Who's Most Likely To Take On Trump At The 2020 U.S. Election?
The democratic hunger games have well and truly begun and in a few months we will know which name has been chosen to go up against Donald Trump. Here's a look at who is still in the race and if any of them can beat The Don.
We're finally -- finally -- getting down to the business end the Democratic primary process, with the first American states weeks away from casting their votes for the party's presidential nominee.
These votes will eventually decide who gets to face Donald Trump in the November 2020 general election.
When all the primary votes wrap up in June, the final nominee will be named and the battle against The Don will begin.
If you feel like the selection process has been going on for years already, you're not wrong. The first candidate threw their hat in the ring in July 2017 and there's been some major campaigning going on since 2018.
As it stands we are two weeks out from the first stop in the primary process, -- the February 3 Iowa caucuses -- there are a dozen candidates still in the game, and nearly 20 more have started and stopped already.
The Final Countdown
There are 12 candidates still in the game but that chances of that rapidly thinning is high.
Barack Obama's former vice president Joe Biden is back for his third run as POTUS.
Senator Bernie Sanders, who lost the nomination to Hillary Clinton in 2016, is running on a 'democratic socialism' platform.
Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, also on the progressive side, is in the race too.
Another candidate is Pete Buttigieg, mayor of Indiana town South Bend and the first openly gay person to seek democratic nomination. If he goes all the way in the 2020 race he would be the youngest and first openly gay American president.
Other candidates also include tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang; hedge fund manager Tom Steyer; and senator Amy Klobuchar.
The final group of candidates -- former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, senator Michael Bennett, and Congressman John Delaney -- are considered long shots at this stage.
The last name on the list is the biggest dark horse. Financial services billionaire Michael Bloomberg, one of the world's richest men, entered the race just weeks ago but is already making a splash.
Bloomberg's (the former mayor of New York City) advertising is carpet-bombing the whole of America, claiming he is the only one who can beat Trump.
He's got nearly unlimited cash to spend with a net worth of $US59 billion. Comparatively The Don is worth about $US3.9 billion, according to Forbes.
As a former mayor, Bloomberg has a successful political CV, but it is yet to be seen whether his money can translate into votes.
The Drop Outs
Time to raise a glass and pour one out for the dropouts of the democratic race.
Let's not dwell on the past, but some of the notable quitters include Beto O'Rourke, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Bill de Blasio, Kirsten Gillibrand and John Hickenlooper.
The Race Leaders
The latest U.S. poll aggregators show Joe Biden is leading the field, collecting around 26-27 per cent of voters, but it depends on what poll you're looking at.
Bernie Sanders comes in next, around 19-20 per cent, then Warren on 16-17 per cent.
In individual state polls, the top three are basically the same; Biden, Sanders, and Warren, in varying orders.
Pete Buttigieg sneaks into a good position in a few polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first primary voting states, and is expected to poll well there. However, he is not placing highly in national polls, under eight per cent.
Since announcing his presidential plans in November, Bloomberg runs at about six per cent nationally, while the other candidates are below four per cent each.
In terms of money, which is how some U.S. pundits rank a politician's popularity or momentum, Sanders is the clear fundraising leader.
He raised nearly US$100 million last year, from five million donors, as his campaign focuses on small grassroots supporters rather than big corporate donors.
The Trump Card
Can any of these people beat Trump?
According to polling, yes. At this stage -- which, again, we stress, is months from the final election date on November 3 -- various polls show Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, and Bloomberg are all more popular than Trump.
A handful of others show Trump above Buttigieg and Warren, while narrowly below Sanders and Biden.
Take the polls with a grain of salt, however. They are national popularity polls, not any reflection of America's electoral college system, which saw Trump win the presidency despite getting fewer votes than Hillary Clinton in 2016.
In 'battleground' states -- swing states, which will decide the race -- like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona and North Carolina, recent polls have Trump just behind Biden, and just ahead of Sanders and Warren.
Don't forget that Trump won in 2016 despite basically every poll showing he would be crushed.
What's Trump up to lately?
The Don's been talking about dishwashers and toilets.
Yes, a strange new tactic from Trump is to talk a lot about the difficulties people in parts of the U.S. are apparently having with water supply to toilets and dishwashers.
He's mentioned it a bit at his campaign rallies, claiming people have to flush toilets up to ten times because the water pressure is so bad.
It's been hypothesised the TV star president is using this strategy to try and connect with 'the common man'.
Oh, he's also getting impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, and preparing for a historic trial in the Senate.
What happens next?
The Iowa caucuses are on February 3. Next is the New Hampshire primary on February 11, the Nevada caucuses on February 22, the South Carolina primary on February 29, then 'Super Tuesday' -- where results from 14 states are announced -- on March 3.
By then, we should know a lot more about who the Democratic nominee will likely be, with the candidates' field likely to thin significantly as momentum -- and money -- builds up behind a chosen few.
The nominee will officially be named on July 13, at the Democratic National Committee.
From there the real battle begins as this person is in for an unpredictable challenge against Trump.
While the result is unknown, one thing that is certain is that it is going to be a long year.