Presidential Campaign 2020: Democratic Candidates (Part 2)
I wrote my first post in April 2019. Now that we're in December, about to enter 2020, let's see where things stand. Currently, 15 people are vying for the position of Democratic Candidate.
Alphabetical order by last name, then their primary political experience:
Michael Bennet (Senator)
Joe Biden (White House)
Michael Bloomberg (Mayor)
Cory Booker (Senator)
Pete Buttigieg (Mayor)
Julián Castro (White House)
John Delaney (Representative)
Tulsi Gabbard (Representative)
Amy Klobuchar (Senator)
Deval Patrick (Governor)
Bernie Sanders (Senator)
Tom Steyer (No political experience)
Elizabeth Warren (Senator)
Marianne Williamson (No political experience)
Andrew Yang (No political experience)
- Biden 27%
- Sanders 16%
- Warren 14%
- Buttigieg 11.4%
- Bloomberg 4%
- Yang 2.8%
- Klobuchar 2.4%
- Booker 1.8%
- Steyer 1.6%
- Castro 1.4%
Everyone else is polling at 1% or less.
Election Betting Odds
- Joe Biden 21.5%
- Pete Buttigieg 19%
- Elizabeth Warren 16.1%
- Bernie Sanders 12.2%
- Michael Bloomberg 8.9%
- Hillary Clinton 4.6% (even though she isn't running)
- Andrew Yang 3.6%
- Amy Klobuchar 1.5%
- Tulsi Gabbard 1.3%
- Michelle Obama 1.2% (even though she isn't running)
Thoughts and Observations
I haven't heard anything out of Bennet since he announced his run, and he's still polling under 1%. He'll probably drop out soon. There isn't a realistic path toward securing the nomination.
Biden is struggling with image problems (either that or he doesn't care) but his strong name-recognition clout among Democratic voters keeps him in first place. He has a chance of securing the nomination except I think his "ability to beat Trump" is overstated.
The issue with his appeal-to-nostalgia angle is that it's a rehashed "Make America Great Again," which won't appeal to many Democrats. Other recent developments include: "A senior Joe Biden campaign staffer in charge of outreach to Latino, African-American and women’s groups has quit her post, telling two allies she was frustrated over her lack of input and with the presidential candidate’s immigration rhetoric." (Politico)
I don't know if he's even running to win. No one knows what happens if someone drops a few billion into the race. Bloomberg already spent $23.7 million on a week's worth of ads. Could he win? Let's put it at 50/50 because Bloomberg is too unpredictable right now. I don't know if someone can literally buy an election, but I'm pretty sure most Democrats don't want Bloomberg for one reason: it looks bad. If he wins, the presidential election will be a face-off between two billionaires. Those aren't the optics which inspire enthusiasm among a growing movement to denounce big money in politics.
He's still trying to find his message and is dropping in the polls after repeated failures. He may drop out because his campaign has parallels with Kamala Harris (who dropped out this week). Although Business Insider says Booker might gain some of her supporters, and Booker is #3 for endorsements. Regardless, Booker is barely clinging to 2% and doesn't have a chance of beating the top 5 to become nominee. It'd take a catastrophic change-up to propel him to the top spot.
Although he's young and does poorly with non-white demographics, he remains a contender. Despite a slight drop earlier this year, he's shot back into the top 5, and is a thorn for Biden. There's a decent chance Buttigieg can win the nomination.
He's still not doing enough to stand out. Insufficient media coverage and poor fundraising will sink him, and I'm surprised Castro is still in the race. Seems like a fair choice for potential Vice President though.
He's been running since June 2017 and still hasn't gotten anyone to care about his campaign. As the first person to announce their candidacy, Delaney was technically first place in the polls at one point. But he's never been able to break above 1%, as far as I know, and remains embarrassingly unpopular. As I said 8 months ago, he's wasting time by staying in the race.
I stand by what I wrote in April saying she won't win. Anyone who wants a moderate will vote for Biden or Buttigieg, since both are vastly more popular.
My opinion hasn't changed since April. "He still has momentum from 2016 but I think his chances of winning are slightly worse than before. He’s also doing the same thing the DNC hated in 2016, running as a Democrat only for the presidential election and remaining an independent otherwise. They’re going to try and shut him out like last time, especially now he’s competing with Joe Biden."
Might've had a slim chance, except Bloomberg jumped into the race, unseating Steyer as resident Aging Billionaire White Guy. Steyer doesn't have as many billions, or a national profile, so it's unlikely he'd beat out Bloomberg.
I underestimated her appeal and didn't expect to see Warren in the top 3. However, I still don't think she can beat Trump. She's an academic making unrealistic propositions to radically change the American economy, and there's no reason to try that when the economy appears stable. We can use improvements, for sure, but Warren likes to go one step too far. This is part of her appeal in the primary, but in a general election that won't fly.
Williamson is entertaining so it's a shame she can't get enough traction to break into the debates. I originally put that she had a 0% chance of winning, and that's still true.
Who wouldn't want $1000/month? But seriously, he's a fair candidate and it's great that a non-politician has stayed in the top 10 for so long. He's bringing attention to a lot of issues which should be discussed more by his fellow candidates. Yang definitely isn't the establishment choice though, evidenced by MSNBC constantly excluding him from their material. I'm not convinced Yang can win the nomination when so many people are set on Biden/Buttigieg or Warren/Sanders. However, the winner might offer Yang a position as vice president or cabinet member.
- December 2: Steve Bullock dropped out. Someone named Joe Sestak also dropped out, but I didn’t even hear that he was running.
- December 3: Kamala Harris dropped out. We’re down to 15 Democrats running for nominee. And from the Washington Post: "With fewer than ten days left to qualify, only six Democratic candidates have made the cut for the sixth Democratic debate." (Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, Steyer, and Warren. Gabbard and Yang are close, only needing 1 qualifying poll each.)
- December 12: Yang qualified for the debate as #7. Gabbard may qualify, since she only needs one more "official" poll. But Gabbard says she won't attend the debate either way.
- December 16: 538 polling average for top 10 is: Biden 26%, Sanders 18%, Warren 15%, Buttigieg 10%, Bloomberg 4.5%, Yang 3.5%, Klobuchar 2.5%, Booker 2%, Gabbard 1.5%, Steyer 1%
- January 1, 2020: Julián Castro celebrates the new year by finally dropping out of the race. Polling averages are largely the same as a couple of weeks ago.
- January 13, 2020: Cory Booker drops out, following Marianne Williamson's decision to drop out on January 10th. For the 7th Democratic debate, six candidates qualified: Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Steyer.
- RealClearPolitics polling average (12/14-1/7) for the top 10 is now: Biden 29%, Sanders 20%, Warren 15%, Buttigieg 7.5%, Bloomberg 6%, Yang 3.5%, Klobuchar 3%, Gabbard 2%, Steyer 2%, Delaney 1%.
- January 31, 2020: Delaney finally dropped out. According to Morning Consult, two-thirds of voters had no opinion or still hadn't heard of him, despite nearly 3 years of campaigning.
- March 2: I haven't been paying much attention lately, but today Amy Klobuchar dropped out, after Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer exited the race on March 1st. Buttigieg and Klobuchar will endorse Biden for president. Only 5 candidates remain: Sanders, Biden, Bloomberg, Warren, and Gabbard.
- March 4: Biden won at least 9 states in yesterday's Super Tuesday. Bloomberg dropped out to endorse him after sinking half a billion into the race. Election betting odds still project a Trump win.
- March 5: Warren drops out without endorsing anyone. It's just Biden, Sanders, and Gabbard now.
- March 19: Tulsi Gabbard dropped out and endorsed Biden.