BOSTON - On Wednesday, it will be 2020. For many families, this holiday season has been about trying to avoid politics at the dinner table. But, no matter how hard we try, the new year will be here soon enough which means the election is right around the corner. We have decided to take a look at the next few months and what the biggest questions related to this colossal November vote are.
- Progressive or Centrist? Yesterday we wrote about how Massachusetts, although voting solidly Democratic, leans far closer to the middle than out left (78% center, 22% progressive). For me, the single biggest question in the first few months of the new year is: which wing of the Democratic wing will prevail? The AOC/Bernie progressives or the Biden/Pete centrists? And what impact will that have on the general election? In 2016, Clinton was viewed as the safe, centrist figure who could rally the Democratic base against Donald Trump. That didn't work out so well. So, will choosing a progressive candidate to energize the Democratic base, and see higher voter turnout defeat the President? Or will it alienate all the center Democrats?
- What will happen in February? Piggybacking off our first question, the early primary states will answer a lot of these questions fairly early. The Iowa caucuses are held on February 3rd, followed by the New Hampshire primary on the 11th, the Nevada caucuses on the 22nd and the South Carolina caucuses on the 29th. By the end of February, a lot of our major questions surrounding the Democratic party will begin to be answered, finally liberating us from opinion polls and giving us cold, hard data.
- Can Michael Bloomberg stay in the fight without being on the debate stage? When Bloomberg announced his candidacy, he vowed to use all his own funding, which meant he would meet the basic requirements to make it on the debate stage. In this age of social media, Bloomberg is hedging his bets that by advertising on our iPhones and TVs and computers and iPads and basically anywhere there is a screen, he can make a dent in this election. How that works out will show us if this path is viable, or perhaps even better, than spending time on the debate stages.
- Can the Democratic base unite when the time comes? As we mentioned above, the question is progressive or centrist. But, one of them will prevail, and would Bernie/Warren encourage their supporters to vote for a Steyer/Bloomberg even as they detest billionaires? Would Biden/Pete encourage their supporters to get behind a Warren/Bernie even as they repeatedly attack their progressive policy plans as unrealistic?
- Who will win? There are so many interesting questions for the politically curious among us, but the question every American will surely be curious about is who will be in the White House in 2021. 2016 showed us that polling can get things wrong, so it's anyone's guess what will happen this November. The optimists among us hope that this will end the exhaustion of an election cycle, but the cynics will argue that we are so divided in this country that any result will still lead to more arguments from both sides. Only time will tell...
Okay, you've made it through this. Time to stop thinking about 2020 and enjoy the final embers of 2019 while they are still here. Happy New Year!
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