The Democratic Primary, with its field of over twenty candidates, can be hard to follow at times. This weekend, many of those candidates descended on Iowa, where the first primaries will be held. As they spoke, pollsters gathered information on who is rising and who is falling in the party. Here are two of the biggest movers in each category.
Elizabeth Warren, the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, is climbing in the eyes of Iowa democrats. Why is this? Warren is unapologetically progressive, and her far-left policies appeal to the vocal base of the Democratic party.
Warren’s campaign is fond of saying “we have a plan for that.” She has bold solutions to every issue, and right now, that’s carrying her up in the polls. Whether that approach can withstand the coming debates, where her opponents will attempt to dissect the plans she claims to have, we do not yet know. But for now, Warren is near the top.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana is also climbing. Like Warren, Buttigieg focuses on issues, which gives him a leg up in getting his name out there. He is also openly gay, which may have a positive impact on his campaign, particularly during pride month.
More importantly, Buttigieg is a fresh, young, and largely unknown face in a field of candidates whose flaws are very apparent. For now, he’s riding that relative obscurity to the top, but, again, the debates will have a serious affect on his candidacy in one direction or the other.
Senator Bernie Sanders
Moving onto the fallers in this field, Senator Bernie Sanders is in serious trouble. Sanders first rose to national prominence when he ran an unexpected campaign against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary. Sanders thrived both as the only internal alternative to Clinton and as a candidate who stood far to her left on the issues.
Unfortunately for Sanders, he was so successful that the party moved with him. Now, in a field where many of the candidates are in favor of open or quasi-socialism, the 77-year-old senator struggles to stand out. He does not have any of the intersectional appeal of someone like Warren or Kamala Harris or Cory Booker, which will be a major issue for him in the current climate of the party.
Former Vice President Joe Biden
Like Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden’s best days may be behind him. Biden’s appeal to the party rests on electability and electability alone. His claim is simple: elect him, and we will return to the relative sanity of the Obama administration.
My latest column for @TheAtlantic — The elevation of Joe Biden as the frontrunner shows Trump has convinced Dems that electability is more important than ideals https://t.co/4clKOuYCMx
But electability is not the only concern in a party of progressivism and intersectionality. This came to the fore most recently when Biden waffled on the Hyde Amendment, a stance he had held for decades. The Hyde Amendment prohibits public funding for abortion, and, historically, Biden, a staunch Catholic, has supported it. Late last week, due to strong pressure from the extremes of his party, Biden caved and revoked his longstanding support.
The former Vice President is now caught between a rock and a hard place. His broad appeal comes from his stability. Biden has always appealed to the blue collar worker with his down-to-earth and approachable political style. But the Democratic party is pushing everyone to the left and turning on those who seek to stay toward the center. Biden must chose between electability and progressive credibility, and right now he’s choosing the latter.
Like Sanders, Biden has very little to offer as just another in a sea of progressive voices. We don’t make many strong predictions here at Unicorn Wealth, but if he continues to cave to pressure from his left, Biden will lose this nomination race and lose it very quickly.