It's starting to get real, folks. The first Democratic primary is about 6 months away. The first debate is just 2 weeks away
With 23 democrats
running to be the Democratic candidate, it's going to be a crowded stage. Not unlike the Republican field in 2016, the party has had to set some guidelines
as to who can participate. In short, if a candidate is 1% or better in the polls, or has "received donations from at least (1) 65,000 unique donors; and (2) a minimum of 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 U.S. states", then they may participate in the debate.
So who qualifies at this point? Based on the polls
, there are 8: Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Harris, O'Rourke, Booker, Klobuchar. The first two are benefiting from name recognition, and being involved in presidential campaigns previously (Biden as veep, Sanders as a 2016 election primary candidate). Elizabeth Warren is doing well despite being a fairly wonky Senator from New England, likely due to her dogged campaigning, clear message, and "real" personality. Buttigieg has a good message and is a "fresh face", with a wisdom that belies his scant political experience (the same with O'Rourke). Harris, Booker, and Klobuchar all have their records as senators, but can sometimes come off as a little "politician-y".
Sanders is essentially redoing his "Bernie" thing. I can't help but hear the theme to "Curb Your Enthusiasm" whenever I see him. My personal take is that he's big on "ideas", but weak on actual details (which is Elizabeth Warren's strong point). He keeps talking about "revolution" without realizing that it already occurred when tRumpy got elected, and the end-result has not made anything better.
Biden is being... well... Uncle Joe. He seems to be running the campaign he meant to run back in 2016, and it just seems a bit tired and anachronistic now. He's positioned himself as the "anti-Trump", without being pro anything. He's also a walking talking gaffe machine, as his seemingly poll-driven reversal on the Hyde amendment demonstrated. As much as I like him, and know his experience at veep would serve him well and allow him to hit the ground running, it's just hard to get excited about his campaign when Warren is doing it so much better (is my bias showing? oh well...)
Whomever the candidate turns out to be, their message should be economic policy
Rank-and-file Democrats of all income levels are largely united around big economic policy themes, a new study shows. The Republican Party, by contrast, features a significant internal division that basically tracks income lines, with lower-income Republicans being much more moderate on a range of economics-related issues.
What that means is that lower-income Republican voters might be inclined to cross party lines if the Democratic candidate delivers a clear economic message.
The only place that may not work is - oddly enough - Pennsylvania
(details at the link)
A small group of voters we spoke to here, who had switched from Barack Obama to Donald Trump, are sticking with Trump in 2020 â€” unlike other swing voters who are getting tired of him.
Why it matters: Their loyalty is a wakeup call to all 2020 Democrats, but especially Joe Biden, since he's banking heavily on his ability to win the state.
That was the main takeaway from the latest Engagious/FPG focus group I watched here last week, which included eight Obama/Trump voters.
The big picture: Pennsylvania was crucial to Trump's victory in 2016, and it's a key state Democrats are hoping to win back in 2020. These swing voters show the importance of Democratic candidates breaking through in rural areas like Erie if they want to replace Trump.
Undoing the damage done by tRump will take a special person. First, that person needs to become the Democratic candidate, and then that person needs to be beat tRumpy in the 2020 general election. That's a long way off, and between now and then we've got a bushel of candidates to sort through to find the right one.