Democratic primary voters and caucus-attendees are of two minds about the 2020 presidential general election campaign.

A majority of them want it to be like one of those hockey games where the players drop their gloves and start fighting the moment the puck is dropped. They want a candidate who welcomes a bench-clearing brawl with President Trump. And they want the melee to be about something big: an explicit and unapologetic liberal agenda, devoid of global-oney and neoliberal trims.

At the same time, a greater majority of Democratic voters simply want to beat Trump and worry about the rest later. Anything that might endanger his defeat is therefore disqualifying. Whatever general-election voters in the key states need to hear to vote against Trump, that’s the Democratic platform.

Back and forth it goes. The California State Democratic Party delegates boo Democratic presidential candidates who are critical of socialism. Joe Biden is talked up as the party’s surest bet in November 2020. Biden is lambasted for his past support of the Hyde Amendment. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth are described (again and again) as too liberal, a.k.a. “unelectable.”

Enter the polls. Polls are the MRIs of “electability” and provide pseudo-scientific precision to forecasting future outcomes. They enable TV talking heads to winnow candidates out and, to paraphrase the late Senator Fred Harris, “winnow candidates in.”

The problem, for the moment anyway, is that electability isn’t thinning the field. Sanders and Warren are beating Trump in most hypothetical matchups in national and key state polls, and sometimes by margins outside the margin for error. And in some battleground states, the second-tier Democratic candidates are beating Trump as well. It’s hard to make the case that Sanders and Warren and Harris are unelectable if the polling data say that each would win.

Which brings us to the media.

Posted by Libergirl