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Mon Feb 11, 2019, 05:11 AM

My thoughts on the current Democratic candidates...

FWIW: I have not decided on who I will support. I will likely support Joe Biden if he runs but he hasn't announced his intentions yet, so, I guess I am a free agent. I will readily admit I have favorites, though. This is just my take. You're welcome to disagree with me.

Amy Klobuchar: I am intrigued. She seems like a tough, solid Democrat who has an interesting background and comes from the region of the country where the Democrats struggled in 2016 and need a bounce back if they're going to beat Trump (Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa are three states the Democrats likely need to win next year). With that said, Klobuchar doesn't have the pop I think she needs to win the nomination and put herself out in front of two other female candidates who have similar backgrounds - Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand. Klobuchar does bring some intrigue to the table, namely her history as a prosecutor. This is something Kamala Harris has going for her, too, and it's a strength that could potentially shape her message and make her a formidable debater. Klobuchar is very well spoken and has a good sense of humor that I think may play well, as Americans definitely take more to affable politicians with humor. Klobuchar has blue collar roots that she can play up and it's something that may benefit her on the campaign trail in areas Democrats largely lost voters - specifically Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.

Klobuchar is a moderate though and lacks the credibility as a national candidate to steer a message that appeals to a largely progressive voting base. Barack Obama was a moderate, as well, but had that credibility, specifically when it came to the Iraq War issue, that elevated him over other candidates and helped catapult him to the nomination. Of course, his charisma didn't hurt. There isn't an 'Iraq War' moment Klobuchar can utilize to lift herself above other candidates.

Klobuchar also lacks credibility with minority voters. This isn't entirely her fault, as credibility either comes from being an advocate or a member and the fact is, she's not a member and she comes from one of the whitest states in the country, meaning there's limited options to be that advocate. Don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting she is hostile in any way toward minority groups ... but she lacks the type of built-in advantage you generally see from viable candidates. She's probably too moderate for voters who enthusiastically backed Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary, and lesser known among minority voters.

That will be her biggest obstacle in the primary. To be honest, I think Klobuchar would be a fantastic general election candidate, or a VP, but I am, at this point, skeptical about her ability to win the nomination.

Kamala Harris: Harris, on paper, seems like one of the more formidable Democratic candidates. She's got a wholly unique background as the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father. She's female. She's a fighter, as, like Klobuchar, she has prosecution history. She's well-spoken, charismatic and tough - all traits we want from our nominee. Harris is also a candidate who has broad appeal - specifically with younger voters and minority voters. With the Democratic Party increasingly becoming a more diverse party, Harris brings a lot to the table. I believe she can energize Millennial like Obama did a decade ago and will absolutely tap into support among black Americans who will be vital to not only a primary win but also a general election win, as well. Harris, more than any other female candidate outside Elizabeth Warren, appears to have stood out in senatorial hearings and I think that is a huge advantage for her.

Harris is also quickly growing her visibility as a candidate. Most polls right now will be tailored around name recognition but she's already off to a good start there - the most recent poll, conducted earlier this month, had Harris only trailing Joe Biden. Since her announcement, she's been able to break into the double-digits, something Klobuchar and Warren have struggled to do.

While Harris does have demographic advantages Klobuchar and Gillibrand will lack, she also will likely be fighting over similar voters as Corey Booker and, maybe, even Joe Biden if Biden announces (his ties to Obama will be strong within certain communities). I also feel Harris will struggle to galvanize the left like Obama did in 2008. The strength of her being a prosecutor actually becomes a weakness here. Also, Harris may be relegated to also-ran if she fails to win either Iowa or New Hampshire, two states that are set up perfectly for Klobuchar and Warren.

I like Harris. I will be 100% transparent, I am leaning toward Harris as my candidate, but I have doubts about her viability - but that can obviously change quick...especially since we're still a year out from Iowa.

Elizabeth Warren: Warren has been a name floated as a presidential candidate all the way back in 2016. She's a heavy-hitter and instantly recognizable as an out-spoken senator and major Trump critic. Warren is a candidate perfected for the left - a strong advocate for progressive politics and she has a credibility in that regard that didn't exist with Hillary Clinton. This is clearly her biggest benefit - as it will help play to younger voters and progressives within the party who felt largely shunned by Clinton's nomination in 2016. Warren also credibly speaks a populist message that may resonate with voters who supported Trump in 2016 but Obama in 2012 and are looking for a candidate to swing 'em back to the Democrats again (specifically in Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin).

But unlike Hillary, I don't feel Warren has a demographic advantage over her opponents. She is not a candidate I see a great deal of minority voters gravitating toward in the primaries. This could be her Achilles' heel - especially if Bernie decides to run and divides up a demographic that is appealing to her message. It may explain why Warren, despite the name recognition, is a distant 4th behind Biden, Harris and Sanders in recent polls.

I also don't feel Warren has handled the whole Native issue competently and it makes me question whether she has the capability of deflecting the attacks that are likely to inundate any presidential campaign. Warren isn't very charismatic like Harris or affable like Klobuchar, which can help defuse these types of attacks, and her rougher image can be an issue in a national campaign. Whether we like it or not, perception in politics is reality and the perception of Warren isn't the most ideal. I believe she can overcome it but not if she continues with the missteps. I feel her taking the DNA test was a mistake and it's only allowed for this trivial issue to fester.

I also am concerned about Warren's electability. I hate that word but it's a reality. Head-to-head, despite being one of the more known Democratic candidates, she struggles the most against Trump. I think she can beat Trump - but I am not convinced she will.

Kirsten Gillibrand: Gillibrand, more than any of the female candidates, appears to be willing to use her gender as a major messaging tool. Gillibrand has been at the forefront of many women's issues, specifically recently with the #metoo movement and helped support a bevy of female congressional candidates in 2018. She is also a well-liked, popular senator who did better in New York than Hillary Clinton two years ago - especially among suburban white women who often prove to be a deciding factor in presidential elections.

Still, Gillibrand has a very mixed voting record, especially from her time in the House, where she could be labeled a conservative Democrat if you want to really parse the definition. She once even held 'A' rating from the NRA. This isn't necessarily a bad thing in the general election, as Gillibrand can play up her moderate views in stark contrast to the extremist Trump, but in a primary for an increasingly liberalized party? Good luck.

Gillibrand also will have to fight back the idea she isn't an opportunist. Her policies shifted dramatically when she was appointed to Hillary Clinton's seat and now, because of it, she has received a 'F' rating from the NRA. It's difficult for a candidate to run from their recent past - as we're only talking a decade of dramatic change. Of course, Gillibrand could potentially excuse it away as representing her conservative-ish district's values and then the values of the entire state of New York when she became senator but that opens a whole host of other questions - namely, then what do you actually believe?

Gillibrand is very compelling and has a great media presence. I think she'd do well in debates and be tough with Trump. But I also feel she's going to struggle to gain traction with liberal voters due to her questionable record and, yes, her flippant response to Al Franken. Like Klobuchar, I believe Gillibrand would be a strong general election candidate. Unlike Klobuchar, though, I don't see any demographic advantages (for Klobuchar, it's white working class voters) that elevate her above any of the other female candidates.

Cory Booker: It's impossible to not compare Booker to Barack Obama and it's not just because both are black men. Booker has a background, and message, very similar to what Obama brought to the table in 2008. But there is one major difference in this election that I touched upon with Harris - Obama was the sole black candidate in 2008 and he benefited from it. He overwhelmingly won the black vote it helped carry him to the nomination. No such luxury exists for Booker, who will be fighting for that same vote with Harris and, potentially, Biden if he jumps in.

Booker also might not appeal to the left like Obama did in 2008. Again, while Obama was a moderate, he was able to strike a liberal tone on certain issues that endeared him to younger voters and helped boost his campaign against the more perceived status quo candidates. Booker has some questionable stances that don't align with the liberal wing of the party, specifically his support of Charter Schools and, of course, his defense of Bain Capital while mayor during Obama's reelection campaign (Bain, of course, being the company Romney ran for years).

It's also not 2008 anymore. The message of hope and 'Yes, We Can' doesn't seem effective in the Age of Trump. He states you can't fight fire with fire and I don't know - I think we need a candidate who can give it to Trump as much as he's been giving it to us. It's why I'm intrigued by Harris, Warren and Klobuchar. You're not going to beat Trump by preaching love and hope.

While everyone always was critical of Obama for being too soft at times, at the end of the day, he knew how to deliver a knockout punch and did so very frequently. Can Booker do the same? Give off the apparent image of rising above the petty politics but still kicking the teeth in of his opponent when needed? Because I question that - I question how quick he was to defend Romney in 2012 and how little he's talked about Trump over the last few years. Obama was great at setting his opponents up for crushing moments. If Booker is going to play the nice guy, he'll have to do that to an art or we'll just be throwing up a candidate who fails to hit back.

If Booker can have a, 'please proceed, Governor' moment, I'll definitely feel better ... but I'm not so sure.

Tulsi Gabbard, John Delaney, Julian Castro and Pete Buttigieg are not candidates I feel will be viable. Castro is the most intriguing but I doubt any of these four gain much traction. If they do, I'll write about 'em.

Of course, this is only announced. If Biden throws his hat into the ring, I'll talk about him, too. Same with Bernie and Sherrod Brown and others.

So, to be continued...

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Arrow 20 replies Author Time Post
Reply My thoughts on the current Democratic candidates... (Original post)
Drunken Irishman Monday OP
Trumpocalypse Monday #1
livetohike Monday #2
Cha Monday #3
progressoid Monday #4
Sherman A1 Monday #6
Scruffy1 Monday #5
lunatica Monday #9
brooklynite Monday #7
lunatica Monday #8
brooklynite Monday #11
lunatica Monday #12
Garrett78 Monday #14
lunatica Monday #15
panader0 Monday #10
extvbroadcaster Monday #13
Garrett78 Monday #17
mcar Monday #16
Awsi Dooger Monday #18
MineralMan Monday #19
Honeycombe8 Monday #20

Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 05:26 AM

1. Very intelligent and objective analysis nt

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 05:53 AM

2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on our field so far. It's going

to be an exciting primary season. Iím looking forward to the debates. Also looking forward to who else might announce their candidacy. Not sticking with one person right now, but am impressed by Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 06:06 AM

3. Very Interesting and Thoughtful

analysis, Irishman!

Thank you! I don't have a candidate yet either with so many in the mix. A lot can happen over the next year.. it will be fascinating to see where we are next year at this time.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 06:39 AM

4. John Delaney, Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, Julian Castro...

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Response to progressoid (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 07:03 AM

6. Andrew Yang for me

At least for now.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 06:55 AM

5. I gave up on having a perfect candidate 50 years ago.

I will support whoever I think can get the most votes in the general. A really strong candidate might even swing a border state Senate vote or two.

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Response to Scruffy1 (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 12:56 PM

9. Well I'm a Progressive so I knew a long time ago that

being a Progressive really means that even the slightest leaning to the left of center can at least be ďprogressĒ in the right direction. I will go with that, as usual. And if we donít get that then Iíll always vote for the Democrat because I sure as hell donít want some knuckle dragging MAGAt voting for me!

But I must admit that I would like to see one of President Obamaís legacies be that the Office is still accessible to someone of color in equal measure to white men. If Stacey Abrams ran I would be ecstatic! She doesnít need to prove anything anymore.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 07:21 AM

7. My biggest concern about Kamala Harris is that she's never run against a Republican one on one

SHe's only run against them in jungle Primaries in a State where the Republican Party is a hollow shell. How will she perform in a Purple or Red State?

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 12:46 PM

8. What's a jungle primary?

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Response to lunatica (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:06 PM

11. In California, all candidates, regardless of Party, run together in the same Primary

If no candidate gets 51%, then the top two compete in a runoff.

In 2014, her election for AG went:
Democratic -- Kamala Harris -- 53.2%
Republican -- Ronald Gold -- 12.3%
Republican -- Phil Wyman -- 11.7%
Republican -- David King -- 9%
Republican -- John Haggerty -- 8.2%
Nonpartisan -- Orly Taitz -- 3.2%
Libertarian -- Jonathan Jaech -- 2.4%

In 2016, in her election for Senate, she ran against 33 other candidates (12 Republicans, 6 Democrats, 2 Libertarians, 1 Green, 1 Peace and Freedom, and 11 Independents). She got 40% of the vote and ran in a runoff against fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #11)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:10 PM

12. OK, I googled it.

Iíve never heard of it before even though I lived in a California for 40 years. And I voted.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:13 PM

14. In California, we nominate the top 2 primary vote-getters regardless of party.

Unless 1 gets over 50%. That's why our 2018 Senate race matched Democrat vs. Democrat.

It's referred to as a jungle primary. All candidates competing for the top 2, who then face off in the general.

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Response to Garrett78 (Reply #14)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:18 PM

15. Thanks!

I did google it also and got the answer. I never heard the term even though I voted in California for 40 years.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:02 PM

10. Nice analysis. Rec'd

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:11 PM

13. Hard to say at this point

Joe Biden, the age thing is an issue along with him being a gaffe machine. I am not sure about the others. Nobody really stands out. Not that some of them would not be fine, but with Trump we really need somebody to jam it up his rear with a candle on it. Nice won't cut it, and Trump seems able to run over people in general. He ran over Hillary in the debates, not in his performance but in his threatening body language. The whole thing is sad. If just one GOP candidate had told Trump, in public, that he would kick his ass the next time he called anybody a name this whole thing would not have happened.

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Response to extvbroadcaster (Reply #13)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:23 PM

17. There are reasons Biden has twice come up way short in seeking the nomination.

In 2008, he got just 4% in Iowa and dropped out. In 1988, he dropped out early following various accusations.

Obama resurrected Biden's political career with his strategic VP selection. Otherwise, nobody would be talking about nominating someone who will be 78 in 2020, who has a penchant for gaffes and his history with the Thomas-Hill hearing (in this Me Too era). In fact, people would think it a completely absurd notion.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:18 PM

16. Good analysis

I am excited about this primary season.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 01:58 PM

18. Klobuchar is like an American hurdler, Chinese ping ponger, or Dutch speed skater

She'd have a lot less trouble winning the gold medal, than overcoming the local numbers game to get there.

Nate Silver yesterday made the same points you did about Klobuchar not having strength among non-whites or far left primary voters. But the debates followed by favorable setting in Iowa provides opportunity.

With Amy Klobuchar I'd expect to defeat Trump. With Elizabeth Warren and everything that sticks to her I'd expect to lose to Trump. With Kamala Harris I wouldn't know what to expect. She has always been on offense, whether as California prosecutor or on those senate panels. Her senate voting record fares much better in February 2020 than October 2020.

That Jamaican remark is the type of thing I would expect from Harris repeatedly during a long campaign. Like many female prosecutor types, her instincts aren't great while on defense. Instead of a warm humorous harmless response like Klobuchar would have provided, Harris still thinks she is supposed to be on the attack, and it can lead to something that can stick and be interpreted in multiple directions, even if Harris thinks it is harmless. That example itself is not bad. The tendency toward that type of response is troubling.

Beto needs to enter. There simply won't be as much national buzz if it's all females up there in prominent roles. Posters here won't want to accept that but it is the way it plays out in real world terms. I can just imagine all the mockery on sports sites if the Democratic field is quickly whittled to nothing but women, and especially if it is a woman from Massachusetts battling a woman from California.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 02:08 PM

19. Frankly, I think there are several VP candidates in the current group.

Amy Klobuchar is one of those, I think. I doubt she has a prayer of getting the nomination nationally. She's just not that well-known. However, she may be a vote-getter in the Midwest, something that a VP candidate will need to do.

I don't see a strong front-runner in the current batch of candidates. Maybe one will emerge before long, but so far, they all look like VP candidates to me.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2019, 08:36 PM

20. I'm sorry to say that I'm not much interested in any of them.

Klobuchar looks the most viable, but she's too inexperienced on a national level to go toe to toe with Trump, I think. The race for the President is one of the toughest in the world. And Trump and the current Republican Party is one of the dirtiest and most disrespectful the country has ever known. We need someone who has experience handling that.

We also need someone who has already been defined, because Trump & the Repubs will set about defining each candidate right away, and sometimes those names stick. Low Energy Bush, Lyin' Ted, etc.

Biden has already been defined many times in his career. Hard to call him something he hasn't already been called. Or to define him as something else, because he's so well established nationally. But his age is a concern.

Warren is a non-starter. She's already been negatively defined by Trump because of the Native American thing. I don't think she can shake that.

Harris is the strongest, I guess. But again, not much high-level campaign experience. And she has made mistakes that would cause me not to support her, unless she becomes the Democratic nominee. And although she's very popular in CA and maybe the east coast, I don't see massive numbers of people becoming enthused by her, if they aren't on one of the coasts. Would she appeal to Iowans? Or people in Michigan or Wisconsin or Ohio?

Brown? Same as Harris.

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