Editor's Brief

The 2020 Dynamic is Shifting

September 4, 2019 12:25 p.m.

For months now I’ve been in a back and forth with readers over what many have wrongly interpreted as support for Joe Biden. That’s not really right. It’s more like Biden Realism, which I’d describe as a focus on Biden’s apparent strengths despite many people’s wish that they weren’t strengths. The primary polls themselves are inherently volatile and heavily driven by perceptions of electability. That’s not the case with general election polls, which focus on voters who by definition don’t care about “electability.” Those polls have been very, very consistent all year. Specifically, Joe Biden is the only Democrat who consistently bests President Trump by big margins. Most of the others are closer to a tie. The exception is Bernie Sanders who has usually been between Biden and the rest of the pack.

Some people claim those numbers mean next to nothing more than a year from the general election. They’re wrong. When one candidate consistently does significantly better, it suggests they pull an electoral coalition that is different and larger than the others. The fact that things can change does not mean they will change or (more importantly) that they will change to conform to your hopes. But something has shifted over the last month.

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