Watch: Highlights From The Democratic Debate
Seven Democratic candidates took the stage on Dec. 19 for the smallest and least diverse debate panel in the presidential race so far.
The tricky part about convincing the Democratic electorate, of course, is that different candidates are offering sharply divergent visions of how to do that. In nearly two and a half hours Thursday night, onstage at Loyola Marymount University, here is how the five men and two women who qualified for the debate made their electability case:
Reader Ideas For Who Could Replace Biden
Gavin Newsom, Jon Stewart, Liz Cheney, Amy Klobuchar, Stacey Abrams, and more
This is an edition of Up for Debate, a newsletter by Conor Friedersdorf. On Wednesdays, he rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies.
Last week I asked, Should Joe Biden run for reelection? If not, who would you choose to replace him on the Democratic ticket? If Up for Debate correspondents were representative of the American electorate, Biden would be in troublethe overwhelming majority of you want him to retire. Your most-frequently mentioned replacements: Gavin Newsom and Amy Klobuchar . But lets start with Bidens defenders.
Among their arguments:
- Hes already shown he can beat Trump, which no other Democratic candidate can claim, John writes. Hes got what it takes to win.
- He steady doing as well as anyone could with the hand he was dealt, Brad writes. Im tired of the press flooding the news with polls and op-eds saying he is too oldusually from people who think that Bernie should make another go at it. In my defense, Brad, I think Bernie Sandersand Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, and Donald Trumpare all too old to run, and that Dianne Feinstein is too old for the Senate.
- If inflation is down and his poll numbers are up, and his health remains at least as good as now, I would recommend Biden run for reelection, J writes, but that he waits until late 2023 to decide.
Lincoln Chafeewho Is He
The failson scion of a Rhode Island Republican family, Chafee served in the Senate as a Republican as governor, as an independent and then a Democrat and then ran for president as a Democrat in 2016.
Why did he want to run?
Who wanted him to run?
Could he have won the nomination? Given that he dropped his bid even without any serious rivals in the race, apparently not.
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Who Has The Best Chance To Beat Trump In 2020
Of the 23 Democrats seeking the partys nomination, only one will face incumbent Republican President Donald Trump on Tuesday, November 3 during the 2020 US presidential election.
So, this begs the question: Who has the best chance of beating Trump in 2020?
To answer this, well examine how the betting odds for each of the Democratic candidates have changed since 2019 began and whether their chances have gone up or down over that time.
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.
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Pete Buttigieg Mayor Of South Bend Ind
After rising to the top of the polls in Iowa, Mr. Buttigieg finally found himself under assault at a debate.
He sought to defuse the attacks against him by arguing that his critics were being naïve about what it will take to defeat Mr. Trump and that he was a more formidable candidate than his age 37 may suggest.
This is our only chance to defeat Donald Trump, and we shouldnt do it with one hand tied behind our back, Mr. Buttigieg said in response to Ms. Warrens criticism about his fund-raising practices.
And when Ms. Klobuchar targeted him for losing a statewide election and his bid for Democratic National Committee chairman, he fired back by highlighting his own capacity to win in the Midwest.
If you want to talk about the capacity to win, try putting together a coalition to bring you back to office with 80 percent of the vote as a gay dude in Mike Pences Indiana, Mr. Buttigieg said.
He proved his dexterity by parrying the attacks against him, but the question is now if he can sustain his advantage after having doubts raised about his candidacy in such stark fashion.
Who Has The Best Chance To Beat Trump
Reflecting recent polls, readers dont agree on a particular candidate.
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To the Editor:
The election is going to be won or lost depending on which party gets voters to show up to vote, and who sits at home.
For over 30 years, the moderate wing has controlled the Democratic Party sometimes successfully, too often not. Moderates have wasted valuable time and effort trying to negotiate with Republicans when Republicans see negotiation as a sign of weakness. Rather than leading with ideas, Democratic leaders check the latest polls before making a decision. Far too often they have run timid instead of standing up for what they believe.
Now we are faced with the most important election of our lives, and moderates are telling us how terrible it will be if we nominate a liberal. I dont agree with Bernie Sanders on a lot of issues and would much rather see Elizabeth Warren as the leader of the liberal wing of the party, but both have the passion and fight to stand up for what they believe.
If we want minorities and young people to show up on Election Day, I would trust either of them over Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Michael Bloomberg or Joe Biden.
I fear that a moderate candidate will lose to President Trump.
John HallinanStoughton, Wis.
To the Editor:
Re The Democrat Who Can Beat Trump, by Adam Jentleson :
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Twenty Democrats Are Vying To Beat Trump Can They Avoid Blowing It
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The Democratic Presidential field became, last week, a game of twenty questions, the latest being: Joe Biden? The former Vice-President finally joined the race on Thursday, with a three-and-a-half-minute video that was much less about him than about Donald Trumps apologia for white supremacists in Charlottesville. Perhaps Biden figured that voters already know his story. Thats not a luxury shared by the nineteen other candidates, who range alphabetically from Senator Cory Booker, of New Jersey, to Andrew Yang, a tech entrepreneuror, by first names, from Senator Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota, to Mayor Wayne Messam, of Miramar, Floridaand, by age, from Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Indiana, who is thirty-seven, to Senator Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, who is forty years older.
The shorthand questions are already giving way to deeper inquiry. Did Biden miss his moment four years ago, or in 1991, when he failed to stand up for Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas hearings? Did Sanders go too far in seizing his moment from Hillary Clinton? Is Buttigieg the new Beto ORourke, or the new Booker? Are you following Chasten Buttigieg, the candidates husband, on Twitter yet? Why, some would ask, keep talking about the men?
In Contrast They Think Bernie Sanders Would Boost The Presidents Chance Of Re
NOTHING IS MORE important to Americas Democrats than kicking Donald Trump out of the White House. In a poll published on February 25th, 65% of Democratic voters told YouGov that nominating a candidate who can beat the president in November is more important than selecting one who shares their positions on most issues. Yet there is much confusion over who is best able to evict Mr Trump.
Political polls offer one answer. Most show the various candidates beating Mr Trump by wide enough margins nationally that they would be favoured to win an electoral-college majority. But the election is a long way away, and these polls may not be good at identifying who will actually vote, making them unreliable as measures of candidates strength.
If Bernie Sanders wins the nomination, Mr Trump is likely to be re-elected, with a probability of 58%. But if the president is up against Joe Biden or Mike Bloomberg, he is likely to lose the probability of his victory drops to 46% and 49% respectively.
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Sanders Viewed As Best Candidate To Beat Trump By Democrats And Independents Who Watched Latest Debates: Poll
A plurality of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who watched either of the two most recent presidential debates believe Sen. Bernie Sanders has the best chance of defeating President Donald Trump in November, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll out Friday.
“The empirical evidence shows that there is no need for alarm about Mr. Sanders being the Democratic nominee, and even some cause for confidence.” Steve Phillips, Center for American Progress
The survey found that 34% of Democrats who watched any part of the Nevada debate last week or the South Carolina debate on Tuesday view Sanders as the most electable Democratic contender, while 25% chose former Vice President Joe Biden.
Just 15% said billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg has the best chance of beating Trump.
“Of the top two candidates, those under age 50 were much more likely to say Sanders is the strongest candidate to face Trump, and Biden was considered best positioned by those over 50,” ABC Newsreported.
The poll was based on a survey of 639 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents between Feb. 26-27 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
After seeing either of the ninth and tenth debates, 34% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said Bernie Sanders has the best chance of defeating the incumbent president, per new News/Ipsos poll.
ABC News Politics
Bidens Best Hope For 2024 Might Be Donald Trump
President Biden sees himself as the Democrat with the best chance of beating former President Trump.
The president is suffering from anemic approval ratings, with a recent poll showing a majority of Democrats dont want him to be the partys nominee in 2024.
Hes facing record high inflation, a turbulent political and media environment, and deep frustration within his party over its inability to protect abortion rights and take action on climate change.
Its no wonder many are beginning to look for alternatives in two years as Democrats face the prospect of a tough midterm election in which they could lose the House and Senate majorities.
Yet the same New York Times-Siena College poll that had terrible news for Biden also showed he would still beat Trump in a head-to-head match-up 44 percent to 40 percent if the next presidential election were held today.
Its pretty clear that the strongest argument for Biden 2024 is a Biden vs. Trump rematch, said Democratic strategist Joel Payne.
In the Times poll, Bidens approval rating hit a low of 33 percent, and it showed a majority of Democrats want someone other than him to run in 2024.
Yet one top Democratic donor said the poll showing Biden beating Trump, who could announce a new run for the White House any day, is giving the president some life at a time when he really needs it.
Given Bidens political problems, the 2024 scenario is setting itself up as quite the conundrum for Democrats.
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How Public Money Influences The 2020 Odds
Before breaking down the chances for each candidate, lets run down how money wagered by the public can affect the 2020 odds.
- When enough public money is placed on a betting line for a candidate, oddsmakers will shift value away from that person by changing the odds from a less likely to more likely number which results in a less favorable payout for the bettor.
- Take this example: Candidate A is favored at -150 which has a 58.26% implied probability or chance to win and Candidate B is the underdog at +130 and has a 41.74% chance to win.
- But after Candidate A did something that the American public didnt like, money was then bet on the odds for Candidate B, which caused Candidate B to become the favorite at -200 while Candidate A fell to +170 .
- The odds for a candidate will continue to fluctuate up and down until either the betting market consensus determines there is no more value at the current time or the outcome becomes known, and all bets are won or lost.
This is why the betting odds board at online sportsbooks can be one of the best prediction markets youll find anywhere. How the public views a candidate at any point in time or on a specific issue can be seen in real-time based solely on which candidate is receiving the most money after the odds have been posted.
Essentially, its like the old saying, Put your money where your mouth is.
Biden Has The Best Shot At Carrying The Senate
Any Democrat who could beat Trump would only have a shot at a transformative presidency if he or she also took the Senate. Right now, it looks bleak for Democrats.
McConnell controls the Senate by three votes . And in 2020, there is no Republican running in a state that Clinton carried by 5 points or more. So while Democrats defend seats in 12 states where theyre up for reelection, a few of them tough races, theyll also have to flip seats in at least three competitive races to take back control of Congress.
Most Democrats believe their best bets for flips are in Colorado, Arizona, Georgia, and Maine. Biden has earned about a dozen endorsements across these states, including from Napolitano, the only Democrat to be elected governor in the state since 1982.
Vulnerable Democrats defending seats include Sen. Gary Peters in Michigan, a state where Biden has consistently polled above Trump by a higher margin than any other candidate. Hes earned some half a dozen endorsements from sitting lawmakers there, too.
Similarly, hes picked up strong support in Alabama.
Even if you look at an example like the state of Alabama where theres a clear dichotomy between urban-exurban and rural, hes uniquely positioned not to move just urban voters, said Democratic Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, who has endorsed Biden. When you think about all parts of the state, hes actually able to excite and motivate those same Alabamians who may be white or rural.
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Why The Electability Discussion Was Incoherent
So, for instance, moderate candidates like Delaney and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock argued that Sanders and Warrens support of Medicare-for-all and decriminalizing border crossing risked alienating swing voters and ensuring Trumps reelection that they were wrong on the politics.
But they also argued that those positions were simply wrong on the merits. Delaney insisted that if all hospital bills were paid at Medicare rates, then many hospitals in this country would close. Bullock said that if the government provided health care to unauthorized immigrants, well have multiples of the thousands of people showing up at the border right now. Bullock added that, no, we dont have to sacrifice our values to actually win.
Meanwhile, Warren and Sanders said, naturally, that their proposals were both right on the merits and right on the politics. Democrats win when we figure out what is right and we get out there and fight for it, Warren insisted. I am not afraid, and for Democrats to win, you cant be afraid either.
The concept that there might be some policies that are both a good idea and bad for electability-related reasons was only actually broached by the non-politician on stage, Marianne Williamson.
Regarding Medicare-for-all, Williamson said, Im normally way over there with Bernie and Elizabeth. But, she added, I do have concern about what the Republicans would say. And thats not just a Republican talking point.