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democratic primary late september 2019 edition: warren’s road to victory

Dem Sept 2019 pic

Things are really starting to clear up in the Democratic primary. For months, it was unclear who would move out of the “peloton.” Harris had a bump, but has now fallen. Mayor Peter never quite took off. Many others with positive media coverage just fizzled. Now, Warren seems to be in a position to win it all.

Of course, it’s not that easy. The main issue is that Biden is riding about 25%-30%, mainly on incumbency, and Sanders is splitting the progressive vote. But there’s a funny dynamic in early primaries. Even though party favorites, like Biden, tend to rule the day, it is also the case occasionally that an insurgent will use an early primary victory to sway a chunk of undecided voters. This happened when Carter won the Iowa caucus in 1976 and Obama did the same in 2008. Trump also did this by almost taking Iowa and clearly winning New Hampshire. Early primary victories can take incumbents by surprise and get curious voters to shift.

Warren may be in this zone. I think she’s a strong favorite in New Hampshire, as people tend to vote locally – Boston is “local” for these sorts of things. And she’s doing very well in Iowa. Furthermore, Biden is a pretty bad campaigner and may be the first Democratic VP not to win the presidential nomination in a long long time. The big problem is that Southern states almost never break for the insurgent – and this is by design. South Carolina is up early specifically to put breaks on candidates like Warren and Sanders. Another issue is that Sanders will likely not quit till Super Tuesday, and thus split the progressive vote. Thus, what must happen is for all the “minor” candidates (Harris, Beto, Peter, Castro, Booker) to drop quickly so their supporters can switch to Warren. I have no idea if that will happen.

My guess is that the general election will be relatively easier should Warren emerge victorious. Trump isn’t any popular now than in 2016 and he basically won on a fluke. Warren isn’t loathed by half the country as Hilary was. Furthermore, rather than ignore the Midwest, Warren probably understands it better than most beltway Democrats and can work on GOTV efforts in order to squeeze out the relatively small number of votes needed to recapture Michigan and Wisconsin.

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Written by fabiorojas

September 25, 2019 at 4:54 pm

Posted in uncategorized

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  1. Tough to not notice that almost all glowing accounts of Warren’s progress towards the nomination do not mention a vast gap between her supporters’ beliefs and those of mainstream Democrats. In my WWC family and neighborhood it’s almost a point of pride to not follow election news at this point. They see all politics as a degrading pursuit.

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    Don F

    September 25, 2019 at 5:08 pm

  2. Fair point. The issue for Warren, in terms of campaigning, is what to do after she locks down the 20% of the party which is progressive and not-Bernie. The evidence is scant, but she does appear to be a popular 2nd choice for the followers. That gets her some, but will she get enough of the mainstream to make up the gap w.Biden? Honestly, don’t know!

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    fabiorojas

    September 25, 2019 at 5:17 pm


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