2020 Democrats: state of the race (April 14th, 2019)

We now have 18 2020 Democrats with flame-throwing California Rep. Eric Swalwell officially in:

  • Swalwell becomes the second Dem to receive a special pin that reads: “I Announced on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

Kirsten Gillibrand was the first. If nothing else, we’ve got a nice grouping of candidates running split out by current/former senators:

  • Booker
  • Warren
  • Gillibrand
  • Klobuchar
  • Sanders
  • Biden (not yet officially in)


  • Gabbard
  • O’Rourke
  • Castro
  • Swalwell

And governors:

  • Hickenlooper
  • Inslee

Oh yeah, and don’t forget the mayoral segment, fronted by the bourgeoning canidacy of Mayor Pete himself:

  • Buttigieg

Note: this was the first time I spelled Buttigieg’s name without looking it up. I can also pronounce it (I go with the but-edge-edge methodology). 
Speaking of Buttigieg: the Buttigieg boomlet is booming (yes, I came up with that by myself, thanks in advance). Two polls in early voting states by different organizations — Monmouth for Iowa and St. Anselm for New Hampshire — have Buttigieg in a clear third place, with Biden over Sanders in the top two slots in both polls. 
If these poll numbers hold, with a huge caveat that we’re still many months off from live voting, Buttigieg will be a major factor in this race, with an opportunity to take on all of the “outsider” and youth/fresh-faced energy against, let’s say, an entrenched older person we’ve known for years in a Biden or Sanders. Buttigieg then brings in a Midwestern credibility to potentially beat Trump in the rust belt that’s critical for the 2020 general election, while lacking a voting record that can be picked apart by oppo researchers, and, well… things could get interesting. 
That being said, it’s clearly way too early to write off the likes of Warren, Booker, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, and take your pick of several other legitimately experienced and qualified candidates. The first debates coming up in late June will likely have some impact in terms of providing a “breakout” moment for a candidate or two and an “oops”-y gaffe-y moment for one or two others. 
From Nate Silver:

  • FWIW, my current thinking on the tiers in the Democratic primary, in terms of likelihood of winning the nomination. This is very rough, obviously: Tier 1a: Harris, Biden Tier 1b: Bernie, Beto, Buttigieg, Warren Tier 2: Booker, Klobuchar

By the way, about a half hour after I read that tweet, I received an e-mail titled, “Can we explain this Nate Silver tweet?” from Kamala Harris for the People, which talked about the enthusiasm behind the Harris campaign and an entreaty to donate to her campaign. 
Five Thirty Eight looks at “What Happens If Biden Doesn’t Run — Or Flops?” 
And this piece argues that Warren’s middling to date poll standing and fundraising haul (for a perceived electoral heavyweight) is “good enough” for now and at the least “not dooming.” 
If you can’t tell, I’m into this stuff. 
What’s wild too is that the list of candidates is more likely than not to grow even longer over the next few months, with people ranging from current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloombergconsidering hopping in the race.  So the NYC mayors club alone could pop this thing to 20 easily is what we’re saying here, I guess.

And finally, a Biden Our Time (I’m trademarking this, just so you’re aware) watch (via Axios):

  • He plans to announce his White House run toward the end of April (likely after Easter, which falls April 21), friends say.

This post originally appeared in what had originally been called The Eric Berlin E-mail Newsletter. To get a weekly blast of pop culture, digital media, and politics that helps make sense of an increasingly frazzled world, sign on up for The Berlin Files here.

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