Democrats: Looking for a ‘white knight’
Panicky Democrats are asking, “Is there anybody else?” said Jonathan Martin in The New York Times. Alarmed by former Vice President Joe Biden’s “lackluster” debate performances and doubtful that Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s embrace of Medicare for All and other leftist policies can win over swing voters, Democratic donors and strategists are “longing for a white knight” to jump into the 2020 presidential race. Biden continues to lead national polls but isn’t generating excitement or campaign contributions and has only about a third of the cash that Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders have on hand. With other centrist Democrats failing to gain momentum, some moderates are looking for a new standard-bearer. Former Secretary of State John Kerry, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg are among those who have been floated as potential candidates by anxious party leaders.
Democrats have “no reason to panic,” said Jeet Heer in TheNation.com. Biden, Warren, and Sanders all poll strongly against President Trump, who is historically unpopular, and Democratic voters themselves say they like their choices. The party’s donor class fears Warren and Sanders for selfish reasons: Progressive candidates have proved it’s possible to run competitive campaigns with lots of small-donor fundraising. If Warren or Sanders won the nomination, the party’s wealthy elite may be “shunted aside.”
At this point, Biden is probably “the Establishment’s only hope,” said Eric Levitz in NYMag.com. None of the unicorn candidates being floated has “any obvious advantage over the standard-issue Dems already in the race.” If Sens. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, or Amy Klobuchar can’t catch fire, why would Brown or Bloomberg be any different? The trouble is that Biden “looks like a man in decline,” yet he’s blocking the center lane. If Democrats are smart, said George Will in The Washington Post, they’ll give moderate options like Klobuchar or Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet a second look. The “electoral realities” are obvious: To beat Trump, Democrats must win purple states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and New Hampshire. In those states, the “radical change” promised by Warren and Sanders—including trillions in new taxing and spending—is likely to scare off swing voters. If Democrats run a moderate who promises to get the country “back to normal,” they can beat Trump in a rout.