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    • I know it’s way early, but at the moment, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders are the front runners to win the Democratic nomination. They are the two that did the best in Iowa and so far, they’re pulling the best in New Hampshire ahead of Tuesday’s primary. To me and many others, both have serious hurdles to overcome if they are to face Donald Trump in the general election. 

      For Buttigieg, he has the obstacle of being gay, which could turn off a sizeable portion of the electorate as well as being the mayor of a small city. As for Sanders, him being labeled a socialist is bound to scare off a lot of voters. Especially with the perception that the economy is doing well.

      Both have their strengths. I feel Buttigieg has a very likable personality and connects well with voters while Sanders says a lot of things that resonate with voters like free health care, doing more for the middle class, etc. So it’s not like they’re doomed to lose if the face Trump. It’s just that they have their hurdles to overcome. 

      Joe Biden has plenty of hurdles to overcome starting with the fact that his name was connected to the impeachment inquiry. Even though I don’t believe he deserved to be brought into it, the fact of the matter is he’ll have to sell a certain portion of voters that he didn’t do anything illegal or wrong in Ukraine. On top of that, Biden was Obama’s vice president and you have some who don’t want to relieve the Obama era. Lastly, Biden is known to gaff and say stupid things. There’s a lot of soundbites out there of him that make him look like batty. 

      On the flip side, Biden is the most experienced of all the candidates have been a vice president for eight years, has the ability to be a really good debater, and on top of that, there are a lot of Americans who loved Obama. So it’s not like being connected to Obama is all bad. For some voters, that’s a good thing. 

      Then there’s everybody else. Of the rest of the field, the candidate who I feel has the best shot to beat Trump (better than the names I mentioned above) is Amy Klobuchar. There are four reasons why I think she has the best shot to beat Trump: 

      #1. Klobuchar is perceived as moderate. I think more progressive Democrats like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren will scare off voters who are afraid of socialism. Even though I know Sanders is a “Democratic Socialist”, he still identifies as a kind of socialist. I think more voters are likely to vote for someone who they feel is moderate, not radical, and more safe. Klobuchar fits that bill. 

      #2. Klobuchar has ties to the Midwest. The Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) will likely be the states that decide this next election. I think Klobuchar will be able to win swing voters in those states and connect with them because she is one of them. She’s a native of Plymouth, Minnesota and knows what that demographic cares most about because after all, she is one of them.  

      #3. Trump doesn’t really have a beef with her. Trump had an easy time beating Hillary Clinton (I say easy though he got crushed in the popular vote) because there was all this Clinton fatigue and anti-Hillary sentiment across the country. From the e-mails to Benghazi to the fact that her husband is Bill Clinton, there was plenty of ammunition for Trump to use against Hillary. Even if it wasn’t well-founded on reason or truth. Trump can go after Biden for his alleged corruption in Ukraine (bogus, but Trump’s voters don’t know that), Bernie for his socialism, and don’t think Trump is afraid to use the gay card if needed to beat Buttigieg. There’s no limit to how low he’ll go. With Klobuchar, I don’t really see what he could go after her other than her being boring. But that’s pretty much it. 

      #4. Klobuchar has a lot of experience. She’s been a U.S. Senator in Minnesota since 2006, so she can play the experience card. After having an inexperienced person in the White House for the last four years, being experienced in government should be a plus for her. She’ll be able to tell voters that she knows what she’s doing and has a long record that they can trust. 

      The bottom line is I feel of all the candidates out there, Amy Klobuchar has the best chance to beat Donald Trump IF she wins the nomination. She’s surging in the polls and appears to be gaining traction. I’m curious to get your thoughts. Do you feel one of the other candidates I mentioned has better odds at beating Trump? Or is there someone I left out (e.g. Tom Steyer) that you feel has the best shot? 

      (Photo credit: Allegra Boverman/New Hampshire Public Radio)

    • Do you feel one of the other candidates I mentioned has better odds at beating Trump? Or is there someone I left out (e.g. Tom Steyer) that you feel has the best shot?

      If we learned anything in 2016 it's that we don't know what "electable" means anymore. Your analysis seems to assume a more rational electorate than what political psychologists tell us we've got. Pundits delight in picking apart ideological differences among the candidates, but voters don't know and/or don't care, for the most part. They know they're Republicans or Democrats, and that's about it.

      What hasn't changed, though, is the importance of getting out the vote. Besides motivating what's left of their traditional base, to beat Trump the Dems will need to bring new voters into the process. For whatever reason, Sanders seems to appeal most to the youngest potential voters. If he can mobilize even a quarter of the potential there, it will swamp the influence of the few true swing voters. But this isn't guaranteed--the participation in the Iowa caucuses was well below the 2008 level, when Obama took off. I've heard it argued that maybe turnout was low because Dems there don't care who the candidate is--they'll vote for anybody rather than Trump. But I have not seen any real evidence to support this idea.

      One last comment: Michael Bloomberg is the elephant in the Dems' tent. He has enough money to give every single person who voted in 2016 three hundred dollars and still have five billion left in the bank. Besides having essentially infinite funds, he is surrounded with media and data science savvy people, and he has more extensive public service experience than Mayor Pete. It's tempting to say that the Dems will not accept letting a billionaire buy the nomination, but maybe they're only quibbling about the price. We won't really know what his chances are till after Super Tuesday.

    • I’m worried about Klobuchar being a woman. It kills me to write that. I want a woman president, I would take Klobuchar 100x over Trump, but voters vote for charismatic men who overpromise.

      She also doesn’t seem to engage in dirty tricks and she’s boring. I always thought a tragedy of the Iraq war was the candidate that would not have invaded Iraq was boring and didn’t engage in the dirty tricks of the Bush campaign, so even though he won the popular vote, he lost and we went to war.

    • Great thoughts! The way I see it, I think you have a lot of voters who knew Trump was a huge risk, they rolled the dice, saw he’s a nightmare, and are inclined to vote for someone who is safe and capable of bringing stability. Sanders does have a passionate base and could turn out that vote, but the socialism card worries a lot of swing voters.

    • I don’t think her being a woman is as big of a hurdle as you think. Hillary won the popular vote as a woman. She only lost by a handful of votes in a few key swing states. The reason she lost those states had less to do with her being a woman and more to do with her poor campaigning in those states and her inability to connect with voters in those states. I think Klobuchar would connect well with them.

    • These are musings, rather than opinions:

      Things I think will influence this election:

      Who can get the most vote out? This means appealing to normally jaded or apathetic people who could otherwise vote but won’t. Can one of these candidates do that?

      Who can resist the onslaught of disinformation? This means not just being able to continue standing in the barrage, but actually afford to fight back ethically and sensibly.

      Who can sway the undecided voters? I really think this is less important at this stage. I think anyone who wants to buy the Trump cool aid has already bought it and won’t be swayed by any amount of policy or force of personality. And anyone who was previously undecided on the matter of Trump vs Hilary has had plenty of time to make up their mind - if their in any way informed. If they aren’t informed, the matter will be decided by point 2 above. Anybody who is anti-Trump is likely to vote Democrat. Except for a few disenfranchised republicans who can’t stomach Trump and might vote Dem is the candidate is right? Is this a large enough group in the right states to make a difference? Somehow I doubt it.

      So, for point 1 I’m seeing Bernie as the best for getting out the new voters. Like Trump, he’s a counterculture candidate, and he can potentially get the youth behind him. However, he’s unlikely to mobilize the minority vote. I’m not sure any other candidate can either, though. Biden seems like a loser on this point. He represents the old school type politician, the kind that can jade voters quickly. And the disinformation program has a big head start on him.

      On point 2, I think that on the one hand Sanders has a big enough mouth to drown some of the bluster. Plus he feels like boxer who can go the distance in the ring. Bloomberg, on the other hand, has the money and tools, and maybe clout, to fight troll with anti-troll.

      Buttigieg is interesting - I hear a lot of people say he impresses them, but I know almost nothing about him. Does that mean he can resist the attack? Maybe. But I think he’s the thinking persons candidate, and this campaign won’t be won on those grounds. It’ll be decided at the last minute by uncertain people who choose their candidate at the last minute based on their gut feeling. And that gut feeling will be based on whether people feel safe with their choice, or feel like taking a risk.

      And ultimately does any of that matter? How does the EC decide their vote? That’s the bigger question. Maybe, when thinking of the college vs the public, the establishment or the thinking people do have an edge.

    • However, he’s [Sanders] unlikely to mobilize the minority vote.

      That’s definitely been the perception of Senator Sanders since the start of the primary campaign.

      However, here is today’s Monmouth Poll , which surveys voters throughout the United States and is rated A+ by FiveThirtyEight.com.

    • In the months following the elections I saw a lot of Bernie bashing on G+ from Clinton supporters, and some of that included ‘evidence’ of racial bias. At the time I thought that looked like the work of trolls, and maybe it was, but it’s contributing to my point of view. If Bernie couldn’t combat that, can he take the Trump campaign head-on?

      Keep in mind that the Democrat needs to not only be supported by minority voters, but by the minority members who normally don’t vote. Do you think that poll captures that demographic? Do any of the Dems have that kind of draw? It will be needed.

      I have to say the Bernie is the candidate I would vote for if I could, but then Vermont and Canada share many of the same values.

    • Sanders’ 2016 campaign was criticized for not reaching out enough to Black voters. The 2020 campaign, by contrast, seems to have more advantages this time in getting their message out to minority voters:

      -Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is one of his surrogates on the campaign trail and is energizing Millenial voters of all races.

      -Pete Buttigieg is rising in popularity but in last week’s debate the moderator kept hammering on his record of increased incarcerations of black citizens during his mayorship.

      -Joe Biden continues to say that he marched in the Civil Rights Marches of the 1960s but that’s been debunked by the New York Times.

      -Michael Bloomberg has the baggage of NYC’s “stop and frisk” policy. And he’s been caught on tape making what some would consider racist remarks.

      An audio clip of those comments was posted on Twitter Monday by Benjamin Dixon, a progressive podcaster, who highlighted it with the hashtag #BloombergIsARacist.

      “Ninety-five percent of your murders — murderers and murder victims — fit one M.O.,” Mr. Bloomberg said in the recording. “You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male, minorities, 16 to 25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city.”

      He went on, describing policing tactics and saying, “We put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Yes. That’s true. Why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is.”

      A few minutes later, Mr. Bloomberg said the goal was to remove guns from the streets. “And the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the walls and frisk them,” he said. (Feb 11, 2020 New York Times)

      -In the Iowa Caucus, Sanders’s campaign spent significantly more time than the other campaigns in reaching out to minority voters, which is why he had a strong performance among minority voters in Iowa.

      I think Trump will try to discredit candidates any way he can. But Sanders was arrested during the Civil Rights marches and his policies would overwhelmingly benefit working class families, including minorities. So I don’t see the racial bias argument sticking.

      That still doesn’t mean he’ll get the nomination. Bloomberg’s running may prevent Sanders from getting enough delegates in the first round: the Super Delegates would then get to decide on the moderate Dem of their choice, probably either Biden or Bloomberg.

      Klobuchar is an interesting choice. I’m an independent, and four years ago I would’ve voted for Governor Kasich over Hilary Clinton, so I could certainly live with a Moderate Dem like Klobuchar who hasn’t received a ton of money from Billionaire donors. I think there are Progressive voters who would begrudgingly vote for her: by contrast, some Progressives have talked about voting for a Third Party candidate if Biden, Bloomberg or Buttigieg is the nominee.

    • Interesting stuff. Do you really think progressives would squander their chance to be rid of Trump by splitting the progressive vote? Maybe in districts they deem safely blue.

      I don’t think the people who already know their political leanings will decide this one, though.

    • Do you really think progressives would squander their chance to be rid of Trump by splitting the progressive vote?

      If you believe that the Paris Accords were a half measure that would not save us even if all the countries had followed through, then the idea of a Biden doing half measures on Climate for eight years is worse than four more years of Trump.

      Also, if Sanders was the Third Party candidate then yes, I do believe they would vote for him because they wouldn’t feel that they were squandering their vote. Especially when yesterday’s Reuter’s poll shows Sanders defeating Trump by the widest margin of any of the candidates.

      However, the above is just conjecture on my part: people may say one thing during the primaries and then “fall in line” and vote Democrat on Election Day.

    • I think you have a misunderstanding of how the "electoral college" works and what it is. The electors of the electoral college cast their votes based on who won the majority in the state where the elector is. There is no gathering together in one national location. The news media already knows on the night of the election how the electoral vote is going to go because the electoral voting is largely ceremonial. The only time that there is any doubt as to who will win the electoral vote is when one of the larger states doesn't have a clear majority. For example, in 2000, Florida, which at the time was (I think) the fourth largest state in population was not able to determine right away who had won the majority vote in Florida. Technically, this could occur with one of the small states but it is rare that the electoral vote is that close.

      The reason that it is possible for a candidate to win the popular vote and lose the electoral college is because a landslide in one state has no affect on the clout of any other state. Each state has an exact amount of clout in the election. If a candidate gets 99% of the vote in the largest state but another candidate gets 50.0001% of the vote in enough other states, the large states popular vote cannot cancel out the majority win in all the other states.

      So suppose one candidate won 50.001% of the vote in the following states:

      New Jersey
      Virginia
      Washington
      Arizona
      Indiana
      Massachusetts
      Tennessee
      Maryland
      Minnesota
      Missouri
      Wisconsin
      Alabama
      Colorado
      South Carolina
      Kentucky
      Louisiana
      Connecticut
      Oklahoma
      Oregon
      Arkansas
      Iowa
      Kansas
      Mississippi
      Nevada
      Utah
      Nebraska
      New Mexico
      West Virginia
      Hawaii
      Idaho
      Maine
      New Hampshire
      Rhode Island
      Alaska
      Delaware
      North Dakota
      South Dakota

      while the other candidate won 49.9% of the vote in those states and 100% of the vote in all the other states, the candidate that won those states would win the election. This is in spite of the fact that this does not include the 10 states with the largest populations.

    • I have little understanding, this is true (which is mainly why I say 'musings' and not 'opinions' above), but what you describe is more or less how I understood it to work. However, I was under the impression there were some exceptions (eg. Nebraska, Florida?) which might lead to the college vote not according to the state popular vote.

    • There is a situation known colloquially as "faithless electors." But such a situation has never resulted in a different person being elected President than the one who would have been President if they had kept their pledge. At the moment, the Supreme Court of the United States is planning to listen to arguments in a case over whether a state can penalize or punish a "faithless elector,"

      Prior to the war of 1861, there were two times in which faithless electors prevented the election of the Vice President based on the electoral college. The second time it happened, 1836, the U S Senate in accordance with the 12th amendment chose the same man to be Vice President who would have been elected by the electoral college if these electors had voted as was expected.

    • Yeah, I think Klobuchar has crossover appeal to both the progressive wing and those who are undecided. I think her being more boring and not exciting is actually a good thing. I think she represents a return to normalcy and an America that is drama free. Bernie wouldn’t bring normalcy and could bring drama of his own. Though some would say he’ll shake things up in a good way. I don’t argue with that, but will undecided voters pull the lever for him? That I’m not certain of.

    • In addition to the four advantages listed, Klobuchar has two more important ones:

      - At 59 years old, she's the right age - not too old, not too young. She has an advantage here over all major candidates except maybe Warren (who is 70). I think being 30-something or closing in on 80 is a clear drawback for the others.
      - She's a great debater. Most of the other candidate are very good too, except Biden who no longer benefits from debates. I know many who cringe every time he talks.

      I just don't see anyone from the left who won't vote for Klobuchar, but I do see some centrist staying at home if Sanders or Warren are the candidates, homophobes if Pete is.

      I would personally prefer Warren or Sanders to be the next president, but I think Klobuchar has a better chance of beating Trump.

      ...and one more thought - having Cory Booker on the ticket would solve any concerns about Klobuchar being unpopular among blacks. I think Trump-Pence don't stand a chance against a Klobuchar-Booker ticket.

    • Can we talk about Michael Bloomberg? He’s spent more, since he entered the race in the fall, than all of the other campaigns COMBINED.

      Why?

      Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg says he would pay more to Uncle Sam under his plan to raise taxes on wealthy Americans. What the former New York City mayor hasn't said: He'd pay as much as $3.5 billion less under his wealth tax than he would under similar proposals from Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, two of his rivals for the party's nomination. Bloomberg's plan would also generate far less government revenue. (CBS News)

    • I'm voting for Bloomberg. I hope he picks a dynamic VP.

      I'm from New Hampshire originally i'm supposed to like Bernie or Warren but I can't. I don't agree with their progressive ideas like paying off school debt and tax rates and more.

      Billionaires run our country, fund / own the politicians and the companies that finance all the lobbyists. At least we can choose the one to be at the top of heap instead of the current "billionaire".

    • I'm from New Hampshire originally i'm supposed to like Bernie or Warren but I can't.

      God help us if our politics are determined by where we used to live.

      Do you mind if I ask which of Bloomberg’s plans are most attractive to you?

    • God help us if our politics are determined by where we used to live.

      New England has a particular culture, and each state in New England being very different from one another. New Hampshire is one of the only states in this country that will consider voting for someone from both parties. As a student at the University of New Hampshire I met almost every legitimate candidate that ran for president in 2004. We spend a lot of time with the candidates and those from our neighboring states tend to spend the most time. I'm sure many people would assume and probably correctly that someone from their state or region probably shares many of their values.

      "New Hampshire was the only state that Bush won in the 2000 presidential election but lost in the 2004 presidential election." - source: wikipedia

      100% I think that both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren would be better presidents than Trump and have a desire to make our lives better. I firmly disagree with some of their ideas. I'm a moderate, I even lean a little right on economic issues, very liberal socially.

      To your original question. I live in NYC now. Most of my family lives in NY so I have some exposure to what it was like during his time as Mayor. Bloomberg is proven as a moderate politician. He also is a rational business person and built a profitable company, he lives in the real world, I don't think Bernie and Warren do given their ideas. They haven't explained how they would fund their ideas and that's because they can't, they won't happen and they won't get moderate independents to vote for them. Warren is no longer going to be a candidate because she couldn't answer how she would fund her health care ideas, she no longer could be trusted as a candidate. I like her as a Senator. Bernie is doing well because we all still trust him. Maybe he'll get the youth vote out but they don't really vote and if he doesn't ... he's not winning moderate republicans IMO.

      What I like the most about Bloomberg... he doesn't need the job and I believe with that freedom he genuinely wants to make the US a better place. Unlike our current President who doesn't really want the job and uses it mostly to enrich himself and the rest of his cohort.

      In the end, I would vote for Bernie/Warren but I just don't think they can win. So i'll vote for the guy who can fund the whole thing himself and I trust to be a good president.

    • he lives in the real world, I don't think Bernie and Warren do given their ideas. They haven't explained how they would fund their ideas and that's because they can't,

      I don't understand why the United States should be incapable of funding universal healthcare when every other country in the industrialized West can. The US spends almost twice as much per capita as European countries do yet has worse coverage and poorer public health outcomes.

    • I don't understand why the United States should be incapable of funding universal healthcare when every other country in the industrialized West can. The US spends almost twice as much per capita as European countries do yet has worse coverage and poorer public health outcomes.

      I'd like to think there is way to make universal healthcare possible and funded. I don't think any of these candidates currently have a realistic plan for that, it's a nice idea but how do you execute on it? Unless they are specifically proposing to eliminate the for profit insurance companies that take money out of the system and the frivolous malpractice lawsuits the drive up insurance costs i'm not sure the ecosystem will allow it. Preventative health care is a good idea.

      I'm not an expert in this matter, I don't know enough but both my parents are Doctors, voted for Obama twice and were firmly opposed to Obamacare. My Mom worked in an ER and planned parenthood for 25 years, she's on the front lines of what it looks like when we don't provide basic health care for families. We need it. How?

      Most of the politicians who propose legislation for health care have no idea how the system actually works or what's needed for the patients to deliver healthy outcomes. Too many career politicians and lawyers driving policy... not enough Engineers, Scientists, Doctors and rational business men and women who speak facts, understand P&Ls with realistic plans.

      What drives the 2x per capita cost?