The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Biden Widens His Lead

Rich Galen

Monday May 13, 2019

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  • South Carolina is officially an "Early State." That is, it is the fourth on the list of caucuses and primaries scheduled to take place next February. The order is:
    - Monday, February 3 Iowa Caucuses
    - Tuesday, February 11 New Hampshire Primary
    - Saturday, February 22 Nevada Caucuses
    - Saturday, February 29 South Carolina Primary

  • Even at this E minus 8 months-to-go for the 2020 Democratic nomination, it seems pretty clear that of the 21 currently announced Democratic candidates who show up in Iowa on February 3, not more than half will still be around to sample the shrimp & grits in Charleston, South Carolina three weeks later.

  • Of that half, a few will be hanging on by their fingernails for Super Tuesday - 13 state contests - three days later on March 3.

  • In a poll released Sunday, May 12, Joe Biden has increased his lead (from a poll taken about three months ago) over second-place Bernie Sanders from 36-14 to 46-15. That previous poll predated Biden's official entry into the race.

  • The rest of the field looks like this:
    Kamala Harris - 10
    Peter Buttigieg - 8
    Elizabeth Warren - 8
    Cory Booker - 4
    Beto O'Rourke - 2
    Andrew Yang - 2

  • Everyone else was below two percent.

  • As the WaPo's brilliant political writer, Dan Balz, said in his weekend column: "Those who said Biden's best day as a candidate would be the day before he announced have been proven wrong."

  • I was one of "those."

  • The biggest advantage Joe Biden has in 2020 that he has not had over the previous decades is: Donald Trump.

  • As I mentioned during a panel with Mullfave Mike McCurry (Bill Clinton's press secretary) last week, Biden has always faltered because he is missing the gene that says "just because it comes into your head, it doesn't mean it has to come out of your mouth."

  • However, I said, with Donald Trump (who, according to the Washington Post, has made over 10,000 misstatements during his presidency) riding atop the political pyramid, "Not only has the mistake bar been lowered, it has been dragged away and stored in the barn."

  • There are at several advantages that Bernie Sanders carries into this race. First, is his ability to generate enormous amounts of money. The old saying in Presidential politics is: If you have money in the bank, you can stay in the race.

  • Sanders raised over $18 million in Q1 of 2019. And, as you have been told a thousand times, because the overwhelming number of donations are from small donors, his campaign can go back to them again and again.

  • According to a New York Times report on first quarter fundraising:
    "Mr. Sanders received almost 900,000 contributions from 525,000 individual donors, his campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, said. The average donation was $20, compared with $27 in Mr. Sanders's 2016 presidential campaign, he said."

  • I get at least two fund raising requests a day from Sanders' campaign. And I'm a Republican.

  • To balance the books, the Times quoted the Trump campaign as saying it had raised over $30 million in the first quarter which would equal both Bernie Sanders' and Kamala Harris' ($12 million).

  • The second advantage Sanders has is his proven staying power.

  • When he got into the 2016 race he was the curiosity: A self-proclaimed Socialist running in the Democratic primary from the small state of Vermont, with a New York Accent against Hillary Clinton.

  • Sanders never went away in 2016, earning him the everlasting enmity of Sec. Clinton.

  • And, he didn't go way in 2017, 2018, or 2019 and he's going to be doing that orchestra conductor thing with his right hand through 2020.

  • A third advantage for Sanders is his age. Or, more precisely, his opponents' ages.

  • Bernie Sanders is 77 (will be 78 by election day). Joe Biden is 76 (will be 77 about three weeks after election day) and Donald Trump will turn 73 next month.

  • Age is not an issue - yet.

  • We have a long way to go until the winnowing process starts on the Democratic side, but every day that goes by with Biden continuing to gain space is a day that Sanders can't get back.

  • In the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the primary schedule, to a summary of the SC poll, to the complete top lines of the SC poll, to the Dan Balz column, and to the Washington Post's Fact Checker page.

    The Mullfoto is from commencement at Marietta College Marietta, Ohio 45750 last weekend and demonstrates the dedication of D-3 athletes.

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