Nolte: 2020 Democrat Frontrunners Historically Unpopular

Democratic president hopefuls Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (L) and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (R) look on as former US Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the fourth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season co-hosted by The New York Times and CNN at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio …
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

The three 2020 Democrat frontrunners are historically unpopular, according to a FiveThirtyEight study.

FiveThirtyEight looked at the favorable-unfavorable ratings of the three 2020 Democrat candidates and found that all three are underwater and that this is almost unprecedented.

As they currently stand, former Vice President Joe Biden is upside down by a single point, 43.4 to 44.3 percent.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is upside down by about a half point, 39.8 to 40.2 percent.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is upside down by nearly two points, 43.6 to 45.2 percent.

Other than Hillary Clinton (-9), Jeb Bush (-20), Donald Trump (-26) in 2016, and Newt Gingrich in 2012 (-15), this is unprecedented.

In 2000, George W. Bush was up 33 points.

In 2008, Barack Obama was up 20 points, John McCain was up 15, John Edwards was up 13, and Rudy Giuliani was up 12.

Even Al Gore in 2000 was up four points.

During her first failed run in 2008, Hillary was up two, and so was the hapless Mitt Romney in 2012.

The number that is most surprising here is Biden. Even though he was Obama’s vice president and Obama left office with approval ratings in the 60s, Biden is still underwater.

It is not difficult to understand why Fake Indian Warren is underwater. It’s not hard to see why the 485-year-old socialist Bernie is underwater. You would think, though, that even if people were not going to vote for Biden that he would be seen as more favorable than unfavorable, if only because of his association with Obama, who was a popular president.

So what does this mean for 2020…?

Well, it matters in some important ways…

First off, Americans do not fire presidents lightly. Since 1932 — we’re talking almost 90 years — only two elected presidents who sought reelection have lost: Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George H.W. Bush in 1992. (Gerald Ford was not elected.)

More important, though, is WHY they lost. Both were battered by a recession, and both were challenged by charismatic, energetic, intelligent superstars: Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

The headwinds for Biden, Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg, and the entire Democrat field is that not a single one of them is a political superstar and… Trump’s economy is in great shape. The recession the media had hoped to talk America into over the summer appears to have backfired. Most of the important economic indicators are moving in the right direction.

Trump’s job approval rating on the economy is over 50 percent.

The only member of the Democrat field with an ounce of charisma is California Sen. Kamala Harris, but she turned out to be an idiot. On the scale of Truly Terrible Serious Presidential Candidates, she ranks as a “Jeb Bush.”

If you are going to convince the American people to fire a sitting president, you need a superstar to excite the base. Democrats do not have a superstar.

Worse still for Democrats, Donald Trump is a political superstar with a firm hold on his base.

That doesn’t mean 2020 is going to be a cakewalk for Trump.

Trump’s current favorability rating is, per the current average, upside down 12 points, 42 to 54 percent. He’s also not a “normal” president running for reelection. No president in history has had the establishment media throw off every pretense of objectivity to destroy him. This amounts to billions and billions of corporate dollars aimed at the destruction of one man.

And let’s not forget that Trump’s temperament can sometimes be his own enemy.

Most times he’s right to lash out, forced to defend himself against a corrupt media and treasonous Deep State. But stuff like “go back to your own country” are the kinds of unforced errors that exhaust people who long for a little less needless drama in their politics.

Trump also gins up the Democrat base. They hate him that much. So a superstar at the top of their ticket might not be necessary.

But in many ways, what I am seeing heading into 2020 is shaping up like a rerun of 2004, a rerun of George W. Bush’s reelection win over Democrat John Kerry.

By 2004, the media and Democrats had already spent more than three years delegitimizing Bush because he lost the popular vote and barely won the electoral college with a controversial squeaker in Florida. Also, by ’03, the media had completely turned against Bush and the War on Terror. As things deteriorated in Iraq, there was an almost perfect storm of media hate, foreign policy problems, and a highly motivated Democrat base desperate to replace BushMonkeyMcHitler.

Bush won, though.

No one in the media expected him to — you should have seen Andrea Mitchell’s smug face that night — but he not only won the electoral college; he won with more than 50 percent of the popular vote.


Two reasons: 1)  John Kerry was a terrible candidate, ridiculously unlikable, and not an acceptable alternative for voters, and 2) media overreach, specifically with respect to Dan Rather’s forged documents that tried to frame Bush for being AWOL while serving in the National Guard.

In 2004, Bush was not all that popular, but he still won and did so as things appeared to be unraveling in Iraq.

Trump is not terribly popular, but he has overseen a solid economy, and there is no foreign policy mishap, only successes — so nothing that even grazes Iraq in 2004.

By any objective measure, Trump has been a wildly successful president.

In the end — barring something unforeseen — I suspect people will remember that, especially after he is able to leave the White House for five months at the end of 2020 to hit the trail to defend his record and define his opponent — and defining his opponent is Trump’s most brilliant political talent.

The fact that his likely opponent is already starting out underwater on favorability is a big boost.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


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