Election 2020 Open Thread: “But Is the Media America Ready for A Nerd President?”

Peter Beinart’s article is not as silly as the headline makes it sound. “Braininess Is Now the Brand”:

Among the biggest surprises of the Democratic presidential campaign so far are the rise of Pete Buttigieg and the resurgence of Elizabeth Warren, both of whom, according to a new Des Moines Register poll, have moved into a virtual tie for second place in Iowa with Bernie Sanders. In many ways, the Buttigieg and Warren phenomena are distinct: Buttigieg promises generational change; Warren is almost 70. Buttigieg emphasizes his success in a conservative state; Warren stresses her willingness to challenge corporate power. Buttigieg has become a darling of the big donors whom Warren eschews.

What unites them, and separates them from Sanders and Joe Biden, is their unabashed intellectualism. Both have made braininess central to their political brand. And it’s working—a fact that offers a window into the changing culture of the Democratic Party…

It’s not unusual for Democratic presidential candidates to have impressive resumes. Bill Clinton is a Rhodes Scholar; Barack Obama was the president of the Harvard Law Review. Cory Booker and Julián Castro attended Stanford; Amy Klobuchar went to Yale. In fact, every president since Ronald Reagan has been a product of the Ivy League.

What’s new is that Warren and Buttigieg are leaning into their credentialed intellectualism rather than worrying that it will make them appear elitist….

As late as 1994, according to the Pew Research Center, voters who had graduated from college were 15 points more likely to identify as Republicans than Democrats, and voters with graduate degrees were almost evenly split between the two parties. By 2017, college graduates’ partisan leanings had flipped: They now favored Democrats by 15 points. Among Americans with graduate degrees, the shift has been even starker. The Democratic advantage, which stood at two points in 1994, had grown to 32 points by 2017.

As a result, the educational composition of the two parties has diverged. From 1997 to 2017, the share of registered Republican voters who finished college stayed the same. Among Democrats, it rose by 15 points. This shift has influenced the way the two parties see education itself. In 2010, Democrats were seven points more likely than Republicans to say that colleges and universities have a positive effect on America. By 2017, they were 36 points more likely…
Read more








Election 2020 Open Thread: The First DNC Debate Lineups Have Been Released

Surprise! Ain’t nobody happy about the results — a phrase which may be Tom Perez’s epitaph. Per the Washington Post:

Former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the two leading candidates in early Democratic presidential polling, will share the stage later this month as the party holds its first back-to-back nights of debates…

Joining Biden and Sanders on the second night will be Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), Sen. Michael F. Bennet (Colo.), South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.), author and spiritual guru Marianne Williamson and technology entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

The group debating on the first night will include Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), former Obama Cabinet member Julián Castro, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, former congressman John Delaney (Md.), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), former congressman Beto O’Rourke, Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.).

The DNC had sought to divide the field in such a way that one debate would not appear more important than the other. The announcement Friday drew immediate questions about whether the organization had succeeded.

Night two includes four of the five candidates who are averaging at least 7 percent support in a Washington Post average of national polls over the past month — Biden, Sanders, Harris and Buttegieg. Night one includes Warren, who stands at 12 percent in recent national polls, while all other candidates that night hold less than 5 percent support…

NBC said candidates were divided into two groups, depending on whether they were polling above or below 2 percent. Random drawing from both groups resulted in assignment to either the first or the second night, with a goal of including a mix of higher-polling candidates and lower-polling candidates both nights.

Ill-judged cutoff percentage, IMO. (Of course, were it left to me, getting onstage would’ve required polling at least 3%, so… ) Politico is very excited, of course:

By splitting the Democratic presidential field’s top-tier candidates into two groups and dividing them evenly across two stages for the year’s first primary debates, the Democratic National Committee had hoped to avoid a repeat of the Republican Party’s “kiddie table” spectacle of 2016.

It got a stacked deck, anyway…
Read more








Thursday Morning Open Thread: Elizabeth Warren Is Having A Moment

Yes, I would be embarrassed by my obvious selection bias, but right at this moment in time it’s easier to find interesting stories about Warren than about her worthy competitors. So, if you have links to share concerning Harris, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Booker, O’Rourke, Gillibrand, et al — even Joe Biden! — please leave a comment, or contact me at annelaurie (dot) bj (at) gmail (dot) com, TIA.

(Besides, the alternative for today’s early-morning uplift was the Steve King / Diamond & Silk ‘press conference’ fiasco.)

Paul Waldman, at the Washington Post, “Why Elizabeth Warren is surging”:

Overinterpreting small movements in polls is always dangerous, but if she does continue to rise — and right now she looks like one of the only Democratic candidates who is gaining support — there are some particular reasons why, reasons that may help us understand what primary voters are thinking and how the media are shaping the race…

… Warren, a senator from Massachusetts, is drawing some of the largest crowds as she campaigns across the state. Those attending her events testify to her skill in winning people over, her ability to describe policy challenges through effective storytelling, and her seemingly inexhaustible energy and enthusiasm.

Then there’s the role of the media. For a variety of reasons, Warren has become the favored candidate of the liberal opinion-writing elite. Even those (such as myself) who aren’t endorsing any candidate have been complimenting Warren for a while, writing and talking about her in ways that may be having an impact on how everyone else sees her and her candidacy…

There’s something else Warren has that wins respect from those who have covered lots of campaigns, and winds up producing better media coverage in subtle ways: A clear, coherent message of the kind most of the other candidates are lacking.
Read more








Late Night Schadenfreude Open Thread: Bad News for the Sanders Campaign

“Figures lie and liars figure!…”


In other words: When Biden announced, Sanders lost 8 points, which he has since regained. Of course, his numbers could continue to improve… but since March, Elizabeth Warren has gone from 4 points to 15. And she’s trending!


Read more








Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Be Of Good Cheer (Srsly)

The Repubs have a decompensating narcissist who only took his current position with the help of voter suppression and foreign money… and they’re all too terrified to challenge him. We have half a dozen excellent candidates, and several perfectly competent backups. Also, people like confidence!


And this would be bad… because?!?