With the election a year away, Democrats have a lot to cheer about. The latest Washington Post/ABC poll shows Joe Biden trouncing Donald Trump by a staggering 17 percent among all voters. Three other contenders for the chance to oppose the president — Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg — all lead Trump by double-digits.

Moreover, Fox News reports that 6 in 10 voters believe the president asked foreign leaders to investigate his political opponents, and two-thirds “say that action is inappropriate.”

Still, Democratic optimism should be tempered by three developments that threaten to make the 2020 race far closer than those national polls indicate today.

Issue one: The key states that decided the last election, and are likely to determine the next one, are virtually dead-even. The New York Times polled almost 4,000 voters in six battleground states — Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona and North Carolina — and concluded the contest was “highly competitive.” Biden leads Trump by only 2 points in these states, while Warren trails him by 2 points and Sanders runs even with the president.

Democrats probably need to win three of those six states to defeat Trump, and that outcome “is not at all assured,” writes Times data analyst Nate Cohn. “The president’s advantage in the Electoral College relative to the nation as a whole remains intact or has even grown since 2016, raising the possibility that the Republicans could — for the third time in the past six elections — win the presidency while losing the popular vote.”

Issue two: Warren and Sanders are pulling the party far to the left, leaving Trump a clear shot at moderate voters who don’t like him personally but fear a high-tax/big-government Democrat in the White House.

Cohn examines the 15 percent of the electorate in the six key states that can be described as “persuadable,” and the results clearly undercut the Warren/Sanders faction, which argues that only a left-wing purist can defeat Trump.

By a margin of 82 to 11 percent, the “persuadables” prefer a candidate “who promises to find common ground over one who promises to fight for a progressive agenda.” By 75 to 19 percent, they’d choose a moderate over a liberal.

The Times then focuses on a smaller group, “truly persuadable voters,” and the numbers are even more damning for the liberal cause. These voters would support Biden over Trump by 11 points, but would back Trump over Warren by 17 points. One reason: They strongly reject Warren’s most prominent proposal, a single-payer health plan, by 60 to 37 percent.

Rep. Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat who ran for the presidential nomination as a moderate before dropping out of the race, told The Washington Post: “The average Democrat in Ohio is going to say: ‘Wait a minute, I mean, how do you do that? ... Free this and free that? How does that happen?’”

The Times concludes that as of now, the “persuadable” voters in the six battleground states would “swing the election in favor of Mr. Biden, but leave Ms. Warren or Mr. Sanders short.”

Issue three: impeachment. Six months ago, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the Post that she opposed that direction, and explained why: “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.”

Trump’s machinations with Ukraine were despicable, and enlisting a foreign power to investigate a political rival is un-American and possibly illegal. But the Democrats have failed, by Pelosi’s own standard, to make a “compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan” case for canceling the results of the last election. Not a single House Republican voted to launch an official impeachment inquiry, and every national poll shows a sharp, bitter, partisan divide on the issue.

In the new NBC/Wall Street Journal survey, for example, 49 percent favor impeachment, including 88 percent of all Democrats; 46 percent oppose removing the president, including 90 percent of all Republicans. And the president is already weaponizing the issue, using the threat of impeachment to raise money, energize his base and crystalize their sense of grievance against a system they believe is rigged against them.

The only way Trump will be denied a second term is through the ballot box, not impeachment. And Democrats need to focus on the swing voters in the swing states who will make that decision.

— Steven Roberts teaches politics and journalism at George Washington University. He can be contacted by email at stevecokie@gmail.com.

(8) comments

Comment deleted.
Gary Lukert

Donnie, the Crooked Liar Trump said... before the 2016 election, that if HE won the POPULAR Vote, and Hillary the ELECTORAL VOTE, it would be rigged! Well, it is the other way around, and, so, then, all of a Sudden the Electoral Vote was fine. HILLARY DID BEAT Crooked Trump by 3,000,000 popular votes, thus, Trump was NOT The Choice of the People! You, He and Republicans cannot stand it!!!!!!!!

Comment deleted.
SeanRanklin

SnowGypsy logic: Does not believe renowned scientists who say global warming will kill us; business researchers and professionals saying tax cuts for rich are bad and trickledown economics hardly work. Does believe some article she read on Britebart or some facebook "expert" on any republican talking point. Confirmation bias is strong with this one my goodness.

SnowGypsy

One more time for those whose memories are spent, if polls were correct, Hillary Clinton would be POTUS. So, this is basically a humorous piece. They are praising Biden, which many Democrats have already said didn't have a chance from the get-go. But, it is always good to have a dream, just prepare for the disappointment as the election results come in. Also, a good read is why polls are no longer accurate, but don't let reality get in the way of your dreams of a President Biden. Too funny!

SeanRanklin

I like how houndi criticizes others for being too lazy when they are too lazy to proofread their own comments and understand the difference between "to" and "too". Also, why are "Aim_High"'s comments being deleted did not see anything that broke rules to my knowledge?

Comment deleted.
SnowGypsy

Guessing your high school didn't teach American Government, or you would understand that Hillary Clinton did not win the election, or maybe you simply forgot what was being taught. More and more, I am starting to agree that Kansas really does need to be spending more money on education. It isn't me that reports your comments as I can always use a good dose of humor! Maybe it is someone who takes you seriously?

Comment deleted.
Gary Lukert

It really Galls Republicans that Hillary BEAT Crooked, Lying Trump BY 3 MILLION VOTES. 3 Million MORE people Voted FOR Hillary than Donald. Thus, the system put Trump in office, NOT the People. Trump is not, was not the WILL of the people.

SeanRanklin

One thing we do agree on is that the people of the Gazette have to love our discourse I mean it is entertaining regardless of beliefs.

Comment deleted.
SeanRanklin

Nice try, but you forgot to insult illegal immigrants because of how much money they cost the USA, but yet our military is still in Iraq for no reason. Also, you need to have more incoherent sentences, you need to criticize others for typing writing too many words, and you need more hypocritical statements. Finally, you need to tell people they lost the argument because they criticized your perspective and you have no counter to the new perspective. 7/10.

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