we enter primary season; but there it is – agree or disagree. We have a moderate vs progressive split in the party (although I do not believe it is as serious as some try to make it), but there is clearly one goal that unites us – Trump must be a one term President.
As always – please vote.