The field of 2020 Democrats vying for their party’s nomination hasn’t dwindled at all, but polling appears to indicate there are four viable candidates. Of course, polls aren’t everything. Mayor Pete Buttigieg raised more money than any Democrat in the race last cycle, but he’s stuck in the single digits in nearly every poll.
See below for a rundown on the latest news from the Democratic primary’s leading contenders:
Fmr. Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE)
Biden is still the frontrunner, and a new CBS News poll of early Democratic primary states reinforces that notion. Among Democratic voters who live in states with a primary before or on Super Tuesday next year, Biden leads with 25 percent support, followed by Elizabeth Warren at 20 percent, Kamala Harris at 16 percent, and Bernie Sanders at 15 percent. While the other candidates have reshuffled a bit, Biden remains in the lead. But his team has reason to be cautious – just 38 percent said they believe Biden would fight “a great deal” for people like them, whereas Warren and Sanders received scores in the mid-50s on that point. And both Warren and Harris were described as more “passionate” than Biden.
Biden got himself into trouble with fact-checkers when he claimed during the last debate that he got 150,000 troops out of Iraq during his time as vice president. He repeated the claim last week, and the Washington Post ran the numbers. While the U.S. did pull some troops out of Iraq, many were forced to return when the Islamic State (ISIS) filled the vacuum. Biden’s campaign argued that the two conflicts were separate, but other Obama administration officials described them as “inextricably linked.” The Post gave Biden two Pinocchios for the false claim.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sanders’ decision to allow his campaign staffers to unionize is officially beginning to have negative effects on his campaign. According to Fox News, Sanders agreed this past weekend to cut staffers’ hours “so that they can effectively be paid a $15-an-hour minimum wage.” Junior field organizers reportedly make $36,000 per year in salary, plus employer-paid health care and sick leave. But, as is common on political campaigns, many work more than 40 hours per week. Sanders’ team will try to limit staffers’ hours to 42 or 43 hours each week to hit that $15 per hour mark.
And the Boston Globe reports that Sanders could be losing his New Hampshire firewall. Back in 2016, Sanders eked out a tie in the Iowa caucuses with Hillary Clinton (she won slightly more delegates). But in New Hampshire, which crowned Bill Clinton the “Comeback Kid” in 1992, Sanders buried Hillary in a 22-point landslide. It’s still early to be making predictions, but polling indicates New Hampshire may not be a lock for the neighboring Vermont senator in 2020. A recent UNH/CNN poll found Sanders has slid 11 percentage points since April, the month Biden entered the race. Meanwhile, Warren surged by 14 points since then.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
In what might be perceived as some questionable messaging, Warren took it upon herself to deliver the news that she believes the U.S. is headed toward an “imminent economic crisis.” Warren published a Medium post on Monday arguing that unless the Trump administration began heavily regulating the financial sector, an economic crash is “coming.” “I see a manufacturing sector in recession. I see a precarious economy that is built on debt — both household debt and corporate debt — and that is vulnerable to shocks. And I see a number of serious shocks on the horizon that could cause our economy’s shaky foundation to crumble,” she wrote.
Last week CNN drew the lineups for the next round of Democratic presidential debates, and Warren will have the opportunity to go head to head with her fellow progressive darling, Bernie Sanders. But the pairing deprives Warren yet again of an opportunity to share the stage with the frontrunner, Biden.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Harris and Warren are, according to a new McClatchy story, “increasingly in direct competition for many of the same voters and donors, according to polls and fundraising data, with each drawing support from the party’s more affluent, college-educated wing — particularly women.” The latest polls show that Harris has indeed risen in the polls along with Warren, while Sanders and Biden have seen slight dips in support. The four candidates are without question the leaders of the pack. Several others, especially South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg who raised more money than any other candidate in Q2 of 2019, will no doubt make future debate stages. But until something significant happens to the field, Biden, Sanders, Warren, and Harris appear to be the four to beat.
Harris may have invoked the ire of Taylor Swift and her fans this past weekend. The California senator attended a fundraiser at the home of Scooter Braun, Swift’s current nemesis. Other attendees included pop stars Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, and Demi Lovato. Many of Swift’s fans took to Twitter to voice their displeasure with Harris.