Biden up, socialists down

The Briefing, Vol. VII, Issue 20

This week:

  • Biden dominates in state after state
  • Sununu won’t run for Senate
  • The last pro-life Democrat

President 2020

Democrats: Here’s some bad news for the Democrats’ socialist bloc. New polls confirm our expectations about former Vice President Joe Biden. He is leading the way in primaries in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Texas. And that’s just so far — we haven’t had a new Iowa poll since his campaign launch.

Despite his hard anti-Trump launch (an inevitability in today’s Democratic Party), Biden has tried to turn Democrats away from their fashionable rage and toward “unify[ing] the nation.” So far, it seems to be working.

As anticipated, the angry left candidates are having trouble standing out, if only because there are so many of them. Bernie Sanders, despite his advanced age, seems to be monopolizing enough leftist support at the moment that nobody else can break out. As a result, with the exception of Iowa and perhaps Texas (where Beto O’Rourke placed second in a long-outdated poll), Bernie Sanders is a second and usually a distant second to Biden, and he has resorted to appearances with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., to seize back his brand and generate more interest in left-socialist quarters.

The uninspiring Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is third in some polls and has lately enjoyed a bit of a surge. The sense is that she could be a sensible alternative to Sanders for the Democratic Left. But it’s hard to imagine Warren ever inspiring the same kind of excitement that Sanders does. Another advantage to Sanders: He isn’t a chicken. He showed up for a FOX News town hall, and actually did a reasonably good job. She chickened out.

Then again, it’s even harder to imagine someone like O’Rourke or the newly announced Bill de Blasio gaining Sanders-like levels of excitement. In fact, it’s a hilarious possibility that the mayor of New York City could be dominated in every primary by the mayor of South Bend, Ind.

Speak of the devil, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, D, has generated outsized interest considering his non-existent political profile. The chief way in which he is making things interesting is his ability to eat into the fundraising base of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., attracting tons of gay money from California. Harris is floundering.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg,

Meanwhile, the only candidate with real potential to share or steal Biden’s moderate-to-liberal lane, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is not getting any traction at all. Her path, if she stays in the race, is to work for a miracle in Iowa and hope that more miracles follow.

Iowa: Speaking of miracles in Iowa, there’s still no reason to take Montana Gov. Steve Bullock seriously as a Democratic presidential candidate. He no longer fits into the moderate category after vetoing his state’s born-alive protection bill, and he’s still too conservative to win in the Democrats’ left-wing lane.

But it doesn’t hurt that he picked up the endorsement of Iowa’s four-decade attorney general, Tom Miller. Think of him as the Democratic Rick Santorum of 2020 — he has potential in Iowa, but it all depends on context whether he wins (as in 2012) or goes down in history as an irrelevant footnote (2016).

Senate 2020

New Hampshire: A bit of sad but not unexpected news for Senate Republicans: Gov. Chris Sununu, R, is running for re-election instead of taking on Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D. It would have been nice to recruit a candidate who would have put the seat into contention instantly, but Granite State Republicans now have to go back to square one.

Governor 2019

Kentucky: Attorney General Andy Beshear, with his solid political name, should have won the Democratic nomination in this contest easily. He should still win, but the result Tuesday will be considerably closer than anyone would have thought at first.

Businessman Adam Edelen has flooded the airwaves with mostly effective Super PAC attack ads against Beshear. However, a recent one attacking Beshear for defending the Boy Scouts in a sex-abuse case could backfire, to the point that Edelen (who is nominally not involved with his Super PAC) felt a need to denounce it. For what it’s worth, Edelen did manage to win the endorsement of the Louisville Courier-Journal, which might mean something in a Democratic primary.

Beshear should win, but note that polling has been non-existent, and huge last-minute shifts are possible in primaries where the candidates have similar beliefs. An Edelen win, although certainly not impossible, would come as a real shock.

House 2019

North Carolina-9: As expected, state Sen. Dan Bishop, R, won the nomination going away and will face Democratic nominee Dan McCready. Despite McCready’s near-win in a Democratic-leaning midterm against the weak nominee Mark Harris, subsequent manifestations of Democratic extremism (think socialism and late-term abortion) could help Bishop considerably in a special election. Bishop’s first ad plays heavily on the theme of Washington socialists pulling his opponent’s strings.

That’s a smart advertising strategy, given the seat’s strongly Republican lean — a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+8, which means it votes, on average, voting eight points more Republican than the nation as a whole in the last two presidential elections.

House 2020

Illinois-3: One of the primaries to watch closely is the Democratic race in Chicago’s southwest suburbs. Can any pro-life Democrat survive in the abortion-thirsty Democratic Party of 2019? Rep. Dan Lipinski, D, will try once again to hold off left-wing Marie Newman, who came within 2,200 votes of knocking him out in 2018.

Lipinski enjoys the support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — at least for now.