It has taken me a while to start this list this time because it seemed every time I went to, someone else either dropped out or came in. Since our last list 5, yes 5, candidates have dropped out of the race starting with Beto O’ Rourke followed shortly by Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam, then Navy Admiral Joe Sestak, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, and as of this writing, California Senator Kamala Harris, but don’t be too deterred by their abrupt exits as 2 new faces decided to throw a late entry into the race to fill their absence. Fmr. Governor Deval Patrick has come to bring a little color to the neo-liberal side of the race, and Billionaire and former Mayor of NYC, Michael Bloomberg, has entered the race with a 37 million dollar ad buy. This brings our candidate total down to 15, and it is likely to get smaller from here on out, as it wouldn’t be probable for anyone to jump into the race anymore at this point.
So now with a winnowing field, and the race to Iowa drawing ever closer, let’s look at how our new field of candidates land on our power rankings.
Starting first with #15…
#15 – Fmr. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg: Bloomberg will miss the first four primary contests due to his late entry, but he’s making up for that with a $37 million ad buy, that if you’ve turned on the television at all in the past week, I’m sure you’ve seen at least twice. The sad part is it seems to be working on those disillusioned to think the only way to beat a billionaire president is by running our own billionaire candidate. Unfortunately, Bloomberg is likely to gain traction, albeit to the detriment of other centrist neo-liberal candidates.
#14 – Fmr. Rep. John Delaney: How the Delaney campaign has survived this long is a mystery to everyone involved. Delaney has remained relatively quiet in the past months, possibly retooling his campaign for a reinvigorated drive in the weeks leading up to Iowa, but he’s been running there for almost 2 years and still can’t seem to crack 1 percent. On top of that, his debate performances have been embarrassing, to say the least. Here’s hoping he’s the next one to make his exit, but we’ve been saying this for a while now, so we can only hope, right?
#13 – Fmr. Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick: For those seeking to go back to the days of a charming, good-looking, eloquent, and well-educated black man as the head of the country, enter Deval Patrick. He’s got it all, everything you’re looking for in a Barack Obama copycat including the ability to err on the side of corporations and dismiss the rights and concerns of the American people. Deval may be a great speaker, but he ultimately holds the same positions as the corporate wing of the party: Incrementalism, half-measures, and taking that sweet, sweet corporate cash. Patrick was told to enter the race because he’s got the personality, and perhaps for the shallow voter obsessed with identity politics, the right skin tone to win. But it takes a lot more than that, just ask Kamala.
#12 – Sen. Michael Bennett (D–CO): You’ll be forgiven if you completely forgot Michael Bennett was running in this race. At this point, he’s become the Seth Moulton of the remaining candidates. Just someone who’s there, pretty much taking up space and forcing people to talk about him when he doesn’t have a genuine chance. But hey, maybe he’ll turn it around eventually, you never know.
#11 – Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN): After the debate that the media tried to proclaim she won (she didn’t.), she was also given an inordinate amount of time in the 5th Democratic Primary debate where she again did not do well. Klobuchar is very much a media creation. She’s chosen her lane to be the one democratic candidate promising pretty much nothing. No change, no radical policy, a stern stance on the status quo and her unwillingness to move from that position does make her look somewhat strong going against someone like Trump to at least 2% of the electorate.
#10 – Billionaire Tom Steyer: Since Jay Inslee’s early exit from the race, no other candidate decided to make Climate Change the benchmark of their campaign, even if some other candidates have better and more efficient plans than Steyer himself, but that’s the lane he’s decided to go in. It hasn’t really worked out for him, even Joe Biden managed to attack him on his previous actions against the climate. Yet somehow, Steyer has managed a small rise in the polls, and he’s landed on the next debate stage. He’ll be in the race for the foreseeable future, at least until he’s shut out in Iowa.
#9 – Fmr. HUD Sec. Julian Castro: Castro was running a rather impressive campaign until he did one thing wrong: He listened to his critics. In the third debate, Castro was on fire. He went after anybody challenging the merits on his immigration reform plan, he chastised Pete Buttigieg for his decorum pandering on the debate stage, and he called out Joe Biden’s mental acuity. He looked like a formidable star, but the media didn’t see it that way. They called him ‘mean’ and a ‘loser’ for attacking Biden, and he believed it. He swallowed his tongue at the next debate and went after the establishment approved villian, Tulsi Gabbard, in an e-mail to his supporters. It’s really become quite sad for someone with such promise to squander it when trying to be someone you’re not. Unfortunately, Castro may be out behind Harris based on this failed strategy.
#8 – Fmr. Vice President Joe Biden: Joe Biden couldn’t possibly be running a worse campaign. It’s been fraught with so many missteps, gaffes, awkward slip ups, and word salads, it’s amazing he’s still in this, and more importantly, still on top. What’s particularly deceptive about this is Biden’s high polling is due to his hold on older voters who also happen to be the ones most consistently polled, which is really soft and generic support. And with his “No Malarkey” tour bus, he’s only filling up his Boomer quota ahead of Iowa.
#7 – South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg: Mayor Pete has been making a steady climb up the polls ahead of Iowa. It’s concerning considering he still has yet to generate any support among the African-American electorate. Especially when a viral video of Pete claiming black people need to see educational role models in their home sparked racial backlash and a particularly scathing article in The Root titled “Pete Buttigieg is a Lying Mutha…” you get the rest. Pete didn’t help his cause when news about his “Douglas Plan for Black America” touted 400 prominent African-American supporters, only to discover about half of them were actually white and 3 of the “supporters” hadn’t backed his plan at all. Pete’s problem isn’t that he doesn’t appeal to black voters, it’s that Pete has never really considered them until now, and it shows.
#6 – Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ): No other candidate showed as much promise leading into the 2020 race than Cory Booker. He was smart, educated, articulate. Everything Obama was and more: He was a hero too. But he’s shown ineptitude at a time when more people are paying a lot more attention. He would’ve been the perfect candidate in 2004 or even 2012, but now, people see through him. Yes, he’s eloquent and believes in some things, but his record of selling out to corporate interests is just as transparent. Booker’s got all the endorsements, a solid ground game, and a real professional class of campaigners behind him, but he doesn’t have a message. No one can follow you if you don’t make it clear what it is you stand for.
#5 – Author Marianne Williamson: While it may seem improbable to believe that Marianne is still running, she’s also pretty well positioned in this race. She hasn’t made the last two debate stages, but her message is still getting out there. She is the polar opposite of a Donald Trump and you believe her when she speaks, even when she says things you can’t believe she said, and on national TV. It’s the main reason we want to see her back on the debate stage to give a fiery yet offbeat spiel that her supporters can eat up.
#4 – Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): Warren was looking poised to take her momentum all the way to the presidency when she derailed herself by falling for the same Okie-doke that got Castro: Listening to your critics. Warren sided with Bernie on Medicare for All then she let people say she was solely responsible for it when she clearly wasn’t, and then they demanded she release a plan to pay for it. And she buckled. She didn’t want to say middle-class taxes would go up, so to avoid it, she came up with a comprehensive, but regressive head tax scheme that made absolutely no sense and on top of it, decided to delay her roll out of Medicare for All until the third year of her presidency opting to pass a public option first. It was messy and revealed one fatal flaw of Warren herself. If push comes to shove, she folds. It was the clearest sign that she isn’t ready to challenge Trump, but there may still be time to recover.
#3 – Entrepreneur Andrew Yang: Yang in the fifth debate again received the least amount of speaking time, but at least this time he decided to do something about it. He asked his loyal #YangGang to #BoycottMSNBC which seemed fair since they turned in what can only be described as the worst moderated debate in this presidential cycle. He also stunned recently when his campaign hit the largest single-day fundraising haul of his run when they nabbed $750,000 from 18,000 donors in one day. Yang is now only one more qualifying poll away from making the 6th debate stage as well. All seems to be looking good for Yang, but… I really don’t know what this is or why…
And for the first time ever…
#2 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT): Yes, for the first time ever the independent Senator from Vermont has been dethroned from his number one spot on our list. Not because he’s done anything bad. In fact, he’s been rather consistent. Unfortunately, that’s also the problem. When it comes to debate performances, Bernie does what he does best. He focuses on the issues and doesn’t do personal attacks. And I, for one, am not going to advocate for him to change that strategy. But pointing out what’s wrong with other people’s plans wouldn’t hurt either. Buttigieg’s Med4All “who wants it” plan is a two-tiered privatized health care plan that still benefits rapacious middlemen in the healthcare industry price-gouging the American people to the tune of billions. Going after Pete for his infantile College for some plan that again lacks universality so it then makes it easier to cut would be a genuine way to drive home Bernie’s ideas and their merits against others. It’s something his surrogates have done to great effect. Nina Turner is always amazing and AOC has shut everybody down on social media who try to come for Sanders unjustly. It’s just about time Bernie himself did the same.
And that means our new number one spot holder is…
#1 – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI): No other candidate has endured the smears and misrepresentations by the media, other democrats, and democratic leadership quite as much as Tulsi, but the fact that she has managed to maintain her ground, stay focused on her agenda and derail several other candidates is a testament to how good of a politician she really is. Tulsi wholeheartedly believes in ending our regime change wars across the globe, and it has made her enemy #1 to the military-industrial complex, and yet she has stood her ground. She challenged the women of The View to their faces, re-calibrated her message on the Joe Rogan podcast, and finally made it into an SNL sketch which was pretty damn funny.
For all the people claiming women can’t win due to sexism or racism, Tulsi is proving them wrong by being a woman of color, a proud veteran and servicewoman, and by running on the issues that matter to the American people. She looks like the toughest SOB on the debate stage, and you could even argue the campaigns of Tim Ryan and Kamala Harris got a portion of their endings due to Gabbard’s dissecting of them on national television. It’s put her in a shining light and luckily she’s got the white pantsuit to match it.
And those are our official power rankings for this month as the race for the 46th president of the United States rolls on. We’re just a few days away from the next democratic primary debacle…I mean, debate. And we’ll see how our candidates fair as the primary inches closer and closer towards the first caucuses. See you next time.