When it comes to the 2020 presidential election, Democrats are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
The party’s grassroots desperately wants sweeping progressive policy changes such as Medicare for all, the Green New Deal, and tuition-free college, but the path to taking back the White House might involve the party moving to the middle. Based on his strong polling so far, it appears that a large portion of the Democratic electorate may be coming to terms with that reality.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has opened up a massive lead in most polls since officially entering the race and appears to be the early front runner for the nomination. Biden has not endorsed any of those far-left proposals. Instead, Biden seems to be seeking to turn the election into a race about values. He kicked off his campaign by calling attention to President Donald Trump’s Charlottesville controversy, where the president received substantial criticism for his response to a white nationalist rally in 2017. (RELATED: Trump: What The Hell Happened To Joe Biden?)
“I think [Biden’s] been doing everything right,” liberal commentator Jonathan Harris told The Daily Caller. “He’s got the right message.”
“This go around I think generally people just want somebody who can beat Trump,” Harris added.
But beyond the just-win mentality of the Democratic political class is a deep fissure within the party that threatens their chances to take down Trump.
Harris said he prefers Biden over candidates like Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who he describes as “divisive.”
“Bernie is a divisive force in the party because he’s not a Democrat,” Harris said.
“Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat,” Democratic strategist Robert Pattillo agreed.
Harris also told the Caller that he has a ticket in mind, which he believes would be unstoppable. (RELATED: Trump Accuses The DNC Of Conspiring To Oust Trump Once Again)
“A ticket with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would be invincible,” Harris said. “They would lock down multiple demographics.”
But, liberal activist Christopher Hahn, a former aide to current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, is warning Democrats not to assume anything in this evolving political climate. (RELATED: Chuck Schumer Urges Trump To ‘Hang Tough’ On China)
“It’s hard to judge electability before you’ve gone through a few primaries,” Hahn told The Daily Caller.
Potentially as many as two dozen Democrats are getting set to battle for the opportunity to take down Trump with the first primary debates next month in Miami, Florida.
“As Republicans showed in 2016, you have to be in it to win it,” Hahn said, referring to the 2016 Republican presidential primary, where 17 candidates ran for the nomination.
Trump’s team insists they aren’t worried and believe they are well-positioned to take on whoever emerges from the crowded Democratic field.
“We don’t care who it is because all of the Democrats will have had to go through a brutal primary process,” Trump campaign deputy communications director Erin Perrine told The Daily Caller.
The Trump campaign is banking on more moderate candidates like Biden being chased to the left in a divisive primary.
“Democrats will have to lurch into socialism to win,” Perrine said. “They’re gonna have to support iterations of policies like the Green New Deal, impeaching the president, and Medicare for all.”
The Trump campaign will no doubt emphasize the country’s economic boom that has occurred under Trump’s watch, but the president’s approval ratings still remain below 50 percent, despite the economic success of his administration.
Trump’s approval ratting currently sits at roughly 44% according to RealClearPolitics. This, despite back to back years of over 3% GDP growth, which never occurred under Obama and Biden.
“It is unheard of for a president with an economy doing this well to have approval ratings this low,” Harris said.
Harris mentioned that while the economy is doing well in the macro-sense, most Americans have not seen significant wage increases, if they’ve seen any at all, something Biden emphasized in a recent stump speech.
“Have your wages really gone up that you think you deserve?” Biden asked an audience during a speech last month. “Do your employers treat you with any more respect and dignity than they did before?”
Harris believes Biden’s ability to connect with average Americans is what makes him the most electable candidate.
“Biden has a unique argument,” Harris said. “He has spent a lifetime working for the middle class.”
Another scenario that few are discussing is the distinct possibility that a crowded field could lead to a contested convention which would make it harder for the party to unify in November. Unlike in the Republican party, where most states after Super Tuesday award all of their delegates, the Democrats are deciding each state proportionally.
“Having a big field benefits the established campaign,” Republican strategist Alex Conant said.
Conant served as communications director for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaign and mentioned Biden and Sanders as candidates that could benefit from the large field due to their high name recognition.
Whoever wins the Democratic nomination will need to secure 2,026 delegates by the convention, which will take place July 13-16, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It will be a tough haul for any candidate to rack up that many delegates in the span of roughly six months, but as Republicans learned in 2016, there are plenty of upsides to a competitive primary. However, the split field and the Democratic primary map means the possibility of a brokered convention is much greater than it ever was for Republicans.
“While the primaries are brutal, they also have the effect of strengthening the candidate,” Conant said. “Whichever Democrat is able to survive this process will likely be the strongest candidate.”
Hahn noted that a contested convention would bring a lot of excitement and ratings, but believes that the odds of Democrats entering the convention without a presumptive nominee are slim.
“I think you’ll start to see candidates drop out after Iowa and New Hampshire,” Hahn said, saying that it “wouldn’t be a good look” for candidates polling in the low-single digits to stay in the race for too long.
It still remains to be seen whether a brutal primary will make or break Democrats’ chances to win back the White House, but right now the party seems confident that somewhere in this crowded field, they have the candidate that can take down Donald Trump.