The 2020 Democratic presidential nominee will be…

Somebody from among Biden, Booker, Harris, Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg.  Those are the 6 strongest candidates now among donors (really nice post on the Party not deciding from SMOTUS) and I would be genuinely surprised, though definitely not shocked if the nominee were not from among these six.  And, of these, I personally give Biden, Harris, and Warren the best chance.  I really think Booker’s got a real chance to come on (wishful thinking, maybe) and Buttigieg continues to impress people.  And, actually, I probably should not include Bernie, as I really don’t think he’ll be the nominee, but, there’s a chance.

Anyway, the larger point is that primaries are really so volatile and, largely unlike general elections, the events of the campaign actually matter.  General elections are so shaped by economic factors, presidential approval, and partisanship, that there’s just not much room for much else, other than the occasional, but rare, Comey letter or Access Hollywood tape.  But what these candidates say in debates (as filtered through the media), the things they do that draw themselves attention (or lead to them getting ignored) will matter.

A tweet earlier this week from elections analyst extraordinaire, Sean Trene, really captures it:

Short version, political science tells us that the ultimate nominee is very likely to be from among this current top group, but no real basis to say who it will be.  What these candidates do and say and how the media covers it will play a huge role in who wins this nomination.  Anybody who says, “well, based on x, y, and, z, the nominee will surely be XXX” is full of it.  We just can’t know now.  And that’s the fun of it.  And, if you think back to 2016 there was a whole bunch of stuff that fell just right for Trump in terms of his competitors, how they fared in various states, etc., and it is not hard at all to craft an alternate scenario where he was not the winner.

So, who do I think it will be?  Not Biden.  I think eventually his campaign will fall under the weight of the fact that he’s really just not a good candidate.  I actually think it will be Warren or Harris because they are both good at this.  But Booker’s my dark horse right now to really pick up when Biden fades.  But, I could be totally off.  We’ll see…

 

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

4 Responses to The 2020 Democratic presidential nominee will be…

  1. jeffbc94 says:

    I’ve been pulling for a Harris/Booker ticket since this whole thing went south in 2016. Still have no issues with that at all, and I think they’re both equipped to outwit the incumbent.

  2. R. Jenrette says:

    ”What these candidates do and say and how the media covers it will play a huge role in who wins this nomination. Anybody who says, “well, based on x, y, and, z, the nominee will surely be XXX” is full of it. We just can’t know now.”

    Thank heaven for the unpredictable human element! Therein lies Liberty!

  3. Mika says:

    I’ve no idea but Warren has been rising at polls slowly but surely.

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