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Daunting poll results for Team Trump: Voters say they dislike Biden less than they dislike Trump

Former Vice President Joe Biden
REUTERS/Scott Morgan
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s negative gap is 44 percent approval/54 percent disapproval, 10 points “under water” compared to Trump’s 38 approval/60 percent disapproval.

For many voters this fall — enough to potentially decide the race, according to all recent polling — the question will apparently be: Which presidential candidate whom you dislike do you dislike less?

As you probably know, more Americans disapprove of Donald Trump than approve of him, and that’s been true pretty much every day since he glided down the magic escalator in Trump Tower or since he bragged at the Republican Convention, “I alone can fix it.”

I will lay you 10-1 odds that on Election Day this November, Trump will have an upside down approval number, and you would be a sucker to take that bet. 

Both ‘under water’

But guess who else has an upside down approval rating? Joe Biden. His approval numbers are better than Trump’s, but still “under water.” 

The median American voter is in a foul mood toward politicians and has been for some time.

That’s sad. But it’s based on the fact that both Trump and Biden have not only approval numbers below 50 percent, but disapproval numbers that are higher than their approval numbers. Again, that’s sad. And it didn’t used to be like this. When I was a kid, my liberal parents voted enthusiastically for Adlai Stevenson, but they still Liked Ike.

Still, once we get over being sad at the high and rising level of sourness, it leads to the conclusion that this race will, in some real sense (like the previous one), be decided by the question: Whom-do-you-dislike-less?

And, based on recent polling, that’s currently a huge factor in Joe Biden’s favor.

I borrow this analysis from a recent segment by MSNBC’s political number cruncher Steve Kornacki.

(I should repeat, as usual, that no current polling can really tell us what will happen in November. It’s a snapshot of the moment it was taken, and (also as usual) a blurry snapshot considering that every poll includes a significant margin for error. But in this case, the margin isn’t nearly big enough to cover the gap.

Polling in 2016

In the MSNBC segment (which I’ll link to below), Kornacki goes over the facts from 2016 versus the current polling, according to which, on Election Day 2016:

In NBC exit polling, voters who had an unfavorable opinion of Donald Trump outnumbered those with a favorable view by a very impressive 60-38 percent margin. But the majority also had an unfavorable impression of Hillary Clinton — by a smaller but quite significant 54-44 percent. You could assume that, even if Clinton were under water, she should have won because she was under less water than Trump — and bear in mind she did get the most votes overall.

But it also means that a fairly huge number of voters told pollsters they didn’t like either of the major party nominees. And those who said they didn’t like either major party nominee voted this way:

For Trump: 47 percent.

For Clinton: 30 percent.

For a third-party candidate or for no one: the remaining 23 percent. 

Of the total electorate (not just the ones who didn’t like either major party nominee) 94 percent of all voters voted for either Trump or Clinton. 

But here’s the key: Of the large, unprecedented, 18 percent portion of voters who disliked both major party nominees but held their nose and voted for the one they disliked less, they broke for Trump by a 17 percentage point margin.

And, Kornacki said, this disliked-both-but-voted-for-Trump portion was even bigger in the three key swing states — Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — that won him the electoral votes he needed.

Recent NBC polling

Now flash forward to the most recent NBC polling. Sadly, we find that (as of the time of this recent NBC poll) neither of the major party nominees has a favorable approval rating. But Biden’s negative gap is a more manageable 44 percent approval/54 percent disapproval, 10 points “under water” compared to Trump’s 38 approval/60 percent disapproval, a staggering 22 points under water, which is also much worse than his ratings when he faced Clinton.

But here’s the clincher, and forgive me for taking so long to get to it: The poll on which Kornacki based his segment found that:

When that large segment of the sample who said they had an unfavorable opinion of both Trump and Biden were asked for whom they would vote, they broke for Biden by 60-10 percent, with the rest either saying they would vote for a third-party candidate, wouldn’t vote for anyone for president, or didn’t know.

I wish I were more excited about Biden. I’m sad that our system has produced a choice of two candidates for whom so many can’t feel enthusiastic about voting for either. I assume Team Trump, which has no way to drive up Trump’s favorable, will go all out to drive up Biden’s unfavorable. And a complicated poll question six months before the election isn’t the slightest bit bankable.

But if I were Trump or his managers, I would find that last fact about the poll result – the fact that voters who don’t like either Trump or Biden dislike Biden less — very daunting.

Here’s the Kornacki/MSNBC segment.

Comments (103)

  1. Submitted by Brian Simon on 05/04/2020 - 09:59 am.

    Put me in the category that isn’t excited about Biden, but will enthusiastically vote for him over Trump. Whereas in 2016, it was much more of a held my nose to vote for Clinton. I.e. like Biden OK, don’t really care of Clinton, but actively loathe Donald Trump.

  2. Submitted by richard owens on 05/04/2020 - 10:40 am.

    Bernie was ready, Democrats were not. They still would like to dabble in neoliberalism.

    Biden might win because he’s neither a socialist nor a sociopath.

    Medicare for all. Healthcare is a human right. If you work 40 hours a week you should be paid enough to support yourself. If you are laid off you shouldn’t lose your healthcare.

    The government needs to work for all of us, not just those who own the best lobbyists.

    Who can argue the facts in our faces.

    • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 05/04/2020 - 06:55 pm.

      “If you work 40 hours a week you should be paid enough to support yourself. ”

      In which states and can you still live at home with your parents? Entry level jobs are just that, entry level, there really shouldn’t be a requirement to support a family of four. Which is exactly what by the way?

      • Submitted by Joe Anderson on 05/05/2020 - 04:26 pm.

        Not everyone has parents to go home to Tom.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/05/2020 - 05:20 pm.

        Not every minimum wage is entry level.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 05/06/2020 - 02:07 pm.

        Its strange, I don’t recall my parents speaking about the need to live at home when THEY made entry level wages, but that’s now the conservative expectation? Talk about diminishing returns…

      • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 05/08/2020 - 11:04 pm.

        Contraception or abstinence are ways of creating less of a financial footprint for many.

        As a man who was among the 38% of U.S. rape victims (two female molesters when I was young, and one female rapist when I was 24 and asleep), conservatively, I empathize for women who have been raped and who decide to go through with their pregnancy.

        In Minnesota, many if not most people have access to healthcare insurance paid for entirely by the state, partially by the state, or entirely through their own financial means.

        As a society which uses credit cards for everything, including paying the rent, it has become clear to me that landlords will ask for the going rate that renters are asked to pay. Were we not so hellbent on living up to other people’s expectations of how much we should spend to look good or fashionable, our questioner, above, would not have to ask his question.

        Also, if you are a man or boy who was molested or raped by a woman, please don’t consider anyone else’s opinions of you as you call in to report criminal behaviors. When I called in in 1986, the officer told me to enjoy it and to not complain. This is backwards thinking, and legislators and judges, as well as law enforcement personnel, should recognize crime as crime and be objective and professional.

        My apologies for swerving a little too much away from the Biden-Trump concern. Both have been accused of sexually assaulting women. How much of this is based on a desire from various parties wanting to do damage to a particular candidate remains questionable, but not irrelevant.

        P.S. if you believe that only poor people or people from families without prestige get raped, think again: my dad was a city and, later, a corporate attorney and county bar association president and real estate executive, one of my uncles was a law enforcement officer, and the other was a fire department chief for a suburb of Saint Paul.

        I was too embarrassed to report the molestation. So: Please be brave and confident, and report. Criminals should be brought to justice whether or not they are a woman or man.

  3. Submitted by Bob Petersen on 05/04/2020 - 10:52 am.

    How about the dangers that Biden seems to be carrying and the threat to himself? Say what you will about Trump – but why is Trump always the focus? Is it because the Dem establishment is putting up another seriously flawed candidate like Hilary and the same, tired platform? That’s not to mention that the DNC again cheated their primary.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/04/2020 - 11:22 am.

      “Say what you will about Trump – but why is Trump always the focus?”

      Trump is the current President. When a President runs for re-election, the contest is as much a referendum on his performance in office as it is deciding which of the two candidates the electorate prefers.

      This is true no matter who the Democratic nominee is.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 05/04/2020 - 11:29 am.

      “seriously flawed candidate” vs Trump, Totally flawed! The man does not have one positive virtue. Commodus was more virtuous.

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 05/04/2020 - 12:02 pm.

      Trump is always the focus because he’s the incumbent. The fundamental question is whether the incumbent deserves another term.

      Or, to flip it around; do WE deserve another term of Trump? I’d like to think we’ve served our penance, learned our lessons, and are ready to move on.

      I can get aboard the “Any Functioning Adult” bandwagon.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/04/2020 - 03:18 pm.

      Cheated what? This primary was so one-sided, it was decided before it was even halfway through.

    • Submitted by Robert Lilly on 05/06/2020 - 11:50 am.

      Why is Trump the focus? Seriously?
      I’m guessing you won’t accept the fact that he is a narcissist that feels compelled to inject himself into the news cycle by any means or that he is the incumbent 6 months out from the election. At least you didn’t remind us about polling accuracy this far out from election day…

  4. Submitted by joe smith on 05/04/2020 - 12:03 pm.

    Yep, and Hillary was a 97% shoe in to be President in 2016….. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 05/04/2020 - 12:18 pm.

      Trump has been fooling you 100% and you don’t seem too ashamed!

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 05/04/2020 - 12:20 pm.

      Trump had one big advantage in 2016: he didn’t have a record, he was a blank slate, as a politician. The slate is no longer blank; he has a record on which to run. Goals met, or not, as the case may be.

      I’d say his 2016 candidacy bears remarkable similarity to Ventura’s, actually. He was a form of protest against the status quo. Now, Trump IS the status quo.

    • Submitted by Mike Chrun on 05/04/2020 - 12:40 pm.

      “… fool me twice shame on me.” Oh, the irony.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 05/04/2020 - 01:08 pm.

      I think you meant to say:

      “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

      Our recent past Republican Presidents sure have a way with words…

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/04/2020 - 03:12 pm.

      You can keep saying that as much as you want, but it will still always be false.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/04/2020 - 04:42 pm.

      If the electorate if fool enough to vote for Trump twice, yes, shame on all of us. Those of us who are not so easily duped will also be feeling the pain.

  5. Submitted by Jim Tingsdale on 05/04/2020 - 12:13 pm.

    Biden has definitely benefited from his isolation. His only public interviews since the nationwide lock down have occurred on MSNBC, and none of them went particularly well.

    Like a lot of people, I don’t dislike Joe personally, but when his campaign starts again in earnest, Joe is going to have to answer questions about a few potentially really harmful accusations. In addition to that, he’s going to have to prove he can string a couple sentences together and not forget what he was talking about, or challenge members of his audience to step out into the ally with him.

    Finally, I wonder if anyone in the Democratic party really believes Joe can withstand debates with Trump. Say what you will about Trump’s clumsy speaking style (and there’s plenty to say), his trolling effectively destroyed all of his GOP rivals during debates, and Hillary as well.

    For myself, I can see Joe losing his composure pretty quickly.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/04/2020 - 02:53 pm.

      Actually, Trump’s GOP rivals were pretty pathetic — I don’t think that any of them had much in the way of oratorical chops. And certainly Hillary was not the political pro in the family.

      Biden has thirty years of experience in the Senate debating society, and four years watching Trump. I’m sure that his people will hire an actor to do a good Trump impersonation for Biden to practice against.
      After four years Trump is pretty predictable.

    • Submitted by Marc Post on 05/04/2020 - 03:58 pm.

      I don’t think Biden should dignify Trump by getting on the debate stage with him. Debates are a joke anyway.

      Debating Trump is like playing chess with a pigeon. He’ll just strut around, take a dump on the board and declare himself the winner.

      Biden should just say, “I’ll debate Trump when he releases his tax returns.” If Trump wants to debate, it’s on him.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 05/05/2020 - 08:38 am.

        “I’ll debate Trump when he releases his tax returns.”


        A very interesting idea…

      • Submitted by Steve Roth on 05/06/2020 - 10:08 am.

        But given that neither the Democrats or any Dem presidential campaign can control the narrative for more than 30 minutes, this won’t work. Trump, the GOP and their propaganda outlets would have a field day, saying Biden is ducking the debate, he’s too old to debate, etc. That would completely swamp any messaging about the tax returns. On a related note, that idea get traction depending on how SCOTUS rules on that.

      • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 05/08/2020 - 11:14 pm.

        Your pigeon quote is classic and should be remembered for centuries.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 05/04/2020 - 06:07 pm.

      Modern TV debates do not change the outcome of presidential elections.

  6. Submitted by Don Casey on 05/04/2020 - 12:37 pm.

    It’s a potential repeat of the 2016 election scenario – candidates with negative approval ratings on both sides. Another “lesser of the evils” choice for voters.

    Ours is a nation with a moderate majority (independents and moderates who identify with each party because those are their only choices). Historically, it has been described as slightly right of center (and remains so, according to a recent Gallup poll).

    Yet the two major parties have moved progressively further left and right. When will the disenfranchised majority wake up to the fact a two-party system no longer fits the mood of the nation?

    Personally, I’ll have to “waste” a vote again this year, supporting neither eventual “winner”.

    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 05/07/2020 - 10:22 am.

      If you think that the Democratic Party as a whole has moved left, then you are either young or so far on the right end of the spectrum that anyone to the left of Ronald Reagan seems like a leftist firebrand.

      Looked at in terms of actual policies, the current Democratic Party is in Nixon territory ideologically, while the Republicans have outright fascist tendencies.

      It’s true that some of the younger Democratic members of Congress are pushing for a more leftist policy–and it’s about time!–but in practice, Nancy Pelosi, whom the Republicans love to hate, even though she saved Bush Jr. from impeachment over the Iraq War and other matters, squelches almost everything they want to do.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 05/07/2020 - 12:31 pm.

        “Nancy Pelosi, whom the Republicans love to hate, even though she saved Bush Jr. from impeachment over the Iraq War and other matters, squelches almost everything they want to do.”

        Once again the far left “Blame Democrats first” school of thought.

        If you recall, Dennis Hastert was the Speaker of the House during almost all of the GWB administration, along with a Republican Senate majority. And you believe it was Nancy Pelosi who saved Bush from impeachment?

        Another example of the far left’s inability to count to 60 in the Senate and 220 in the House…

  7. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 05/04/2020 - 01:22 pm.

    “Candidate ‘x’ disgusts me less than candidate ‘y'” is a sad commentary on the state of the Republic. Nonetheless, I’m inclined toward Brian Simon – we’ve served our penance, and have been punished enough. Biden was not my first choice, and is hardly a perfect candidate, but I’ll happily vote for him over the thug currently taking up space in the Oval Office.

    Meanwhile, I wonder where Joe Smith got his 97% figure from…?

  8. Submitted by Alan Straka on 05/04/2020 - 01:42 pm.

    It is time to vote for a third party candidate. Don’t just not vote. Show up and show your discontent. A vote for a third party candidate would show the major parties that they need to field better candidates. If enough people do so, it will be noted. Some argue that voting for a third party is like throwing away your vote but at least you are making your displeasure known. Don’t vote and you truly are irrelevant.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/04/2020 - 02:56 pm.

      If you want to make your displeasure known write a letter to the editor. After all, no one knows how you really voted.
      A third party vote is a half vote for Trump.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/04/2020 - 03:15 pm.

      Nope. Voting 3rd party is no different than staying home. It will accomplish nothing. It will change nothing.

      • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 05/04/2020 - 07:32 pm.

        Indeed it will accomplish something. As Paul notes, it will help re-elect Trump. In our elections as they are, working to expand the number of competitive parties, or to push the Democrats in a progressive direction, must occur outside of the context of the general election. When we get to the general election, it’s binary, and you’re voting not for your own interest or principle, but on behalf of every other citizen for the better (less worse) of two outcomes. That means casting a vote for that less worse outcome. If you don’t hold your nose and vote for Biden, you’re failing your civic duty to every other member of our society.

      • Submitted by Solly Johnson on 05/06/2020 - 10:04 pm.

        Total lie. Voting for a third party shows that both corporate parties are unacceptable and the votes of people have to be earned, not taken for granted. The lives of many Americans have declined economically for the last 40 years under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Shaming of voters, workers, students, etc. is not an effective policy.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/07/2020 - 11:11 am.

          No, voting 3rd party demonstrates nothing. It delivers no message. It is exactly the same as not voting.

          What it does say about the person voting 3rd-party (or not voting since its the same thing) is that there is nothing at stake for them. That they live privileged lives and don’t care about those who don’t

          It means you are completely indifferent to the rights of LGBT people. That Republicans stripping people of their civil rights doesn’t matter.

          It means that you are indifferent to immigrants. That you are fine with family separation and putting small children in cages.

          It means that you are indifferent to the sick and the poor – the millions who depend on Medicaid and the ACA for their health needs.

          It means you are fine with voter suppression. That voter ID laws, ex-felon disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, etc. is just fine.

          It means that you don’t prioritize science. It means that you don’t have a problem with white supremicists and racist protesters storming capitols with guns being good people.

          And if you are privileged and entitled enough that none of these things matter to you, congratulations. Good job. But for a lot of people, it really matters. God knows the Democrats are a long way from perfect. That Joe Biden is not a great pick. But the difference at stake here is huge for so many people. And if you really don’t care about them, well, then 3rd-party/not voting may be the right choice.

          • Submitted by Solly Johnson on 05/07/2020 - 05:15 pm.

            Over 30 million unemployed and Pelosi and Hilary say that people who cannot even put food on the table and wait in food lines 2 miles long should be allowed to buy into the ACA. Ask these people who have lost jobs and health care how they like their employer based health care now, as so many Democratic candidates did during the primary.
            Pelosi and Hoyer say that the House will go back into session if there is an emergency. Obviously, the country entering another great depression does not constitute an emergency in their opinion.
            Pelosi had a voice vote on the corporate bailout of at least $4 trillion rather than a roll call vote. Then her initial solution was to repeal the state and local tax (SALT) cap, which favors millionaires.
            Pelosi voices opposition to anything Trump does, but during the State of the Union she jumped up before Pence to applaud Juan Guaido when Trump recognized him.
            The Patriot Act gave the government illegal mass surveillance powers and the vote by the Minnesota congressional delegation in favor of giving Trump continuing powers under it were:
            Hagedorn-R- No
            One can see that three Democrats in the MN delegation had no problem giving Trump increased powers, but then claim he is dangerous.

            Both political parties are corrupt to the core, beholden to corporations, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and the military/industrial complex. The Republicans openly give support to them while the Democrats pretend to represent the working class.
            Democrats refuse to accept responsibility for their failings, the latest example being Michelle Obama’s book in which she blames voters. It is their failed policies that resulted in over a thousand elected positions nationally going to the GOP and giving us a president as bad as Donald Trump.
            Most Americans have not had their economic conditions improve under Democrats or Republicans in several decades. It is time for both political parties to face their own shortcomings if they do not want the 42% of Americans who are independents becoming an even greater figure.

            • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/08/2020 - 11:10 am.

              The shortcomings you cite stem from the fact that we have a divided government. Where people vote against their own interests. The differences between the parties are vast, but the big corporations you decry want you to think there is no difference.

              So when someone who ostensibly cares about working people votes third party, the corporations have won. They have cancelled your vote. The message you have sent is that you are content with your corporate overlords. Their message is now your message.

    • Submitted by Marc Post on 05/04/2020 - 03:52 pm.

      An abstract third party candidate compared to an actual candidate is failed thinking. Please name an actual third party candidate.

      I’ve looked at them. There’s a reason third party candidates don’t make it. They’re fringe candidates with more extreme views. Most of them are loons, imo.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/04/2020 - 04:48 pm.

      Now, there’s some magical thinking.

      “Gosh all Friday,” said the leaders of the two main national parties, “Note that 11% of the electorate voted for a third party. We had better turn to and field better candidates!”

      Sure, that will happen.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 05/04/2020 - 05:45 pm.

      This election is too important for meaningless vanity votes. Four more years of Trump will destroy the republic.

      • Submitted by Jim Tingsdale on 05/05/2020 - 12:13 pm.

        I’m curious. If, after another term in office for Trump, the Republic is still standing will it alter your views at all?

      • Submitted by Phil Uhrich on 05/06/2020 - 01:52 am.

        The democrats have affirmatively decided they want me to die young, with massive unpayable debt, and no access to healthcare. And you think voting for them will save the republic?

        This worthless dumpster fire of a country has been circling the drain at least since Obama decided to maximize the number of foreclosures to “foam the runway” for his wall street donors, if not W’s psychopathic war crimes during a war we had no business being in in the first place. Trump is a horrible president, just like every other president we’ve had in my life time.

        If you cared about “saving the republic” you should have considered voting for someone who actually wants to improve things for anyone but wall street in the primary.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/06/2020 - 08:55 am.

          “The democrats have affirmatively decided they want me to die young, with massive unpayable debt, and no access to healthcare. And you think voting for them will save the republic?”

          Well, that’s a good question. Let’s look at it another way: what’s going to happen if people throw an extended tantrum and refuse to vote, or if they cast a completely symbolic vote for a candidate who has no chance of winning? How will that improve things?

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/06/2020 - 10:17 am.

          Did you get the names backwards here? The Democrats expanded access to healthcare with the ACA, and want to expand it further with other proposals. The Republicans want to end the ACA, which will eliminate access to healthcare for millions of people.

        • Submitted by ian wade on 05/06/2020 - 01:37 pm.

          No, Mr. Uhrich. I’ll continue to vote for the party that has championed civil rights, fought for regulations that protect the environment and the health and safety of workers, created and expanded the social safety net, etc.
          What I won’t do is throw a vote away based upon self righteous indignation.

    • Submitted by Ron Quido on 05/04/2020 - 09:30 pm.

      Given MN’s distinction as the state with the longest unbroken streak of Democratic presidential winners, voting for a third-party candidate isn’t a vote for Trump.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 05/05/2020 - 08:45 am.

      An interesting little tidbit is that in the 2016 election if you take Green Party Jill Stein’s votes in PA, MI and WI, give them to Hillary, she wins each state and the Presidency.

      I don’t think we need more third party candidates. Unless, of course, it is some right wing never Trumper, like George Will to drain away Trump votes….

      • Submitted by Solly Johnson on 05/05/2020 - 04:58 pm.

        Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, received many more votes than Jill Stein. If he had not been in the race, those votes probably would have gone to Trump. Also, Ross Perot being in the race in ’92 gave the White House to Bill Clinton. It is time to stop whining about Stein.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/06/2020 - 10:28 am.

          The claim that Perot gave the election to Clinton is an absolute falsehood. Perot voters were split evenly and Clinton’s margin of victory was substantial enough that any state variations did not matter. Yet this lie keeps getting dredged up over and over.

          The only clear case where a spoiler made a difference was when union-busting, insider-trading millionaire Ralph Nader ran as the Green Party candidate. Gore lost Florida by 500 votes or so, and Nader voters second choices would have easily made up that difference. Yes, there were plenty of other reasons Gore lost, as the P.R. firm Nader hired to deflect blame has pointed out.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/06/2020 - 10:32 am.

          I do agree, however, that people should stop whining about Stein. I doubt that anyone who voted for that vaccine-denying, Putin-coddling would have voted for Clinton. Stein voters were people who care nothing for the sick and uninsured, for immigrants and refugees, for LGBT people, etc. Not Democratic voters to begin with.

    • Submitted by Robert Lilly on 05/06/2020 - 12:02 pm.

      Unfortunately the parties don’t decide who represents them, the fringe voters that show up for primaries decide.

    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 05/07/2020 - 10:28 am.

      If you want to build up alternatives to the Democrats and Republicans, vote for non-mainstream candidates for lower offices.

      The far right took over the Republican Party by actively recruiting young candidates, especially products of the “non-denominational” megachurch culture, for low-level offices, such as city council and school board, and encouraging them to work their way up the political ladder.

      The Democrats, to their everlasting shame, became complacent during the post-New Deal years and had no eager replacements for the New Deal generation of legislators as they died out.

      If a third party is to gain traction, it needs to start at the bottom, not at the top. The Ralph Nader approach of popping up every four years and then doing nothing to build a movement is doomed to failure.

  9. Submitted by Brian Scholin on 05/04/2020 - 02:10 pm.

    Personally, I think the worst (verified) thing one can say about Biden is that he’s not very exciting. And after 3-1/2 years of excitement, I’m just fine with some boring. In fact, I welcome it…

  10. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 05/04/2020 - 06:59 pm.

    President Trump is the most hated man in America. He cannot win. America needs to start preparing for President Biden and the mediocrity of the next four years, but no bluster, bad hair, and orange skin.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/05/2020 - 10:51 am.

      “Mediocrity” would be an improvement. If Trump had any self-awareness at all, he would wish he could rise to the level of mediocre.

  11. Submitted by Gerry Anderson on 05/04/2020 - 09:18 pm.

    Can always vote for Jesse….

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/05/2020 - 05:22 pm.

      Why? He doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of winning. Even if he did, what could possibly be the gain in replacing one egomaniac with another?

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/07/2020 - 12:04 am.

      Yeah, vote for the guy who got bored a few months in and let the state function without a governor for 3 and a half years. He did appoint good people at least.

  12. Submitted by Ron Quido on 05/04/2020 - 09:27 pm.

    BIden’s VP choice will be critical given his age. This election is really about who the next president could be. Not since FDR’s fourth term will a VP candidate be so important for both major parties.

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/05/2020 - 09:05 am.

    It’s really really really hard to imagine Trump winning another election after this display of utter stupidity, corruption, and incompetence. My problem is that I’ve lived long enough to see Democrats lose so many elections that no one should have been able to lose. Trump is a case in point… it should have been impossible to lose to him in 2016, but HRC managed to pull it off.

    Here we see Democrats attempting to lose all over again. Sanders’s dropped out to give Biden a chance to campaign against Trump directly and what happens? Biden disappears. No campaign, no policies, nuthin. Sanders steps out of the way, and just like HRC Biden manages to wrap himself in controversies rather than policies and campaigns that people will want to vote for.

    Once again Democrats got the least popular candidate they could find on the ballot, and once again the only question is whether or not their candidate can win despite him or herself.

    We’ve spent 3+ years reminding Democrats that the last time they ran a candidate and a campaign like this… they lost. And here they are… deja vu all over again. The question isn’t whether or not Trump can win, the question is whether or not Biden can lose. If he doesn’t show up with some kind of campaign that bring people out to vote… he can lose.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 05/05/2020 - 03:54 pm.

      If you look at Biden’s poll numbers, state by state, he is on the rise, especially in WI, MI, PA and even looking good in FL and with a shot in TX.

      It would seem he is doing the right thing right now if results are important.

      I promise you, if Biden ran around (in virtual reality) in these states channeling Bernie with “MFA Now!” at every stop he would not be making the progress he has made.

      And, as we have endlessly debated, I do favor MFA, but it is something that will be accepted after it is implemented and not before. The before turns into an endless GOP scare tactic that stops any progress from being made. A majority opposed ObamaCare and now, and even stronger majority approves of the ACA. The reality of getting there:

      1. A recovered from Trump ACA.
      2. A public option within the ACA.
      3. A continually strengthened public option that becomes MFA.

  14. Submitted by Tom Crain on 05/05/2020 - 11:01 am.

    I’m not sure what to be more depressed about: A) That we use an EC system whereby a candidate can win the Presidency with a 38/60 fav/unfav or B) that the opposing party finds themselves in the SAME position 4 years later with their chosen candidate. Biden’s 44/54 #s are the same as an historically unpopular HRC was in 2016!

    I know history repeats itself, but in 4 year cycles? “C’mon man, that’s not who we are”. Or is it?

    Take your pick voters: you can choose the septuagenarian white guy, the town dunce posing as a successful businessman that wants to continue to take you back to the Gilded Age- as quickly as possible. Or the other septuagenarian white guy, a veritable gaffe machine, a political creature of 50 years!, clearly now in his golden years of mental decline, three times seeking and rejected for the nomination of his party and not the first choice of just 3/4 of (D) voters at the start of the primary. He promises to return us to his better decades of the 80’s-10’s, of corporatist friendly policies, dubious foreign policy decisions and promises to his wealthy donors that nothing will change for them, the top decile that owns 70%.

    And we wonder why so many decline to vote.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/05/2020 - 11:43 am.

      Its not a pretty picture, for sure. Although I would add that it is just as depressing that Biden’s closest rival (who wasn’t close at all) was an even older white guy a few months removed from a heart attack, who ran a campaign that inspired so much hate and misogyny that the ideologically like-minded female candidates did not endorse him after they left the race. There were a lot of younger, more diverse candidates in the race, and it still came down to Biden vs. Sanders. Not great.

      People need fo get past the superficial stuff and think about things like, what kind of judges will they appoint. Medicare for All, is passed, would be found unconstitutional by the current Supreme Court. If Trump adds a couple more justices (replacing Ginsburg, age 87, and Breyer, age 81) it will be unconstitutional for the next 30 years. Voting rights, LGBT rights, environmental protections – all of those things will be controlled by judges who will be on the bench for decades to come. If people can’t get out and vote with that in mind, they have no business claiming to care about those things in the first place.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/05/2020 - 01:22 pm.

        It’s Obamacare, not Medicare that’s in danger over at the Supreme Court. The constitutionality of creating universal Federal Programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security has long been established. The ploy of forcing people into PRIVATE plans is challenge that’s likely to kill Obamacare.

        Once again Democrats can only implore us to overlook how crappy their candidate is and focus on something else. Biden’s history regarding SCOTUS appointments is nothing to brag about. From his support for Scalia to his marginalizing Anita Hill in order to get Thomas on the bench the guy’s not very inspiring in that regard. He JUST recently in the last decade or so realized that ideology might be as or more important than basic competence. Slow learning isn’t an inspiring trait. But we heard all of this in 2016 and if failed to get HRC into the White House, SHE was going to save the Courts as well.

        We just have to hope that Biden can win despite himself and his supporters.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/05/2020 - 02:06 pm.

          Nope, you could not be more wrong on the legal part. The fact that Obamacare is in peril constitutionally pretty much forecloses something much more expansive like Medicare for All getting through. The forcing people onto private plans is already gone. The courts are just making stuff up now.

          If we were talking about a public option – Medicare for those who want it – there is less of an issue. But requiring it and eliminating private insurance (which Medicare itself, nor most countries universal plans do not do) will get crushed by the court. Re-electing Trump will push it any possibility of MFA or something similar out by decades.

          Also, don’t be surprised if Medicare and Medicaid also start facing constitutional challenges. These right-wing judges are showing less and less deference to precedent.

          Biden certainly wasn’t my choice. I was hoping for someone a few decades younger. But it came down to him and Sanders and the millions of young and disaffected voters Sanders was supposed to attract never materialized. African-Americans voted for Biden. Even the white working class voters in places like Michigan voted for Biden.

          I’m not sure why you are worried about Biden supporters. The supporters of Warren and other candidates I know mostly gravitated to Biden over Sanders – despite preferring Sanders on policy – because of the way they were treated by Sanders supporters and the warm welcome they received from Biden supporters. Again, Warren said it herself in declining to support Sanders.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/06/2020 - 08:41 am.

            There’s no point in arguing about MFA or Sanders’s at this point, so I’m not doing that, and you’ll note I haven’t mentioned either Sanders or MFA in my comments.

            We’ll win the MFA battle another day, and Sanders’s will not be the president to win that battle. Tell us something we don’t know.

            The problem in front of us now is that we’re stuck with Biden,and Biden and his campaign are AWOL. The last time this happened Trump won. That’s not an argument for Sanders or MFA, it’s just an historical fact.

            The hate on Sanders and MFA seems to get more incoherent as time goes by. The constitutionality of Obamacare hinges on the individual mandate, which frankly, probably is unconstitutional regardless of who’s sitting on the Supreme Court. Never before has the government REQURED or demanded, under penalty the law, that ALL citizens purchase a private sector product. The idea that the individual mandate is more viable than Medicare is simply facile. Medicare is an existing government program, like many others, and the authority to create and modify federal programs has long been recognized and established.

            While neoliberal mentalities obviously find it difficult to imagine large government programs, their limited imaginations in no way dictate reality. When I look at Mr. Terry’s comments for instance they simply reinforce my assertion that if New Deal programs didn’t already exist, neoliberal’s like him would be against them. The fact that he’s almost arguing that such programs are unconstitutional doesn’t surprise me.

            Regardless, this neoliberal faith in private sector magic, and the promise to do as little as possible for a few people as possible is the campaign that we’re stuck with in the personification of Joe Biden, as it was with HRC. You can continue to criticize Sanders if you want, but again, why do we KEEP having to point out over and over and over again that it was Clinton, not Sanders who lost to Trump? Whatever.

            So the question will be whether or not a candidate who promises to leave the most critical persistent crises facing American’s intact while doing as little as possible for the fewest number of people, can lose to Trump? It’s hard to imagine anyone losing to Trump, but we’ve seen that happen already. If Biden wins, that won’t prove that “centrists” moderation and incrementalism is the most popular form of politics in the land, it will only prove that some incumbents are soooo bad that even candidates like Biden can’t lose to them.

            • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/06/2020 - 10:49 am.

              Paul, do you actually pay attention to the Supreme Court? The mandate penalty was removed a couple of years ago. Its a non-issue. The ongoing challenges to the law have nothing to do with the mandate.

              I am actually not against MFA. I would love to have a single-payer, non-employer-based system. It would be far superior than what we have now. My opposition is based in on – yes – the fact that it would not survive a legal challenge, and that it is politically impossible.

              You seem to be fixated on the ACA mandate. Well, that would be the biggest problem with MFA as well. Setting up a public option/ Medicare buy-in – which Biden supports – would provide the coverage without forcing anyone. And if it works, people will gravitate toward it and get us closer to MFA. That was what Elizabeth Warren was talking about when Sanders supporters went after her and her supporters.

              • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/06/2020 - 12:18 pm.

                Yes Pat, I pay attention. Although the mandate penalty was removed or zero’d out by the republican congress, it could be restored by a future Democratic congress, hence the mandate itself still exists, and is the crux of the current SCOTUS challenge.

                The states mounting the challenge are arguing that the mandate itself should be ruled unconstitutional, even if it currently carries no penalty. They want this ruling because they believe that the entire ACA becomes unconstitutional if the mandate is unconstitutional. In 2012 SCOTUS ruled that the mandate was a tax, and thus constitutional, but challengers are now hoping to find a more sceptical court. that will throw out the entire ACA along with the mandate.

              • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/07/2020 - 08:35 am.

                Pat, ” I am actually not against MFA. ”

                Your opposition to MFA has been consistent for years, although you keep changing the rationale. This latest claim that MFA would be a great idea if only it were legal is no more credible than your previous rationales… but the fact that opponents have to keep changing their rationales is revealing.

                The problem neoliberals have with MFA is that it obviates private coverage. Neoliberals share the core assumption that private sector, market competition will usually produce the best results, therefore a proposal that replaces private sector coverage with a government program is an anathema to the neoliberal mind, whether it’s “legal” or not.

                We’ve seen this for years, “centrist” neoliberals have claimed that single payer would be a great idea if only they could imagine it working… this is a failure of imagination, not a monopoly on reality. So now they can’t imagine MFA surviving legal challenges… whatever.

  15. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 05/06/2020 - 08:18 am.

    I’m remembering Garrison Keillor forced into retirement for an allegation that he put his hand on the back of a young woman….

    In this article, and 50 comments, not a word about Tara Reade’s much more corroborated allegations of rape against Biden…

    So, two aging white guys with very serious allegations of rape against them….and who gets called a misogynist in this thread….Bernie!

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/06/2020 - 10:41 am.

      First, the allegations against Keillor were significantly more than that. That characterization is simply false.

      And yes, the claim against Biden is problematic, but he has denied it and his accuser has serious credibility problems. I guess we can talk about it though.

      I don’t know that Sanders is a misogynist, but his followers certainly will. The point there is to explain why Sanders lost. Its not always about ideology. Sometimes its treating your opponents with respect and reigning in your most enthusiastic supporters.

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 05/07/2020 - 08:05 am.

        Without defending Keillor, as I recall he was fired shortly after that allegation came out, without any public awareness of any broader problem. My point stands…Biden too has a long history of treating women much like Keillor is accused of, but Biden has gotten a free pass compared.

        • Submitted by Solly Johnson on 05/07/2020 - 06:18 pm.

          Yes, Biden has received preferential treatment, the latest by the NY Times. Ryan Grimm of the Intercept broke both the Ford and Reade allegations. The next day after Grimm’s release of Ford’s allegations the NYT covered the story, but they waited 19 days before covering Reade’s allegations. In addition, they presented the story to the Biden campaign first, which asked for and received removal of a sentence starting that Biden had women complain of unwanted hugging and kissing.

          A few days ago the NYT recommended an independent commission of the DNC to investigate the Reade claims. To think that the DNC headed by Tom Perez would be independent is ludicrous, and it is obvious that the NYT and most of the establishment media are in the tank for Biden.

          The Reade allegations are having a very damaging effect on Biden’s floundering campaign, as is shown in a recent Politico/Morning Consult Poll. 36% of respondents said the Democrats should replace Biden as the candidate, 40% said no, with the rest undecided.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 05/06/2020 - 02:49 pm.

      Much more corroborated? Please…Tara Reade has a long history of making false accusations, not to mention scamming. She changes her story the day.

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 05/07/2020 - 08:16 am.

        That sounds a lot like default blame the victim, based on what I have read. Several things stand out: a few people who have supported the “me too” movement have written hit pieces about her, otherwise her allegations have been met with uncharacteristic silence from Me Too leadership generally. Several people have come forward saying she was clear about it back then. Her mother even called in anonymously to ask Larry King advice about how her daughter should handle it, at the time.

        Anyway, my point is, this is not the first time a woman has suggested Joe Biden has some serious boundary issues, to put it mildly. And I guess my point is too, many liberals and Dems are so distracted by Trump, they seem oblivious to Joe Biden, or perhaps projecting onto Biden all the good opposite all the evil they see in Trump. He is not that worthy.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/07/2020 - 08:59 am.

      The problem with these controversies isn’t so much their merit, it’s the fact that they will multiply and consume Biden’s campaign as they did Clinton’s campaign if Biden continues to run the same campaign Clinton ran.

      Voters want to know what their candidates want to do… if you don’t provide that information you create a vacuum that will be filled with this kind of crap.

      We’re stuck with Biden and that means we’re stuck with a candidate that so far refuses to develop an effective campaign message or plan. The idea that people will just fall in love with Joe and want to see him be “Joe” in the White House is no less dangerous in 2020 than it was in 2016. Whether the accusations are true or not, the ONLY thing I’ve seen in the news about Biden in the last three weeks is this accusation… THAT’S the problem.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/07/2020 - 11:14 am.

        I mostly agree. But to be fair, its a tough situation now with the lockdown and the fact Biden doesn’t hold office now.

        A poll came out yesterday – which included questions about the allegation – that gave Biden a 9 point national lead. This may work yet.

        • Submitted by Tom Crain on 05/08/2020 - 09:00 am.

          Your comment seems to be incomplete. Surely you must have something to say about Sanders.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/08/2020 - 09:16 am.

          Well, we have to hope it works, but as the saying goes: “hope is not a strategy.”

          The “lock down” is a challenge, but a good campaign would find a way to get out there and be seen. The built-in problem with candidates that have no real agenda other than “winning” is that they have nothing to talk about, nothing to promote, so it’s hard to get out there. Clinton had the same problem and there was no pandemic in 2016. This is starting to look more and more like 2016 when HRC supporters were reduced to promising that she’d be a better president than she was a candidate after the Party Convention… but Biden is already unopposed and it’s not even June.

  16. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/06/2020 - 12:24 pm.

    Pat your the one with an ACA problem, not me. Expanding an existing federal program is not simply offering a public option.

    The public option you guys are talking about doesn’t exist even in theory, Medicare and Medicaid exist. Your “public option” is just a phrase, it’s not a policy proposal of any kind.

    Like I said, I’m not arguing about MFA these days, but if want to banter on about a “public option” you need to describe it in some kind of detail. What is it exactly? Who would be eligible for it? What would the premiums, deductibles, and co-pays look like? And how would you pay for it? None of the public option candidates have made any serious attempt whatsoever to describe this “option”, and when they HAVE tried to talk about it, it looks like a fiasco in the making.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/06/2020 - 11:58 pm.

      Nonsense. It was even in one of Elizabeth Warren’s plans. Far more realistic than the unicorn and magic based MFA “plan” Sanders was advocating.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 05/08/2020 - 10:43 pm.

        For clarity’s sake, your plan is to counter the illusion of choice (that opting for poor or no medical coverage is an actual possibility that drives “competition” between varying poor private insurance options) with the illusion of choice (that anyone would choose one of said competing poor private insurance options when the mythical “public option” is available). If you are for creating a public option that is better than available private ones you’d be doing the exact thing you claim to be against, ending the private insurance industry on all but a supplemental basis. Now conservatives aren’t bright it’s true, but I’m pretty sure they’ll figure that one out, so why exactly is this approach any more likely to pass your “possibility” muster than MFA? The only thing that makes sense would be to ensure that the “public option” is not competitive, meaning status quo continues, which would of course be in line with Mr. Udstrand’s read of the situation.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/09/2020 - 09:49 am.

          Yeah, we haven’t seen any detailed “public option” proposals because they’re riddled with fatal flaws. My guess is that when or if Biden rolls one out it will just be a high risk pool thing of some kind that won’t actually provide a real option for any significant number of people. We can’t expect anyone who’s that concerned about preserving private profit will design and roll out anything that will actually compete with private plans. As Matt observes, if you were to create an MFA with all the features Sanders’s and Warren describe, no private plan would compete with it. The main reason for shutting private plans down rather than letting them go out of business over time is that you bring costs down much faster that way.

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