The 'electability' trap

In an interview with CNN's Don Lemon, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is spending so much time in Ukraine because Trump is afraid to run against him.

Posted: Feb 11, 2020 10:20 AM
Updated: Feb 11, 2020 10:20 AM

Former Vice President Joe Biden's central argument in the 2020 campaign is this: President Donald Trump is the real enemy and the most important/only thing that should matter to Democrats is nominating someone who can beat him.

"Everybody knows two things. You have to win, you have to be able to beat Trump and you have to be able to elect Democrats in states we have to win," Biden said in Manchester, New Hampshire, over the weekend. "You have to be able to win back a United States Senate if you're going to get anything done."

But here's the thing about putting all of your eggs in the "electability" basket. If you don't win -- like, right from the start -- then people start to see you as less electable.

Witness Biden's numbers on the electability question in the latest Quinnipiac University poll, released Monday afternoon.

Roughly 1 in 4 people (27%) said Biden had the best chance of beating Trump as the Democratic nominee in November, while 24% said Bernie Sanders did and 17% named Michael Bloomberg.

Now compare those with a January 28 Q poll, where 44% said Biden was the most electable against Trump as compared with 19% who named Sanders and 9% who chose Bloomberg.

What changed between the two polls? The Iowa caucuses -- where Biden finished fourth, and looked less like a winner than a loser. And so, his electability number dropped.

The truth about human nature, and therefore politics, is that people tend to want to be aligned with a winner. And if you don't look like a winner, they will go to someone who does. Electability, then, is in the eye of the beholder.

The Point: Another poor Biden showing tomorrow in New Hampshire's primary and the whole "electability" argument will probably disappear entirely. Which is a major problem for his chances.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 662213

Reported Deaths: 12595
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion907061645
Lake48425878
Allen35861636
Hamilton32099397
St. Joseph29996512
Elkhart25386415
Vanderburgh21247378
Tippecanoe20024201
Johnson16349360
Porter15975270
Hendricks15825300
Clark11965181
Madison11746318
Vigo11612229
Monroe10333161
Delaware9838179
LaPorte9772196
Howard9056197
Kosciusko8562110
Bartholomew7456147
Warrick7416151
Hancock7409131
Floyd7207169
Wayne6633191
Grant6427157
Morgan6092125
Boone609088
Dubois5910111
Dearborn547467
Cass544499
Marshall5425104
Henry542393
Noble509378
Jackson464767
Shelby460690
Lawrence4184112
Gibson401281
Harrison399864
Clinton395853
Montgomery387083
DeKalb385278
Knox357485
Miami357463
Whitley349436
Huntington344476
Steuben338355
Wabash331476
Putnam330559
Ripley327161
Adams323549
Jasper316143
White297352
Jefferson294973
Daviess285396
Fayette271956
Decatur270888
Greene261280
Posey260931
Wells258275
Scott250350
Clay241444
LaGrange240870
Randolph225576
Spencer217330
Jennings215244
Washington211227
Sullivan203439
Fountain201542
Starke188151
Owen182153
Fulton178237
Jay177828
Carroll176518
Perry173235
Orange171250
Rush164822
Vermillion160542
Franklin159435
Tipton146441
Parke139316
Pike127632
Blackford120627
Pulaski106444
Newton96531
Brown95039
Benton92013
Crawford90713
Martin80114
Warren75814
Switzerland7548
Union67110
Ohio53711
Unassigned0433

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 968874

Reported Deaths: 17346
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1119871212
Cuyahoga957051750
Hamilton73287974
Montgomery47254892
Summit40184957
Butler35456473
Lucas35279767
Stark29356843
Warren22381276
Lorain21994391
Mahoning19444544
Lake18379305
Clermont18346212
Delaware16437136
Licking14967200
Fairfield14506160
Trumbull14315465
Greene13568214
Medina13370219
Clark12246336
Wood11506194
Portage11008160
Allen10768235
Richland10278206
Miami10011190
Muskingum8169131
Columbiana8120183
Pickaway8041104
Tuscarawas8029236
Marion7982137
Wayne7857219
Erie6872184
Ross6130137
Geauga6057129
Hancock5981114
Ashtabula5959147
Scioto5933104
Lawrence524974
Union512352
Darke5026124
Belmont491889
Huron4797118
Jefferson4790108
Sandusky476196
Seneca4671103
Athens463733
Washington462287
Mercer4582101
Auglaize455499
Shelby440970
Knox401686
Putnam3986101
Madison392147
Ashland379195
Fulton378664
Defiance3714102
Brown369242
Crawford357496
Logan354060
Preble352671
Clinton340064
Highland327756
Ottawa323267
Williams301878
Jackson289356
Champaign286646
Guernsey286234
Fayette268144
Perry267744
Morrow259225
Henry245765
Hardin244457
Holmes2430104
Coshocton235547
Van Wert229249
Gallia221846
Adams216032
Pike215228
Wyandot209353
Hocking194049
Carroll180828
Paulding160023
Meigs135037
Noble128742
Monroe116436
Morgan100834
Harrison100433
Vinton76715
Unassigned00
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