Woof. At this point, it’s Biden, Bernie, Warren, Harris or a miracle, and given that trajectory it’s hard to see Beto being the miracle man.
At least Beto isn’t unpopular enough among Dems to seriously damage himself. What Bill de Blasio is doing is almost amazing:
Three candidates have net unfavorability among Democrats: Tulsi, the candidate for anyone who follows Michael Tracey on Twitter and finds Steny Hoyer’s voting record a little too left-wing; Seth Moulton, leader of the “let’s replace Nancy Pelosi with a random more conservative white guy to be named later” failed coup; and de Blasio, who is approaching almost Howard Schultz levels of unpopularity. I can at least understand why some of these generic no-hope white guys are running, but what de Blasio’s angle is I have no idea. I don’t think “guy who is clearly bored stiff with his important job and ran even though everybody told him it was a dumb idea” is what you’re looking for in a cabinet secretary.
Note too that Bullock is barely above water, which one would hope would be a hint to what he should actually be doing this cycle:
Joe Biden, who stood at Barack Obama’s elbow to witness the powerlessness of individual political genius, now claims to believe that he can bring the country around and fix the Republicans’ attitude himself, through sheer electability and persuasion. Steve Bullock wants to make his version of the same offer, with an emphasis on fighting against big money, to “take our democracy back,” and on his ability to win over voters in a Trump state.
How is Bullock going to take anything back from the Republicans and their donors, with the Senate still in the opposition party’s hands? What makes him, or any of these other people jumping in, think they can do better than Obama did, by repeating his mistakes with less talent behind them? The forces of corruption and minority rule are smarter and tougher than that.
While Bullock was putting out his screen test for the role of National Savior 2.0, the political machinery the Republicans built under Obama was continuing to grind away at everything the Democrats might hope to accomplish. While he talked about abstract leadership and good government, the real system—the system of top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top Republican control of government—was at work in Alabama, passing a wholly unconstitutional and punitive abortion ban, the work of crackpot right-wing state legislators who hope, with rising confidence, that the new hard-right five-judge bloc of the Supreme Court will agree to revoke the whole existing structure of reproductive rights.
That Supreme Court bloc exists because the United States Senate, the bridge between the local partisan fanatics and the federal judiciary, proved to be more powerful than a popular president. Nearly any of the Democratic presidential aspirants, picked at random, has a decent chance to defeat Donald Trump. None of them, as president, can defeat Mitch McConnell as long as he’s still Senate majority leader. If Steve Bullock wants to take back our democracy, he could work on doing it piece by piece.
As Scocca put it on Twitter, even a different Bullock who had a non-zero chance of winning the Dem nomination would — having conceded the MT seat to the GOP — would basically be running to be the next Democratic president Mitch McConnell drowns in wet cement. But if there’s one thing that can unite factions of the Democratic Party, it’s the vastly disproportionate emphasis on winning the White House.