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Chuck Todd on 2020 “Wildcard” Candidates –and Why Politics Today is like “Back to the Future”

Chuck Todd on 2020 “Wildcard” Candidates –and Why Politics Today is like “Back to the Future”


JANE HALL: How do you think this is all going
to play out, and what impact is it going to have on the 2020 election? CHUCK TODD: My new favorite political pundit
is Doc Brown from “Back To The Future.” There’s a part where I think it’s end of the
first back to the future he picks them up, and they’ve got to go into the future. And they’re like, “Oh there’s not enough road.” And he’s like “Roads, where we’re going there
are no roads.” That’s the way I feel about where we’re headed. JANE HALL: Really? CHUCK TODD: Anybody who tells you what’s going
to happen? Give me a break. If I could make one bet right now, the only
bet I’d be comfortable making is that somebody not named, Sanders, Warren or Biden will be
the top 3 finishers in Iowa – that candidate could be the person X that everybody is wondering
“Who would be the alternative to Biden if Biden collapsed?” Here’s what I’d say, If somebody finishes
third not named Warren, Biden or Sanders then I think that person becomes a big deal. JANE HALL: And you don’t want to fill in the
blank. CHUCK TODD: Well no, on paper there’s two
candidates best positioned to be that person right now. Pete Buttigieg, financially, and I think he
plays well in Iowa, he’s one of the few – people forget – Iowa Democrats are more religious
than average Democrats. Democrats as a whole are a little more secular
than the country as a whole. But in Iowa many Democrats are still weekly
church goers. So is Pete. He is comfortable talking about God, in ways
that you see the other candidates are not. So I would just – I think Pete has a chance
to do better in Iowa. He’s built for Iowa. I don’t know how Pete gets past South Carolina
but that’s another story. But to get Iowa – I think Booker has a chance
to be that candidate out of Iowa too, he’s got a very good campaign. And I think the person that is going to – that
could be the wild card here if Bernie starts to recede is Andrew Yang. JANE HALL: Andrew Yang, wow.You heard it here
first folks? CHUCK TODD: I’m not saying Andrew Yang is
going to be the nominee or anything. But Yang – there’s a part of the Bernie base
and the Yang base that interacts. The people that haven’t left Bernie for Warren,
haven’t left Bernie for a reason. I’ll let you guys decide what that reason
is. They’re more likely to go to Biden or Yang
than Warren. So what I would say is, I think Yang is somebody
that I would not be writing off – he may not be able to win a single primary – but if you
told me he finished third on caucus night, I wouldn’t be floored.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. All about the Bernie-to-Pete voters. I'm one of them.

    Laura Hubka remembers experiencing a political conversion the first time
    she heard Bernie Sanders speak. "I just fell in love with him,"
    says the chair of the Howard County Democrats, remembering the 2015
    speech. "I thought we needed someone to be a champion."
    Hubka spent the rest of the cycle knocking on doors for Sanders,
    introducing him at events, and ultimately becoming a caucus chair for
    him in Iowa in 2016.

    Fouryears later, Sanders is running for President again—but Hubka isn't
    with him. Instead, she's endorsed South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete
    Buttigieg.

    "People have asked me, 'are you just giving up on your ideological position
    to vote for Pete?' No," she says. She supported Sanders last
    time, she explains, partly because she opposed the Democratic
    front-runner Hillary Clinton, and partly because of the unique
    political moment in 2016. This time around, with President Donald
    Trump presiding over a scandal-plagued White House and an impeachment
    inquiry raging on Capitol Hill, Hubka's priorities are different. "I
    think we need some calm in the nation," she says.

    Hubka, it turns out, is not alone. Even before the Senator's heart attack
    rocked his campaign in early October, a large chunk of his 2016
    supporters were already shopping for another candidate. According to
    the left-leaning think tank Data for Progress's analysis of a YouGov
    poll, shared exclusively with TIME, only 65% of people who voted for
    Sanders in 2016 were considering voting for
    him in 2020. Many are like Hubka: making their decisions based on a combination of
    policy, personality, instinct, and a sense of what the nation needs
    at this moment—rather than pure ideology.

    "People aren’t sitting with a laundry list of issues and checking
    off where the candidates stand on them," says Anna Greenberg, a
    Democratic pollster. " There’s a lot of things driving vote
    choice, but it’s not an ideological litmus test. There is some
    narrow slice of the electorate that do feel that way, but it’s
    narrow."

    2016 Sanders supporters are also curious about many candidates—including
    moderates who seem to have little in common ideologically with the
    Vermont Senator. According to Data for Progress, 27% of the voters
    who chose Sanders in 2016 are now considering Kamala Harris and 32%
    are considering Joe Biden. A surprising 35% are considering South
    Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. According to a Des Moines Register poll
    released in late September, 12% of 2016 Sanders voters in Iowa plan
    to caucus for Buttigieg this time around.

    The Vermont Senator and the South Bend mayor have little in common:
    Sanders is a 78-year old socialist who's made a name for himself as
    an uncompromising political pugilist; Buttigieg is a 37-year old gay
    veteran who once worked at McKinsey and trumpets a message of
    principled compromise and unity. If Sanders' brand appeals to the
    lefty idealist, Buttigieg's is designed for the moderate pragmatist.
    Sanders champions of Medicare for All; Buttigieg offers Medicare for
    All Who Want It. Sanders proposes free college for all and promises
    to cancel all student debt; Buttigieg's college affordability plan
    offers an incremental free college program to low-and-middle income
    families on a sliding basis. Sanders is a democratic socialist;
    Buttigieg calls himself a "democratic capitalist."

    And yet, voters don't seem to care about the contradictions. In Iowa,
    Buttigieg events are full of people who say they caucused for Bernie
    Sanders in 2016, and his appeal appears to be widespread. A week
    before Sanders's heart attack, both candidates held campaign events
    in Dubuque: Sanders drew about 200 people; Buttigieg drew roughly
    four times that.

    "What I like about Pete is he has the values, but he's not as combative,"
    says Shannon Schott, a 25-year-old nonprofit program director. Both
    she and her husband Gabe, a 28-year-old band teacher, caucused for
    Sanders in 2016 but plan to show up for Buttigieg in 2020. Elizabeth
    Hendrix, 62, who works in customer service, also caucused for Sanders
    in 2016 and plans to support Buttigieg next year. "Bernie's four
    years older now—it's time to get some of these old people out of
    there," she says. "Personality is a huge part of it,"
    she continued. "Bernie seems so angry all the time. Pete is
    positive and he feels like he's a force for good."

    Brenda Masters, a 50-year-old project manager, caucused for Sanders in 2016
    but has come to the Iowa Falls event in a golden Buttigieg campaign
    T-shirt and carrying a massive cutout of the South Bend mayor's face.
    "Between Bernie and Hillary I caucused for Bernie, but I don't
    think what he's representing is a realistic path forward," she
    says. "I don't know where he hides his magic wand and it makes
    me nervous." When I asked Masters to rank her enthusiasm for
    Buttigieg on a scale of 1 to 10, she said she was a 5 for Sanders in
    2016, but she's a 20 for Buttigieg this year. In other words: "I
    did not carry around ginormous Bernie heads at any point."

    The number of Sanders defectors may be increasing. The YouGov poll, which
    surveyed nearly 1300 likely primary voters, and had a margin of error
    of 3.5%, was taken from Sept 23-Oct 4—before the details of the
    Senator's Oct 1 heart attack were widely known. In the weeks since,
    Sanders has taken a break from the campaign trail, dipped in the
    polls in early states, and is heading into Tuesday's primary debate
    with a need to prove his physical strength as well as his political
    viability. (The Sanders campaign did not immediately reply to
    requests for comment.)

    It's impossible to measure exactly how Trump's presidency has changed the
    political calculus for 2016 Sanders voters going into 2020. Polls
    consistently show that Democrats are prioritizing candidates who they
    believe can win in a general election against Trump, and many say
    they are looking for someone who can unify a deeply partisan
    electorate. For voters like Hubka, temperament and electability are
    more important than ideology. While she knows she's more progressive
    than Buttigieg, she says she's willing to sacrifice that ideological
    purity for a Democrat in the White House. "There's something
    there that makes me feel like [Buttigieg] is so much more electable,
    even though my heart of hearts is more left than him," she says.
    "I want everyone to be where I'm at, but they're not."

    She compares Buttiegieg to John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama, and
    describes him as "someone that this town, which was very
    divided, could get behind." And that, she says, is enough to win
    her vote.

  2. "I think Andrew Yang is somebody that I would not be writing off." – Chuck Todd.

    Yes! You all wait and see. #YangGang will make sure Andrew Yang be the nominee, and beat Trump.

  3. Well good morning Chuck…finally! Hey better late than never. Interview this man Chuck: https://youtu.be/4cL8kM0fXQc
    Yang2020!

  4. With the unfolding of the impeachment, the attack on Tulsi and the stories of Hunter Biden, I do believe the faith on Democratic establishment will support Chuck's prediction. Personally, I think Yang has the best analysis and vision for America.

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