Public polling suggests that Democratic voters are broadly satisfied with their party's 2020 presidential field, but party elites are privately fretting about the way things are shaping up. They're wary of the policies and electability of left-wing candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, and they're concerned about the ability of Joe Biden to keep everything together and get across the finish line. Cue the flop sweat-fueled whispers, courtesy of the New York Times:
NEW: Tis the season— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) October 22, 2019
-Bloomberg & Hillary have told folks they'd run if they there was opening
-Kerry has showed signs of regret, is worried about Biden
-Sherrod is getting more calls urging him to reconsider
-Holder still talking about it
Leaders and activists in the party are wary that all their top contenders have major weaknesses and are urging other possible candidates to get in the race, The Washington Post and The New York Times reported Tuesday. “You can imagine much stronger candidates,” Democratic National Committee member Elaine Kamarck told The Washington Post...Both papers reported that party figures worry Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren could be considered too liberal in a general election, while Joe Biden’s fundraising lag may prove to be an Achilles heel for the one-time clear front-runner. The troubled position of the Dems became apparent for many of the party leaders after last week’s debate. “Since the last debate, just anecdotally, I’ve had five or six people ask me: ‘Is there anybody else?’ ” Democrat Leah Daughtry told the Times.
If Joe Biden absolutely collapsed, one could maybe envision another establishmentarian with high name recognition and strong fundraising capacity being rapidly recruited and parachuted into the primaries, but that scenario seems far-fetched. Hillary still has all of her awful baggage (plus additional conspiratorial nonsense), Bloomberg is a wealthy X-factor (but the base would likely revolt), and Michelle Obama doesn't seem to be interested at all. Plus, is Biden showing any signs of a pending implosion?
New CNN National Poll: Biden's lead in Democratic primary hits widest margin since April— Amanda Golden (@amandawgolden) October 23, 2019
Poll conducted October 17-20
+/-5.8 pts among Democratic voters https://t.co/WRo0IcMmiD
Granted, it's a relatively small sample size, and there's no such thing as a "national" primary, but still. A 15-point lead is nothing to sneeze at. Meanwhile, this is the sort of response may keep Democratic elders up at night, especially if it represents a sentiment shared widely by independent and swing voters:
An American voter expressed her displeasure with Bernie Sanders & Elizabeth Warren's plans.— Francis Brennan (@FrancisBrennan) October 22, 2019
"How college is going to be free. How health care is going to be free. I'm sorry we can't do that." pic.twitter.com/7Imk3gdL1f
Meanwhile, despite being at a low ebb of his presidency in a number of ways, and in the midst of an ugly impeachment fight, the president's approval rating over all (and among independents) in arguably the most crucial battleground state in the country look tepid...but viable. I'll leave you with another chestnut of wisdom from the Democratic frontrunner:
Did...did Joe Biden just say “China’s not our problem” ? pic.twitter.com/cXoFFHAAjC— Andrew Clark?? (@AndrewHClark) October 24, 2019