Election 2020 #7

If We Could Turn Back Time

Sometimes it seems as if the Democratic Party processes are running backwards … or, at least. spinning their wheels. The ups and downs of their number of candidates and number of debaters is becoming a little tiring. This graph shows the variations in the number of candidates and number of debaters since I wrote “Election 2020 #1” in response to the fourth Democratic debate.

Candidates and Debaters

The “moving average” trend lines show the odd ups and downs of the candidates (green) and the debaters (red). Here’s another graph for the same period with the candidate fluctuations between the debates eliminated.

Candidates and Debaters across 7 Debates

The polynomial trend lines show that the debate qualification rules set by the Democratic National Committee have not been entirely effective. The number of candidates has dwindled from 19 to 8, but the number of debate qualifiers has been less consistent. From October 15th through January 14th, the number of debaters decreased steadily from 12 to 10 to 8 to 6. On February 7th, the New Hampshire debate, the count went back up to 7; then, back down to 6 for Nevada; and, up to 7 for South Carolina.[1]

Back to the Present … and the Future

Not surprisingly, the eight candidates who were running in Nevada on February 22nd are still running in South Carolina on February 29th. My guess is that they will be running on Super Tuesday, March 3rd, as well.

08 Candidates as of 12-Feb-2020

Seven of the eight participated in the debate on Tuesday, February 25, 2020.

- 07 Debaters


Evaluation Summary

By now, my regular readers[2]  know that I base these analyses on:

  • My personal opinion,
  • The latest polls,
  • The post-debate discussion of commentators and pundits,
  • The latest tallies from my cumulative random selection across all remaining candidates from both parties, and
  • A sum across the preceding 4 approaches.

This time, mostly for variety, I’m going to list the results of all 5 analyses … then, elaborate on those results that need further discussion.

My Less than Humble Opinion
  1. Joe Biden
  2. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar
  3. Tom Steyer
  4. Pete Buttigieg
  5. Mike Bloomberg
The Polls
  1. Bernie Sanders
  2. Joe Biden
  3. Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg
  4. Pete Buttigieg
  5. Amy Klobuchar
  6. Tom Steyer
The Commentators and Pundits
  1. Joe Biden
  2. Bernie Sanders
  3. Mike Bloomberg
  4. Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg
  5. Amy Klobuchar
  6. Tom Steyer
Cumulative Random Selection
  1. Amy Klobuchar
  2. Joe Biden
  3. Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg
  4. Elizabeth Warren
  5. Tom Steyer
  6. Mike Bloomberg
Sum across Approaches
  1. Joe Biden
  2. Bernie Sanders
  3. Mike Bloomberg
  4. Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg
  5. Amy Klobuchar
  6. Tom Steyer


And Now, To Elaborate …

For those who want to investigate the candidates’ campaign websites, I’ve linked each one’s official site to her or his name in the discussion below. I did the best to find a URL that tells you something about the campaign beyond the candidate’s request for money, volunteers, and/or a commitment of support.


This was Joe Biden‘s best debate in this contest. For the most part, his responses to the moderators questions were right on target as were his rebuttals of and comments on the responses of others. Jim Clyburn 125I don’t know whether Joe was a lot less focused on Iowa and New Hampshire or was just having trouble getting started. His second place in Nevada and his belief that he has strong support in South Carolina seem to have given him new energy. Joe received an extra boost when he was endorsed by the highly-respected, two-time Majority Whip of the House of Representative, Jim Clyburn of South Carolina.

Bernie Sanders won the Nevada Caucuses and has a sizable lead in earned delegates. He was one of three candidates who acknowledged the audience as the debaters walked onto the stage. He smiled at them and waved. I gave him his first point for that acknowledgement.
Since Nevada and going into South Carolina, Bernie has had a “target on his back“. He took hits from both the moderators and his fellow candidates. I was surprised how well he was able to defend himself and “score points” at the same time. Having 6 opponents helped him a bit. Several gave him the opportunity to interject legitimate criticisms of their positions. How he may handle debating with fewer opponents … or one big, fat, lying. orange-faced bully … remains an open question.

Once again, Elizabeth Warren attacked Mike Bloomberg. This time her attack focused on a former employee who claimed that Mike said “Kill it,” when she mentioned that she was pregnant … and, on still-outstanding non-disclosure agreements related to sexual harassment claims against his company.
Elizabeth was not among Bernie’s more dedicated critics, but did attempt to differentiate herself from him. She reminded us that she has developed the “How to pay for it” plans that he seems to find less urgent.

Amy Klobuchar earned a point for acknowledging the audience by looking at them and smiling as she walked to her lectern.
She handled this debate almost as well as she did the one preceding the New Hampshire primaries. Her responses, rebuttals, and interjections showed off her outstanding pragmatism and, obviously, were backed up by prior study of the subjects being addressed. Once again, she had some trouble fitting her statements into the debate’s predefined response time constraints.

Tom Steyer was the third candidate to acknowledge the audience while crossing the stage. Like Amy he turned his head toward them and smiled. Biden, Bloomberg, Buttigieg, and Warren looked either straight ahead or at the camera.
He had a good night. Whenever he had a chance, Tom reminded us that he had sold his interest in his company so that he could turn his efforts and wealth toward helping minority entrepreneurs get started, fighting climate change, and opposing political corruption and cronyism. He is one of the few candidates who tries to remind the others that Donald Trump is the real enemy. He is the only candidate who specifically supports some kind of reparations for slavery and the economic suppression imposed upon the descendants of slaves.

The more I see Pete Buttigieg in these debates, the less impressed I am. He seems detached and a little arrogant. His talk of the need for a new generation of ideas sound vaguely familiar … like someone who studied the campaigns of John Kennedy or Bill Clinton. I can understand that some who are my age and older might consider him to be “such a nice young man”, but he’s not running for the office of favorite grandson.

Pete made a major mistake in claiming that Bernie has a “nostalgia for the revolution politics of the ’60s” just as Trump has a “nostalgia for the social order of the ’50s”. I was there for both. The ’50s were filled with a lot undeserved belief that America was beyond reproach. The ’60s exposed the county’s underbelly of inequality. Those who weren’t white, straight, Christian, male, and completely in agreement with the government were suppressed, reviled, beaten, and murdered. Anyone who revealed and fought against this sort of thing got similar treatment. At Kent State, the National Guard shot unarmed students. Get your history straight, Pete.

I have nothing good to say about Mike Bloomberg. He is a secretive, somewhat duplicitous, arrogant, and prone to playing the victim. Although he gained his wealth by his own ingenuity and honest hard work, as 9th wealthiest person in the world, Mike represents the “one tenth of one percent” that most progressive Democrats and Independents abhor. In many ways he is Donald Trump without the blatant lies, total disregard for the law, monumental ignorance, and narcissism … and, with the actual wealth he claims.

Although she has not qualified for a debate since November 20, 2019, Tulsi Gabbard is still in the race. I suspect she will hang on until after Super Tuesday, then drop out.

The Polls

I found a lot of polls to consolidate for this article. The website RealClear Politics provides a list of each day’s latest polls. I combined each candidate’s scores in every poll listed at that site for February 23rd, the day after the Nevada Caucuses, through February 26th, the day after the most recent debate. The totals were:

Sum of Polls  

The Commentators and Pundits

For this analysis, a candidate gets a tally … positive or negative … only when someone in the post-debate discussions voices an opinion regarding the candidate’s performance. The following table shows the final scores. During the discussions, Bernie, Mike, and Pete each earned a negative comment or two. Amy and Tom were mentioned only in passing, if at all.

Commentators and Pundits 

Daily Random Selection

This changes every day. For this article, I thought that seeing the graph that has been developing over many months might be of interest. Here, without commentary, is today’s (February 28, 2020) iteration of that graph.

Random Selection Graph 700

That’s It for Now

The South Carolina Primaries will be held between 7 AM and 7 PM on Saturday, February 29th.[3]  Super Tuesday is Tuesday, March 3rd.

By the time all Super Tuesday results are in, 1,512 pledged delegates[4]  will have been awarded. That’s 38% of the total delegates (3,979) and 76% of the number needed to win the nomination (1991). Of course, no single candidate has won all of Iowa’s pledged delegates (41), New Hampshire’s pledged delegates (24), nor Nevada’s pledged delegates (36). The same will be true of South Carolina’s pledged delegates (54) and the 1357 pledged delegates of the Super Tuesday states. Whichever candidates survive Super Tuesday still have a long way to go.

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End Notes
  1. As I write this, I wonder whether Tulsi Gabbard sometimes feels like a teenager who wasn’t invited to the party that “everybody” is talking about.
    Return to Point of Reference

  2. If you’re a new or irregular reader, welcome or welcome back. If you’re an irregular person, you’re in good company. I and my best friends like to think of ourselves as unique people … just like everybody else. 🤨🤔🙄😏😂
    Return to Point of Reference

  3. Depending upon how soon I can get this article cleaned up and published, that’s tomorrow or today. Hopefully, it’s not yesterday.
    Return to Point of Reference

  4. Pledged delegates are those awarded as a direct result of citizens’ votes. Super Delegates account for the remainder of the delegates.
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