It is quite amusing to see how much time the media spends handicapping the 2020 presidential election. Virtually every day they report on polls and opinions about the relative strength of the 20 –and growing– Democrat presidential candidate field.
All these theories and prognostications are not only meaningless – they are downright stupid. Politics is not like sports, where announcers can at least give the factual score as part of their play-by-play coverage.
At this moment – according to the polls and the pundits, former Vice President Joe Biden holds the lead with something short of 30 percent of Democrat voters. Of course, that means that 70 percent of those polled prefer someone other than Biden. Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders is in the 25 percent range – meaning that 75 percent of Democrats are looking elsewhere.
Of course, 30 percent of the vote in a 20-person field can easily be a winning plurality, but it does not mean that the most popular person is nominated. Keep in mind that President Trump only won those early primaries because his 25 to 30 percent was enough to beat 16 other candidates who divided up the rest of the vote.
Large fields of candidates pose a lot of problems – and the Democrats have the largest number of so-called “serious candidates” in American history. That means Whack-A-Mole politics in the coming months.
The Democrats’ problem is the potential of nominating someone with a significant plurality following in the primaries who has limited appeal to the broader electorate in the General Election. That happens when one of the more generally popular candidates fails to gain and hold a major position.
Take what happened in the Republican primaries in 2016. While Trump held his base, all the other candidates – with impressive credentials – rose and fell like the animal character in Whack-a-Mole. There were times when it looked like Governor Jeb Bush would ascend above the pack, but then he got whacked. Then it was Governor Chris Christie (whack) … Governor Scott Walker (whack) … Senator Marco Rubio (whack) … Carly Fiorina (whack) … Governor Rick Perry (whack) … Senator Rick Santorum (whack) … Senator Ted Cruz (whack). Not one of them, or any of the others, could amass a plurality larger than Trump’s.
We already see this being played out with the Democrats. Most of their contenders are asterisks in the polls – less than one percenters. From these bottom ranks, we have seen the mole-of-the-moment rise to move into double digits – edging close to the Biden/Sanders numbers. California Senator Kamala Harris looked good for a few days after her announcement thanks to the accolades of an adoring news media.
Along comes former Congressman Beto O’Rourke and Harris gets … whacked – falling back into single digits. “The Beto” pops up as the mole-of-the-moment, riding the crest of the fickle left-wing media news coverage. Just when folks begin to contact Beto for invitations to the Inaugural Ball … whack. Too shallow. No programs. Too ambitious. Funny hand motions. Next pops up an obscure mayor of a small town in Indiana — and Beto is yesterday’s headline.
“Mayor Pete,” as he has come to be known, is the latest mole in the game. Like Harris and O’Rourke before him, Pete Buttigieg is getting more than his share of media attention – not because he is so experienced in national and world affairs. Not because he has amazing ideas. No. No. No.
In fact, Mayor Pete does not compare favorably in experience, knowledge or ideas to almost any of the Democrats in the field. As handsome and articulate as he is, virtually every other Democrat presidential candidate is as good looking and articulate. There are exceptions in both categories, but, in the interest of discretion, I shall not name them.
Buttigieg popped into third place in many polls because … you know why … because he is gay. He is more of a novelty candidate than a major contender. I know it is not wise to predict political outcomes – especially so far in the future – but I feel quite confident that Mayor Pete will not be the Democrat standard bearer in 2020. I doubt he will even be in the running for Vice President.
By all measure, Buttigieg seems to be a nice person. He may be a great mayor. I have no problem with a gay person becoming President of the United States. I just think that it should be based on knowledge and experience, not public fascination. He already is said to have a problem with the black vote. His statement that white lives matter and then apologizing for it makes no friends on either side. I think the public will eventually agree that he is too green (and not in the political sense) — and you know what that means for Mayor Pete. WHACK!
So, there ‘tis.