An Early Look at the Democratic Field

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BennettJan 22

Yes, women will power the 2020 election. Also, helpful if it all skews younger--if turnout in 2020 is similar to what it was for 2018, then they will matter, too. Women in general were 59% D vs. 40% R in the midterms. Millennials went D over R by 67%. (And Generation Y, ages 30-44, by 58%.) See it all here: https://www.cnn.com/election/2018/exit-polls.

The takeaway? It's not just the year of women, but also of younger leaders. Joe Biden, now 76? Bernie Sanders, now 77? Really? Enough already. Even Elizabeth Warren at 69--marginally better, but not much. Now, onto those others: Kirsten Gillibrand--she's 52; Kamala Harris--54. And now for the men--whom you should address in a future post. Cory Booker is 49; Beto O'Rourke is 46. Does this matter to Gen Y'ers and Millennials? Not only do I think yes, but I'll go further and suggest it matters a lot to one of the other largest available voting blocs--mine, Generation X. The advantage of skewing younger is that it draws out younger voters--especially on the D side of the equation--where there are more of them than on the R side. A younger candidate can only be upside. Why? Because older voters--which already voter at higher percentages than younger ones--are already along for the ride! Women? Yes. But younger candidates (men or women)? Double yes! Because they get those to vote who don't vote--which in some ways is worth as much (and sometimes more) than just getting those who vote to switch for the time being.

In brief, it's not that I think women candidates will draw more women voters because they're women. I find it more likely women will be voting against Trump, whether it's for Kamala Harris or Beto O'Rourke. (Let us not forget the lesson of Hillary's candidacy in that regard.)

But with younger voters--personal identification counts for more because when younger, identity formation and role identification are far more salient personality characteristics--and candidates who come closer to them along the lines of age, who "get them" more, if you will--will get their votes not only for the first time but possibly forever for the party (if they can continue to represent the party).

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Geoff GJan 22

I don't worry at all about the past positions of any of the potential nominees. (I worry a little about Tulsi Gabbard's past positions, but she will not be the nominee. No one goes from the House to the presidency, which probably rules out Beto too, though at least he has an impressive statewide Senate run on his CV).

I don't worry about past positions because any Democrat who wins the presidency, will be a Democratic president. She will represent the Party's consensus on policies and legislation. She will make promises to Democratic interest groups that they will expect her to keep. Now, some activists will complain that she's not doing enough, and that's a good thing. Pressure helps presidents keep their promises. Occasionally, they'll no doubt ask for more than can be delivered. That's fine too, as long as we remember that "politics is the slow boring of hard boards;" no president can work magic, and no Dem president will ever satisfy the desires of her leftmost constituents. FDR, JFK, LBJ, and Obama were all sell-outs and squishes to the true believers.

By the time the election rolls around, Dems will have coalesced around the most progressive platform the Party has ever advocated, and should have a once in a generation chance of seeing a lot of it turned into legislation. If we don't blow it, and I don't think we will.

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