Sunday, February 16, 2020

Weekend Roundup

New Hampshire finally voted last week. Bernie Sanders won, although not by the margin I had hoped for -- 25.58% to 24.27% for Pete Buttigieg, 19.69% for Klobuchar, with significant drops for Elizabeth Warren (9.19%) and Joe Biden (8.34%). Sanders did, however, get more young voters than everyone else combined. As I note in the German Lopez note below, the Buttigieg/Klobuchar bubble seems to have less to do with anything attractive about their platforms than with the irrational fears of many Democrats (including some older ones who are philosophically aligned left, but grew up in a world where red-baiting was always effective) that Sanders would wind up losing to Trump. How they figure Buttigieg or Klobuchar might fare better is something I don't care to speculate on. Neither has the familiarity or national organization they'll need in coming weeks, and their repeated (misinformed and disingenuous) attacks on Medicare for All in recent months, while effective for raising donations and establishing themselves as niche candidates, makes them improbable (as well as damn unsatisfactory) party unifiers.

Biden is still better positioned to recover in later primaries, but did himself much harm in Iowa and New Hampshire. In particular, he lost favor with the "anybody but Trump (except Sanders)" party faction, and his support among Afro-Americans was never any deeper than a cautious wager. Biden has slipped behind Sanders in national polls, lost his big lead in Nevada, and may even lose his "firewall" state of South Carolina (see FiveThirtyEight, which also forecasts Sanders to lead in most "Super Tuesday" contests, including: California, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado, and Tennessee -- in fact, the only state Biden is still favored in is Alabama). FiveThirtyEight still projects Biden to finish second, but they already have Michael Bloomberg in a close third, with Buttigieg a distant fourth, Warren with vanishingly slim chances in fifth, and Klobuchar even further behind. That assumes they all keep running, which almost certainly won't happen.

[PS: Closing this now to get it up and out of the way. I've been running into frustrating dead ends seems like everywhere.]

Some scattered links this week: