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Friday, June 28, 2019

2020 Democratic Presidential Race Officially Underway

George Wenschhof
The first Democratic presidential candidate debate is over. Now candidate and media spin is frantically underway to influence voters.  One thing to keep in mind is this is June 2019 and the long road to the Democratic Party nomination will culminate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during the Democratic National Convention held July 13-16, 2020.
That said, voters were still excited to listen to the candidates to help them determine who they will support who has the best chance to remove Donald Trump from the White House, their number one desire.
With 20 of the 25 announced candidates qualifying for the first debate, it created insurmountable obstacles for the moderators.  Splitting the debate into two nights with ten candidates each night helped in the logistics. But, it remained too many candidates on stage and difficult for voters to tune in for a two hour debate two nights in a row.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) led by Tom Perez was more than generous by allowing candidates to appear in the first debate with the following guidelines: To qualify via polling, a candidate must reach 1 percent in at least three national or early-state polls from qualifying polling organizations. To qualify via donors, a candidate must have at least 65,000 unique donors with at least 200 donors in at least 20 different states.
I applaud the DNC for giving so many candidates the national exposure during the first debate.  However, reducing the field to the top seven candidates should be the goal following the next debate scheduled for July 30-31.  The same everyone gets on stage criteria as the first debate will be in place for the second debate scheduled in Detroit, Michigan televised by CNN.
It was also smart for the DNC to hold the first two debates in Florida and Michigan, two toss-up states Democrats look to win in 2020.
The candidates who helped themselves in the first debate, in no particular order of significance, are California Senator Kamala Harris, Former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.  While Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey received the most air time the first night, it remains to be seen if he benefitted from this debate.  Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York did her best to get noticed but it was Kamala Harris’s night so Gillibrand may receive little to no bounce in polling.
I expect former vice president Joe Biden to remain the front runner, even though he had a performance similar to the one President Barack Obama had against Republican Mitt Romney prior to his second term.  I labeled that the “rope a dope” defense because Romney who was far behind in polling hammered Obama throughout that debate and Obama just took it.  The race would narrow following that debate fueled by Republican optimism after witnessing the drubbing given to Obama.  However, Obama would finish strong and ultimately win reelection.  It is way too early to count Biden out.  But, he definitely needs to retool his approach.  Look to see if he remains at 37% or drops when polling following the debate comes out.
Also, look to see Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont fall from his current second place polling position with Warren taking second place.  However, he will likely remain in the top five.
Sen. Kamala Harris should receive the biggest boost following this debate and arrive in the top five in polls.
Stay tuned.

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