By the time you read this column that was written on Wednesday, the Democrats will have held another presidential debate on Thursday. Now down to a field of 10 getting on one stage, it should be a little more fun to watch. I am guessing that is what people may be talking about when our newspaper hits the streets this weekend.
To keep myself and all of you other political junkies out there having fun, we will again be polling our readers to see how local attitudes change over the course of the next year leading up to the 2020 presidential election. Our poll question for the week will be, “After Thursday’s debate, which Democratic Presidential candidate would you vote for?”
All 10 on the stage will be included as choices in our poll this time. This “top 10” will include Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, businessman Andrew Yang, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro.
We will again list a choice for “No Democrat” so that Republicans can vote, too, but not mess up the results for Democrats. It will also be interesting to track this year how rock solid Republican support may remain as the year plays out.
My guess is maybe not as solid. President Donald Trump’s job approval rating fell several points in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll to 38 percent (down form 44 percent approval in July). Fears of a looming recession have escalated and America’s confidence in Trump’s handling of the economy has sagged.
The fortunes of Donald Trump will not only have an impact on whether or not the Democrats can recapture the White House but who they pick to be their candidate. If Trump looks strong, the Dems would be more likely to pick a “safer” choice like Biden. If it looks like they will win regardless, I can see them going for a liberal they are personally more enthused about – like Elizabeth Warren.
If not, I can still see Sen. Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota rising, even though she is still sitting at 2 percent. In fact, I think she may be the real “safe” choice, not Biden. With all the gaffes he has always made, I have never understood how Democrats see him as the “safe” choice! If I was a Democrat (I’m not), he would scare the heck out of me.
The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll published last Sunday showed Joe Biden still holding the lead at 29 percent, followed by Elizabeth Warren at 19 percent and Bernie Sanders at 18 percent. Behind them were Kamala Harris at 7 percent and Pete Buttigieg at 4 percent.
I have never felt that Joe Biden’s lead would hold up. First, if you combine those last two into one big liberal block, you get 37 percent. If all of Bernie Sander’s supporters would switch to Warren for example, that would put her ahead of Biden. It would never break 100 percent, of course, but it does tell me that Biden is a long way from locking this up.
Earlier in the year, I wrote a column touting “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg as someone you should not overlook. He still isn’t. But the guy now polling right behind Buttigieg (at 3 percent) is now my new longshot tout: Andrew Yang.
Yang, the tech entrepreneur, is a self-proclaimed “Asian who’s good at math,” which is how he humorously describes himself. The polar opposite of Donald Trump. Yet, I could see him peeling off Trump supporters.
Disenfranchised working class voters in key “rustbelt” states like Ohio may start looking at Yang. For one thing, he talks extremely well for a non-politician and seems very confident and calm on the stage. He is best known for his idea to give every American a universal guaranteed income of $1,000 month.
While that may seem implausible or crazy, it isn’t. It may be the new way of the world. Yang sees the biggest threat to our jobs as not coming from foreigners, it is coming from robots. He may be right!
Not only our jobs, Yang sees a future where robots may be destroying our lives, too. OK, I have admitted many times in this column to being a science fiction fan. And yes, this does sound like something from “The Terminator.” But I, for one, totally agree with Yang on that front. And I don’t think that I am the only aging Midwesterner who may feel that way.
So, there’s my new sleeper pick from the “top 10” – Andrew Yang! Of course, I am the same guy who predicted the Browns to the Super Bowl last week. Ugh.