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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 9:20 AM
Updated: Feb 11, 2020 9:20 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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34622

Reported Deaths: 1215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds269748
DeSoto181818
Madison138236
Jones117349
Harrison104014
Rankin103515
Neshoba102274
Lauderdale94281
Forrest93943
Scott79215
Jackson72717
Washington64310
Copiah63115
Leake61320
Lee58621
Holmes57341
Oktibbeha56828
Wayne55416
Warren55320
Yazoo5436
Grenada5357
Lowndes52613
Leflore52256
Lincoln50935
Lamar5027
Pike47020
Sunflower4528
Lafayette4374
Monroe43635
Covington4195
Panola3996
Bolivar38018
Attala37524
Simpson3733
Newton35710
Adams34019
Pontotoc3266
Tate32313
Marion31312
Claiborne29310
Chickasaw29219
Winston28711
Pearl River27632
Noxubee2758
Marshall2693
Jasper2676
Clay25511
Union23811
Smith23412
Walthall2267
Coahoma2156
Clarke21425
Lawrence1992
Yalobusha1938
Kemper18014
Carroll17311
Tallahatchie1664
Humphreys15910
Montgomery1493
Calhoun1475
Tippah14411
Itawamba1418
Hancock13813
Webster12811
Tunica1193
Jefferson1173
Jefferson Davis1164
Prentiss1123
Greene10810
Amite1063
George1023
Wilkinson959
Tishomingo921
Quitman891
Alcorn852
Perry764
Choctaw754
Stone732
Franklin492
Benton420
Sharkey420
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6030162
Mobile4418137
Montgomery4339109
Tuscaloosa254448
Madison19078
Marshall186611
Shelby150924
Lee149437
Morgan12205
Baldwin111410
Walker105127
Elmore98919
Dallas9639
Franklin92216
Etowah88214
DeKalb8416
Chambers65727
Russell6570
Autauga65313
Butler64328
Tallapoosa61669
Unassigned58626
Limestone5741
Houston5526
Cullman5395
Lauderdale5376
Lowndes48022
St. Clair4692
Colbert4656
Pike4595
Escambia4528
Calhoun4365
Coffee4074
Covington39911
Jackson3742
Bullock37010
Barbour3672
Dale3621
Talladega3497
Hale33722
Marengo33011
Wilcox2968
Clarke2946
Winston2893
Chilton2872
Sumter28512
Blount2731
Pickens2556
Monroe2492
Marion24514
Randolph2449
Conecuh2277
Perry2091
Bibb2081
Macon2069
Choctaw20212
Greene1928
Henry1433
Crenshaw1273
Washington1277
Lawrence1170
Cherokee1127
Geneva920
Lamar811
Fayette781
Clay742
Coosa621
Cleburne411
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