This week, Elizabeth Warren overtook Bernie Sanders on the Morning Consult poll. This is the first time she’s placed second on Morning Consult. She’s now up a full point on the RealClear poll average, including 11-point advantages on Quinnipiac and YouGov. She’s up a point on Emerson too. Sanders hangs on to two-point leads on Harris and FOX News’ polls, but trails everywhere else.
Sanders led by 4 points as recently as June and 10 points as recently as May. He’s dropped from 23% in the average to 17%. In April, Warren’s campaign looked moribund. She polled at less than 6% and was getting obliterated in fundraising. We have screwed this up. But the good news is that we have time. Iowa isn’t until February. There’s four full months to turn this around. But if we’re going to do it, we need to take a hard look at ourselves and the role we’ve been playing in the race.
In the second round of Democratic primary debates, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders were in the same room, but the two of them were surrounded by centrist Democrats who poll at almost nothing. Stephen Bullock, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Amy Klobuchar, and Tim Ryan all clock in at 1% or less. Together, they spoke for more than 50 minutes, and they used most of their time to insinuate that policies like Medicare are a socialist pipe-dream. Sanders and Warren each received about 18 minutes, combining for about 36. By including all these centrists that poll at negligible numbers in the debates, the Democratic Party drowned the progressive candidates in a cacophony of establishment hand-wringing. There was never an opportunity for Sanders and Warren to argue with each other, and now many in the media are portraying Sanders and Warren as if they were on a progressive “team”. This obfuscates the very real differences between these candidates, so let me do the job that the Democratic Party and the moderators failed to do, and illustrate those differences for you.
I co-wrote a piece with Current Affairs’ Nathan J. Robinson on why Sanders’ Medicare-For-All plan is much better than Buttigieg’s “Medicare For All Who Want It” and the “many paths” advocated by Warren and Harris. You can read it here:
Politicians are really good at fooling voters. Voters have jobs and kids and lives to lead. They are too busy to look very closely at things politicians say and do, and increasingly journalists are every bit as overtaxed and unable to do the job in their stead. We saw this during the Democratic debates. The moderators asked the candidates to raise their hands if they supported Medicare-For-All, and most of the candidates obliged. But several of the hand-raisers routinely deploy a rhetorical sleight of hand I call the “Many Paths” trick. It works like this: