Politics

Top Dem Presidential Prospects: A Septuagenarian, a Radical and a Comedian

Contenders leading early poll of would-be 2020 Trump challengers leave much to be desired

Uncle Joe, Pocahontas, and Stuart Smalley walk into a bar. No, it’s not a bad joke — it’s the apparent list of Democrats’ preferred contenders for their party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

According to a Morning Consult survey of Democratic voters released Monday, Democrats’ top three choices for 2020, based on favorability, are (in order) former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).

“It’s easy to be favorable among Democrats if you’re Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, or Al Franken,” said Eddie Zipperer, an assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College. “The formula is: Wake up in the morning, go on TV and bash President Trump, get some lunch, go on TV and bash President Trump until bedtime.”

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The tired selection shows just how out of touch Democratic voters continue to be with average middle Americans and independent voters, Zipperer said.

“For the most part, this list is made up of the same old people who are well-loved by progressives but will likely be rejected by independents,” Zipperer told LifeZette.

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Biden, who led the pack by a substantial margin, would remain associated with the divisive and bitterly partisan Obama administration. Moreover, the now-74-year-old would be nearly 80 upon entering office.

Warren, though a darling of radical progressive and former Occupy Wall Streeters, has little appeal outside of staunchly left-wing circles.

“Obama’s back-to-back election wins taught Democrats all the wrong lessons.”

Then there’s Franken. Sen. Franken faces the immediate hurdle of being further to the left of the Democratic Party than even Warren. And while his past career as a vulgar comedian known mainly for the “Stuart Smalley” character on SNL may not have prevented him from becoming a senator in Minnesota, it may prove a bigger challenge on the presidential stage.

Zipperer said Democrats risk repeating their 2016 errors by nominating far-left progressive candidates who do not appeal to middle America.

“Obama’s back-to-back election wins taught Democrats all the wrong lessons,” Zipperer continued. “They think Americans love forking over the fruits of our labor so that elites can take a cut and then redistribute the rest.”

“They think Americans love sanctimonious lectures shaming business owners and the middle class,” said Zipperer. “They think Americans love illegal immigration and its destructive effects on labor. But Americans have been rejecting all those things over and over for years.”

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After Franken on the list of potential candidates, ranked by favorability, come Sen. Corey Booker (D-N.J.), Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Trailing the two senators and the governor were Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

Most inauspicious for the Democratic Party’s prospects in the next presidential election, however, is that only two on the list have favorability ratings over 50 percent — Biden notched an impressive 74 percent favorability rating, while Warren was viewed favorably by just 51 percent of Democrats.

While Franken was viewed favorably by 45 percent of Democrats, Booker, Kaine and Cuomo were viewed favorably by 37 percent, 37 percent and 35 percent, respectively. Gillibrand and Harris were viewed favorably by just 28 and 27 percent, respectively, of Democrats surveyed.

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