I think there are three Democratic candidates who could beat President Donald J. Trump (R-Florida) in 2020. Those candidates are U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders Sanders (I-Vermont), Andrew Yang (D-New York), and Michael Bloomberg (?-New York).
How Bernie could beat Trump
I think Bernie could Trump because there is data showing large numbers of Sanders voters supported the Donald in 2016. Polling data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, shows 12% of Bernie’s primary voters backed Trump in the general election. National Public Radio claims.
Thus there is data showing Bernie/Trump voters exist and exposing how those voters helped Trump in 2016. Unfortunately, nobody knows how the Bernie/Sanders crowd will vote next year.
Although, I suspect most of them will favor Bernie to Trump. On the other hand, I cannot picture the Sanders voters supporting either former Vice President Joe Biden (D-Delaware) or U.S. Senator Liz Warren (D-Massachusetts).
How Andrew Yang could beat Trump
Businessman turned basic income advocate Andrew Yang poses a greater problem for Trump for two reasons. First, Yang is an unknown, so he is hard to fathom.
Second, Yang has a strong appeal to many Trump voters. In particular, Yang targets young male voters with events such as Yangapalooza. In addition, Yang has an army of angry young men similar to Trump’s deplorables; that the media calls the Yang Gang, on his side.
A typical Yang Gang Member is Kansas City resident Jesse Hart who tells Iowa Starting Line; “I was going to vote last cycle for Trump, but I did not register.” Tellingly, Iowa Starting Line interviewed Hart at Yangapalooza in Des Moines on 5 November 2019.
One reason why Yang appeals to men; such as Hart. is that Yang’s message is even darker than Trump’s. Essentially, Yang says “robots and artificial intelligence will kill most of the jobs. Therefore, America needs to establish a basic income; the Freedom Dividend, to keep ordinary people from starving to death.”
Hence, Trump cannot compete with Yang in the gloom and doom battle. Walls or tariffs could stop Trump’s demons; China and immigration. In contrast, Yang’s demons; technology and progress, are faceless and unstoppable forces. Yang wins by conceding defeat in the war between humans and technology, then offering a third way out.
Yang’s message gets through because many voters believe it in their guts. Other Democrats; such as Liz Warren, cannot compete because they appeal to reason.
In common with Sanders, Yang could steal a large percentage of the angry male vote. Moreover, establishment attacks on Yang will make him more appealing to the angry men. Remember, all the establishment attacks on Trump in 2016, increased the Donald’s appeal to the” deplorables.”
The Enigma of Michael Bloomberg
Bloomberg; who entered the race late, is the most enigmatic Democratic candidate. Yet I think Bloomberg can appeal to many Trump voters.
First, Bloomberg can pass himself as a tough New Yorker who is ready to fight for “middle-class” (read white) Americans. Importantly, Bloomberg is already doing that in campaign ads.
Thus Bloomberg appeals to the same authoritarian instincts and bigotry that motivate Trump’s base. Conversely, Bloomberg is a kinder, gentler candidate who can appeal to groups Trump offends. For instance, soccer moms; who hate Trump’s vulgarity and misogyny, but a want a tough fighter on their side.
In addition, Bloomberg appeals straight to middle -lass fears about crime, guns, and violence. Bloomberg trumps the Donald by appealing to middle-class fears of both poor whites and blacks with his gun-control crusade.
Bloomberg’s message is “I’ll take the guns away from both the blacks and the ignorant rednecks.” My brother jokes that Bloomberg’s real policy is “put the hillbillies in jail where they belong.”
Sadly, that message will have broad appeal in suburbia. In addition, Bloomberg plays to fears of Climate Change by promising what amounts to a war on big business in his television spots.
I think Bloomberg will have a strong appeal to traditional Republican voters who reluctantly support Trump. That includes suburban soccer moms and the country club set. In addition, Bloomberg will get some racist votes. Particularly closeted white racists whom Trump’s open racism scares.
How Bloomberg could Out Trump Trump
If Bloomberg is smart, he needs to make a strong appeal to Christians and religious conservatives now. I think promising to adopt Trump’s defend religious liberty at all costs mantra could be a wise move for Bloomberg.
In particular, Bloomberg can capitalize on his status as a Jew by trumpeting his support of Israel. Additionally, Bloomberg can say “as a Jew I understand why religious liberty is important and I will defend it.”
This strategy will not endure Bloomberg to Democrats but I think it will have a strong appeal in the Heartland. One way Bloomberg can use this strategy is to call anybody who attacks him an Anti-Semite and a Nazi.
Another is to promise to defend the churches from the gun-toting lunatics. For example, run ads showing Satanists, Neo-nazis, or Islamic radicals stockpiling guns and preparing to attack a church.
I don’t know how Trump could react to such strategies but they will have strong appeals to some voters. Remember, fear sells in our politics. A man who promised to protect white America from Mexican rapists won the last presidential election.
A Dark and Nasty Election
Bloomberg could ratchet up the hysteria level to new heights by going places Trump cannot.
For example, Bloomberg can cite fears of Climate Change and guns on the campaign trail and claim he is protecting our children from those evils. If Trump attacks Bloomberg, the ex-Mayor can say, “see the evil Trump hates your children because he supports guns and climate change.”
Thus, any campaign featuring Michael Bloomberg, will be dark and nasty. Only time will tell if Bloomberg can be dark enough and nasty enough to win both the Democratic primary and the general election.
Notably, Bloomberg will need to get past two candidates who are masters of being dark without the nasty; Sanders and Yang. I do not think Bloomberg can do that.