What’s the best way for a Democrat to get to the top of the polls in the 2020 presidential sweepstakes? Lose a 2018 Senate race by 214,921 votes.
That’s right, Texas loser Robert “Beto” O’Rourke has leaped to the top of the 2020 polls, or at least a new straw poll by a progressive group. Forget that he’s about to be unemployed, to the Democrats, he’s their man.
The sudden surge by O’Rourke came in a straw poll of members of MoveOn.org, first obtained by NBC News. The survey puts the Texas congressman at 15.6%, with former vice president Joe Biden close behind at 14.9%. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) came in third at 13.1%.
“It’s another sign of O’Rourke’s surprising popularity among national Democrats and a potentially troubling indication for Sanders, whom MoveOn endorsed in the 2016 Democratic primary. That year, 78 percent of MoveOn members voted to back Sanders over Hillary Clinton,” NBC reported.
The three men were followed by Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who garnered 10 percent support, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with 6.4 percent. Meanwhile, three Democratic senators, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg were each selected by about 3 percent of members.
“While the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president remains wide open and MoveOn’s endorsement is up for grabs, MoveOn members and progressives across the country are clear: They’re looking for candidates who will rally voters around a progressive vision of building a country where every American can thrive — whether we’re white, black, or brown, rich or poor,” said Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn Political Action.
“We’ll be challenging prospective candidates to inspire us with big ideas in the months to come — including at a series of events in early voting states in early 2019,” Sheyman added.
Still, nearly a third — 29.9% — of those surveyed said they preferred “someone else” or didn’t know who they were supporting at this time.
Here are the top 10 candidates from the straw poll:
Someone else/Don’t know: 28.8%
Beto O’Rourke: 15.6%
Joe Biden: 14.9%
Bernie Sanders: 13.1%
Kamala Harris: 10%
Elizabeth Warren: 6.4%
Sherrod Brown: 2.9%
Amy Klobuchar: 2.8%
Michael Bloomberg: 2.7%
Cory Booker: 2.6%
The news is not good for Warren, who was aggressively urged to run in 2016 but decided to sit out.
“Warren missed her moment in 2016, and there’s reason to be skeptical of her prospective candidacy in 2020,” The Boston Globe wrote in an editorial last Friday.
The Globe, a liberal bastion founded in 1872 — even before there were Kennedys on Cape Cod — went on to say that while Warren won re-election to the Senate in November, “her margin of victory in November suggests there’s a ceiling on her popularity.” The paper notes that in the latest election, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker won more votes than Ms. Warren did and cited a September poll indicating that Massachusetts voters would rather see their two-term former Gov. Deval Patrick running in 2020 than Warren.
“Those are warning signs from the voters who know her best. While Warren is an effective and impactful senator with an important voice nationally, she has become a divisive figure. A unifying voice is what the country needs now after the polarizing politics of Donald Trump,” said the Globe.