As the November election draws closer, the electoral field is beginning to take shape. Pundits and the public are watching closely to see if their favored candidate is going to be standing, or even what kind of challenge they may face. With last night’s primary results slowly dripping in, Liberty Nation offers a brief snapshot of the results so far.
Biden’s Long March
Both Kentucky and New York held Democratic Party primaries. While the results were in no way going to impact Joe Biden’s nomination, a lackluster performance provides clues to the enthusiasm gap in the former vice president’s campaign.
New York handed Biden a convincing victory with more than 65% of the vote (76% reporting), but the numbers were not so positive in Kentucky. The Bluegrass State, with 54% reporting, has awarded the frontrunner just 57% of the vote so far. Bernie Sanders, despite having effectively withdrawn himself from the race and endorsed Biden, managed to secure a sizeable chunk of votes and, as such, remains a thorn in the party’s side.
When the Milwaukee convention rolls around on August 17, the weight of support for Sanders may well force the party platform leftward. Recent Rasmussen polling suggests that almost half of all Democratic Party voters see their elected representatives as “more liberal than they are.”
Could this lurch to the left make Biden unelectable?
With more than half the votes counted in the Republican Senate primary, Senator Mitch McConnell has locked down almost 90% of the vote, a major win that suggests GOP voters will get behind their man on election day. Not so clear cut is the Democratic race.
Looking to oust the Senate Majority Leader, Democrats put forward three candidates. The two main contenders are the establishment choice Amy McGrath (who was tapped by Chuck Schumer for the spot in 2018), and Charles Booker.
At the time of writing, with 54% reporting, McGrath holds an 8% lead. But will she eventually fall victim to her own words? In 2018, she said, “I am further left, I am more progressive than anyone in the state of Kentucky,” but then went on to campaign for a House seat as a moderate. This ideological flip-flopping will be easy meat for the seasoned McConnell.
The two big primary races for House seats were both on the Democrat side; the 14th District and 16th District in New York.
The 14th has returned Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as its candidate, easily beating challenger Michelle Caruso-Cabrera with over 70% of the vote (83% reporting). While AOC might be a divisive figure, she has raked in and spent a huge amount of campaign cash on securing this election. With an estimated 40-plus staff and over $6 million spent, this has been akin to a Senate campaign.
The other race to watch involved the unseating of Representative Eliot Engel of the 16th District, a 16-term fixture for the Democratic Party, by newcomer Jamaal Bowman. With 84% reporting, Bowman has an insurmountable 25% lead over the incumbent.
Outside the Window
While there were few big surprises in yesterday’s votes, a pattern begins to emerge of a progressive shift. As the more left-leaning elements of the Democratic Party congratulate their fellow travelers, they should perhaps consider that while being more “out-and-proud progressive” than other candidates plays well in a primary race, it will be difficult to convince people on the other side of the aisle to join them on their journey.
If this drift away from the center continues, they may end up crowning themselves the kings and queens of a very minor party.
Read more from Mark Angelides.