Happy new year. I’m Molly Roberts, and my resolution was to refrain from political prognostication, so … oops! Welcome to Round 46.
Now what promises might the increasingly small, increasingly white group of primary hopefuls have made themselves for 2020? Will they be able to keep them?
Joe Biden has stayed in the lead nationally, and he’s not slipping far enough for him to be at immediate risk, even in those early states where his competitors are strongest. Then again, this guy is the king of the gaffe, and especially in his advancing age, he seems ever on the verge of a stumble. The solution, and resolution? Eight hours a night, to stave off the “Sleepy Joe” jabs and stay on message. Oh, and cut the rambling in favor of some focus. That’s what campaign operatives who dread another “record player” moment would undoubtedly prefer, anyway.
Elizabeth Warren’s resolution, meanwhile, seems to be making some big, structural change to her campaign strategy. If she can't do that and soon, maybe she can focus on making her bed every morning instead, as she'll be spending a lot of time at home. Warren’s best bet might be to market herself more aggressively as a unity candidate for those who’d never call themselves moderates but wouldn’t call themselves socialists, either. Hey, is there a name for that?
Dry January is every millennial’s favorite wellness trend, so perhaps Pete Buttigieg should join his generation and give it a shot — maybe pledging not to drink less but to drink less expensively. That means no more wine caves in 2020, though he’ll have to keep up the fundraising that has propelled him so far, even if it loses some of the opulence. There’s that whole black-voters thing, too.
Finally, Bernie Sanders should resolve to do what Bernie Sanders does best: change nothing. He’s the flavor of the month if anyone is, and for now, that means he’s the flavor of the decade. Suddenly, reporters are marking Sanders as the biggest threat to Biden, and the most establishmentarian of the establishment analysts are musing wide-eyed that the sort-of-Independent “could actually win this thing.”
There are other candidates in the race, but they should make a resolution to poll better if they want the full write-up. And you, readers, should make a resolution to check back here next week to see who has succeeded.
— Molly Roberts
Don’t forget to click on the chart’s yellow highlighted text to see the rest of the Ranking Committee’s annotations.
|Position||Challenger||Change Over Last Ranking|
|3.||Pete Buttigieg||UP 1|
|4.||Elizabeth Warren||DOWN 1|
|6.||Michael Bloomberg||UP 1|
|7.||Andrew Yang||DOWN 1|
|8.||Tom Steyer||RETURNS TO RANKING|
|9.||Cory Booker||DOWN 1|
Last week’s ranking: Round 45 | The progressive alternative to Biden might not be who you think anymore
From the Annotations
The progressive wing of the party may never be able to abide him as the nominee, but look how far he’s gotten with nothing more than a few tens of millions of dollars in television ads. That is couch-cushion change for him. Money isn’t everything in politics, but it definitely can buy you some love.
Eugene Robinson, on Michael Bloomberg
She needs to pull herself out of a tailspin if she is going to make a respectable showing in Iowa. Her strategy of refusing to attack Sanders is reminiscent of Ted Cruz’s refusal through much of the 2016 campaign to go after Trump. We know how that turned out.
Jennifer Rubin, on Elizabeth Warren
Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments. We’ll see you for the next ranking. Until then, drink more water, go to the gym, etc. etc. If you stick to your promises, maybe the Democrats will, too.
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