Who Has The Best Shot At Beating Trump Who Knows
The difficult choice facing Democratic primary voters looks even more inscrutable after last weeks first round of party presidential debates.
Nothing matters more to Democratic voters than picking a nominee with the best chance of beating President Donald Trump, who many party activists consider an existential threat to their values and priorities. But the question of which Democrat is most electable against Trump looks murkier and more contested than ever after last weeks debates.
In the races early stages, the electability argument mostly benefited former Vice President Joe Biden, polls found. But he faced new doubts after his wobbly performance in last weeks second night of the debates, and in a new CNN poll conducted after the debates, his support had dropped 10 percentage points from the last survey, in May.
Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts gained new fans with their forceful debate performances, and surged to second and third place behind Biden in the new CNN survey, released Monday. But they also immediately faced questions about whether their embrace of unabashedly liberal positions during the sessions in particular, banning private health insurance, though Harris, as shes done before, rhetorically obscured her position in the aftermath had made them less competitive in a general election.
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More Fringe Candidates Headed To Congress
Defense contractor Cory Mills boasted that he would make the media shed real tears after news accounts reported on how his company sold tear gas used on Black Lives Matters demonstrators. Mills has also questioned the legitimacy of President Joe Bidens win in 2020.
Anna Paulina Luna, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, alleged last year that a handful of her rivals were engaged in a conspiracy to kill her.
Both are poised to join the Republican caucus in Congress after winning their respective primaries for Floridas 7th and Floridas 13th congressional districts. The contests in both races were noisy, bitter and expensive.
The GOP candidates are likely to win in November because the districts were reshaped to favor Republican candidates under a controversial new congressional map championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Currently Republicans hold a 16-11 edge in Floridas congressional delegation. After adding one seat due to population growth, the new map is projected to give the GOP a 20-8 margin in the next session of Congress.
The result was that Republicans vying for the new seats shifted even further to the right.
Whats On The Minds Of Influential Democrats In Early Caucus And Primary States
The Iowa caucuses are less than six months away. But before caucus day officially kicks off the voting in the 2020 Democratic primary season, theres a very active campaign in the election calendars earliest states. Over the next few months, The Washington Post will run first-person notes from influential Democratic activists and party fixtures in early primary and caucus states, checking in with them frequently on how the campaign is unfolding on the ground and what they think of developments in politics.
For the first installment, we asked how theyd pick the best candidate to beat President Trump.
Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel, Iowa
A social-justice activist in Bondurant and a former executive director of One Iowa, a statewide LGBT advocacy group.
Im looking for a candidate who can provide hope for the future. So many people are under attack by this administration from transgender individuals, people with disabilities, immigrants and refugees to women, Muslims or soybean farmers. It might seem odd to include soybean farmers in this list, but our candidate must be able to grasp and show how Trumps decisions have hurt them, too. Voters must feel heard and seen, and we have to offer plans that will provide them security and economic improvements in the future.
Lucas Meyer, N.H.
President of the New Hampshire Young Democrats.
Linda Nelson, Iowa
Former chairwoman of the Pottawattamie County Democratic Party.
Kurt Meyer, Iowa
Chairman of the Tri-County Democrats of Iowa.
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Which Democrat Can Beat Trump
Right now, the top tier Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris are all competitive with Donald Trump. Yet, it is still not clear that each possesses the same chance of squaring off against each other and then beating him in the general election next year. At the moment, Biden has lost some altitude, Warren is surging, Sanders is in retrograde, and Harris appears stuck.
As for Harris, since her stellar performance in June at the first round of Democratic primary debates, her star has dimmed. No longer polling in the teens, the senator from California is back to single digits. Instead of coming across as the candidate who could best prosecute the case against Trump, Harris appears uncertain. Having raised her hand when asked if she would abolish private health insurance and attacking Biden over school busing, Harris now seems stumped on the campaign trail.
This brings us to Biden. The former vice president continues to hold a lead nationally among Democrats, but his candidacy is straining. Aside from the usual gaffes, he is running into fundraising roadblocks. His cash haul from the grassroots is relatively unimpressive, and one recent poll shows him falling behind into second place in New Hampshire. Beyond that, his favorability, much like a treasury yield curve, may have also inverted.
Poll: Half Of Republicans Right
Fifty percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents think the party has a better chance of winning the presidency in 2024 if former President Donald Trump is the partys nominee, according to a poll released earlier this week.
The NPR/PBS NewsHour/ Marist National Poll, which was conducted before the Virginia election on Tuesday, found that 35% of respondents want someone other than Trump, while 14% said they didnt know.
Meanwhile, more than 40% of Democrats think the party might just have a better chance to win the White House in 2024 if President Joe Biden isnt on the ballot, said the poll.
Forty-four percent of Democrats and independents said they lean Democratic prefer another candidate to run, while 36% said they want Biden to run again. Twenty percent werent sure.
The poll also found that just 44% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing, while 49% disapprove.
Biden said in Rome on Sunday that hes not concerned about his flagging numbers. the way, look, the polls are going to go up and down, and up and down. They were higher early. Then they got medium. Then back up and now theyre low, he told reporters.
at every other president. The same thing has happened, but thats not why I ran. I didnt run to determine how well Im going to do in the polls, he said.
The survey also found that Americans are losing faith in the electoral process.
Other findings include:
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Trump Has Been Running And Losing Against Biden For Months
Ultimately, the 2020 primary issue Democrats care about most is who can stand up to Trump and beat him. Biden is in a unique position. Hes faced almost a year of attacks by Trump and it hasnt hurt him.
In the fall, the American public learned that Trump had enlisted his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to gin up dirt on Bidens son Hunter Biden by leaning on the government of Ukraine. While these revelations ultimately ended in the presidents impeachment, they also led to months and months of Trump attacking Joe Biden.
Amid all this, Bidens fundraising skyrocketed, and he paid no penalty in the polls. Biden remains up over Trump in head-to-head polling in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
Why are you so obsessed with me, Mr. President?
Bidens campaign made an ad about Trumps attacks, which Biden tweeted with a joke, Why are you so obsessed with me? Sometimes a joke is funny because it gets at the truth.
Who Could Beat Donald Trump In 2024
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Politico asked Mick Mulvaney, who served as chief of staff to then-President Donald Trump, who he believed had a chance to beat his former boss for the Republican nomination in 2024.
” DeSantis could give him a run for his money. Tim Scott can give him a run for his money. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson could give him a run for his money. It’s a short list.”1) Ron DeSantiseven if 2) Tim Scott3) Dwayne “The Rock” JohnsonThe Point: Is it possible that Trump gets a serious primary challenge in 2024? Sure. Is it likely? Not at all.
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Opinionkamala Harris’ Candidacy Requires A Nuanced Debate About Her Record Race And Gender Is The Left Ready
When it comes to Bidens likability, he soars among almost every demographic and is more favorable than Donald Trump . However, Biden also sits atop all the potential 2020 candidates as the only candidate with a favorability over 50 percent, according to late December Quinnipiac polling.
Biden has a track record of working across the aisle to get things done. Biden was the guy who negotiated the fiscal cliff deal with Senator Mitch McConnell as well as a major part of the 2010 deal that extended the Bush tax cuts, because he doesnt view Republicans as enemies, he knows he needs to work with them in order to get things done. This is exactly the right tone that needs to be set on the campaign trail especially as Republican voters in general and Trump supporters in particular feel vilified by the media.
Just this week, he responded to criticism of himself in the New York Times for being bipartisan saying, I read in the New York Times today that one of my problems if I were to run for president, I like Republicans. OK, well bless me father for I have sinned.
Its Up To Democratic Voters To Decide Electability For Themselves
Naturally, moderate candidates will argue that the further-left candidates are too extreme to win, while Warren and Sanders will argue that taking bold positions will better ensure victory by giving people a reason to show up and vote, as Warren put it.
The elision in Warrens argument was that she didnt want to acknowledge that the Democratic nominee could be hurt by taking left-wing stances that are unpopular among the public. Of course, the nominee could also be hurt by taking centrist positions that arent particularly popular. But CNN was laser-focused on those left-wing issue positions on health reform and immigration, and they would surely be major topics in the general election as well.
The odd thing about the case from moderates like Delaney, Ryan, and Hickenlooper is that their play-it-safe arguments could essentially be interpreted as making the case for Joe Biden, the current frontrunner, who wasnt onstage . Biden has his flaws as a candidate, but the other moderates havent managed to be particularly inspiring either.
The debate stage isnt really the best format for such a discussion, since everyones arguments on who would be most electable are so self-interested . Voters instead have to read between the lines and decide for themselves.
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Democrats Facing A Big Candidate Field Ask: Who Can Beat Trump
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Those voters, like fellow Democrats across the country, seek very different things in the big and growing presidential candidate field. But they share one top priority: Picking a nominee who will beat President Trump in 2020.
For the record:
9:40 a.m. March 3, 2019This article states the year then-Vice President Joe Biden debated then-Rep. Paul Ryan as 2016. The debate was in 2012.
A year from now, on March 3, 2020, candidates will be competing for primary votes in California and eight other states in the first day of multistate voting. By then, the candidates will have been tested in the four early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, where Democrats already have a curbside seat for the parade of candidates campaigning there.
Between now and then, much of the debate seems certain to focus on the elusive quality labeled electability.
Parties always want to win, of course, but Democratic loathing of Trump has pushed finding a winner way up the priority scale this year, recent polls show. Democratic voters say theyd prefer a candidate who can beat Trump to one who agrees with their position on any particular issue.
If Vice President Joe Biden runs, he will likely lean heavily on the case that his long experience makes the 76-year-old the partys safest bet to win the White House.
Trump’s Standing Against Democratic Candidates Improves New Poll Shows
- Deficits roughly halved since a similar poll at the end of 2019
- Trump linked Ukraine aid to Biden inquiry, Bolton says
But if Trump looked elsewhere on his phone, to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Monday, he might have found consolation.
Amid signs that more voters are in general less worried about the economy and their own economic wellbeing, and a week out from the Iowa caucuses, the national poll gave the president encouraging scores against contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination.
In notional general election match-ups, Trump trailed former vice-president Joe Biden with registered voters by four points Vermont senator Bernie Sanders by two and Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar by one .
Those deficits against the top Democrats have roughly halved since a similar poll at the end of 2019.
Less comfortingly for Trump, the poll found that he trailed the former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg by three points, 49%-46%. The billionaire, who has taken jabs at Trumps relative lack of wealth, is not competing in Iowa and has not appeared on the debate stage.
The former mayor, 38, held a Fox News town hall in Iowa on Sunday night, seeking to reach out to disaffected Republican voters.
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Joe Biden Is Deeply Unpopular But Can Democrats Find An Alternative For 2024
For now, Biden is emboldened. No prominent Democrat will cross him and he will feel especially motivated if Trump is back on the campaign trail
The Democrats find themselves with a 2024 conundrum. Joe Biden, the partys standard-bearer, is widely disliked. A new poll found that a 64% of Democrats would want a candidate other than Biden to seek the nomination in two years. Rapid inflation has eaten away at the 79-year-old presidents popularity and he is viewed as increasingly out of touch, a vestige of another era that many voters want to leave behind.
At the same time, Biden will easily win a Democratic primary if he runs again. Sitting presidents are rarely forced aside. The top candidates in a hypothetical primary dont want to take him on almost all of them ruled out the idea of waging a direct challenge. This is understandable, since no single governor or senator has the ability to defeat Biden, one-on-one. Democrats look warily to examples like Ted Kennedy, who ran a primary against President Jimmy Carter and was soundly beaten. Carter went on to lose the general election, in 1980, to Ronald Reagan.
For now, Biden is emboldened. No prominent Democrat will cross him and he will feel especially motivated if Trump is back on the campaign trail. Biden and Trump crave a rematch, even though each political party would be better off if both men moved on.
Ross Barkan is a New York-based journalist
With Midterm Elections Approaching Heres Where President Biden Stands
- Defending Democracy: President Bidens drive to buttress democracy at home and abroad has taken on more urgency by the persistent power of China, Russia and former President Donald J. Trump.
- Questions About 2024: Mr. Biden has said he plans to run for a second term, but at 79, his age has become an uncomfortable issue.
Lets talk about how we win an election, which is something everybody here wants to do in terms of defeating the most dangerous president in American history, he said. So let me tell you how you win it: You have the largest voter turnout in the history of America. And you dont have the largest voter turnout unless you create energy and excitement.
It was classic Mr. Sanders contending Democrats win by mobilizing progressive voters rather than by persuading moderates and it came in a debate in which he repeatedly drove his populist message.
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The Top 10 Democratic Presidential Candidates For 2024 Ranked
In late February we were all preoccupied with events elsewhere in the world so you would be forgiven for having missed even a very interesting poll about U.S. politics.
The poll, from YouGov, asked about the 2024 Democratic presidential primary only 21 percent of Democratic-leaning voters said their choice was the incumbent Democratic president, Joe Biden. That put him barely ahead of the 18 percent who said they werent sure whom they supported Vice President Harris and Bernie Sanders each had 14 percent shares.
This is not normal. Weve seen some evidence that Democrats arent sold on nominating Biden for a second term, including a poll in November showing a majority of Democrats didnt want him to run again. But lots of Republicans say the same about a repeat run for Donald Trump in 2024 yet hes the clear front-runner when you pit him against actual would-be opponents.
Democrats need to decide what this means for them. Certainly, theres an argument to be made that the best path forward is to pick a different nominee. But if Biden is intent on running again, do you allow a competitive primary that could put the choice in voters hands and risk damaging the incumbent president, ala Jimmy Carter vs. Ted Kennedy in 1980? Do you subtly suggest to Biden that it might be better to pass the torch, and hope that it works? Or do you just hope things with his presidency get better?
Below are our latest rankings.