2020 Election Thread (formerly: 2020 Presidential Candidates Thread) (Part 1)

Every general election is a “not normal” one.

Right now I like having plenty of targets to diffuse Trump’s attacks and will miss the voices of some candidates even if I would never vote for them. I also think the best way to find the strongest candidate is by campaigning and primaries. The DNC tried narrowing the field early last time; it didn’t turn out well.

So you think 2016 was par for the course, too? If you do, do you think we have a normal president now?

Playing on the opponent’s chosen terms: great strategy! Classic DNC establishment, brought to us by the same Boomer geniuses who refused to have a debate dedicated the existential issue facing young voters.

You know what I’d like to see right now, within the limitations of this profoundly broken Presidential primary and election system? Only the four most popular Dem candidates debating the issues amongst themselves and proving that they can give as good as they get whenever Biff starts his bullying, before one is nominated next summer. That doesn’t eliminate campaigning and primaries, but it does speed up the process instead of putting us through another 6 months of spinning our wheels while no-kidding right-wing populists in the Oval Office consolidate their own gains.

That’s a disingenuous inference. You’ve been around here long enough to know that I’m not suggesting the DNC establishment try to rig things from the beginning on behalf of one single coronated candidate (eventually against a challenger who was polling well above 25% at this point in 2015 and only went higher) as it did in 2016 My point is that they can’t afford to pretend that we’re still living in 1992 (or 1975 for that matter).


The writ hasn’t dropped in Canada yet, but they’ve been effectively campaigning for months. The party leaderships are usually settled well in advance.


The disease is creeping over the border. Although I haven’t heard much about serious leadership challenges outside the party conferences 2017. Is Trudeau or Scheer or Singh or the racist guy currently being challenged?

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She’s one who could become a Veep for the eventual nominee.


That only happens after a failed election. Trying to replace the party leader before the election is usually suicide. (Doug Ford and the political assassination of Patrick Brown is a rare exception.)

The racist guy, who lost the Conservative leadership race on the last round because Scheer was everyone’s second choice, had to start his own party.


Thanks. You had me worried there. The last thing Canada needs is more American-style chaos creeping into the system. There seems to have been more than enough of that already.

[Off-topic, I’m hoping the racist guy ends up stealing enough votes from the Conservatives to make them lose this fall, even understanding that the long-term result will be the Conservatives embracing more racist guys in the future]

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Obligatory xkcd (there really is a comic for everything!):


Oh, it’s there. There’s lots of American dark money flowing north, and not just Koch-funded “think tanks”. The Canadian religious right is confused about which country they live in, and are fired up on anti-abortion, hoping that Roe v. Wade will be overturned. Scheer is stuck trying to keep them in line, knowing that it’ll never fly in Canada. He got caught promising them wink-wink back-bencher bills, while telling the Quebec wing that no back-bencher bills would be allowed.

With the writ dropping this weekend, it’s probably time for a Canadian election thread.


Still too much wasted time and low-polling candidates, but some progress today…

Candidates are Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Harris, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Sanders, Warren, Yang.

If the DNC had raised the debate qualification threshold to a minimum 4% support in four approved polls (from the current 2%) we’d now be down to five candidates being able to get down to brass tacks without all the background noise*, which is close enough to what’s needed. With any luck that will happen before the next debate after September, but it’s still time and resources we can’t afford.

[* Yang in particular really needs to take his neoliberal-lite techno-utopianism and join the hedge fund guy, the disappointing NYC mayor, and the New Age guru in the audience this time]


Only in the sense that every election feels like it is uniquely urgent. I’ve been through a lot of these, going back to painting signs for a guy because his GOP opponent seemed to be itching to start a nuclear war.

No, exploiting the candidate’s weakness.

We are talking about the election right now because the current president is doing damage right now, but the election is still far far away. Most voters are not as obsessed with the election as the people participating in this thread, and have given those candidates not carried over from previous elections or covered heavily in the press very little consideration. Consequently the reason the current crop of front-runners is in front right now has very little to do with their relative merits, and history tells us that there is plenty of time for the set of front-runners to change, however much you want to disparage that history.

Anyway, nothing we say here will affect what actually happens. I think some of the bottom-tier candidates will be back for the debate after this one, and that will be a good thing. (Tulsi, not my favorite, is still good to have in the campaign for her distinctive foreign policy stands and ability to take down other candidates, and a tax-the-rich, impeachment-now billionaire like Steyer will be useful not only as the living example that Sanders’ positions transcend class, but also as someone who can draw Trump’s ire and make him look like an ass.) We’ll know who the front runners are by the end of February, but probably not before, and that gives plenty of time to focus the discussion.

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“We are all too familiar with the stories of welfare mothers driving luxury cars and leading lifestyles that mirror the rich and famous,” the column read. “Whether they are exaggerated or not, these stories underlie a broad social concern that the welfare system has broken down—that it only parcels out welfare checks and does nothing to help the poor find productive jobs.”

It doesn’t matter if this racist caricature is accurate, what’s important is that we change the system to punish it regardless!


Like, I’ll still vote for the asshole, but seriously, if he ends up being the best the Dems decide they can do, we are so fucked.


More in thread.


A thought experiment:

Your potential voters are split into two groups.

The first group prefer candidate A. This group has spent the last several years constantly declaring that they will support any blue team candidate, no matter how vile, because they view a blue team victory as more important than anything else.

The second group support candidate B. This group has spent the last several years constantly declaring that they are not motivated by team tribalism, and that they will not support a candidate just because they’re wearing a blue uniform.

Assuming that these people were telling the truth about their voting intentions, candidate A would have the support of group 1 but possibly not group 2. OTOH, candidate B should gain the support of both group 1 and group 2, unless the group 1 people were lying about their voting intentions.

If winning the election is the primary concern, which candidate is best?


Nassim Teleb refers to this as intransigence of an intolerant minority. It is the minority that comes off as more tribal, or at least more petulant, in this scenario.

The reality is, of course, that your partition is only of a small subset of the voters. Many of the rest vote on personality characteristics (are they nice/masterful/tall/a woman/not old/Christian), single issue (guns, climate, abortion), or habit. Most of the voters that are genuinely up for grabs are in this group.

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This should be fine, right?