Jay Inslee is out. John Hickenlooper is out. Kamala Harris has tanked in the polls, and a recovery seems nearly impossible. Corey Booker never truly got started. Other Democrats will be feeling the pressure and will be forced out soon enough.
There are only three that have a chance at this point, unless something changes. Those three are former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Senator Bernie Sanders. Biden is the face of the (Appear) Moderate Democrats while Warren and Sanders share the support of the Far-Left Democrats.
It is, in a sense, a three-way deadlock. Sanders and Warren have the same base and they are essentially fighting for control of it. If one were to drop out, it is pretty much guaranteed their supporters would go to the other. Biden, meanwhile, is on top in all polling but he can’t afford to target one of the senators without either pushing one’s supporters to the other or forcing the base to rally to the victim’s camp.
We also know that the Democratic elite do not like Sanders. He is a man who has never claimed their party in the Senate (he remains an Independent) and there are more than likely some lingering bad feelings as some believe his surprise popularity divided the party just enough to give Trump the edge.
However, those who don’t like Sanders do like Warren. She is not as gaffe-prone, has no major scandal (the Native American ancestry is still all-but-ignored in the mainstream press and in Democratic circles), and brings the diversity of being a woman to the table – something an old, white man like Biden can’t do.
So, what happens? They attack Biden.
The attacks against Biden are ramping up, and it is almost all centered around his inability to give a speech without messing up in a notable and often embarrassing way. He is being called “too old” and not sound of mind. These attacks are coming from people who want Warren to be the nominee. However, they don’t touch Sanders because they know that they risk alienating a base they need supercharged going into 2020.
The attacks on Biden don’t seem to be landing. His poll numbers remain the strongest and least influenced by the debates and news cycles. Sanders and Warren could very well be splitting the voter totals necessary to beat Biden, but they can’t go after each other or they’d be seen as a traitor to the cause.
Then, there’s the little case of a poll reported by Axios recently. That poll showed only Biden and Sanders being capable at this point in time of beating Donald Trump. This is also not inconsistent with the trends in various other primary polls. Warren does not have the charisma of Sanders. Do her supporters, the ones who don’t want Sanders, risk continuing to back someone who risks being unable to defeat Trump in 2020?
You can all but dismiss the rest of the crowd. It’s difficult to see any of them as capable of the kind of rally necessary to come back – though if 2016 taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected (#WeStanForMarianne and #YangGang need to step it up!!!).
Right now, though, it’s a three-way deadlock. Incredibly, it’s going to come down to whether or not Biden can navigate the sea of dissidents he faces and whether or not Sanders is able to capitalize and win the nomination. Warren’s biggest chance is to convince Sanders to drop and back her campaign to rally the progressives to her banner.