The Other McCain

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Iowa Poll Shows More Than Half of Democrat Voters Support Old White Guys

Posted on | March 10, 2019 | 4 Comments


Former Vice President Joe Biden leads the latest Iowa poll with 27%, followed by socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders with 25% — between them accounting for more than half the support among likely Democrat caucus voters in the 2020 presidential field. Biden is 76, Sanders is 77, and so the Iowa results may damage the idea that Democrats are the vibrant, young, inclusive party of women and minorities. And even though the third-place candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (9%), is female, her minority status has been shown to be bogus and she’s 69 years old. These three old white people are supported by 61% of Democrats in the Iowa poll.

Sen. Kamala Harris has 7% and another white guy, former Texas Rep. Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, has 5% and every other Democrat candidate is down there at the bottom of the Iowa poll, gasping for air.

It’s still very early, and Biden is not yet even an official candidate, although it has been reported that he’s “95% sure” he’s in for 2020, but Democrat strategists must be starting to worry about whether they can stop President Trump’s re-election with any of the candidates now in the field. This continues a problem that became apparent for Democrats in 2016. The Obama years were a wipeout for Democrats at the state and local level. Beginning in November 2009, when Republicans captured the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey, continuing through the Tea Party election of 2010 and on into 2014, the GOP defeated scores of incumbent Democrats in House, Senate, gubernatorial and legislative elections. The damage was particularly brutal on so-called “Blue Dog” moderate Democrats, forced to defend Obama’s unpopular policies in swing states like Ohio and Florida. This had the effect of depleting the “bench” of Democrats who might have contended with Hillary Clinton for the 2016 nomination, so that only the socialist Sanders, with his fanatical base of young left-wing supporters, was able to challenge the anointed establishment front-runner in the Democrat primary campaign.

Once the candidates start having televised debates — the first are scheduled for late June/early July — we can expect these early poll numbers to shift substantially, but there is a larger and deeper problem for Democrats. While the nation is rather evenly split, with Trump’s support around 45% and the hardcore anti-Trump vote at about the same level, the anti-Trump vote is unevenly distributed. Six states — California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts and Maryland — accounted for more than 22 million (about one-third) of Hillary’s votes in 2016. In those states, Hillary won by an average margin of nearly 2-to-1 — 65.6% to Trump’s 34.4% — but in the remaining 44 states, Trump’s vote total (51.3 million) easily exceeded Clinton’s total (43.6 million).

Because Democratic voters are mainly concentrated in a few urban states, there is a disconnect between the party’s message and the rest of the country, including states like Iowa, which Trump flipped from blue to red in 2016. Despite every disadvantage Trump may face in his re-election bid, the 2020 race will ultimately come down to a head-to-head contest between the Republican incumbent and his Democrat challenger — unless, of course, the networks decide that a third-party candidate like Howard Schultz deserves a place on the debate stage. Frankly, that’s the best hope that Democrats have. None of their 2020 candidates is likely to defeat Trump in a two-way race, and in fact, he could win re-election by an impressive margin. Democrats who still believe they are on “the right side of history” may be in for another ugly surprise in November 2020.