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.

Cases: 154411

Reported Deaths: 3836
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10332104
Hinds10190199
Harrison7244111
Jackson6521124
Rankin5805103
Lee523695
Madison4964107
Forrest388286
Jones367788
Lauderdale3575147
Lafayette334952
Washington3241108
Lamar296650
Oktibbeha251362
Lowndes243864
Bolivar242984
Panola229653
Neshoba2241118
Marshall221250
Leflore207791
Monroe203978
Pontotoc202929
Lincoln194865
Sunflower192555
Warren178757
Tate177051
Union171026
Copiah167040
Pike164758
Yazoo158840
Scott157930
Itawamba156135
Alcorn154828
Pearl River154168
Coahoma151943
Simpson151953
Prentiss149531
Adams144451
Grenada142845
Leake139444
Holmes132361
Tippah128030
Covington127939
George126425
Winston124526
Hancock123640
Wayne120623
Marion118646
Attala117534
Tishomingo110842
Chickasaw109032
Newton108029
Tallahatchie97727
Clay93427
Clarke93053
Jasper84822
Stone80015
Calhoun78113
Walthall77229
Montgomery75825
Carroll74015
Lawrence73414
Smith72816
Noxubee72517
Yalobusha72328
Perry68126
Tunica62319
Greene61222
Claiborne58916
Jefferson Davis58817
Amite55814
Humphreys54719
Benton49918
Quitman4977
Webster46414
Kemper44718
Wilkinson40422
Jefferson36411
Franklin3535
Choctaw3507
Sharkey32317
Issaquena1204
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 249524

Reported Deaths: 3578
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33064500
Mobile19951362
Madison13596148
Tuscaloosa13246154
Montgomery12435236
Shelby1061677
Baldwin889098
Lee781466
Morgan686150
Etowah643966
Calhoun6430121
Marshall635355
Houston537738
DeKalb492236
Cullman451542
Limestone433345
St. Clair432555
Lauderdale422354
Elmore412964
Walker3710111
Talladega359354
Jackson329823
Colbert329642
Blount299740
Autauga278042
Franklin256434
Coffee248315
Dale236254
Chilton227438
Dallas226832
Russell22383
Covington220434
Escambia198931
Tallapoosa184391
Chambers177950
Pike159914
Clarke159819
Marion143636
Winston135123
Lawrence131636
Pickens125718
Geneva12438
Marengo123124
Bibb119617
Barbour117811
Butler117842
Randolph104921
Cherokee103424
Hale97831
Fayette92516
Washington92219
Clay92024
Henry8756
Lowndes80229
Monroe79011
Cleburne77814
Macon74522
Crenshaw72030
Bullock70219
Perry6906
Lamar6898
Conecuh68814
Wilcox64218
Sumter58622
Greene42818
Choctaw42713
Coosa3544
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