Democratic contenders in the 2020 primary race are on a death watch. Joe Biden’s lead is formidable — especially in the early states, but his recent spate of gaffes, misstatements, and memory lapses are raising questions about his relative fitness for office.
The 78-year old former vice president also has a tenuous hold on the support of most Democrats who vote in primaries, meaning that if he commits a faux pas that he can’t come back from, several others in the race stand ready to pick up the fallen standard and run with it.
The potential beneficiaries of a Biden implosion — Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders — are lurking like vultures ready to pick over Biden’s carcass.
“The race as I see it at this point is all about who will be Biden’s main opponent and, more importantly, who will win the hard-fought match-up between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders,” said one Democratic strategist who is unaffiliated with any campaign. “It’s shaping up to be Biden versus a progressive, and that appears to be Elizabeth Warren at the moment. But does Bernie come back? And who becomes the alternative? That’s the biggest question.”
Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis also said the Warren-Sanders battle is intriguing, particularly in the post-Labor Day stretch as the race intensifies and inches closer to the early states’ contests.
“There is supposedly a nonaggression pact between Warren and Sanders, but those pacts have a way of collapsing under pressure,” he said.
The race is not quite as closed as many Democrats would have you believe. California moved its primary up to March 3, in a bid to have more of a say in the Democratic race. The massive delegate harvest would benefit California’s favorite daughter, Senator Kamala Harris. She places second in some polls, trailing Biden by just a few points.
And Harris actually scares the White House more than any other Democrat:
“The one who scares me the most in the general is Kamala Harris,” the official said. Described by The Washington Times as a “key player” in Trump’s campaign, the official said Harris was the “least flawed” Democratic hopeful in the crowded field of presidential aspirants,
“The top candidates are all flawed candidates, but the least flawed is Kamala Harris,” the official reportedly said.
Harris has yet to find her voice. She has no issue by which she is closely identified, and her claim to fame so far is a confrontation with Biden during the first debate over his opposition to busing — a dubious issue to be focusing on in 2020.
But she’s more liberal than Biden and less of a bomb thrower than Bernie or Warren. If it’s “electability” Democrats are looking for, they could do worse than Kamala Harris.
Despite there being more than 20 candidates in the race, Biden’s precarious standing in the polls shows just how weak the Democratic field is. Trump has a lot of work to do shoring up his winning coalition from 2016, but there is no Democrat currently in the race who will run away with the election.
It’s still Trump’s race to lose.