Democratic Dead Heat in Iowa

With Biden, Sanders and Buttigieg tied in the polls, who will emerge victorious from the primary?

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U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders walking in the Independence Day parade with supporters in Ames, Iowa. July 4, 2019. (photo: Gage Skidmore)

Competitors for the 2020 Democratic nomination for President are having the best worst year of their lives.

On one hand, they have it in their power to remove Donald Trump from our lives forever- at least theoretically.

On the other hand, they have each other.

The large and diverse field of progressive defenders of the faith has been rendered down to just a handful of serious candidates. And an over-flowing handful of un-serious candidates.

Everyone from New Age writer Marianne Williamson to New York billionaire and former mayor Michael Bloomberg has tested the waters of this race, to varying degrees of success.

Besides Williamson- who has of late laid off her entire staff but maintains that a “connection” with voters is keeping her in the race- and Bloomberg- who maintains no connection with voters whatsoever but a personal fortune of billions keeping him in the race- other fringe candidates are still viable.

Andrew Yang is still enjoying points in the polls and healthy fundraising. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is experiencing some momentum in Iowa. Sen. Cory Booker remains in the race, waiting for his breakout moment.

Currently locked in a dead heat in the Iowa polls are former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Which of these candidates will emerge victorious a month from now during the Iowa caucus depends largely on who can peel the most supporters away from some of the lower-tier candidates.

Whichever one pulls the most support from Sen. Elizabeth Warren will have the best chance at the nomination.

The next few weeks, like the last few weeks, will be make or break for Sen. Elizabeth Warren. And the last few weeks were the breaking kind.

Her candidacy seems to have been permanently damaged by ham-handed deflections and half-hearted attempts to explain away tax increases that most economist agree with fall on the middle and working classes as a result of her Medicare for All proposals.

It is difficult to see older Democrats and the Unions supporting Warren. Older Democrats who already have Medicare don’t want to suffer the growing pains likely in the logistical complexity of extending it to tens of millions more patients in a relatively short amount of time.

Unions have in many cases fought long and hard for worker healthcare benefits. Many worker pools have sacrificed compensation for these benefits over the years. They will not be anxious to scrap it all for the new government plan beta testing phase.

Warren can promise all she likes; no one believes that such a radical undertaking wouldn’t involve more than a few mistakes and unintended consequences.

Warren also has little chance of gaining favor with liberal progressives in the Bernie Sanders camp. She sounds too much like a Republican.

She, unlike some of her Democratic contemporaries, was at least willing to concede the crimes of the late Iranian terrorist mastermind and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani before condemning Trump’s decision to eliminate him.

This is still too much for liberal progressives. The Washington Post, true to form, called Suleimani a “Iran’s most revered military leader”. Colin Kapernick, true to form, blamed the whole thing on U.S. racism.

Warren must understand: These are the correct attitudes on the left, now. Bipartisanship, common ground, compromise ended about the time Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told her fellow Democrats to be “willing to throw a punch for the children, take a punch- for the children.”

If Warren hadn’t sealed her fate with these comments, her support of Trump’s USMCA would undoubtably do so.

Biden, Buttigieg and Sanders will not let voters forget this. Each of these candidates will be coming for Warren, if they are smart.

It’s only fair; it’s their turn. For her criticism of Pete Buttigieg for holding his now-infamous “wine cave fundraiser”, for her many criticisms of Joe Biden, her fellow candidates will make no secret of her cooperation with the administration and goals of Donald Trump.

Nothing could be more poisonous on the progressive left these days than cooperation of any kind with Donald Trump.

Peeling away Warren’s support could seriously help the candidacy of Joe Biden. Older Democrats concerned about Medicare for All and Unions may find Biden appealing. On the other hand, Warren’s more progressive supporters will no doubt break toward Bernie Sanders.

Buttigieg might pick up some support from moderates who worry Biden won’t be able to go the distance against Trump.

At some point, though, one of these contenders will have to unite the warring factions within the Democratic Party. And anti-Trump filibusters will only get them so far.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

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