Going into the Iowa caucuses today, Sen. Bernie Sanders leads polling in the state with 24.2% support in the Real Clear Politics polling average. VP Joe Biden is next with 20.2%, then Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 16.4%, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 15.6%. No other candidate polls higher than the “viability threshold” of 15%. The only possible surprise is Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 8.6%, but reaching 15% to collect some delegates will be difficult for her.
Sanders’ rise is worrying the Democratic establishment. Sanders could certainly rouse the Democrat base, but older center-left Democrats might stay home rather than vote for someone who has embraced the socialist platform they endured the hardships of a Cold War to avoid. The Washington Examiner talked to one older Democrat from Iowa, Louise Rojohn (75), who has doubts about voting for Sanders. Naomi Lim wrote:
Louise Rojohn, 75, who is hoping for a Biden ticket with Warren, a Massachusetts senator, for the fall fight against President Trump, admitted vote-splitting by the center-left contenders was a concern. Backing Biden for his foreign policy chops, she added Sanders becoming the party’s nominee would give her pause about casting a ballot in the general election, even though she detests the White House incumbent.
Sanders leads the polls in New Hampshire by even more. Despite his strong support in the early states, Sanders hasn’t beaten Biden in many national polls just yet. Two recent polls have had Sanders ahead, with a 3% lead in one, and a 1% lead in the other. Not blowouts by any means, but indicative of Sanders closing the gap on Biden.
After forcefully winnowing the field via ever-stricter debate rules through 2019, the Democratic National Committee now seems prepared to change the rules in order to allow former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to join the debates. There is outrage on the left among supporters of candidates like Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Julian Castro, who had strong organizations but couldn’t keep up with tightening debate rules. The old rules will still apply for February 7th engagement in New Hampshire. After that, though, Bloomberg may be asked to join the other high-polling candidates on stage.
Leaders on the far left are having a meltdown over Bloomberg’s possible inclusion. At an event supporting Sanders, left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore ranted to the audience: “The DNC will not allow Cory Booker on that stage, will not allow Julian Castro … but they’re going to allow Mike Bloomberg because HE HAS A BILLION $%%$*#& DOLLARS?!”
Trump Eagerly Awaits a Weakened Challenger
The man benefiting most from the infighting going on in Democrat ranks is the President. The bad blood and inevitable recriminations percolating in Democratic ranks could make all the difference in what promises to be a close-fought general election. If just a fraction of Democrats stay home because they’re unhappy with the process that chose their nominee, it could mean the difference between winning and losing for the President.
In the meantime, on the very day his impeachment trial began in the Senate, the President was enjoying some of the best support since his “honeymoon” period just after his election. On January 27, the President’s net disapproval was only 6.1 points, the lowest it’s been since March 17, 2017.
In candidate news, Rep. John Delaney has officially dropped his bid for the Democratic nomination.
Here are the latest national (as opposed to Iowa or New Hampshire) rankings of the remaining Democratic candidates:
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