A CAPS/Harris poll of leading Democratic contenders for the 2020 presidential nomination highlights a major disadvantage for the Democratic Party in their bid to take back the White House.
Leading the poll is 75-year-old Joe Biden, who would turn 77 shortly after a theoretical victory in 2020. Biden was the choice of 32% of Democrats while their second preference was the 2016 nominee, 70-year-old Hillary Clinton. Clinton would be 72 shortly before the 2020 November election.
In third place was 76-year-old Bernie Sanders, who would be 78 on election day 2020.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was the only other candidate to poll in double digits, with 10 percent of those surveyed backing her.
Biden has spoken frankly about both his interest in running for president and his hesitancy to jump in the race.
He flirted with a bid in 2016 but ultimately decided not to run while he mourned the death of his son, Beau. This week, he joked to The Washington Post that he isn’t “looking to live in the White House,” but added, “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
Another Clinton bid is seen as far less likely than possible bids by Sanders and Warren, who have been crisscrossing the country and heavily fundraising.
The Harvard/Harris poll also tests the 2020 chances of Sens. Cory Booker(D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), as well as billionaire Michael Bloomberg and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).
In that group, Booker fares best among respondents with 6 percent of them backing him, followed by Bloomberg’s 3 percent and Harris’s 2 percent. Cuomo and Gillibrand were each backed by 1 percent of those surveyed, while 12 percent said they supported someone not listed.
While Americans are living longer, healthier lives well into their 70s, it’s also true that the older you are, the more prone you become to serious, debilitating diseases.
But perhaps it isn’t so much a question of health as it is the inability of Democrats to find anyone much younger who the rank and file prefer. While voters like familiarity, Democrats leaning on three septuagenarians for leadership does not say much about the health of their party.
If, for whatever reason, Donald Trump decides not to run for a second term, Republicans have a pretty deep bench with several candidates from 2016 who have the experience to challenge any Democrat. There are also several qualified governors who could make a run.
The point being, Republicans have several candidates who have the advantage of being familiar to voters while also having been blooded in a presidential campaign and being eminently qualified to serve as chief executive. Democrats, on the other hand, have absolutely nothing new to offer voters in the way of candidates, or ideas.
Of course, it’s two and a half years before the election and any one of those minor Democratic candidates could breakt hrough. But it is going to take a pile of money to come out ahead in what promises to be a crowded Democratic field. If Biden, Clinton, and Sanders all run, the second tier of candidates will find it extremely difficult to raise enough cash to be competitive and gain the media attention that the frontrunners would.
Mark it down at this point: advantage Republicans.