2020 Is Trump's to Lose

We're on the point of 2020, and it's still not obvious who the Democratic presidential candidate will be.  The winnowing of the field hasn't cleared the way for a bankable winner.  Democrats are about where they started this time last year, when the great Cherokee chiseler announced her intention to run.

The transformative party of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt is spinning its wheels in the muddy hustings despite starting the primary cycle with a profuse bench of candidates.  As things stand, Joe Biden, a white, geriatric facsimile of the last Democratic president, has a steady lead.  The former veep remains ahead despite more than a few boomlets from onetime competitive candidates.

Consider the 2019 class of Democratic dropouts: Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Robert "Beto" O'Rourke, Eric Swalwell, Jay Inslee, Bill de Blasio, John Hickenlooper.  A few other non-notables padded out the clown car, including an obscure state senator and Trump voter, the most anti-war progressive to run for president since William Jennings Bryan, and a governor who resembles a stolid yet handy Hallmark movie hunk.

They've all bowed out, but not for a lack of talent.  Many had Midwestern appeal, which will be necessary to scale Trump's newly built red wall along Michigan and Wisconsin.  But the party's base isn't interested in overtures to Kenosha housewives who like Medicare but repine at the idea of multi-sex bathrooms.

As time ticks down to the fast approaching Iowa caucus, the remaining candidates have dropped the hail-fellow-well-met act and are focusing on one another's lack of progressive purity.  The resultant attacks have handicapped the few remaining challengers to Biden.  Elizabeth Warren's past corporate consulting has pricked her populist image, deflating her standing.  Mayor Pete Buttigieg, despite his prodigious rise, is flailing in the single digits in national polls, his out-of-left-field surge an indictment of the once promising bench.

Then there are the twin billionaires who have purchased their position in the polls with wave after wave of online ads.  Party of the working man?  Get money out of politics?  Defenders of democracy?  Upholder of the sacred principle that a cat may look at a king?  Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg have buffaloed their way into consideration with oligarchical spending, shattering Democratic shibboleths in the process.

Strange to tell, the most zooty of Democratic candidates not named Joe is a Leninist back number who's probably been wearing the same three pairs of Dockers since 1991.  Bernie Sanders is no smooth-talking debonair à la John Edwards.  But he's ideas-driven and consistent, despite his ideas being outmoded since Gorbachev molted half a dozen Soviet satellites.  Were Warren-supporters to pledge their troth to Sanders, along with the remaining few candidates polling above two percent, the Vermont socialist would be, perforce, the nominee.

The odds of that happening?  The same as the Bengals clinching a playoff berth in week 17.  Obama has quietly suggested that he'll put his thumb on the scale to deprive Sanders of the nomination.  The DNC, under the captaincy of the gormless Tom Perez, isn't about to cross the most popular living Democrat.

So we're back to 2016.  The Democrat power brokers will thwart Bernie's essay to clinch the nod.  Biden will be coronated with a diamanté crown.  The only other option is to let Sanders's Guevarista supporters overtake the Party apparatus and likely bollix the general election.

To add to the Democrats' attack of the dismals, it's hardly a given that Biden will be competitive with Trump.  Yes, he has blue-collar "roots," if blue-collar means spending three decades in the Senate doing little to nothing to stop the mass exporting of manufacturing jobs.  His increasingly erratic stump speeches, complete with logorrheic anecdotes, don't inspire confidence.

Compare this state of political affairs to that of four years ago.  The Republican field was still strong, despite the unforeseen surge of an unorthodox Manhattan real estate giant.  Plenty of conservative stars were running, most with, if not a solid record of governance, then a principled brand.

Democrats tried to mimic this bench in 2019, only to fill it with House backbenchers and wanting senators.  Perhaps political historians will be able to examine the race decades from now and find out why the Democratic field has less social appeal than a Dungeons and Dragons combine.  The phenomenon is particularly curious, given the Democrats' willingness to impeach their opponent a year out from Election Day.

Democrats are convinced that Trump is corrupt and unpopular enough to be beatable.   Right now, their best hope for confirming that theory is a guy who can't remember what state he's in.

Good luck with that.  This election increasingly looks like Trump's to lose.

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