With the first votes about to be cast in Iowa, New Hampshire and among absentee voters in California (February 22), it’s time for Democrats to form the United Front Against Trump (UFAT). Programs, policies and principles all are important aspects in most elections. But in 2020 there is and should be only one overriding consideration among fair-minded, decent human beings: defeating Donald Trump.
Some of us decided long ago that this is not a year to hang onto hopes, dreams and aspirations for progressive advances in the social order. We face a dire, life-threatening common enemy – much like competing forces did in the past to fight against Hilter and Japanese imperialism – whose continued survival poses a mortal danger that is far greater than the ideological and programmatic differences among competitors on the left.
UFAT is dedicated to one first principle: the defeat of Donald Trump in the 2020 general election.
Votes that Matter A cold-hearted analytic look at the upcoming national election in the Electoral College, recognizes that most states’ electoral votes are already baked in. There really are only a handful of states where the outcome is uncertain, starting with Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and possibly including Florida, Arizona and a few other states.
Which means the only concern for UFAT is which candidate has the best chance of winning 270 electoral votes – without reliance on longshot strategies like vast increases in the youth vote, which sadly has never worked. Rather the candidate who can win is the one who can capture all of the electoral college votes that Hillary Clinton did in 2016, along with – at a minimum — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, which she lost by a combined 70,000 votes or so.
That means fielding a candidate who can appeal to the moderate Democrats and independents in those states and boost the black vote in Milwaukee, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia that Hillary Clinton did not inspire. And luckily, there is one moderate Democratic candidate in whom black voters have considerable confidence – Barack Obama’s former vice president – Joe Biden.
Black Votes Matter While we always advise readers ABC (Always Believe Calbuzz), you don’t have to take our word. The Washington Post offers actual data about who black voters prefer and why in a recent poll of black voters that shows overwhelming support for Biden, “boosted by his personal popularity, his service in the Obama administration and perceptions that he is best equipped to defeat President Trump.”
Why a moderate and not a progressive? Because that’s who Democrats actually support and that’s who can widen UFAT. If – as few analysts have done – you divide all the national and state-by-state polling out there, you find that Democratic voters give about 40% of their support to the progressive candidates – Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – and about 60% of their support to the moderates, with Biden far ahead, followed by Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Michael Bloomberg, Cory Booker and others.
This is true even in California, which many Beltway analysts continue to confuse with the Peoples’ Republic of Berkley or the Sovereign State of Santa Monica.
Bloomberg Fugetaboutit There’s one other moderate candidate who has attracted considerable attention because he has unlimited resources to build name recognition and write his own commercial TV narrative – billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The question is, can a candidate without serious black support – and his stop-and-frisk policy in NYC is just too fresh to be forgotten – use his vast wealth to overcome long odds against a candidate with a lifetime of public service who also happens to have worked for a black guy?
Our experience in California, with Al Checchi, William Simon, Meg Whitman, Michael Huffington and others tells us “no.” Neither Bloomberg nor fellow billionaire Tom Steyer get to jump to the top of the pack in a Democratic primary season. Nor would either of them beat Trump in key states.
As for Biden’s running mate, as much as we thought she was in above her head for president, we think California’s Sen. Kamala Harris would make a good pick for Biden, gaining some national and international experience, learning some vice-presidential humility and helping to boost the black vote in critical states. Moreover, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom would appoint her successor, which could even be U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, who’d make a terrific junior senator.
Amy Klobuchar, Stacy Edwards and others could run alongside Biden – whoever would do the most to reassure women, minorities and younger voters that the White House would be in good hands. Whoever Biden picks for veep is far less important than having him at the top of the ticket.
Meanwhile, the biggest threat to the UFAT strategy may be a rear guard, deadender action almost certain to be conducted by Bernie “Red Skunk” Sanders and his Twitter Brigade that helped defeat Hillary Clinton. As a loud-mouth, armchair socialist, do-nothing, Sanders might have a shot at capturing Brooklyn College but he has zero chance of winning back the key swing states needed to triumph inthe Electoral College.
So it will be up to the rest of the Democratic Party to pressure Sanders to join the United Front Against Trump. Which is all that matters in 2020.