This is Round 15, and I’m Anne Applebaum. Does election forecasting get more accurate from a half-dozen time zones ahead?
From where I sit — which is London, sometimes Warsaw, sometimes Berlin or Brussels — the 2020 campaign is only just now beginning to come into focus. For a lot of Europeans, the entry of Joe Biden into the race was an important change: at last, somebody familiar, a former vice president who has been to Europe many times, and not just another senator they’ve never heard of. “Do you think Biden has a chance?” and “Do you think Biden is too old?” are probably the questions I am asked most frequently about the campaign right now.
That reaction underlines what is, so far, one of the more striking aspects of the campaign: the absence of much foreign policy debate of any kind. The amount of damage President Trump has done abroad — to America’s reputation, to America’s alliances and to American creations such as NATO and the World Trade Organization — may well be greater than the damage he has done inside the United States, where he is still constrained by institutions. Yet none of the candidates has really focused on the danger Trump poses to peace, trade or democratic values, let alone offered an alternative vision.
Indeed, plenty of Europeans have also worked out that the second-most-familiar candidate, Bernie Sanders, might well pursue a foreign policy that is different from Trump’s in form but not in substance: He won’t use the same language, but he might still follow Trump down an isolationist road. There are similar fears about Elizabeth Warren, who is probably third in name recognition, though she’s well behind the other two.
This vacuum does present an opportunity. If Warren, Kamala D. Harris, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Michael Bennet, Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar or indeed Howard Schultz wants to stand out from the crowd, here’s how: Offer not just a vision of America but a vision of America in the world. It doesn’t have to be former president Barack Obama’s or any other traditional Democratic perspective, but at least propose something both clearly different and clearly more appealing than either the current or the previous status quo.
— Anne Applebaum
|Position||Challenger||Change Over Last Ranking|
|3.||Kamala D. Harris||—|
|4.||Elizabeth Warren||UP 1|
|5.||Pete Buttigieg||DOWN 1|
|6. (TIE)||Cory Booker||UP 2|
|6. (TIE)||Amy Klobuchar||—|
|8.||Beto O’Rourke||DOWN 1|
|9. (TIE)||Michael Bennet||—|
|9. (TIE)||John Hickenlooper||UP 1|
|11.||Julián Castro||DOWN 1|
|12.||Seth Moulton||DOWN 1|
|13.||Tim Ryan||RETURNS TO RANKING|
|14.||Jay Inslee||DOWN 2|
|15.||Stacey Abrams||DOWN 1|
Falls off ranking: Steve Bullock
Also receiving votes: John Delaney, Oprah Winfrey, Andrew Yang
No votes, but may as well chit-chat: Bill de Blasio
Last week’s ranking: Round 14 | How the media makes it harder for 2020 challengers to connect with voters
Following week’s ranking: Round 16 | Sorry, Mr. Vice President, it’s Harris’s race to lose in 2020
Don’t forget to click on the yellow highlighted text above to expand the Ranking Committee’s annotations. Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments. We’ll see you for the next ranking. Until then, dream of Europe and its blissful detachment from every up and down of 2020.
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