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CNN Clams Warren is the Front Runner

CNN Asks What's Next for Front-Runner Elizabeth Warren?

There's a new top dog in the Democratic field: Elizabeth Warren. As Harry Enten and I noted in our brandnew rankings of the 10 Democrats most likely to wind up as the party's nominee, Warren has overtaken Biden not just in polling but also in money and organization. She also has the clearest path to be the nominee, with a polling and organizational edges in Iowa and a geographic connection in New Hampshire.

The polls show CNN is late to the Warren is front-runner party. She was tied on October 8 nationally but that was the best she got.

In Iowa, Warren took the lead on September 23 and held it until today.

Yet, just today, CNN declares Warren to be the front-runner. Go figure.

Biden Fundraising Issue

Don't lose sight of this amazing fact: Astronaut and first-time Senate candidate Mark Kelly had more money in the bank ($9.5 million) than Joe Biden's presidential campaign ($8.98 million) at the end of September. That's Joe Biden. The three-plus decade senator. The eight-year vice president. The front-runner in the 2020 race since the moment he got into it.

Biden's fundraising problems aren't actually all that surprising. He's never been much of a fundraiser -- or enjoyed doing it. And he never built the small-dollar national network that more liberal candidates likes Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren have accrued.

None of those rationalizations change the fact that Biden has considerably less money to spend in the final 100 days before people start voting that any of his top rivals -- including Sanders, Warren and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

How can Biden change that reality? He probably can't. If he wasn't able to raise money well (and easily) as the clear front-runner, he's going to have a much harder time convincing people to give him money given the changing dynamics in the contest.

Warren Needs a Plan

Please consider Warren had Better Have a Plan — She Needs One to Win in November

Some of her expansive and expensive positions would be ripe targets for Republicans, scare Democrats in critical battleground contests, and — if she's elected — would pose substantial governing problems.

The issues are smart, expanded health care and educational assistance, aggressively taking on the climate change crisis, much more progressive taxes, and reversing President Trump's disastrous immigration policies. It's just that she goes to unrealistic extremes.

The biggest plan is a single payer health care system costing the federal government more than $30 trillion over a decade, doing away with insurance premiums and co-pays. This “Medicare for All” polls well — until voters realize it would end private insurance plans and require massive tax increases. Warren has ducked how much middle-class taxes would be raised.

Warren proposes $5 trillion of other expenditures: $2 trillion for clean energy; federally supported universal day care, free public college (forgiving student loans), big investments in housing subsidies, unspecified monies for reparations for the sins of slavery, and a $200 a month social security increase for all recipients financed by doubling the payroll tax on those making over $250,000 a year.

Warren plays into Trump's hands by calling for abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency; de-criminalizing illegal immigration, and providing all health care benefits to undocumented workers.

Criticisms from other Democrats have begun and will escalate: South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg charged at a recent debate,"No plan has been laid out to explain how a multitrillion-dollar hole in this Medicare for all plan that Sen. Warren is putting forward is supposed to get filled in."

That is kid's stuff compared to what Republicans will do if Warren's the nominee.

Democratic Rivals Repeatedly Criticize Warren During Debate

Also consider Democratic Rivals Repeatedly Criticize Warren During Debate

Elizabeth Warren's rivals repeatedly jabbed at her during Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate, accusing the Massachusetts senator of ducking questions about the costs of Medicare for All universal health insurance and her signature "wealth tax" plan.

Taking hits from all sides reflected Warren's rise to a front-runner in the crowded field of candidates who are looking to deny President Donald Trump a second term. Joe Biden, who has led the Democratic field for months, had to address Trump's unsupported accusations of wrongdoing by him and his son in Ukraine, but by and large avoided confrontation with his rivals.

Warren, as in other debates, was pressed about whether she would raise taxes on the middle class to pay for her health care plan — and, as previously, she would not say yes or no but argued instead that lower premiums would mean that overall costs would go down for most Americans.

More moderate Democrats, like Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, pounced, calling for an approach that stops short of fully government funded health care.

"I appreciate Elizabeth's work but, again, the difference between a plan and a pipe dream is something you can actually get done," Klobuchar said.

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Added Buttigieg: "We heard it tonight. A 'yes' or 'no' question that didn't get a 'yes' or 'no' answer."

AOC Endorses Sanders

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Two days ago, USA Today reported AOC Reflects on Congress as she Endorses Sanders

On Saturday afternoon, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., made her endorsement of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., official at a rally in Queens, N.Y., that marked Sanders' return to the campaign trail after recently having a heart attack.

"I'm in the United States Congress now," said Ocasio-Cortez as she gave a 20-minute speech introducing Sanders, "a long, long way from being a sexually harassed waitress in downtown Manhattan one year ago."

"It is no joke. Standing up to corporate power, and established interests is no joke. It's not just about standing up and saying these things, but behind closed doors, your arm is twisted, the vise pressure of political pressure gets put on you, every trick in the book, psychological, and otherwise is to get us to abandon the working class," she said before a massive crowd.

Analyzing the Numbers

Curiously, CNN declared Warren the front-runner partially on the basis everyone was attacking Warren.

That's more than a bit odd since he polling numbers peaked somewhere between September 23 and October 8.

It's one thing to gain front-runner status and another to keep it.

AOC's endorsement of Sanders does not help Warren either.

If Biden can win Iowa, a conservative state in practice, then win in New Hampshire, much of air out of Warren's balloon will vanish.

As it stands, Real Clear Politics has Warren in front of Biden by 3.3 percentage points.

  • Warren 27.3
  • Biden 24..0
  • Sanders 16.7

But those polls go all the way back to September 25. I like to look at the most recent polls.

The 10-9 thru 10-13 is the most recent. It looks like this.

  • Warren 24
  • Biden 24
  • Sanders 22

I expect Sanders will get a boost from AOC, most likely at the expense of Warren, not Biden.

Two Most Recent National Polls

By the way, check out the two most recent National Polls.

  • Survey USA 10/15 10/16: Biden 32, Warren 22, Sanders 17
  • Politico 10/15 10/16: Biden 31, Warren 21, Sanders 18

What Happened?

  1. In Iowa, Warren is likely too progressive and too tax prone.
  2. Warren will not say how she will pay for her trillion dollar proposals. That will cost her votes in the middle, aiding Biden.

Front-Runner Illusion

AOC's praise of Sanders is not even reflected in the polls!

Warren may have briefly led, but it's an illusion that she is still in first place.

And should Warren actually get elected, her ideas will go nowhere in the Senate.

Finally, Warren may very well be the only Democratic candidate Trump can beat. Perhaps the Democrats will figure that out.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock