2020 Candidates Are Their Own Worst Enemy
2020 Candidates Are Their Own Worst Enemy
The 2020 election is still more than a year away, and yet we cannot get away from it. If the polls are to be believed, candidate fatigue is setting in.
While there are still three clear front-runners in the Democratic primary – Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, with everyone else falling to second-tier vice-presidential possibilities – none of the three have made a big move on the other two. And thanks to Biden’s repeated gaffes, the Democratic base – which wants to lean harder left anyway – is starting to give up on Biden.
While Biden may be the Democratic Party’s current standard-bearer for more moderate — and popular — policy proposals, a significant share of Americans in the poll say they’re losing confidence in his ability to lead the country.”
A third of voters overall — 36 percent — say they’ve lost confidence in Biden in recent weeks, a time period that included a debate performance described as shaky by his critics. Just eight percent say they’ve grown more confident in him.”
Those who have lost confidence in the former vice president cited his debate performance, his age and what they say is an over-reliance on Obama’s legacy in making his own case for the job.”
But this recent polling data is not all sunshine and roses for the GOP, either.
The poll found Trump’s approval rating at 45 percent among registered voters, virtually unchanged from last month and consistent with where former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton stood in public approval at this point in their presidencies.”
But it also showed that Trump faces historically poor personal favorability ratings, even among those who approve of the plans he has pursued in office.”
Let’s leave aside whistleblower rumors and Ukrainian deals for the moment, since everything is largely speculation without much hard evidence of anything. I think it is fair to say that Biden’s biggest problem in the 2020 election is Biden, and Trump’s biggest problem in the 2020 election is Trump – but for completely different reasons.
The conventional wisdom at the outset of the Democratic primary gave Joe Biden a huge edge in the race. The former vice-president was a known quantity after eight years in the Obama administration. Biden comes off as personally likeable, but the left is not really in love with his proposed policies. The left has been trying to push him off his “moderate” pose (which isn’t much of a pose) and into even harder left territory. The problem is that everyone else in the Democratic primary has gone drunk with the idea of being a dictator who can order guns or debt out of existence with the wave of an executive order. When Biden is the only person left on stage gamely trying to cling to the Constitution, it should scare everyone watching.
With Warren and Sanders currently splitting the progressive base between them, Biden could hold ground for a long time, despite the hard left still going after him for not being “woke” enough.
“You’re a lovely person,” Biden tells the moderator to laugher.
“Just asking the questions people want to know,” she replied pic.twitter.com/DB10NGuBCP
— Molly Nagle (@MollyNagle3) September 21, 2019
Despite Biden’s perceived “Grandpa Joe” persona, it doesn’t take much for that mask to drop. And as the primaries inch ever closer, Democrats are looking at their options and Biden just doesn’t look exciting.
President Trump has the opposite problem. The Republican base loves his policies. It’s his personality that’s giving them heartburn. However, the GOP has come to grips with Trump as a package deal. Trump has turned out to be much more of a conservative-leaning president than one would have initially predicted from his 2016 primary battles. With tax cuts and two Supreme Court justices to show for his first term, Trump has delivered on some of his major campaign promises. And there is still plenty of enthusiasm for the president.
… Trump also continues to benefit from the upside of the polarization of the electorate around him, commanding more enthusiasm than his Democratic competitors as well. A quarter of voters (26 percent) say they’re enthusiastic about him, while fewer say they’re enthusiastic about Warren (17 percent), Sanders (13 percent) and Biden (12 percent.)”
Trump can still deliver the Republican base in 2020, if they are properly motivated, to the polls. He could deliver even more votes if he could put Twitter down for a bit and do what he does best – exposing both media and Democratic hypocrisy in stump speeches and his spontaneous pressers. There’s no way that Biden, Sanders, or Warren can do the same – the hard left will be upset to have to support Biden, and there is not much hope that liberal moderates will fall in line behind Sanders or Warren.
The 2020 election is by no means a sure thing for either side. The person who can get out of their own way soonest is the one who will be able to gain the upper hand.