California is the Democratic Party in a nutshell… a very large nutshell. The state is not only the most populous and richest, but it also tends to set trends for progressivism. The latest poll from California shows five candidates in double-digits while everyone else is registering no better than three percent.
Things can change quickly with the debates starting in two weeks, but as of today it’s a five-person race.
Vice President Joe Biden is the frontrunner in every recent poll, but his numbers have been steadily dropping and he has stumbled over everything possible. It’s no wonder his campaign has kept him relatively hidden; he has very little to gain and plenty to lose every time he opens his mouth at this early stage in the race. Still, he’s the only moderate (though his views have been lurching to the left, as we anticipated) with a chance at the nomination.
Senator Elizabeth Warren is surging thanks in large part to throwing out new radical policy proposals every other day. She came in second in the California poll and seems to be the most likely recipient of some strong endorsements, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Warren’s ideological partner in the Senate, Bernie Sanders, is heading in the opposite direction. He was challenging Biden in some polls just a month ago, but now seems to be falling. As Warren throws out fresh ideas, Sanders seems to be recycling his 2016 campaign speeches with the same policy proposals. The Democratic Party of today is not one that likes consistency, so Sanders’s strength in holding true to his beliefs may end up being what sinks him.
California’s own Senator Kamala Harris is stuck in 4th place in her home state. Viewed early on as a favorite for the nomination thanks to the early California primary, her personality has been her biggest problem. She just isn’t very likable. But she’s also one of two women and the only minority in the top five, so she’s going to hang around. She may even hang around long enough to move up if she does well in the debates.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg rounds out the top five. He came out of nowhere to stir interest as the only openly LGBTQ major candidate and has been helped by plenty of positive press. He also has a better personality than most of the candidates, and though he is merely a mid-sized city mayor, he has done exceptional well under the national spotlight.
Everyone else, for now, are non-competitive. Things can change quickly, of course, especially with debates on the way. One fumble similar to Rick Perry’s “oops” moment in the 2012 race can tank any of them. One strong debate soundbite can revive interest in the fading candidates like Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker. But the five currently leading in California seem to be the cream of this particular crop.
The clown car has already been divided into those who have a realistic chance and those who need a miracle. Or two. Who do you think the President would prefer to face in the general election?
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