It's time for our April 29, 2019 edition of our Candidate Power Rankings. We get to add two new candidates, write about a bunch of people that have little to no chance of winning, and thank the heavens we are one day closer to the end of all of this.
In case you're new here, read our explainer about how all of this works:
The 2020 Democratic primary power rankings are an attempt to make sense out of the chaos of the largest field of candidates in global history.
Each candidate gets a unique score in at least thirty categories, measuring data like polling, prediction markets, fundraising, fundamentals, media coverage, and more. The result is a candidate score between 0-100. These numbers will change from week to week as the race changes.
The power rankings are less a prediction on who will win the nomination, and more a snapshot of the state of the race at any given time. However, early on, the model gives more weight to fundamentals and potentials, and later will begin to prioritize polling and realities on the ground.
These power rankings include only announced candidates. So, when you say "WAIT!! WHERE'S XXXXX????" Read the earlier sentence again.
If you're like me, when you read power rankings about sports, you've already skipped ahead to the list. So, here we go.
See previous editions here.
20. Wayne Messam: 13.4 (Previous: 18th / 13.4)
A former staffer of Wayne Messam is accusing his wife of hoarding the campaign's money.
First, how does this guy have "former" staffers? He's been running for approximately twelve minutes.
Second, he finished dead last in the field in fundraising with $44,000 for the quarter. Perhaps hoarding whatever money the campaign has is not the worst idea.
His best shot at the nomination continues to be something out of the series "Designated Survivor."
19. Marianne Williamson: 17.1 (Previous: 17th / 17.1)
Marianne Williamson would like you to pay for the sins of someone else's great, great, great grandparents. Lucky you!
Williamson is on the reparations train like most of the field, trying to separate herself from the pack by sheer monetary force.
How much of your cash does she want to spend? "Anything less than $100 billion is an insult." This is what I told the guy who showed up to buy my 1989 Ford Tempo. It didn't work then either.
18. John Delaney: 19.7 (Previous: 15th / 20.3)
Good news: John Delaney brought in $12.1 million in the first quarter, enough for fifth in the entire Democratic field!
Bad news: 97% of the money came from his own bank account.
17. Eric Swalwell: 20.2 (Previous: 16th / 20.2)
The Eric Swalwell formula:
- Identify news cycle
- Identify typical left-wing reaction
- Add steroids
Democrats said there was obstruction in the Mueller report. Swalwell said there “certainly" was collusion.
Democrats said surveillance of the Trump campaign was no big deal. Swalwell said there was no need to apologize even if it was.
Democrats said William Barr mishandled the release of the Mueller report. Swalwell said he must resign.
Democrats say they want gun restrictions. Swalwell wants them all melted down and the liquid metal to be poured on the heads of NRA members. (Probably.)
16. Seth Moulton: 20.6 (Debut)
Who is Seth Moulton?
No, I'm asking.
Moulton falls into the category of congressman looking to raise his profile and make his future fundraising easier— not someone who is actually competing for the presidency.
He tried to block Nancy Pelosi as speaker, so whatever help he could get from the establishment is as dry as Pelosi's eyes when the Botox holds them open for too long.
Moulton is a veteran, and his military service alone is enough to tell you that he's done more with his life than I'll ever do with mine. But it's hard to see the road to the White House for a complete unknown in a large field of knowns.
Don't take my word for it, instead read this depressing story that he's actually telling people on purpose:
"I said, you know, part of my job is take tough questions," Moulton told the gathered business and political leaders. "You can ask even really difficult questions. And there was still silence. And then finally, someone in the way back of the room raised her hand, and she said, 'Who are you?' "
Yeah. Who are you?
15. Tim Ryan: 21.6 (Previous: 14th / 20.7)
When you're talking to less than sixteen people in Iowa one week after your launch, you don't have too much to be excited about.
Ryan did get an interview on CNN, where he also talked to less than sixteen people.
He discussed his passion for the Dave Matthews Band, solidifying a key constituency in the year 1995.
14. Tulsi Gabbard: 25.2 (Previous: 14th / 25.9)
Tulsi Gabbard torched Kamala Harris in fundraising!!!!! (Among Indian-American donors.)
No word on who won the coveted handi-capable gender-neutral sodium-sensitive sub-demographic.
She received a mostly false rating for her attack on the Trump administration regarding its new policy on pork inspections, a topic not exactly leading the news cycle. Being from Hawaii, the state which leads the nation in Spam consumption, she was probably surprised when this didn't go mega viral.
- Tulsi Gabbard fundraises off 4/20
- Gabbard hammers Trump for turning U.S. into 'prostitute of Saudi Arabia'
- Gabbard says US undermining North Korea peace bid with Venezuela, Iran policies
13. Andrew Yang: 27.2 (Previous: 12th / 27.1)
Yang has a few go-to lines when he's on the campaign trail, such as: "The opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math." Another is apparently the Jeb-esque "Chant my name! Chant my name!"
Yang continues to be one of the more interesting candidates in this race, essentially running a remix of the "One Tough Nerd" formula that worked for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
I highly recommend listening to his interview with Ben Shapiro, where Yang earns respect as the only Democratic presidential candidate in modern history to actually show up to a challenging and in-depth interview with a knowledgeable conservative.
But hidden in the Shapiro interview is the nasty little secret of the Yang campaign. His policy prescriptions, while still very liberal, come off as far too sane for him to compete in this Stalin look-alike contest.
12. Jay Inslee: 30.4 (Previous: 11th / 30.4)
He also may sign the nation's first "human composting" legalization bill. He can start by composting his presidential campaign.
11. John Hickenlooper: 32.2 (Previous: 10th / 32.0)
John Hickenlooper was sick of being asked if he would put a woman on the ticket, in the 0.032% chance he actually won the nomination.
So he wondered why the female candidates weren't being asked if they would name a male VP if they won?
Seems like a logical question, but only someone who is high on tailpipe fumes would think it was okay to ask in a Democratic primary. Hickenlooper would be better served by just transitioning to a female and demanding other candidates are asked why they don't have a transgendered VP.
10. Julian Castro: 35.7 (Previous: 9th / 36.2)
Lowering expectations is a useful strategy when your wife asks you to put together an Ikea end table, or when you've successfully convinced Charlize Theron to come home with you. But is it a successful campaign strategy?
Julian Castro is about to find out. He thinks the fact that everyone thinks he's crashing and burning on the campaign trail so far is an "advantage." Perhaps he can take the rest of the field by surprise on Super Tuesday when they finally realize he's actually running.
9. Kirsten Gillibrand: 38.1 (Previous: 8th / 37.8)
Gillibrand wants you to know that the reason her campaign has been such a miserable failure so far, is because she called for a certain senator to step down. The problem might also be that another certain senator isn't a good presidential candidate.
8. Amy Klobuchar: 45.1 (Previous: 7th / 45.5)
Klobuchar is attempting a run in the moderate wing of the Democratic primary, which would be a better idea if such a wing existed.
7. Elizabeth Warren: 45.3 (Previous: 6th / 46.0)
Elizabeth Warren is bad at everything she does while she's campaigning. I don't really even watch Game of Thrones, and the idea that Warren would write a story about how the show proves we need more powerful women makes me cringe.
Of course, more powerful people of all the 39,343 genders are welcome, but it's such a transparent attempt at jumping on the back of a pop-culture event to pander to female voters, it's sickening.
We can only hope that when she's watching Game of Thrones, she's gonna grab her a beer.
6. Cory Booker: 54.9 (Previous: 5th / 55.5)
Booker is tied with Kamala Harris for the most missed Senate votes of the campaign so far. He gets criticized for this, but I think he should miss even more votes.
Booker is also pushing a national day off on Election Day—because the approximately six months of early voting allowed in every state just isn't enough.
Of course, making it easier to vote doesn't mean people are going to vote for Booker. So he's throwing trillions of dollars in bribes (my word, not his) to seal the deal.
Bookermania is in full effect, with 40 whole people showing up to his appearance in Nevada. Local press noted that the people were of "varying ages," an important distinction to most other crowds, which are entirely comprised of people with the same birthday.
5. Robert Francis O’Rourke: 60.2 (Previous: 4th /62.6)
Kirsten Gillibrand gave less than 2% of her income to charity. The good news is that she gave about seven times as much as Beto O'Rourke. Robert Francis, or Bob Frank, also happens to be one of the wealthiest candidates in the race. His late seventies father-in-law has been estimated to be worth as much as $20 billion, though the number is more likely to be a paltry $500 million.
He's made millions from a family company investing in fossil fuels and pharmaceutical stocks, underpaid his taxes for multiple years, and is suing the government to lower property taxes on a family-owned shopping center.
He's also all but disappeared. It's a long race, and you don't win a nomination in April of the year before election day. If he's being frugal and figuring out what he believes, it might be a good move.
But it's notable that all the "pretty boy" hype that Bob Frank owned going into this race has been handed over to Mayor Pete. Perhaps Beto is spending his time working on curbing the sweating, the hand gestures, and the issues with jumping on counters like a feline.
- O'Rourke Says Green New Deal Will Require 'Sacrifice' on the Scale of WWII
- Beto O'Rourke demurs on TV town halls, cites punk record label as role model for going his own way
- Beto O'Rourke Says He Would Appear On Fox News
- Beto O'Rourke Calls Trump A Racist Islamophobe In Defense Of Ilhan Omar
- O'Rourke congratulates Netanyahu after calling him racist
4. Pete Buttigieg: 62.9 (Previous: 3rd / 62.9)
When we first put candidates in tiers earlier this year, we broke everyone into five categories from "Front Runners" to "Eh, no." In the middle is a category called "Maybe, if everything goes right," and that's where we put Pete Buttigieg.
Well, everything has gone right so far. But Mayor Pete will be interested to learn that the other 19 candidates in this race are not going to hand him this nomination. Eventually, they will start saying negative things about him (they've started the opposition research process already), and it will be interesting to see how Petey deals with the pressure. We've already seen how it has affected Beto in a similar situation.
The media has spoken endlessly about the sexual orientation of Buttigieg, but not every Democratic activist is impressed. Barney Frank thinks the main reason he's getting this amount of attention is because he is gay. And for some, being a gay man just means you're a man, which isn't good enough.
When you base your vote on a candidate's genitals, things can get confusing.
- Pete Buttigieg sides with striking Stop & Shop workers "You're not free if you work for a living and you can't get by," Buttigieg said ahead of a weekend of campaigning in New Hampshire. (Note: This is a similar argument used to defend slavery... "By 1860 it had become a standard part of the proslavery rationale, made it a central thesis in their arguments. (1) that the condition of the so-called free worker of the North was already fearful and was becoming increasingly more horrible; (2) that the free-labor system enslaved the worker just as much as the chattel-slavery system; and (3) that wage slavery was infinitely worse for the worker than chattel slavery.")
- Pete Buttigieg: 'Capitalism has let a lot of people down'
- Pete Buttigieg's Presidential Run Has Many LGBT Democrats Eager For Their Obama Moment
- Pete Buttigieg suggests national service program
- Pete Buttigieg compares Bernie Sanders supporters to Trump fans
3. Kamala Harris: 68.6 (Previous: 1st / 69.1)
There are a couple of ways to view the Harris candidacy so far.
#1 - Harris launched with much fanfare and an adoring media. She has since lost her momentum. Mayor Pete and former Mayor Bernie have the hype, and Kamala is fading.
#2 - Harris is playing the long game. She showed she can make an impact with her launch, but realizes that a media "win" ten months before an important primary means nothing. She's working behind the scenes and cleaning up with donations, prominent supporters, and loads of celebrities to execute an Obama style onslaught.
I tend to be in category 2, but I admit that's somewhat speculative. Harris seems to be well positioned to make a serious run, locking up more than double the amount of big Clinton and Obama fundraisers than any other candidate.
One interesting policy development for Harris that may hurt her in the primary is her lack of utter disgust for the nation of Israel. There's basically one acceptable position in a Democratic primary when it comes to Israel, which is that it's a racist and terrorist state, existing only to torture innocent Palestinians.
Certainly no one is going to mistake Harris for Donald Trump, but a paragraph like this is poison to the modern Democratic primary voter:
"Her support for Israel is central to who she is," Harris' campaign communications director, Lily Adams, told McClatchy. "She is firm in her belief that Israel has a right to exist and defend itself, including against rocket attacks from Gaza."
Just portraying the rocket attacks as "attacks" is controversial these days for Democrats, and claiming they are responses to attacks indicates you think the Jeeeewwwwwwwws aren't the ones responsible for the start of every hostility. Heresy!
Someone get Kamala a copy of the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' before she blows her chance to run the free world.
2. Bernie Sanders: 69.2 (Previous: 2nd / 68.3)
It's entirely consistent with Sandersism to avoid giving to private charity. Why would you? Sanders believes the government does everything better than the private sector. He should be giving his money to the government.
Yes, this is enough to convince the Cardi B's of the world, all but guaranteeing a lock on the rapper-and-former-stripper-that-drugged-and-stole-from-her-prostitution-clients demographic. But can that lack of consistency hold up in front of general election voters?
If Bernie reads this and would like a path to credibility, clear out your bank account and send it here:
Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Funds Management Branch
P.O. Box 1328
Parkersburg, WV 26106-1328
1. Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.: 78.8 (Debut)
However, when the eternally woke Barack Obama had a chance to elevate a person of color, woman, or anything from the rainbow colored QUILTBAG, he instead chose the oldest, straightest, whitest guy he could find, and our man Robinette was the beneficiary.
Biden has been through a lot, much of it of his own making. Forget about his plagiarism and propensity to get a nostril full of each passing females' hair, his dealings while vice president in both Ukraine and China are a major general election vulnerability— not to mention a legal vulnerability for his children. But hey, win the presidency and you can pardon everyone, right?
His supposed appeal to rust belt voters makes him, on paper, a great candidate to take on Trump. The Clinton loss hinged on about 40,000 voters changing their mind from Hillary to Donald in a few states—the exact areas where victory could possibly be secured by someone named "Middle Class Joe" (as he alone calls himself.)
He's a gaffe machine that churns out mistake after mistake, hoping only to have his flubs excused by his unending charisma. But, will that work without the use of his legendary groping abilities? Only time, and a few dozen unnamed women, will tell.
Also, yes. Robinette is really his middle name.