Smoke Signals.


There were two things that I saw in the news this week that I felt were worth mentioning and commenting upon. One was a poll that had nothing to do with specific individual candidate popularity in the Democratic primaries, and the other was reporting on both MSNBC and CNN regarding the feelings and emotions on the ground among Democratic primary voters.

In a poll released last week, 65% of Democratic voters said that they would vote for a Democratic candidate in the general election with whom they seriously disagreed on most major issues, if it would help to defeat Donald Trump. I find this highly significant, since even at this early stage, people seem to be saying, “While I like Mayor Pete, or Elizabeth Warren, or whomever, if they don’t make it, I’m all in with whoever, just to beat Trump.” Also, this is a stinging blow to “single issue” candidates like Jay Inslee on climate change, and Eric Swalwell on gun control, because it heralds a a a sentiment of “Yeah, that stuff is important, but more important is shit canning Trump outta 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!”

On the reporting front, reporters from both MSNBC and CNN, embedded with different candidates, all reported an almost paranoid desperation to make sure that Traitor Tot doesn’t get a second term. I find this striking for a couple of reasons. First, it signals to me that there is an overarching focus among Democratic voters in 2020 that was missing in 2016. Supporters of losing primary candidates in 2020 appear much less likely to simply disappear from the scene, simply because their candidate didn’t win, and it is almost impossible to imagine them switching over to support His Lowness. And second, it is going to mean slim pickings for extraterrestrial candidates from the Green Party or the Libertarian party this time around, the stakes are much too high for “protest votes.”

The combination of the two factors listed above has forced me to begin to rethink something that I thought I had a pretty good handle on. Previously I wrote that one of the consequences of increased grassroots fundraising, good or bad to be determined, is that it would allow what would normally be considered as “outside,” or “fringe” candidates to remain on the scene far beyond what would normally be considered their “shelf life<” ,” simply by having the money necessary to keep on going.But now, with those results, I’m being forced to reconsider that notion. With the fact that early reporting and polling seems to suggest that, while still fully engaged in the primary process, Democratic voters are already looking past the primaries, and at the democracy saving imperative to beat Donald Trump at all costs, this primary race may be shortened considerably from what I expected.

What I’m starting to think now is that the field will stay as large and unwieldy as it is through, I believe, the second debate. After that, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some of the farther lagging candidates, who made the debate stage by the “grassroots fundraising” route, start to see their small donor support start to dry up, making it impossible to continue. I’m starting to think that supporters of some of these lower tier candidates, especially if they don’t show well in the debates, and continue to languish in the polls, may simply move their support to another candidate whom they think has the possibility of remaining viable longer.

Likewise, I think that the actual primary process could be accelerated as well. I think that after South Carolina, and most certainly after Super Tuesday, we are going to see a significant culling of the herd. If the mood of Democratic voters in the primaries continues to be so strongly focused on the task of giving the Denver Boot to El Pendejo Presidente in November, I find it plausible that Democratic voters may wish to streamline the process as much as possible, gather around the most viable candidate, and get a head start on the general election.

Now granted, there are miles and miles to go, and we’ve barely left the starting gate, but I don’t think that what I’ve just said indicates that I’m running around in the back yard with a butterfly net. Forget everything I’ve said above. the simple fact that one candidate, and the one with the longest history and record, has jumped out to a commanding double digit lead, and that so many highly qualified candidates are mired with such low support polling numbers, signals to me that a majorty og voters, at least Democratic voters, are far more concerned that we “Dump Trump,” than in whom actually holds the shovel, and tips it over the garbage can of history. We shall see.

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3 Comments on "Smoke Signals."

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old grey dude
If trump was capable of learning anything from 2018 election he would have moderated his positions and moved to the middle at least on some issues. This might have lead to the Democratic base to lose steam. Instead he has doubled down on his crazy connection to his base. He is keeping the democratic base fired up and angry even though they are exhausted from the daily travesties. Second I think half the Democratic field will be gone by January. It will be interesting to see who they endorse as they begin to drop out. Will they coalesce around one… Read more »
They may be concerned that we “dump Trump,” but I] worry that they may be getting lulled into conventional, “same ol/same ol” thinking of “If we play it safe with an old white dude we’ve got a better chance.” Honestly, I don’t think cowering behind the familiar is our best shot. I think picking a candidate as different from Trump as possible is — which is why Harris is growing on me a lot. I think she’s got a much better shot here in Idiohio than say, Biden. I think she could excite and turn out our base voters, which… Read more »
Well, I’m not so sure about how 2020 is going to shape up at this point. For one thing, the Iowa caucus doesn’t take place until February (the last time it took place so late with so many presumptive candidates was all the way back in 1992; in 2016, there were really just the two candidates). And “Super Tuesday” is a far more “super” day than it’s been in quite some time since California moved its primary from June to March’s Super Tuesday. While that makes for a nice little struggle for a lot of the lower-tier candidates, it does… Read more »