10 September 2019
The democratic presidential field is currently a very chaotic one. With two debates spanning four nights so far, things should be narrowing down, but candidates see this as a high stakes election, and many are unwilling to back down.
For months, Joe Biden has had a seemingly unshakable lead on the competition until Kamala Harris demonstrated Biden’s fallibility during a debate with a pointed call out over his history on race.
Biden has maintained this lead mostly because of name recognition due to his status as the previous vice president of one of the most popular administrations among democrats in recent history.
However, the party seems split along several ideological lines. The more ‘left wing’ progressive voters in the party have expressed concerns over Joe Biden because of his Hawkish reputation, and moderate political history.
These progressives are split into more groups. Some prefer Bernie Sanders for his consistent voting record and stubborn resilience. He has shown an uncanny ability to be on the right side of history. He consistently makes a stand for what he believes to be right and history usually agrees with him, from civil rights to the Iraq war.
Others rightly think that despite Sanders’ unfailing moral compass, he is politically ineffective. His stubborn resolve makes it a little harder for him to generate wider support for a lot of his proposals as he is often unwilling to budge ideologically.
These people tend to support Kamala Harris, who is often criticized for her actions in relation to her job as a district attorney. She has an attitude toward crime that may be a little outdated, more closely resembling that of Bill Clinton than that of Barack Obama.
The one candidate on the progressive side that people seem to be rallying around is Elizabeth Warren. Warren has grown a lot in popularity over the last 5 years because of her bold presence at hearings before the Senate.
She has a talent for making corrupt industry giants look foolish with her blunt interrogation style. She closely resembles Sanders ideologically but has a little better reputation with the party. Sanders supporters caused a rift within the party after their ‘Bernie or Bust’ attitude resulted in the loss of Hillary Clinton in 2016. Warren could be the candidate that unites this part of the party. Even if she does manage to accomplish this, it will be hard for her to catch up to Biden’s enormous lead.
Biden is seen as the safest candidate against Trump. This is probably mostly due to his connection to Obama but might also be because he is so moderate. He feels more normal to a lot of voters shaken by the qualities of the current commander in chief.
Biden’s weakness comes from his strength. On one hand he seems natural and down to earth, but this also makes him a gaffe machine. He is known for embarrassing slip ups and awkward one-on-one interactions. These qualities will make him an easy target for Trump’s ‘playground bully’ style of debate, which relies on ad hominem take-downs.
The only way the democrats will be able to beat Trump in the general will be through unity. A chaotic primary only benefits the republicans as we inch closer to the big day.