We still have almost a full year to go before we find out who the Democratic candidate for the 2020 US Presidential Election will be, but the competition between all the interested parties is already in full swing. Joe Biden, the former Vice President to Barack Obama, is currently considered to be the front runner – and he’s heading to Charlotte later this month to firm up support and raise funds for his campaign.
It’s as-yet-unknown how supporters in the area will be able to gain access to the event, but it’s being hosted on August 28th, and will occur at the private residence of Erskine Bowles. Tickets to attend the special event are currently being touted on the internet for prices between $1,000 and $2,800.
Bowles is a name that will be familiar to many who have followed both local and regional politics in the long term – he was once Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, and was an active supporter of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in their respective presidential campaigns. The visit will mark the first of what will presumably be several visits to Charlotte and North Carolina in general as he looks to shore up support within a region he already appears to be doing well in.
Biden currently leads the field despite his name being connected to a serious of negative news stories including allegations of impropriety towards women, and the resurfacing of an article he once wrote which seemed to suggest his opposition towards women taking on full-time employment. He’s well ahead in current Democratic Party polling on a national level, but also leads the regional polls in both North and South Carolina. South Carolina is of crucial importance to all of the prospective Presidential candidates, as it’s one of the first primaries that will be contested when the issue of who gets to stand is put to the vote next year. For those at the lower end of the polling data, it may also be where their campaigns end.
As well as outperforming his nearest rivals – who are, at the time of writing, veteran socialist Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – Biden is also proving capable of attracting more money than his opponents. Between North Carolina and South Carolina, he’s raised over a quarter of a million dollars to support his campaign, which indicates that the well-heeled Democrat supporters within the region believe that he represents the best prospect of denying incumbent President Donald Trump a second term in the White House.
Biden is bullish about his chances of victory in North Carolina not only in the Democratic primaries, but also in the Presidential Elections. While speaking to a forum in Washington in June, Biden told supporters that he believed it was possible to turn North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Texas blue. While he cannot be faulted for his optimism, the swing required for him to achieve all of the above would be considerable. Hillary Clinton was comfortably beaten in North Carolina in 2016, losing by a full 4% margin to Trump. In all likelihood, Biden (or the victorious Democratic candidate) would have to not only engage with those would-be Democratic voters who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Clinton at the last time of asking, but also persuade people who voted Trump last time to cross back into the Democratic fold. Given that predicting politics both at home and abroad has proven to be a fool’s errand in recent years, the prospects of any candidate being able to do so are unknown.
Although Biden currently leads the polls, polling in 2015 and 2016 proved to be wide of the mark when it came to the occasion, with Donald Trump achieving the greatest upset of all. Backing a Presidential or even Democratic primary candidate at this point would be the action of a brave gambler. With so many possible permutations, the odds of picking correctly at this early stage would be no better than the odds of hitting the jackpot with your first spin of the reels on a mobile slots game. Within the Democrats, there are currently more candidates than there are symbols on the reels in mobile slots, and their order is likely to change with each ‘spin’ as the primaries progress. Making a comparison to the gambling world is apt – you’ll find that some mobile games on slots website based on the sitting President, including ‘Trump It,’ and ‘Trump It Deluxe.’ For all his flaws, it’s hard to imagine any of the Democratic candidates keeping artists and satirists as busy for the next four years as they have been recently.
Regardless of who eventually comes out on top, it seems likely that Biden will at least be there until the final reckoning from the Democratic Party’s point of view. His lead in the polls is so substantial that barring a public relations disaster, he should make it through to the final round if the support turns into solid votes. His supporters will be particularly keen to point out that Biden is especially popular with African American voters, with 57% of the demographic preferring him to any other candidate. Securing the African American vote is believed to be of critical importance to the Democrats as they plot their return to the White House.
As for the rest of the field, it’s reasonable to assume that his final opponent will be Warren or Sanders, despite an increasingly passionate campaign by Kamala Harris. Her most recent poll numbers place her at below 9%, with Pete Buttigieg tracking even further back at 5%. No candidate other than Biden, Sanders, Warren, Harris, or Buttigieg currently enjoys the support of more than 1% of Democratic voters, and so the remaining names on the ballot will likely fall at the first hurdle – if they don’t withdraw beforehand. Campaigning is an expensive business, and it often makes more sense to make a dignified withdrawal than spending money on a campaign trail that’s going nowhere.
Anybody interested in attending the Biden fundraiser at Bowles’ residence on August 28th is advised to continue monitoring newsletters and their preferred local Democratic news source, as further information is expected to be released closer to the date of his visit.