The Democrats Have a New Star, and Joe Biden Looks Rusty
Author: Greg Valliere
June 28, 2019
JOE BIDEN IS STILL THE DEMOCRATS’ SHAKY FAVORITE — he wasn’t that bad last night — but the 2020 presidential race has been profoundly altered: Biden is in danger of losing his strong support from African Americans. Just as importantly, the media now will focus on a fresh face — the breakout star, Kamala Harris.
UNLIKE WEDNESDAY NIGHT’S SNOOZE-FEST, last night was gripping, with one over-riding theme: the ascendancy of fresh voices — Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg — and signs that the old guys (Biden and Bernie Sanders) have little new to offer. Sanders has been reduced to yelling and scolding; he had a terrible night. Biden is trapped in the past, trying to explain his stance on school busing, but elections are about the future.
WE REITERATE OUR THEME FROM YESTERDAY: Donald Trump must be smacking his lips, preparing new attacks on Democrats like Harris, who continue to embrace abolition of the health insurance industry, giving health benefits for illegal immigrants, and offering massive student loan relief. This will require huge tax increases — even on the middle class, as Sanders conceded last night.
TRUMP WILL ADROITLY DEMONIZE THE DEMOCRATS, and he surely needs a distraction after still another lap-dog performance with Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit. Just as Biden is the vulnerable front-runner, Trump is as well. But Trump can go for the jugular, and Biden may not have the energy; Harris lit him up and Biden’s counter-punching was lame.
Some quick observations on the candidates in this memorable debate:
Harris is aggressive, well-funded and poised to win the California primary, which has been moved up to March 3. We continue to believe she will be on the ticket — probably as the running mate — but her chances of winning the nomination have improved dramatically.
Biden looks rusty and needs a comeback as more debates loom; the next ones are July 30-31 in Detroit. He will be a pinata and may lose his strong suit: his claim that he’s the only candidate who can beat Trump. But it’s way too early to write off Biden; one mediocre debate performance is not sufficient.
Buttigieg is the most articulate and interesting candidate in the race, as he showed last night.
Kirsten Gillibrand had nothing to lose last night, so she tried to out-shout all the other candidates. Everyone will get their 15 minutes of fame, perhaps even Gillibrand.
Michael Bennet beat John Hickenlooper for the championship of Colorado candidates; two interesting candidates probably going nowhere.
Seriously — what were Andrew Yang, Eric Swalwell and Marianne Williamson doing on the stage?
BOTTOM LINE: There’s a long way to go, and other issues are more important right now for the financial markets — a China trade deal, Federal Reserve policies, the looming fall budget crisis, etc. But the Democrats showed signs of life last night, with fresh faces and a market-unfriendly agenda that investors need to monitor warily.
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