Our Monthly Update: Elizabeth Warren’s Lead is Slipping
Author: Greg Valliere
October 21, 2019
WHILE WAITING FOR IMPEACHMENT, tonight’s Canadian election results, next week’s Fed meeting and — of course — the World Series, let’s take a look where the Democrats stand in our monthly update of the ever-changing nomination fight.
The field: Time to leave for Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Yang, etc. They’ve had some memorable moments, but none of them is above 3% in national polls. And the train is about to leave the station for long-shot outsiders (although Hillary Clinton still has the itch). This race is about to crystallize — we’ll soon be down to the following five candidates:
5. Amy Klobuchar: A dark horse who continues to impress in debates as the adult in the room, she needs to finish in the top three in Iowa to have any chance of winning the nomination. An increasingly likely VP candidate.
4. Bernie Sanders: A brush with death, handled bravely, can boost a politician’s standing (see: Ronald Reagan in 1981). So Bernie is back, as fierce as ever. Before his heart attack, the Sanders campaign was stumbling, amid staff in-fighting. He’s an original — can’t rule him out, he’s got plenty of money — but is Sanders a plausible president? No, he’s a protest candidate.
3. Pete Buttigieg: He’s the insiders’ favorite, glib and likable. If voters decide, after a summer of infatuation with radicals, that a moderate is the answer, Biden obviously would benefit. But if Biden stumbles, here’s Mayor Pete, suddenly a serious player (with plenty of money). He’ll have to finish in the top three — or top two — in Iowa.
2. Elizabeth Warren: After touting her chances for months, her flaws are becoming apparent: an impossibly expensive and radical agenda, and an elitism that borders on hectoring. Her support among African Americans is minimal, and fundraisers are uneasy over her wealth tax. Like many front-runners, Warren may have peaked too early; the winner in Iowa will peak in late January.
1. Joe Biden: He hasn’t raised much money, he seemed to allow his son to profit from the family name, and he’s no prize in debates. But we sense that Democrats are having a reality check — voters know that Biden has a path to 270 electoral votes. (A Klobuchar-Buttigieg ticket might have a path also, but first they have to get nominated.)
A serious gaffe could derail Biden’s candidacy in one day, but Biden is keeping a low profile, hoping his ties to Barack Obama will maintain good will from mainstream Democrats — and the party’s establishment. Yes, he has lost a step or two, but it’s way too early to write off Uncle Joe.
INVESTMENT IMPLICATIONS: If Warren really is stalling, that would be a great relief for the financial services industry, which can live with Biden. One thing is certain in this wild race: for the Democrats, it’s a nomination very much worth winning, since Donald Trump is in free-fall, losing support among Republicans who — finally — are saying enough is enough.
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