The 20 Democratic presidential candidates who will take part in the first debates later this month. Top row, from left to right: Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Michael F. Bennet (Colo.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.). Second row, left to right: Former vice president Joe Biden, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former HUD secretary Julián Castro, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. Bottom row, left to right: Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.), self-help author Marianne Williamson, former Maryland representative John Delaney and former Texas representative Beto O’Rourke. (Reuters File Photo/Reuters)
Opinion writer

Three Democratic presidential contenders had a good week. Former vice president Joe Biden had no more policy gaffes, remains atop the polls and, it turns out, is leading President Trump by a mile in Trump’s own internal polls. The Post reported: “ABC News has obtained the polling data, which show as bleak a picture for Trump as the [New York] Times has indicated. Trump trails Joe Biden by 16 points in Pennsylvania, 10 points in Wisconsin and seven points in Florida, and the president leads by just two points in red Texas.” In public polling, Biden leads the president by 11 points in Michigan. He’s got a heck of an electability argument.

Meanwhile, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg delivered a first-rate foreign policy speech. Then, in the “it’s better to be good than lucky” department, he wound up in the second grouping for the first round of debates, alongside Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.). That 10-candidate debate is likely to draw the most viewers, so Buttigieg has a chance for another viral moment or two.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) seems to be both lucky and good. She wound up in the first grouping of candidates for the debates later this month, but will not face another top-tier opponent. This may become a two-hour ad for her candidacy, though she might keep an eye out for Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), who might take this as an opportunity to break out in defense of a more centrist policy agenda. Moreover, Warren came in ahead of Sanders in one national poll, one Nevada poll and one California poll.

With the entry threshold rising to 2 percent for the debates in September, the field could conceivably shrink to as few as five (Biden, Sanders, Harris, Warren and Buttigieg) candidates. With Sanders sinking and Harris not yet hitting all her marks, you have to say there is a very good chance one of the remaining three may be the party’s nominee. But that’s far down the road.

For now, a combination of luck and skill is keeping Warren, Biden and Buttigieg in the top tier. Well done, candidates.