The word of the 2020 Democratic Primary is without question “electability.” Just about every survey of Democrats shows that a candidate’s ability to defeat President Trump is among the highest — and usually the highest — concern of Democratic voters.
Of course, even if most Democrats find the ability to win a general election as paramount, that doesn’t mean they agree on what kind of candidate is best equipped to do it. Part of what makes “electability” such a thorny and controversial issue is because what it means to be electable is pretty open to interpretation. More often than not, you’ll find a Democrat reverse-engineering the most electable candidate; they start with their candidate of preference, then they use that candidate’s attributes and résumé as the manifestations of electability.
Still, the concept of “electability” is undeniably important, particularly just two weeks before the Iowa caucuses. The problem is that it’s also mired in the kind of biased nonsense that needs someone like PPFA to analyze in order to determine the objective truth behind it and pass that truth on to you, the reader.
Unfortunately, today I’m going to do the exact opposite. Instead of PPFA’s trademark objectivity, what you’re going to get instead is seriously subjective spin that supports each remaining candidate as the most electable. You’re at your leisure to determine which sounds like the “right” one, but I hope the broader point is understood: they’re making this up as they go along. Just like me.
In order to avoid strategic ordering, I’ll list them alphabetically.
Michael Bennet is clearly the most electable candidate. In presidential elections, battleground states decide the presidency. Therefore, nominating someone who is consistently successful in a purple state is obviously the way to an electoral win. Bennet points out that he’s “the only candidate in the race that’s won two national elections in a purple state.” Though Amy Klobuchar would take issue with that claim, Colorado’s Bennet won in a much more diverse state than did the Minnesotan. Hispanics and Latinos make up about a fifth of Colorado’s population, and Democrats are hoping for big turnout from Latinos in Arizona and Florida to swing those states to blue. Bennet won 81% of Latinos in his first Senate election. Bennet therefore brings a unique combination of proven electability combined with the ability to win Latinos huge. He’s the party’s best nominee and it’s not even close.
Actually, never mind. Joe Biden is the most electable candidate. Any Democrat can win 80% of Latinos these days. What the party needs is someone who wins back the voters that deserted the party for Donald Trump in 2016. Poll after poll shows performs best against Trump nationally and in key swing states. How does he do it? By having the trust and support of white working class voters while also maintaining high favorability with the Obama Coalition of women and minorities, the same groups that helped Democrats take back the House in the midterms. That’s how Democrats win back Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, states won by Trump by less than one percent each. If Democrats just get one percent more popular in those states they win the election, so there’s no need to roll the dice here. Listen to their voters. They don’t want some socialist coming in and raising taxes to fund big plans. They want a steady hand that won’t get into their paychecks, take their union-negotiated health insurance, or shake up the job market with economic upheaval. The polls are clear: Biden is the best general election candidate against this President, and Democrats must nominate him.
No, I take that back. Michael Bloomberg is actually the most electable candidate in the field. Debates show Biden is clearly getting weak and unfocused in his old age. Bloomberg is not. He’s still sharp as a tack, and he carries attributes that the field, including Biden, lacks. President Trump is almost certain to out-fund-raise any of the major Democratic candidates. But if the party nominated Bloomberg? Trump would be outspent like 5:1. Mayor of the country’s most populous and diverse city, he has more executive experience than anyone left in the race. He can also make the pitch that his economics don’t scare away the center. A social and fiscal centrist, he gibes well with swing voters in key states. If you want to take the fight to Trump with someone far more financially successful, go with Bloomberg.
Wow… Biden? Bloomberg? Great idea, let’s just nominate another septuagenarian facing declining physical and mental acuity, because that’s clearly working so well in the White House now. It’s increasingly clear Pete Buttigieg is the most electable person in the field. No candidate is more obviously concerned with the future of this country. He’s one of only two candidates in the race who’s actually fought for our nation, so no one has a greater claim on patriotism, and he’s the youngest in the field, so no one has a greater concern for long-term problems like climate change and the exploding national debt. An IQ test would likely find this Rhodes Scholar at the top of the field. Playing musical instruments and speaking multiple languages wires the brain in wonderful ways, most notably problem-solving and overcoming difficult challenges. To win this election, Democrats should want someone to contrast with Donald Trump, so don’t nominate a 70 plus-year-old. Don’t nominate a hothead. Don’t nominate a coastal elite. Nominate the moral, bright, young, well-spoken, calm, heroic openly gay man from Indiana.
Actually, John Delaney is the most electable. He’s only been in this race for over three years, and he’s already at 0.5% nationally. With just another 80 or 90 years, he’d have this party in the palm of his hand. Another 80 or 90 years after that, and we’re talking a 50-state runaway in the general. Democrats: be ahead of the curve here. You gotta go with Delaney.
Joking aside, it’s actually Tulsi Gabbard who’s the most electable. Biden pretends he’s the most palatable candidate for Trump voters, but Gabbard is truly Republicans’ favorite candidate. She goes on Fox News, she spars with Hillary Clinton and the DNC, she didn’t let partisan politics push her into voting for Trump’s impeachment, and her heterodox positions are good enough for Democrats who want to beat Trump but also Republicans looking for an alternative to their current nominee. If Democrats truly want to win Trump voters and this election, they should nominate Gabbard.
Okay, time to get serious. Evidence abounds that Amy Klobuchar is easily the most electable candidate in this field. Every other candidate either won in comfortably blue states (Biden, Sanders, Warren, Bennet, Patrick), blue districts (Delaney, Gabbard), a blue city (Bloomberg, Buttigieg), on Barack Obama’s coattails (Biden again), or hasn’t won at all (Steyer, Yang). Klobuchar wins in Hillary Clinton’s purplest state (a 1.5-point margin in 2016) by 20+ points every time, including winning in urban, suburban, and rural areas, to say nothing of all Republican-held Congressional districts. If a 5’ 4” woman got this far in politics – a titanic Senator who has never lost an election, is well-liked on both sides of the aisle, and finds enough common ground to pass more bills than anyone else in her chamber – then clearly she has the most potential for greatness. This November, she’d not only win if the Democrats would just nominate her, but she’d #WinBig, put the Midwest in play electorally, and allow Democrats to actually control the Senate again and push through productive legislation on climate change, drug prices, health care, and so much more. Do the right thing, Democrats.
Wait, come to think of it, Deval Patrick is the most electable. No one even knows he’s running, yet Presidential Politics for America still has him as the ninth most likely nominee of the Democratic Party. Imagine what might happen if he weren’t in the witness protection program!
That’s just silly. Bernie Sanders, truly the most electable candidate in the field, is never silly. Why isn’t he? Because he’s the only candidate who seems to notice there’s no time to be silly. People can’t afford their prescription drugs, the U.S. military keeps engaging in unnecessary conflicts abroad, inequality is rising at home, the world is literally burning, and the U.S. Congress is bought and paid for by the people who are allowing and often causing those things to happen. Only Sanders is with the people, and it’s the people that will decide this next election. Don’t let the establishment scare you into thinking it requires an insider politician to win a few thousand swing voters and then expect that person will fundamentally change the broken system that helped get them elected. Nominate a true progressive and you’ll see not just thousands but millions of new voters, especially the young and previously disillusioned, secure a huge Democratic victory.
Actually, now that I’ve given it some thought, nominating a socialist in America is a pretty stupid idea. You might as well nominate an atheist to be the next Ayatollah. It’s actually Tom Steyer who’s the most electable candidate. He brings a lot of Sanders’s liberal policies: he’s been at the forefront of the climate change debate, the call for Trump’s impeachment, the need for a wealth tax, and a lot more. But he’s also not an unelectable socialist. As a billionaire, he can bring serious campaign spending and the street cred of a successful business leader who understands how the federal policy can impact the private sector. He combines the politics of progressives, the electability of moderates, and the wealth (and then some) of Trump. The perfect nominee.
Actually, the perfect nominee of this party is clearly Elizabeth Warren. Few candidates have the progressive bonafides of Warren, yet, unlike Sanders, she’s not a socialist, which means she can actually win in November. She’s not so far Left that she alienates the center, but not too far center that she alienates the Left. Let’s not overcomplicate this. She gives the Democratic Party the best chance to march into November whole, and it is that unique ability that gives Democrats the best chance to emerge victorious.
Readers, you’re all missing the big picture. Andrew Yang is without question the most electable candidate. I’d wager no candidate of the 25 major ones to declare had less name recognition than Yang did when this campaign began. He has since evolved into one of the five most potent fundraisers in the field, much in thanks to the incredibly loyal #YangGang. Listen to him speak, and you quickly realize he not only understands every political and economic issue this country faces, but he recognizes the interconnectivity between those problems. Yet, he does more than just diagnose problem — he offers clear remedies as well. In this rapidly transforming economy, where jobs can’t keep up with the AI and automation revolution, UBI is inevitable. It’s just a matter of how many people we let suffer in the meantime. If Democrats were smart, they’d nominate Yang so he can take this winning, apolitical message to the general electorate and truly start making America great again.
So how about it, dear readers? Which was most convincing? (Might it have been the one you agreed with already?)