Are Biden and Warren Toast?

Two early frontrunners are being written off.

A lot of my recent post titles have a question mark at the end. It’s not because I’m trying to generate clickbait. Rather, it’s because I don’t have the answers.

As is typically the case, the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire primaries create a flurry of analysis and opinion pieces. Inevitably, some of the candidates in the upper tiers of the national polling do poorly in one or both contests and are written off. And sometimes, a candidate or two who were deemed to have little chance going into February are given new life by a stronger-than-expected showing.

So, we’re getting pieces like “What caused Warren’s campaign collapse?” “Drop out, Joe Biden. New Hampshire proves you are done.” and a whole flurry of pieces on Mike Bloomberg, who didn’t even enter those contests.

Given that Biden has been the frontrunner until now and that Warren was for a while his main challenger, it’s perfectly reasonable to wonder what happened. Still, we now have several national polls since New Hampshire and the race isn’t that shaken up:

Sanders is ahead in all but one of the polls and certainly seems like the frontrunner at this stage. He has nearly double the support of Warren, who has always been considered his main competitor for support of the progressive wing of the party.

Still, Warren is polling ahead of Buttigieg, despite his major boost.

And Biden is still ahead of not only Buttigieg but Bloomberg and Klobuchar in the battle for the “moderate wing.”

Indeed, the only thing we can say for sure is that Klobuchar seems not to have received much bounce, if any, for her decent showing in both of the early states.

Now, it’s possible that this will change. While all of the polls in the RCP average were released yesterday or today, they all have at least some overlap with the pre-New Hampshire period. But we’re only a week out from Nevada, the next stop in the campaign, so the buzz from the early states will quickly fade if not sustained.

The race has narrowed to eight with the post-New Hampshire withdrawals of Andrew Yang, Deval Patrick, and Michael Bennet. Tom Steyer and Tulsi Gabbard are vanity candidates who can probably stay nominally in the race as long as they want with minimal impact. So, really, that leaves us with six.

There’s no incentive for Biden or Warren to join the exodus just yet. They’re still polling in the double digits and have decent war chests and organizations. But they’re going to feel a lot of pressure to drop out if they don’t show some life in Nevada and/or South Carolina. Ditto Klobuchar.

Could we be down to just three—Sanders, Bloomberg, and Buttigieg—before Super Tuesday? Or do all six remain in the fight, perhaps acting as spoilers?

FILED UNDER: Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Campaign 2020, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    IA and NH proved to me at least that Biden cannot inspire or organize. Warren might have an outside shot if people start to realize what a b.s. artist Bernie is, but she’s probably done. M4A killed her with mods and walking it back killed her with progs.

    Klobuchar did well, but she’s not likely to take NV or SC and then it’s the big, giant money primaries on Super T.

    I like Buttigieg, but he’s in a similar fix. He won’t take NV or SC and he can’t hope to own the mod wing unless Biden drops out.

    I don’t much like Bloomberg, but this isn’t about what I like. It’s about the ebb and flow of power, who brings it and who doesn’t. If he does well at the Nevada debate he’ll be the frontrunner, IMO. Of all the Dems it’s Little Mike who Trump fears most.

    ReplyReply
    6
    1
  2. James Joyner says:

    @Michael Reynolds: The betting sites, including PredictIt and USBookies, have Sanders and Bloomberg way ahead of the rest of the pack. I don’t know if that means anything.

    ReplyReply
  3. Jay L Gischer says:

    Not to get all conspiracy theory on y’all, but when Warren pulled up to Biden in the polls, a lot of the finance people were very, very scared. This is, I think, what inspired Bloomberg. It inspired a lot of the finance media to say scary things about her. Maybe there was some dark money spent? I don’t know, it’s all part of the game.

    But she scares them in some way that Bernie doesn’t. Which is why she has my support. Because we need structural change. Now maybe they used M4A as a club to beat her with. Maybe not enough people like that country girl “gosh, we’re going to do this” manner? But her support went up, then down. I don’t really know what’s up with that.

    ReplyReply
    15
  4. Gustopher says:

    “Biden is toast” is wishful, optimistic thinking. There’s every chance that he picks up the nomination with a long, drawn out, uninspiring campaign that sets him up to lose in the general election — like Romney in 2012.

    Warren has to turn things around, but I don’t worry that she’s going to stumble to the nomination — she’s just not in a position to do so. I like Warren. I’m hoping she’s still in it when Washington State votes in their primary because I want to vote for her.

    Voting for someone would be a nice change.

    ReplyReply
  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Joyner:
    Nate just moved “No one” to a slight lead over Sanders, followed by Biden and Bloomberg. I wonder how an open convention would go? If they choose Bloomie the party will look just a wee bit whorish. If they choose Bernie they’re committing suicide. If they go Biden the groan will be heard from coast to coast.

    Warren would be a compromise candidate between mods and progs. Buttigieg could work, but doubtful, especially if the AA vote in SC blows him off.

    Then there are the outsiders. Adam Schiff maybe, though I’ve not seen him on the stump and don’t know his skill level. Schiff and Stacy Abrams? I don’t see them reaching back to Kerry or Gore, still less Hillary.

    Maybe some wild outlier like Tom Hanks? Actual star vs. Reality TV “star.” Hanks plus Abrams?

    ReplyReply
    1
    3
  6. DrDaveT says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    But she scares them in some way that Bernie doesn’t. Which is why she has my support.

    I think you’re on to something here. Warren scares wealth because wealth views her as capable of actually getting legislation done that could accomplish something — and has no such fears about Sanders. (Insert geeky reference here to Smaug’s reaction to the missing cup.)

    To me, Warren’s walkback was the missing piece that allows me to support her enthusiastically, should she win the nomination. Unlike Bernie, she is still capable of recognizing error, changing her mind, being advised, and adding nuance.

    (I find it interesting that Bloomberg ads are now emphasizing the phrase “Healthcare is a right.”)

    ReplyReply
    11
    1
  7. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    The Warren advantage was ‘having a plan for that.’ Then it became clear that she had a plan for everything but how much it would cost and how to pay for it. Don’t say, ‘I got all the answers,’ then not have answers.

    Also I suspect – based on no data – that she didn’t meet the Commander in Chief threshold for some people. Even most Dems want to know the POTUS will drop a bomb on some folks if a bomb needs dropping. I don’t think anyone doubts Klobuchar or Biden or Buttigieg or Bloomberg on that score.

    ReplyReply
    5
    1
  8. grumpy realist says:

    Bloomberg is probably the one who would drive Trump the most nuts, which could be amusing.

    I’ve had to watch enough stupidity within the U.S. lately (I’d love to vote for Warren if she’s still in the race when our primaries come around) so am just sitting back and eating popcorn.

    ReplyReply
    4
    1
  9. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Michael Reynolds: You might be right, but wow. I have no doubts on that score. She will bomb away. She wouldn’t be scary to all these people otherwise.

    The “How would you pay for that?” question is a trap. She is correct not to answer it. GWB lied through his teeth about how his tax cuts would be paid for. So that’s a possibility, too. But I like it when a politician prefers not answering to lying.

    ReplyReply
    6
    2
  10. James Joyner says:

    @Gustopher:

    “Biden is toast” is wishful, optimistic thinking.

    It’s not my wish, in that I prefer him to most of the field. But that’s increasingly the narrative and he’s looking mightly listless.

    @Michael Reynolds: A long time ago, in place far away, I used to vote in the Alabama Democratic primaries. Not because I was a Democrat but because the Democratic primary was, for all intents and purposes, the general election for state races.

    Then the 1986 gubernatorial primary happened. Attorney General Charlie Graddock won the nomination in a run-off over Lieutenant Governor Bill Baxley. But Baxley challenged the result on account of the fact that some people who voted in the Republican primary voted in the Democratic run-off. That was both agains the rules and had always been allowed previously.

    The Alabama Democratic officials put their heads together and decided that, not only were they going to throw out the results of the run-off but that, rather than have a do-over with only Democrats, they were just going to give the nomination to Baxley.

    In November, the state elected Republican Guy Hunt, an idiot preacher and Amway salesman, governor.

    Short story long: I think the party would melt down if someone other than the first- or second-place delegate winner was anointed the nominee. And, frankly, if Bernie is the plurality delegate winner and he’s not nominated, there may well be 1968-style rioting.

    ReplyReply
  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    I’d far rather Warren than Bernie. Warren wouldn’t damage Congressional chances as much, might eve help. And unlike Bernie, Warren’s actually accomplished some things. But the CinC test is harder for women unless they’re obvious cold-blooded bitches like Klobuchar or Hillary. (Or Angela Merkel, Maggie Thatcher, Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Katherine the Great, Elizabeth 1, or my fave, Boudica. . .Americans don’t count foreign women. Or history.)

    ReplyReply
    5
    4
  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Joyner:

    And, frankly, if Bernie is the plurality delegate winner and he’s not nominated, there may well be 1968-style rioting.

    I wouldn’t put it past the Bernie Bros. Democrats tell themselves fairy tales about 1968 and 1972, both times when idiot Lefties put Nixon in the White House. Which worked out so well, if you don’t count all the additional deaths in Vietnam and its sequel, the Cambodian Killing Fields. And that whole Watergate thing. And the arms race heated up by MIRVed nukes and the spike in first strike fear. And the right-wing Supremes.

    ReplyReply
    5
    2
  13. Kurtz says:
  14. Andy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    The “How would you pay for that?” question is a trap. She is correct not to answer it.

    The problem for Warren is that she has made her brand the “wonk” candidate with detailed policy knowledge and detailed plans for everything. So if that is a trap, it is one that she set upon herself.

    No one forced her to endorse a Sanders-style M4A but then claim, unlike Bernie, the middle class wouldn’t have to pay any additional taxes. Her M4A plan and pay-fors were the least credible of all them.

    I think that’s what killed her candidacy.

    ReplyReply
    4
    1
  15. Jen says:

    I think it’s crazy to suggest either of them is toast at this point. I said in another thread that I think this year has the potential to be when IA and NH lose all relevance to the main selection contest, and I think it’s being borne out by the numbers. If Buttigieg can win Iowa and come in 2nd in NH, tied with Sanders for delegates, and not budge an inch in national polling, to me that says that the results in early states don’t really matter*.

    Could a Biden/Warren ticket win?

    * I do wonder what has happened to fundraising numbers for all of the candidates. Polling is one thing, viability through cash infusions are another.

    ReplyReply
  16. Kurtz says:

    @Andy:

    This is an excellent point.

    I am curious about some studies though. Even the progressive groups that have published cost analyses don’t seem to include savings businesses would realize by not paying a large chunk of employee premiums. However, my search was not exhaustive.

    ReplyReply
  17. charon says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I am waiting until after Super Tuesday results to decide.

    Hopefully Warren. Klobuchar possible. If not, hold my nose for Biden.

    I have been following Al Giordano’s blog, he is giving 90% odds no one gets to 1991 delegates pre-convention. I find his reasoning persuasive.

    ReplyReply
  18. KM says:

    Sanders has done OK for far but IA nd NH are far different then the upcoming challenges. I think he’s got way too many negatives to make it in the South and Midwest. Warren and Biden should hang in for a little bit since they have every chance to turn it around with some good ground game.

    As for my guess, it’s like going to be Bloomberg/Warren or Biden/Buttigieg as the final tickets. Bloomberg taps Warren for liberal cred since there’s no way Sanders would settle for VP. Biden nabs Pete to bring him energy, youth and some credibility but avoid the baggage he’d think the others have (he’s got enough, thanks Trump).

    ReplyReply
  19. Moosebreath says:

    @James Joyner:

    “But Baxley challenged the result on account of the fact that some people who voted in the Republican primary voted in the Democratic run-off. That was both against the rules and had always been allowed previously.”

    And people wonder why I prefer a closed primary…

    ReplyReply
  20. wr says:

    @James Joyner: “The betting sites, including PredictIt and USBookies, have Sanders and Bloomberg way ahead of the rest of the pack. I don’t know if that means anything.”

    It means a bunch of people who don’t know anything have pooled their ignorance to come up with this. I have never understood the fascination with “betting markets.” Not in sports, not in awards, and certainly not in politics…

    ReplyReply
    3
    1
  21. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kurtz:
    I don’t think a 78 year-old man with a bad heart who calls himself a socialist and honeymooned in the USSR can beat Trump, and if he managed it, I don’t see him carrying along Senatorial candidates in the three vital purple states, CO, AZ and ME. Do you?

    National polls are meaningless, we don’t have a national election, we have 50 little elections. In national polls California counts for a lot, but it says nothing about purple states we hope to turn or marginal states we lost last time in part because the hard Left either threw their votes away on that troll Stein, or pouted and stayed home.

    Do you think union-heavy MI is going to come out for a guy who’d annihilate the health plans they fought for?

    Bernie has not faced serious attacks from his fellow Dems yet, let alone what will come from the Republicans. He’s not vetted, he’s shown zero capacity to get fellow pols to work with him, and he’s pushing a whole new roller coaster ride on a country that IMO, at least in the college-educated suburbs, just wants to take a nap after four years of lunacy.

    If by some miracle we did take the Senate it would be by a hair. Which means we’re down to asking how much socialism Joe Manchin will support. I’m going to guess, just about none. Which means Bernie will pass nothing, his supporters will deepen their cynicism and sink into indifference. A failed administration will give the House back to the GOP in the mid-terms, if it hasn’t already been lost by then.

    There has never been a single, successful large multi-ethnic, multi-confessional socialist country. Ever. It took the Great Depression just to get Social Security. Unemployment is damned near non-existent which does not suggest to me a country ready for revolution. He’s the wrong man with the wrong message at the wrong time with no ability to pay off on his promises.

    Charge! is almost always a stupid order, and Bernie doesn’t have another gear. You don’t yell charge! until you have the power to prevail, otherwise you fall back and count your dead. And if you think hating on billionaires is going to get the job done, explain why Bloomberg is apparently in third place.

    Bernie Sanders is the Trump of the Left. He tickles our erogenous zones, makes promises he can’t keep and yells a lot. I’ll vote for him, I’ll give him money, but it will be a suicide mission.

    ReplyReply
    10
  22. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Warren may be toast…but she seems to be putting up a fight. Going down kicking.
    After a brief fling with Bloomberg, I am back to thinking she is the best choice.
    But I wasn’t happy with the eventual nominee last go round, either.
    No matter who, vote blue.

    ReplyReply
  23. grumpy realist says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Don’t forget Hatshepsut!

    ReplyReply
  24. Teve says:

    WARREN 2020!

    She would be the best Prez.

    ReplyReply
  25. Moosebreath says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Meanwhile, Gallup has a new survey on voters’ attitudes to voting for different groups:

    45% said they would vote for a well-qualified Socialist. That was by far the lowest on the list. Next lowest was Atheist at 60%, then Muslim at 66%. Gay/Lesbian was 78%.

    Among independents, only 45% would vote for a Socialist. Even among Democrats, only 76% would. Sanders is not electable.

    ReplyReply
  26. Jen says:

    Posted in the Friday thread, but probably more relevant here. Biden isn’t toast, but Warren might be:

    Eastern Carolina University poll out:

    Biden 28%
    Sanders 20%
    Steyer 14%
    Buttigieg 8%
    Klobuchar 7%
    Warren 7%

    ReplyReply
  27. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher: I agree that it’s highly premature to declare Biden’s candidacy dead. First of all, there’s a history of candidates going on to win their party’s nomination after being declared dead by the media (Bill Clinton in ’92, John McCain in ’08). And when thinking about it, I keep coming back to SC. Bloomberg isn’t on the ballot there, so if it isn’t Biden who will win there, who will be there be to pick up the pieces of his AA support? Bernie’s the likeliest at this point, but I have my doubts. I just can’t see Pete, Warren, or Klobuchar doing it.

    And if Biden wins SC, I bet the narrative would quickly shift to “Biden recovered,” and it would undercut Bloomberg’s campaign in the later contests.

    Oddly, Bloomberg’s best chance is that Bernie wins SC, because it would mean Bernie bested or nearly bested all the moderates in the early states, handing Bloomberg just the opening he needs to position himself as the mainstream alternative who can stop Bernie. In short, for Bloomberg’s campaign to continue to have any life it has to come down to a Bloomberg-Bernie race.

    Two late-septuagenarian New York Jews with a history of not calling themselves Democrats. I confess this is not what I imagined the race to turn into, but it looks like that’s where it might be headed. If, that is, the other late-septuagenarian doesn’t come back from the dead.

    ReplyReply
  28. EddieInCA says:

    @KM:

    As for my guess, it’s like going to be Bloomberg/Warren or Biden/Buttigieg as the final tickets. Bloomberg taps Warren for liberal cred since there’s no way Sanders would settle for VP. Biden nabs Pete to bring him energy, youth and some credibility but avoid the baggage he’d think the others have (he’s got enough, thanks Trump).

    And a whole host of AA’s stay home, with zero coattails.

    ReplyReply
  29. Gustopher says:

    I think that Bloomberg is the flavor of the month, and that it keeps Warren, Klobuchar or Buttigieg’s from exploiting Biden’s weakness.

    Most years, there is not a name-brand untested candidate in the wings this late in the cycle. If the expected leader looks weak, people normally have to look to the other candidates, and a strong showing over expectations can get a smaller candidate a chance at the spotlight.

    This year, a weak showing from Biden has everyone looking around and saying “what about this guy over here that we don’t know much about?” and projecting their hopes onto him.

    The smart money is on Bloomberg fading out like most untested flavor of the month candidates. People will discover he is a thin-lipped, short-tempered patrician and be unimpressed. Whether it happens quickly or not is going to have a huge effect on the race.

    I think Bloomberg has a chance, but not a huge chance. His flaws aren’t well known yet, and may be crippling.

    ReplyReply
  30. al Ameda says:

    Right now Bloomberg is providing a public service for the Democratic Party – he’s running sharp smart ads that go right after Trump.

    Do I know where this going? Absolutely not, but a month from now 3 or 4 of these people will not be on the trail any more and we’ll be seeing vastly different polling.

    ReplyReply
  31. An Interested Party says:

    But the CinC test is harder for women unless they’re obvious cold-blooded bitches like Klobuchar or Hillary.

    What, no Kamala Harris in that list? Well, considering her ignominious exit from the race, perhaps not…

    Right now Bloomberg is providing a public service for the Democratic Party – he’s running sharp smart ads that go right after Trump.

    Which begs the question–why aren’t any of the other Democratic candidates running such ads…

    ReplyReply
  32. Kurtz says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Did you look at the full data set? Because it certainly muddles the picture a bit. Here are the numbers on the socialist question for Party ID and ideology.

    Party ID: yes-no

    Republican 17-82

    Independent 45-51

    Democrat 76-21

    Ideology:

    Conservative 23-76

    Moderate 51-45

    Liberal 74-23

    This is a different picture, no? A couple points are in order.

    First, there is a mountain of evidence that shows that independents are rarely actually independent. This fact may be particularly salient in this poll. Here are the unweighted sample sizes by grouping:

    Republicans 328

    Independent 424

    Democrats 275

    Conservative 442

    Moderate 344

    Liberal 225

    Good thing I went back and looked before posting. I did some quick calculations. The breakdown of independents appears to be the following:

    lean Rep: 103 of 328
    lean Dem: 168 of 328
    no lean: 57 of 328

    Unfortunately, there is no way to match this to the specific questions. But it is somewhat illuminating, especially given the huge oversampling of 55+ voters.

    Second, go back and look at the percentages again. Notice anything weird? Compare Republicans to conservatives. The percentage of people willing to vote for a socialist goes up to 23%. 51% of moderates are willing to vote for a socialist.

    Third, look at the unweighted raw numbers within each age group. (n=1033)

    18-34 168

    35-54 286

    55+ 560

    This is a large number of Silents and Boomers. This group required a huge adjustment when weighting to better reflect the larger population.

    This should give one a little pause when interpreting this poll. Additionally, one should always be careful using a single survey to make a strong point. But you did, so let’s look past the top line numbers to see if your electibility conclusion is justified.

    First, boomers and silents are the two generations that are more likely to have a visceral response to the word “socialism.” They are significantly oversampled here, and the weighting might not be able to account for that.

    Second, keep in mind that through simple association right now, many will reflexively associate socialist with Sanders.

    This mostly impacts Dem’s answers. But if you squint a bit, it’s possible that Bernie is more likely to garner support from Republicans and conservatives. But I wouldn’t hang my hat on it. Putting money on it would require astronomical odds in my favor. But it is certainly a plausible inference.

    Third, the ideological breakdown suggests that those of you in these sections who are so sure that Trump would thump Sanders in the general may want to at least re-evaluate that position a bit.

    Fourth, given that this was conducted during primary season, the Dem numbers are likely affected by those who are supporting other candidates. I doubt they will do it, but it may be instructive for Gallup to do the same poll a few times over the rest of the year.

    It seems reasonable to suggest that if there is indeed an association right now between Sanders and socialist, it is likely to be more pronounced among Dems. Given this, this particular poll may be undervaluing potential support for Sanders.

    Also, electibility concerns seem to lead some partisans toward irrationality during primary season–candidates who are not cis, hetero, white, male, and protestant seem to encounter skepticism of their electibility in the primaries. It’s reasonable to add self-described socialist to that list as well. That skepticism may be warranted, but one must be careful to not take it to an extreme to avoid unfairly dismissing good candidates.

    I find it curious that they failed to mention the ideological breakdown in the article. It seems quite relevant, but I don’t feel comfortable speculating.

    It is wise to proceed with caution when making definitive statements based on one poll. Just as important, always look at the full data set, not just the topline numbers.

    ReplyReply
  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    @grumpy realist:
    OK, I had to look that up.

    ReplyReply
  34. Moosebreath says:

    @Kurtz:

    Sorry, but unless you think Sanders can win losing over a fifth of Democrats and being under water with Independents, then you are just blowing smoke.

    ReplyReply
  35. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Two things at the top, Michael.

    First, take a look at my response to Moose. I am hesitant to say that it is strong evidence of anything. But the ideological breakdown in that Gallup poll suggests that Sanders may be able to pull some support from moderates and conservatives. Morning Consult’s poll from last week may bolster this case. It has Bernie’s favorability rating at 74%-21%. Biden is at 68%-25%. They are the two that have the fewest no opinion/never heard of responses among the Democrstic candidates.

    Second, I notice you said little about Bloomberg. He is not to be trusted. I think he is certainly more competent than Trump. But that scares me a bit, because his motives are unclear to me so far. If someone has enough money they don’t have to work, I expect a detailed platform that shows they took the time to go to work before the election.

    He could probably earn my trust, but I’m skeptical. Steyer may actually pick up delegates in SC. If he does, at first glance, I would prefer him over Bloomberg.

    I am not nearly as nervous about a Trump victory as most of you are. Two of those years, he would be a lame duck, and most of what he could do would be through unilateral action and could be reversed by a Dem in January 2025. And the first two years will be filled with endless scandal and controversy.

    Well, maybe I am just being optimistic.

    Bernie Sanders is the Trump of the Left. He tickles our erogenous zones, makes promises he can’t keep and yells a lot. I’ll vote for him, I’ll give him money, but it will be a suicide mission.

    This is silly. Yes, they are both loud septuagenarians. But Trump is a vapid buffoon. Sanders is not. Sanders has a sophisticated vision. Trump has visions of himself as a giant handed god banging his own daughter. Sanders is consistent. Trump struggles to go five minutes without contradicting something he has said in the recent past. Sanders can form coherent sentences. Trump tosses word salads in the air and calls the result hamberders.

    This is rather like comparing Jim Cramer to Nassim Taleb by calling them both insufferable, obnoxious wall street guys. Yes, that description fits both of them.

    But the former can be dismissed as an irrelevant carnival barker. The latter cannot. Cramer’s books are most useful as kindling. Taleb’s books are engaging and worth reading, because they contain serious ideas. Cramer has never had a serious thought in his life.

    I don’t think a 78 year-old man with a bad heart who calls himself a socialist and honeymooned in the USSR can beat Trump, and if he managed it, I don’t see him carrying along Senatorial candidates in the three vital purple states, CO, AZ and ME. Do you?

    Nobody under 45 gives a fuck sbout the USSR. Anybody of any age who would find that relevant is probably not even worth targeting by any Democrat.

    State polls are noisy. And head to head polls probably aren’t all that predictive, especially this far out from the general. So they require a heavy dose of skepticism. But data is superior to your conjecture and rhetoric. If I wanted to hear people make claims with zero warrants–data or analytical–I would turn on cable news.

    But let’s look at the little bit of data we have.

    Arizona: RCP lists three polls each for Sanders, Warren, and Biden. They list one for Bloomberg. Trump is beating all of them, except Biden. And the one that shows him ahead is from October.

    Maine: a poll in October had five opponents, Sanders (+10), Warren (+10), Biden (+12), Harris (+6), Buttigieg (+9). But it was PPP, which has a Dem leaning house effect.

    Colorado: One poll from August. Everybody trounces Trump.

    You’re misinterpreting coat-tails anyway. It is largely a result of turnout and enthusiasm. One, pretty much every Dem is motivated to defeat Trump. Two, sending a wonk; a 38 year-old skinny white dude who exudes smarm and behaves like a traditional politician; a bumbling gaffe-machine, with a freshly muddied name who has failed to earn the nomination twice when he was much sharper; or a billionaire, recent Republican, with a troublesome record on criminal justice and unclear motives, who was a golfing buddy of Trump not all that long ago. Oh, I forgot Klobuchar, maybe she will threaten to personally come to the house of any registered Dem who doesn’t vote for her.

    Yeah, they are all fucking inspiring options. Look, Michael, if anything, none of candidates provide a lot of potential for marginal gains in enthusiasm. But…

    National polls are meaningless, we don’t have a national election, we have 50 little elections. In national polls California counts for a lot, but it says nothing about purple states we hope to turn or marginal states we lost last time in part because the hard Left either threw their votes away on that troll Stein, or pouted and stayed home.

    I think if I am looking for a candidate who fosters enthusiasm in the base, I’ll go with the guy whose supporters “pouted and stayed home” last time around.

    I said nothing about national polls. I think if you have actually paid attention to anything I post here, you would know I would be among the least likely to make that mistake. Even then, the media and people discuss the national polls, which has some effect downstream. It may be trivial; it may not be.

    Do you think union-heavy MI is going to come out for a guy who’d annihilate the health plans they fought for?

    Well, that would depend on how Sanders answers that. How about, well, now you can negotiate for more money and other benefits rather than having to use your leverage for something that every other economically comparable nation manages to provide without involving employers or private financial intermediaries who add to the total cost of healthcare. Middlemen require a premium, no matter what. Dems are not supposed to be the party of narrow interests, which includes Nevada unions who throw hissy fits.

    Michigan polls:

    Way more polls here than in the other states.

    There is one pollster–Firehouse/Optimus–who mostly shows giant leads for Trump, but they have a bad 538 rating and a fairly sizable Republican house lean. NYT/Upshot shows a tighter race with Warren struggling, though less so with a likely voter screen. But Upshot’s Nate Cohn suspects that likely voter screens may have led to undercounting Trump voters.

    The rest show every Dem candidate would be asking Sylvio how to get orange makeup stains off their shoes.

    Bernie has not faced serious attacks from his fellow Dems yet, let alone what will come from the Republicans. He’s not vetted, he’s shown zero capacity to get fellow pols to work with him, and he’s pushing a whole new roller coaster ride on a country that IMO, at least in the college-educated suburbs, just wants to take a nap after four years of lunacy.

    Okay. Bernie is the only one of the candidates who has made it through an entire primary process as a contender. Well, maybe he would have been a contender if the party hadn’t decided on a candidate years before the primaries started.

    His 2016 run was an attempt to get propgressive ideas into the national conciousness via the only elections that garner massive attention. He just happened to unexpectedly take off.

    If by some miracle we did take the Senate it would be by a hair. Which means we’re down to asking how much socialism Joe Manchin will support. I’m going to guess, just about none. Which means Bernie will pass nothing, his supporters will deepen their cynicism and sink into indifference. A failed administration will give the House back to the GOP in the mid-terms, if it hasn’t already been lost by then.

    His goal hasn’t been to pass half-measures. His goal has been to provide a Left pull on the party with which he caucuses, because he knows that they sold out regular people by adopting right-of-center economic policies. He was able to do that, because his seat has been safe.

    It’s almost a lock that the House gets taken by the party who does not hold the Presidency. You provide zero evidence that Bernie would uniquely increase that chance, nor that any other candidate would stop it.

    The GOP will refuse to work with any Dem candidate. That is what they have done for 25 years. It is what they will do this time. It is what they will continue to do until their strategy begins to fail. Why would they? They are good at politics, not policy-making or governing.

    There has never been a single, successful large multi-ethnic, multi-confessional socialist country. Ever. It took the Great Depression just to get Social Security. Unemployment is damned near non-existent which does not suggest to me a country ready for revolution. He’s the wrong man with the wrong message at the wrong time with no ability to pay off on his promises.

    You just did the, “well, Al, I don’t know. His average is below the Mendoza line against left-handed pitchers from Little Rock when the wind is blowing at more than 5 mph in away games played at night against a division rival with a winning record. Maybe they should pinch hit for him. That Bloomberg has a swing worth a billion bucks.” Really persuasive, bud.

    Oh, and say it with me. Bernie. Sanders. Is. Not. A. Socialist. Yes, that explanation won’t matter to in an election. But your argument here isn’t about electoral politics. It is about history. And you had to qualify it three times to make your point. Bernie’s platform is actually closer to what a social democrat would advocate.

    Unemployment is non-existent, yet half the country could come up with a few hundred dollars in an emergency. Unemployment is non-existent, yet ~60% of the country are disastisfied with the US. Unemployment is non-existent yet cities have little affordable housing and career prospects in rural areas are nil.

    Odd jobs and service industry bullshit does nothing for long-term prospects. And, what is it… 30 million people(?) who are a medical emergency away from a lifetime of debt and skyhigh apr on any loans they can get. Oh, and student loans that require a six-figure salary to pay off just to get something that Madison called the key to a successful republic and that every comparable country manages to provide without putting citizens in massive debt.

    Trump told Republicans what they wanted to hear. You know what put him over the top? Populism. You’re too busy thinking that it was ignorant gun nuts voting against their economic interests because they believe slippery slope arguments.

    You’re too busy calling them stupid, because you don’t take the time to understand how they see the world.

    You’re too busy calling them idiots for believing a 2-bit flim flam man who gives no fucks about them.

    It’s not even that you’re wrong. Hell, I mostly agree with you. But you know what, I listen to them without dismissing them. Trump spoke to them like they speak to each other. From their perspective, that’s better than how people like you treat them. Shit, you don’t even bother to understand the people who mostly agree with you and have similar policy goals. Why would a Trump voter listen to you? I like you, and half the time think you deserve a fuck you and yours. But I wouldn’t want to insult a trans kid–they have a hard enough time just living in a country where half the people think they’re suffering from mental derangement.

    This article is old, but its point is telling. Democrats win in Republican districts with flaming economic populism. That’s the only way to get the Democrats out of this neo-liberal, Republican-lite trap that the Republicans set. WJC went along with it and extracted nothing real in return because he was just as fucking fake as Trump.

    Charge! is almost always a stupid order, and Bernie doesn’t have another gear. You don’t yell charge! until you have the power to prevail, otherwise you fall back and count your dead. And if you think hating on billionaires is going to get the job done, explain why Bloomberg is apparently in third place.

    Oh! You did mention Bloomberg. Had you bothered to look st the link I provided, you would know why that is.

    You’re a good writer. You’re funny and engaging. But polemics don’t work when you’re arguing with someone who has a more sophisticated knowledge of philosophy and politics than you possess. Your arrogance does you no favors, because you don’t even take the time to attentively read my responses to you.

    Just understand, I respect you, but you need to work on your arguments so that your excellent rhetorical skills don’t seem like you pulled them out of your ass.

    ReplyReply
  36. Kurtz says:

    @Moosebreath:

    So, you post a link to a poll, citing topline results. Someone points out that the full data set shows that the toplines are misleading.

    Do you even know the MOE specific to the pool of Dem respondents? It’s +/-6. Do you even poll, bro?

    You respond by ignoring what was presented to you from your own link. The smoke is coming from you.

    ReplyReply
  37. Teve says:


    Are Biden and Warren Toast?

    As a Warren supporter I’m happy for this:

    Betteridge’s law of headlines is an adage that states: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no”.

    ReplyReply
    1
    1
  38. charon says:

    @Teve:

    As I mentioned before, Al Giordano has an interesting take on this stuff.

    https://organizeandwin.com/

    ReplyReply
  39. Teve says:

    @charon: there’s a lot of stuff there, did you have anything particular in mind?

    ReplyReply
  40. charon says:

    @Teve:
    The Feb 12 piece, on the state of the race post New Hampshire.

    It’s All About the Delegates, & Only About the Delegates
    Those who are today calling Sanders the “frontrunner” for the Democratic nomination are mistaken. They take the sports coverage of the campaign too seriously. Many are confusing two very different measures: a plurality of votes does not equal a majority of votes. Far from advancing closer to the goal of being the Democratic nominee over the past two weeks, Sanders revealed profound and wounding weaknesses in Iowa, and then even greater problems going forward in New Hampshire.

    I feel badly for my colleagues in data, who I respect eternally, and some of them I love, but who have been trying to game-out the Democratic nomination by leaning heavily on the precedents of previous contests in which media momentum among candidates who were all generally acceptable to a broad party coalition tended to create a fast winnowing field and then snowball effect for frontrunners. Their models are well-constructed but, so far, they pop out very different conclusions than my own.

    After Super Tuesday, on March 3, when all of the moving demographic pieces of the Democratic coalition have weighed in (and we will also be able to measure Michael Bloomberg’s support bases among actual voters, a potentially huge x-factor ahead) those models are going to start to become more realistic. But not until then will there be enough data of actual votes cast to be able to successfully game out the convention result. Statistical models, after all, are notoriously bad at anticipating the behavior of actual human beings during a perceived crisis. And crisis management is how Democrats increasingly view the 2020 election.

    That’s because it’s becoming clearer that Democrats are moving convincingly toward a contested convention (which I define as one in which no candidate begins with the 50-percent-plus-one delegate necessary to win, but one of them does cobble together a coalition on that first ballot that gets her or him there), or a brokered convention (one that goes to a second ballot and that includes super delegate votes).

    The field will not sufficiently narrow before Super Tuesday on March 3 – by when 38 percent of the pledged delegates will already be chosen – to repeat the dynamics of past races upon which statistical projections based on past contests rely. And by then it will be too late for anyone to get to a majority of delegates.

    ReplyReply
  41. James Joyner says:

    @charon: I think that’s a reasonable analysis. But. as noted here, it’s conceivable that Biden, Warren, and Klobuchar all drop out after South Carolina if they don’t finish 1st or 2nd in Nevada or South Carolina. A Sanders-Bloomberg-Buttigieg race going in to Super Tuesday might well winnow the field on that day. But it’s looking increasingly like nobody will get 50%.

    ReplyReply
  42. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kurtz:

    Second, I notice you said little about Bloomberg. He is not to be trusted.

    What in the world would give you the idea that I trust him or anyone? Trust? What matters is power. No power = no change.

    You know, for a guy who claims top be analytical there’s an awful lot of talk of enthusiasm. But let’s look at the actual returns in NH. Show me the enthusiasm for Bernie. Show me the wave of fired-up yutes gonna change everything. They didn’t show up for Bernie. Bernie beat the mayor of nowhere by 1.3% last I checked. He won by a hair.

    Bernie Sanders, Senator from next door, the guy who took 60% of the vote last time, got half as many votes as he did in 2016. Half. 76,311 this time, 152,193 then. Where did the other 75,882 Bernie voters go? To people not named Bernie.

    Oh, and say it with me. Bernie. Sanders. Is. Not. A. Socialist.

    Then I wonder why keeps insisting he is. Maybe he should stop doing that. Maybe his insistence on claiming a title you hand-wave away is evidence of mental rigidity and outdated thinking?

    Nobody under 45 gives a fuck about the USSR. Anybody of any age who would find that relevant is probably not even worth targeting by any Democrat.

    The median age of all US citizens is 36.8. Half of potential voters older, half younger. Except that in counting voters 100% of that older half is eligible to vote, whereas about half of that younger tranche is under 18. Not voters.

    Actual data:

    Consider, for example, the median age of November’s voters — the value at which 50 percent of the ballot-casters were younger and half were older. Some basic extrapolation with the national exit-poll data quickly reveals the answer: 47.5. This sounds reasonable enough on its face – and maybe even a bit old. But now consider this. The median age of all eligible voters in the U.S., based on the most recent Census Bureau survey, in 2014, is also about 47.5. Thus, it follows from the 2016 exit polls that the median age of those who didn’t vote in 2016 – a full 40 percent of the eligible population – would be roughly the same.

    It gets worse because, using the 2018 data, a very high turnout midterm, voters age 18-29 had a turnout rate of 36.6%. Ages 30-44: 48.8? Ages 45-64: 59.5%. Ages 65+: 66.1%

    So, ‘nobody under age 45 gives a fuck,’ is, again, rather faulty logic, isn’t it? Because those people over 45 are what we call: most voters.

    As for no one who cares being worth targeting by Dems, that you say this while taking me to task for not listening to Trump voters, is amusing. See, I am a Democrat, I’m a Democratic donor, I vote faithfully, and it fucking bothers me. It’s a big old world out there, lots of places to honeymoon that aren’t decaying totalitarian police states with thousands of nukes aimed at the US. Tape surfaced a while back of Bernie in the USSR:

    The hours of footage include a scene of Sanders sitting with his delegation at a table under a portrait of Vladimir Lenin. Sanders can also be heard extolling the virtues of Soviet life and culture, even as he acknowledges some of their shortcomings.

    That’s not good. It’s not fatal, but it’s not good. But I wonder if the KGB got anything more interesting. Because I bet they did. They’re busy little beavers those KGB.

    The Bernie enthusiasm argument remains unproven. And your dismissal of vast swathes of the electorate is inexplicable. I don’t think you’ve made the case for yourself as analyst.

    ReplyReply
  43. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kurtz:
    One more thing on Bernie and the USSR not mattering. My wife and I have been repeatedly offered first class trips to the UAE to push our books. We have repeatedly refused. Because we can’t stomach the idea of helping in any way, a state that mistreats women and kills gays. The idea that we’d honeymoon or vacation in a totalitarian country is a complete non-starter.

    ReplyReply
  44. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You’re pathetic.

    You compare an official visit by a mayor to your book tour. Those are not equivalent in the least bit.

    By the way, Sanders wasn’t the only mayor to establish this sort of relationship with a Soviet city.

    As far as me needing to prove something to be considered an analyst.

    Analysis 101: comparing raw results of races in which one has two candidates and the other his 5+ is unsound.

    Analysis 101: specific data trumps generic data.

    One of us has provided specific data:

    -a Gallup poll whose full data set shows that over 20% of conservatives and 51% of moderates would consider voting for a qualified socialist.

    -state polls that you asked for and then ignore once they didn’t say what you expected them to say.

    Logic 101: when someone says, “no one under 45 gives a fuck,” it takes no position of how many above 45 do. Your generic data has zero to say on that point. What? You think I didn’t know exactly how you would respond?

    You’re taking the not worth targeting out of context–if someone conflates Sanders’s positions as the same as the USSR, they are unlikely to vote for any of the Dem candidates.
    So, find it amusing all you want.

    Bottom line: only one of us has a reasonable position. I never say that Sanders is the only option to win. You claim to know he cannot win.

    I have made the argument that he may capture Obama-Trump voters. I have argued that to me, the best chance is to run someone who can capture the anger of the electorate. I have cautioned that candidates considered safe–the moderates–may turn off people for seeming too much like typical politicicans. But I have never said that they couldn’t win.

    You see, speaking in absolutes is not how an analyst behaves. That’s how a pundit behaves. But they can be excused, because it is their job to give definitive answers.

    You have no such excuse. You argue in bad faith. You insult people with whom you disagree. You echo right wing buzzwords and viewpoints. (in the case of virtue signaling, you have used it incorrectly as well.) And you do it all for free.

    Next time you decide to reply to me, better make a little bit more of an effort.

    ReplyReply

Speak Your Mind

*