[Marxism] WAPo: "Sometimes the pundits get it right"
1999wildcat at gmail.com
Tue Jul 2 13:18:53 MDT 2019
*In addition to being of interest to political junkies (like myself) that
article is also significant because it helps show the general mood in the
country. I still think that Sanders' brand of left liberalism is not where
most people in the US are at at this point. That's what this article from
today's Washington Post seems to confirm. As the article says, "polls are
snapshots", and even the best of snapshots can be a distorted picture since
they don't necessarily show the direction things are headed in. But with
that in mind, the article is worth reading:*
Every once in a while, conventional wisdom gets it right. In the wake of
the Democratic presidential debates last week, there was near-unanimity in
the pundit class, among Democratic operatives and party veterans that
former vice president Joe Biden had done poorly, that Sen. Kamala D. Harris
(Calif.) had rocked, that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) did well and that
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) didn’t help himself any.
Sure enough, the Morning Consult/Politico poll
Biden dropped five percentage points as the first choice among primary
voters to 33 percent, while Sanders stayed flat at 19 percent and Harris
jumped six points to 12 percent, tying Warren for third.
Even more dramatically (with a few days for the conventional wisdom to
harden and people to talk to their friends), a CNN poll
from 32 percent to 22 percent over the previous month, Harris jumping from
8 percent to 17 percent, and Warren from 7 percent to 15 percent. Sanders
slid into fourth place at 14 percent, down four points from last month’s
poll (confirming my expectations that Warren would pass him early in the
race). South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg remained essentially flat in
single digits and no one else rated above 3 percent. Among nonwhite voters,
Biden’s lead over Harris is only 25 percent to 19 percent. Biden’s poll
numbers are being sustained by voters over the age of 65, 34 percent of
whom support him. Biden leads among non-college graduates, while Harris
leads among college grads, with Warren close behind.
There are some significant takeaways regarding both the nomination race and
the Democratic agenda. Let’s start with the reminder that polls are
snapshots in time and can change dramatically (especially early in the
race) based on new, external events. We should also note that if the
September debate threshold of 2 percent in the polls were in place, only
eight candidates would have qualified for last week’s debates — the top
four, Buttigieg, former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Amy Klobuchar
(Minn.) and Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.).
That *seems* right — about eight candidates are seriously competitive. The
poll results also show that the large field makes it very hard for those
below the top eight to move up, if only because they seem like an
undifferentiated blur to voters, who still have no idea who some of them
are. Forty percent don’t even know who Buttigieg is; 32 percent haven’t
heard of Booker; and 37 percent haven’t heard of former HUD secretary
Julián Castro, even though he got rave reviews
his debate performance. (The number of not-plugged-in voters should remind
us that political junkies aren’t representative of the electorate.)
There is some good news for Biden: Except for racial matters, he leads
other candidates in his ability to handle policies such as health care, the
economy and climate change. Moreover, 43 percent still think he is the most
The CNN poll
has some red flags for Democrats. By a 57 percent to 37 percent margin,
voters say a new health-care system shouldn’t completely replace private
insurance. And among Democrats, only 31 percent think it is a good idea and
50 percent do not. On the broader question of whether the government should
cover everyone even if it requires higher taxes, 56 percent (including 87
percent of Democrats) say yes, 40 percent say no. In short, for the life of
me, I cannot see any upside in promising to abolish private health care.
Nevertheless, a batch of these candidates including Warren and Sanders are
promising to do just that.
Likewise, by a difference of 59 percent to 38 percent, Americans say they
don’t want to give government health-care coverage to illegal immigrants.
However, 66 percent of Democrats approve of the idea. That’s a
quintessential issue on which a popular position in the primaries is a
loser in the general election.
Democrats and those who lean Democratic are now confident (61 percent to 30
percent) that their candidate can beat President Trump. But it stands to
reason that who they nominate will matter a great deal.
A final, critical aspect of this poll is Biden’s commanding lead (31
percent) among conservative and moderate Democrats. No other candidate gets
more than 11 percent. If Biden implodes — and we are a long way from that —
determining who else could capture the moderate/conservative Democratic
electorate will be a vital concern. If there is a two- or three-person race
among candidates who all appeal more to liberal Democrats, there could be
room for a moderate, or someone moderate-friendly, to win the nomination.
That might leave a slice of daylight for someone such as Klobuchar, or it
might mean that Harris, if she doesn’t follow Sanders and Warren all the
way out on the party’s left branch, might become the consensus candidate.
If she simply mimics the two super-progressives, she might have a hard time.
*“In politics, abstract terms conceal treachery.” *from "The Black
Jacobins" by C. L. R. James
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