CNN poll: Oprah, Biden, Sanders trounce Trump

It's early--very early--but a new CNN poll shows Pres. Trump losing big to former VP Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Oprah Winfrey. CNN's John King says Democrats shouldn't make bets just yet.

Posted: Jan 24, 2018 11:28 AM
Updated: Jan 24, 2018 11:42 AM

A new CNN poll shows Donald Trump being easily beaten in 2020 by three potential Democratic nominees. Joe Biden is ahead 57-40%. Bernie Sanders by 55-42%. Oprah Winfrey by 51-42%.

Should the President panic? No. Trump has a history of coming from behind and surprising us, and by 2020 he hopes to have accumulated a raft of real accomplishments to beat his opponents with.

So how are we to receive the news of this poll?

To begin with, we need a new rule when it comes to discussing Donald Trump: He won in 2016, get over it.

Constant debate about how he did it or what it says about America is redundant. In fact, this rehashing works to his advantage, not only because it winds up liberals to the point of madness, but because it focuses conversation on the point in history when he was probably at his most popular.

In the cold reality of today, things are very different. The so-called populist President enjoys a 40% approval rating at best. If there were an election tomorrow, he would lose.

But to whom?

These three candidates? To be sure, they reflect the strengths and weaknesses of the field. They are talented and charismatic; they could match Trump in debates. But Biden (75) and Sanders (76) are advancing in age, and picking Winfrey would mean succumbing to the kind of shallow celebrity politics that Trump has exploited.

Where's the young talent? And how would any of these three smooth over the cracks in the Democrat coalition, torn, as it is, between moderation and radicalism?

Moreover, it is far, far too early to make a judgment on a president's vulnerability -- or lack of it -- based on polls taken three years before the election. This is partly because an opponent is popular only so long as he or she hasn't declared. That's when things change.

Around this point in the 2016 cycle, Hillary Clinton enjoyed an approval rating of around 60%. After she declared her candidacy, her numbers slowly fell. Trump's never rose very far, but he proved brilliant at identifying the weakness of his opponent, deploying ridicule to bring them down. Remember Crooked Hillary? Low Energy Jeb? Just imagine what derogatory epithets he'll cook up for Joe, Bernie or Oprah.

And in the coming presidential election, Trump won't just have personality to run on -- but achievement, too. It's possible to see his signature immigration policy, like health care, becoming bogged down in endless congressional warfare -- especially if, as is likely, the Democrats triumph in the 2018 midterm elections.

But by 2020 -- if Trump's policies work, and, yes, that's a big if -- America's position may have substantially changed. The mix of deregulation and tax cuts may mean an enormous repatriation of capital currently placed overseas, while generous new tax rules will make it far easier to build and invest on US shores -- meaning, hopefully, boom time for businessmen, workers and shareholders. There are signs of this already.

At the same time, fingers crossed, the new Middle East alliance of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the US may see Islamist extremism pushed back and (it would be nice) Iran brought to heel. North Korea remains a tough nut to crack, but Obama's approach clearly didn't work, so we can only pray that Trump's will terrify Pyongyang into taking a more rational course.

The point is that when the next presidential election comes around, the Democrats will not necessarily be fighting on that moral turf upon which they enjoy signaling their virtue. The government shutdown, for instance, was about defending the rights of children who were brought into the US illegally. Good for the Democrats: they're in the right on this one.

But while it's easy to expose the moral shortcomings of the President in the here and now, three years from now the Democrats will have to confront the legacy of Trump's long-term projects -- a legacy that may prove very attractive to the American voter.

That's why if journalists, like me, want to hold the Trump administration to account, we need to focus more on what the President does rather than what he says.

And it's why the Democrats need to challenge Trump on the broader implications of his presidency, rather than screaming about Russia, Steve Bannon and whether or not the President eats too many cheeseburgers. Behind the tweets, he might just be remaking America.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11812690
Lake5337247
Elkhart343257
Allen2867133
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Johnson1306118
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Washington671
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Sullivan451
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Blackford392
Fountain332
Crawford320
Tipton311
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Parke240
Martin220
Ohio210
Vermillion170
Warren151
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 61331

Reported Deaths: 3006
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin11122439
Cuyahoga8518383
Hamilton6396206
Lucas2859304
Marion273739
Montgomery228335
Summit2269209
Pickaway220641
Mahoning1885239
Butler172147
Columbiana132460
Stark1171114
Lorain107368
Trumbull101474
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Clark78410
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Fairfield61417
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Belmont55822
Lake55122
Medina54832
Licking53612
Miami48631
Portage47759
Wood46151
Ashtabula43844
Clermont4367
Geauga41543
Wayne36752
Richland3595
Allen33841
Greene3009
Mercer29410
Erie26022
Darke25326
Holmes2524
Huron2342
Madison2069
Ottawa16124
Sandusky14215
Washington14220
Crawford1375
Ross1363
Putnam13315
Coshocton1323
Hardin12312
Morrow1201
Auglaize1094
Jefferson952
Muskingum921
Union921
Athens911
Monroe8917
Hancock841
Preble811
Hocking798
Lawrence790
Guernsey763
Shelby724
Williams722
Clinton700
Logan661
Fulton650
Ashland621
Wyandot615
Carroll603
Brown591
Scioto560
Defiance543
Knox531
Fayette510
Highland471
Champaign461
Van Wert430
Perry401
Seneca362
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Jackson270
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Pike270
Adams241
Vinton222
Gallia201
Noble130
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Morgan110
Unassigned00
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