We’re back! It’s been a minute (about two months) since the last 2020 Fever and, despite our requests, the 2020 Democratic candidates kept doing things. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker dropped out. Marianne Williamson evolved into her final form – a crystal – and was no longer eligible to run. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders got into a fight. And Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg are still … there.
With all this, plus three candidates serving as jurors in an impeachment trial, how can we focus on just one thing in this column? Because we live in a dorm and are therefore exceptional at drowning out excess noise. So let’s get started.
This past Monday evening, the New York Times editorial board announced which of the Democratic candidates they would be endorsing. Traditionally, the editorial board endorses a candidate, focusing a lot of media attention on that candidate for a few days, and sometimes giving that candidate a bump in the polls. However, this year, the editorial board changed tack, endorsing two candidates: Senators Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren.
The editorial that accompanied the endorsement said the decision was made to represent the two sides of the Democratic primary, the moderate side and the more liberal side. This decision has been met with … mixed responses. There are basically two camps: those who liked it and those who didn’t. More specifically, there are those who see it as an interesting and new direction to take in a still large and ideologically diverse field, and there are those who see it effectively as a cop-out.
Thankfully, both of those attitudes are represented in this column/podcast: Maya being the positive side, myself (Fred) being the more negative. Unfortunately, as I am the only one that actually writes the column, I will only be presenting my outlook on it. To hear Maya’s take, listen to the podcast. (Also, always listen to the podcast. It’s fun)
So here’s the deal. The New York Times’s endorsement is an opportunity. An opportunity to boost a candidate and thin the field. The Times’s idea of trying to appeal to both camps of the Democratic Party is noble, but it takes away from the effect the endorsement could have. The editorial board is correct in pointing out the wide ideological range of the field. However, rather than support both sides, they could’ve elevated one over the other to try to thin the field out.
The endorsement also had the potential to affect polling and support. I’m not saying that had they endorsed Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren supporters would’ve moved over to her, or vice versa. But, there is still a large number of undecided voters, and while this might not have fully convinced them, it could have started to push them in one direction.
As it stands, rather than having much effect, the Times’s endorsement kind of just was. Much like how Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg are just there.
Anyway, that’s probably more of my concentrated personal opinion than ever has or will appear in this column. Next week, who knows? Week after next, Iowa!