Monday, March 9, 2020

Who is Most Likely to Beat Trump in 2020 - Biden or Bernie?

Super Tuesday has come and gone, and Democrats are now at a crossroads.

There's Joe Biden, the 77-year old lifelong Senator, two-term Vice President, and three-time Democratic candidate for President who, until February 29, 2020, had never won a single presidential primary or caucus. Why? Well, let's just say he's had some challenges communicating this ideas effectively. He's considered the "moderate" in the race - basically an extension of the Obama administration.

Then there's Bernie Sanders, the 78-year old Senator, mayor, and proud Democratic Socialist who narrowly lost his 2016 bid for President because, according to him and many of his followers, the establishment robbed him of the Democratic nomination. He's on the campaign trail again, and while he was on top recently looking like he was going to lock the nomination, a vast majority of Democrats in South Carolina - and then throughout the country on Super Tuesday - sent a message that they were not comfortable with his revolutionary message and policy prescriptions.

Biden and Bernie are currently neck-and-neck in the delegate count, and have a debate coming up, where each candidate will have an opportunity to try to knock the other one out without seeming like they're trying to do just that. And because Democrats care a lot about identity, it's hard to forget that they're both old, white men. Which for some is offensive, and for others, a sigh of relief.

Yet, one of them will beat Donald Trump in the fall of 2020. Or, neither will. Either way, Democrats have made it clear that their number one objective is to beat Trump in 2020, and the ideology of the candidate comes second. Given this, I'm going to attempt to outline what I see as the pros and cons for each candidate, providing a guide for voters who want to remove Trump from office.

Why Joe Biden is the Best Bet to Defeat Trump

  • Every Democratic candidate who became President in modern times has been from the "moderate" wing of the party. 
  • Biden has proven through the primaries to-date that he is able to re-assemble the "Obama coalition" that led Obama to victory twice in the modern era. 
  • Biden has proven that the pivotal "black vote" (ugh, so racial) will come out for him because that community seems to appreciate his support for Obama. 
  • Biden is Catholic, and Catholics have historically been swing voters in pivotal swing states.
  • The majority of "Never-Trump Republicans" will vote for Biden, but will not vote for Bernie
  • Joe has demonstrated - in South Carolina and nine additional Super Tuesday states - that his personal brand is powerful enough to overcome virtually no ground game, virtually no ad buys, virtually no events, and a slew of gaffes. That's some powerful MoJo(e). 
  • Joe is not naturally charismatic in the classic sense, however, his heart is charismatic. People tend to believe that Joe is a nice guy (Bernie's words!), even if they don't know everything about him. This helps him be more bullet-proof from attacks. This was on clear display during the early debates in 2019 when other Democrats went after him, their polls took a hit, not his. This bodes well for Trump's only political tactic - attacks. 

Why Bernie Sanders is the Best Bet to Defeat Trump

  • Bernie has a clear, unapologetic voice that cuts through the normal political banter. His genuine tone and style will make Trump look like the unscrupulous used-car salesman he comes off as. 
  • Bernie has a bold vision to make far more Americans safe, healthy, and happy than any other candidate in modern times. This could drive voter turn-out in ways not seen before
  • Bernie has proven that he, like Trump, can create a super-passionate "base" - and this will be best fought as a base-vs.-base election.
  • Unlike Biden, Democrats won't be collectively holding their breath, praying that Bernie doesn't say something that doesn't make any sense.
  • Bernie thinks the political and economic status quo is evil. Like Trump, anger and frustration with the "establishment" (Bernie) or "swamp" (Trump) is what truly animates voters in this day and age. Trump proved this in 2016, and the only way to win in 2020 is to go toe-to-toe with this kind of campaign. 
  • Bernie has proven that he can energize the Latino vote. This rapidly expanding demographic is increasingly key to electoral success. 
  • Bernie's staff and followers can get down-and-dirty in ways that are atypical for Democrats. In order to beat Trump's unsavory tactics and fan base, Democrats need to come to a gun-fight with guns, not woke toothbrushes.
  • In an era where the candidates who yell the loudest get the most attention, Bernie's yelling is far more coherent and intelligent than Biden's...or Trump's. 

Why Joe Biden is Not Fit to Defeat Trump

  • My 82-year old father who suffered a stroke sounds more coherent at times than Joe does. How can we expect someone who rarely can successfully stitch three sentences together to win an argument with Donald Trump in a debate? 
  • Almost all of Biden's rationale for becoming President is based on what he did - not what on what he plans to do.  "I signed that!" "I did that!" "That was me!" are continual refrains during debates. It's small, petty, and exhausting. 
  • Biden has a son, Hunter, who got a high-paying gig at Burisma in Ukraine clearly based on his relationship to his father, and Republicans are aiming to link Biden's successful push to oust the Ukrainian prosecutor that was investigating Burisma. And, stunningly, Biden has yet to come up with a decent rebuttal to this charge. 
  • There aren't enough Never-Trump Republicans to help Biden overcome the high probability that Sanders supporters will sit on their hands (or vote third party again if given the chance) on election day. 
  • Biden is part of the "establishment" which increasing numbers of Americans are sick of. They think of all of these people -- Hillary, Biden, Bill, and to an extent, Obama -- as being lapdogs to the status quo, and the passive enablers of the Republican agenda.  No bold strokes - just foolhardy conciliation with Republicans. Democrats are frustrated by Obama's lack of impact, and don't need his VP continuing a lackluster "can't we all just get along?" misguided administration. 
  • Biden has decades and decades of votes (especially for the Iraq War) that gives the appearance that he has terrible judgement. And his excuses for this vote are almost as bad as the vote itself. 

Why Bernie Sanders is Not Fit to Defeat Trump

  • The best historic precedent for a Bernie Sanders candidate is George McGovern (lost in a landslide in 1972) and, far more recently, James Corbyn (lost in a landslide in the UK in 2019).
  • Bernie is already famous for being the first popular (Democratic) Socialist candidate in modern times, and polls show that Americans have no appetite for a socialist message, even if they like many policies that come from the socialist playbook. 
  • In the four years since he last ran for President, Bernie has not demonstrated that he's been able to connect with the black community in a meaningful way. And the black community has been a linchpin to electoral victory in recent successful Democratic campaigns.
  • Bernie will drive swing-voters to Trump, and has proven in the primaries that he is not, in fact, able to bring out a surge of young liberals to compensate. 
  • Bernie has decided to lose swing-state Florida due to Castro compliments, and to lose new-swing-state Pennsylvania by standing firm on banning fracking (removing over 300k jobs in PA alone).
  • Bernie has not shown any interest in moderating his tone or approach to gain favor with the vast number of moderate Democrats. Politics is a game of addition, and Bernie seems to be playing a game of subtraction - especially when he accuses his competitors of being "funded by corporations and billionaires." As if to say that corporations that employ 38% of the American workforce are evil. Or when he says that health insurance companies will be made illegal - putting millions of people out of jobs. This is not how you gain favor to win a majority in a popular vote. 
  • The Latino vote that Bernie has been so good at attracting doesn't show up in enough swing states relative to the importance of the black vote.
  • Bernie's political and economic revolution doesn't have the same firepower as it did four years ago, when we were still climbing out of the great recession. Coronavirus impact notwithstanding, the economy is simply doing far too well for the majority of voters to scrap the whole thing and go in on a more centrally planned, government-run system that takes huge industries out of the private sector. 

For Democrats, beating Donald Trump is super-important. So it's equally super-important for Democrats to be clear-eyed as to which candidate is the most fit to beat Trump in 2020. From my point of view, there are no easy answers. Each voter should open their eyes to the pros and cons of their preferred candidate and make sure that they stand up to the test of objective analysis.

Which contender do you think is best suited to take on Delusional Donny in the fall? Bumbling Biden or Socialist Sanders? What a selection!


Great analysis as always Jon.
As a lifelong Dem/transcendental-humanist voter (that McGovern thang, yeah) I'm a confirmed pragmatic idealist.

Liz Warren (Mama Bear) is the only candidate actually qualifed for the office. Unfortunately, well, not much really to say...
I'm glad I'm not her getting bouquets from Uncle Bern and Grampa Joe.
She said "maybe I'll do a New York times and endorse both of them"
Why the hell not?

Best Case scenario, the mob boss is disabled by a virus of Chinese origin and resigns. Nobody in the country would vote for Mike Pence, no matter WHAT.

Meanwhile, always good to hear from you.
my hashtags for the season...

Be a #cognitivedissident

Transcendental-humanism is multi-dimensional many simultaneous complementary solution domains vs authoritarian-materialism which is always zero-sum monolinear, you lose I win.

Peter Fraterdeus

Current writing
"Sex and Climate Change, a sapienOS upgrade is available."

Also from 2016
“Sorcery from the Right. Relearning the Craft of the Tactical Spell.” by P Fraterdeus

Nice blog thanks for postinng