As we slide into early November, a full year removed from the presidential election of 2020, the Democratic primary continues to remain stable, except at the top.
A month ago, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren were tied at the top of the Real Clear Politics Poll, and Biden led by 4% in the 538 aggregate poll. As of Wednesday, Biden was leading by 7% in Real Clear Politics and 9% in 538.
So what happened? The obvious answer is that Biden gained about 3% and Warren dropped about 6%. Warren’s purported frontrunner status began going south when she refused to unveil the details of her Medicare for All Plan. And, when she did, it did not go well.
As the great philosopher/pugilist Mike Tyson once said, “Everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the face.” Warren got punched in the face, figuratively speaking of course. Fellow Democrats dismissed her insurance plan as totally unrealistic, as might be expected.
However, more damning were nonpartisan economists with impressive credentials who calmly and calculatingly dissected the assumptions of the plan, and have been almost universally critical. Right of Warren was forced to agree with Robert Pollin of the Political Economic Research Institute of Massachusetts that her plan would eliminate more than 2 million good-paying jobs primarily in the health sector.
Additionally, Warren had used the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center’s calculations of future health care costs and impacts to prepare her plan. The center carefully reviewed the plan issuing a thorough report on all aspects. The center projects that health care costs will rise by $34 trillion over the next 10 years. That is the amount of additional revenue that must be raised to cover her plan cost. However, Warren reduces that number to $20.5 trillion by way of a number of proposed saving measures in the health industry, reduction of wasteful spending and new taxes on the wealthy and employers.
Urban-Brookings politely questioned almost every assumption regarding cost containment and revenue production, basically deeming the plan highly improbable if not impossible. They were certainly kinder than one columnist for the Washington Examiner, Phillip Stein, who quipped, “her plan is so laughable she might as well say Mexico is going to pay for it!”
Another recent development is the withdrawal of Beto O’Rourke from the contest. Beto had shown early promise after his near miss in the Texas Senate race. He was actually running third in mid-April until Biden formally entered the race, beginning a precipitous slide from 8% to less than 2%. O’Rourke ran as a moderate to liberal pragmatist, but his most pragmatic move may have been deciding to fold his tent.
Additionally, I have expressed my annoyance at what I perceive as an effort by the progressive-liberal media to dislodge Biden from his frontrunner status. They first anointed Kamala Harris as the nominee awaiting coronation after the first debate, only to see her rise and fall considerably below previous polling heights.
Then of course came the supposed Warren surge, preordained to rocket her to the nomination. While she certainly remains in serious contention, it appears much of the media has moved on to a new favorite in Pete Buttigieg. Again, the term “surge” has been misappropriated. Buttigieg is up 1 whole percent in one month. The excitement appears to be forming around the fact that Buttigieg is running second in some Iowa polls. Bear in mind only about 2 percent of the delegates at the convention will be from Iowa.
Even if Buttigieg was to somehow climb into contention in the primary, Democrat voters must face a stark reality. A recent poll by Morning Consult indicates that 37% of American voters state they will not vote for a gay person for president. As expected, far fewer Democrats are opposed (only 9%), but 37% of independents are opposed to a gay person serving as president — a sizable impediment to electibility.
CARL HOLDER is retired as the city manager for Paris. He lives at 1404 Patriot Drive in Paris and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.