In a memo released Friday, Warren campaign manager Roger Lau touts the organization’s robust nationwide staff and charts a path to winning the nearly 2,000 delegates needed to secure the nomination. But he also downplays the first round of contests, beginning next week in Iowa.
“We expect this to be a long nomination fight and have built our campaign to sustain well past Super Tuesday and stay resilient no matter what breathless media narratives come when voting begins,” Lau writes.
Warren remains in the top tier of candidates in Iowa 10 days out from the caucuses, where most polls show the Massachusetts senator in a tight, four-way race with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg. But Warren’s numbers, in the early states and nationally, have mostly stalled since her summer surge. Perhaps more troubling for the campaign is a new poll, released on Thursday by Boston-based WBUR, which showed Sanders, at 29%, leading in New Hampshire with more than double the support of Warren, who registered only 13%. Both Sanders and Warren represent neighboring states and would take defeat there harder than Biden or Buttigieg.
Lau’s memo seeks to downplay those “narrative” angles and shift the focus off of the states voting in February and onto Super Tuesday and beyond. It features graphics that underline — literally — the percentage of total delegates on offer in four groups of contests. The “Early States,” it reminds voters, make up only 3.9% of the full slate.
“The four early states contests are just the beginning,” Lau says, before describing the campaign’s “roadmap for building an organization that will not just win the Democratic nomination, but also take back the Senate, hold the House, and flip critical state legislative chambers as we head into 2021.”
That includes a plan to keep staff on the ground in Iowa after the caucuses as part of a broader effort to build “a critical mass of support in more than enough states to foreclose any path to an Electoral College victory for Donald Trump.” That’s possible, according to the memo, in part because of the campaign’s strong small-dollar fundraising — the campaign says it received its 3 millionth “grassroots contribution” on Thursday.
“For states that will be part of Elizabeth Warren’s path to victory in the Electoral College, it’s especially critical that we don’t lose momentum or stall the infrastructure after the primary has passed when we have a chance to keep building for the even bigger contest in November,” Lau writes, making the case that the strength of Warren’s organization should be considered during electability discussions.
Looking ahead even further, Lau talks up the campaign’s plans to keep in close contact and work alongside state and local parties to help build a base of support down the ballot.
“Elizabeth Warren aims to make Election Day in November not the end of a campaign,” he writes, “but rather the kickoff of an unprecedented grassroots mobilization to make our economy and our government truly work for the people.”
Whitmer, a first-term governor, will give the response in English, and Escobar will deliver it in Spanish, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced.
The response to the President’s State of the Union address not only gives the opposition party an opportunity to present criticisms and policy differences but also shine a light on party officials considered to be rising stars.
Trump is scheduled to deliver the address on February 4.
This story is breaking and will be updated.
In a new ad entitled “Threat” running across Iowa starting Friday, a female narrator makes the stakes of the Democratic primary plain:

THE POINT — NOW ON YOUTUBE!

In each episode of his weekly YouTube show, Chris Cillizza will delve a little deeper into the surreal world of politics. Click to subscribe!

“Every day he’s president, Donald Trump poses a threat to America and the world. We have to beat him. Joe Biden is the strongest candidate to do it. He beats Trump by the most nationally and in the states we have to win. This is no time to take a risk. We need our strongest candidate, so let’s nominate the Democrat Trump fears the most. Vote Biden. Beat Trump.”
On screen a series of polls are shown — all of which show Biden running ahead of Trump.
Although none of his rivals for the Democratic nomination are shown in the ad (it’s just Trump and Biden), the message is un-missable: The former vice president is a known commodity with a demonstrated appeal to swing voters. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg, on the other hand, represent something of a risk — and “this is not time to take a risk.”
It’s a fascinating choice of message — mostly because primary voters are, typically, motivated by their hearts and not their heads. They vote for the candidate who hits them on an emotional level rather than an intellectual one. Electability tends to be the sort of thing that political pundits and party officials spend lots of time on and something voters are less interested in. (Witness the rise of Donald Trump in the 2016 Republican primary.)
So, why end on that message if you are Biden’s campaign?
Well, first and foremost, because Biden is never going to be the liberal heartthrob in this race. (Sanders and Warren have that locked up.) And at 77 years old and having been in public office almost non-stop for five decades, he’s not going to be the fresh-faced outsider (that’s Buttigieg, obviously). Being the one who can win is the best argument he’s got.
Then there is the Trump factor. Biden’s team is betting that Democratic voters so loathe Trump — and believe he is doing so much damage to the country — that they will prioritize beating the incumbent more than picking a candidate who mostly agrees with their views.
And it seems like a good bet!
In a new CNN national poll, almost 6 in 10 Democrats (57%) said they wanted the “Democratic Party [to] nominate a presidential candidate with a strong chance of beating Donald Trump,” while just 35% said they preferred a candidate show “shared” their views on major issues. (Back in December, only 47% prioritized a nominee who could beat Trump.)
The thinking here also has some historical precedent. In 2004, then Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry made a similar argument — I am the one best positioned to beat President George W. Bush — in the closing days of the Iowa caucuses. He won Iowa — beating out liberal favorite and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. (Kerry then won New Hampshire and cruised to the nomination.)
Biden has to hope the Democratic electorate is in a similar frame of mind this time around. That the desire to get rid of Trump pushes them to choose the candidate perceived to be the best-equipped to beat him. Of course, Biden also has to hope the Kerry comparison only goes so far. Kerry lost the 2004 election to Bush.
Walmart last week opened a meatpacking plant in south Georgia that will cut, package and label its own brand of steaks and roasts to deliver to meat cases at 500 stores in the region. It is Walmart’s first meatpacking plant. Costco has also developed its own farm-to-store poultry production operation in Nebraska to control some of its chicken production.
Although Walmart’s plant is a step toward a farm-to-shelf meat production, Walmart doesn’t actually operate the facility, nor does it own any cows or butcher the meat. An outside processor will operate the plant in Thomasville, Georgia, 20 miles from the Florida border and a little bigger than the size of a Walmart supercenter.
It's only $4.99. But Costco's rotisserie chicken comes at a huge price

The plant’s opening is the latest move in top US retailers’ attempts to muscle into the food supply chain, an area traditionally dominated by food processors. Four companies control around 85% of the US cattle market, according to the Department of Agriculture. Walmart (WMT) buys its beef from Tyson (TSN) and Cargill, and it’s Tyson’s largest customer.
“I think the broader implications are more big retailers exploring expanding into processing themselves versus buying the product from a current packer or processor,” said David Anderson, agricultural economist at Texas A&M University.

Pushing into beef and milk

Walmart is trying to break big processors’ stranglehold over the beef industry, drive down costs and sell a higher-end line of beef at some stores.
Bob McClaren, a Texas rancher who is helping lead Walmart’s effort to source its cattle, said in an interview that the new supply chain will be able to “pull some of those costs out of all these other middlemen along the way,” allowing the more than 600 ranchers Walmart has partnered with so far to receive a premium on their cattle.
“One of the things that has always hindered the cattle industry is the multiple, multiple hands that are involved in the supply chain,” McClaren said. “We’re reducing some of that work.”
Walmart's new meatpacking plant in Thomasville, Georgia, 20 miles from the Florida border and a little bigger than the size of a supercenter.

Walmart's new meatpacking plant in Thomasville, Georgia, 20 miles from the Florida border and a little bigger than the size of a supercenter.

Walmart is also trying to gain an upper hand on its current suppliers. Working directly with ranchers to produce some of its beef supply may put Walmart in a stronger position when it negotiates contracts with processors in this consolidated market.
“There are two key players out there that we do business with,” former Walmart US CEO Greg Foran said in June. “I think we all know the market dynamics of what happens when you generally operate in a duopoly. It’s not all that good for the customer.”
Additionally, Walmart leaders say moving into the beef chain will help it attract customers with its own brand of premium steaks.
“Meat is center of the plate” and “drives the customer to the store,” Scott Neal, Walmart’s senior vice president of meat, said in a CNN Business interview last year. Walmart has not announced a name for the brand yet.
Walmart also entered the milk supply chain recently. The company built a milk processing plant in Indiana to supply milk to 500 stores.
“What drives a decision like that is if we start to see a consolidation in supply,” former Walmart leader Foran said in June of Walmart’s move into diary.
Walmart’s milk suppliers’ prices had gone up, leading the company to explore other options. Walmart does not want to supply all of its more than 4,700 US stores with its own milk brand. But “it gives us some leverage” when negotiating contracts with its distributors, he added.
Bob McClaren, CEO of 44 Farms in Texas, is helping lead Walmart's effort to source its cattle for its new beef supply chain.

Bob McClaren, CEO of 44 Farms in Texas, is helping lead Walmart's effort to source its cattle for its new beef supply chain.

Costco’s rotisserie chickens

Other retailers are seizing control of segments of their food supply chains to drive down costs and produce their own food as well.
Costco in October opened a $450 million chicken plant in Nebraska that will soon produce roughly 100 million rotisserie chickens a year— 40% of its annual chicken needs-— to sell at the retailer’s food courts and poultry aisles.
Costco was having trouble finding the size of birds it needs for its rotisserie chickens. So the retailer decided to integrate the production process from farm to store, making key decisions down to the grain the chickens eat and the type of eggs hatched. Costco hopes that bringing poultry production in house will reduce its costs by 10 to 35 cents per bird.
Five things to know about Costco's $4.99 rotisserie chickens

Five things to know about Costco's $4.99 rotisserie chickens

Will Sawyer, animal protein economist at agricultural lender CoBank, said that the Walmart plant will only represent a small fraction of the company’s overall beef business. He views Walmart’s entrance into the beef industry as a small-scale test to asses whether it can grow profit by pushing deeper into the supply chain.
“Their ownership level is very different than Costco’s,” Sawyer said. “It’s not like Costco where Costco is owning these chickens from egg to grocery stores.”
But despite key differences between Walmart’s beef and Costco’s chicken operations, agricultural experts predict the trend of retailers playing a larger role in supplying food for their own stores to expand.

Farmers under pressure

Local and state officials are pleased about the Walmart plant because it will deliver hundreds of jobs and investment in the area. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp was on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week.
“The Thomasville community is very excited,” Mayor Greg Hobbs said in an interview.
However, Walmart and other retailers gaining more power in the food industry troubles some farmers and ranchers’ advocates.
Walmart’s decision to enter the dairy market pressured Dean Foods (DFODQ) and was one of a range of factors that led the company into bankruptcy. Dean missed out on the sale of 55 million gallons of milk in the latter half of 2018 because of the lost Walmart business, it said.
A spokesperson for Walmart said its new cattle program is a “win-win situation” for farmers and will create steady demand for its supply chain partners.
America's milk industry is struggling. Don't blame oat milk

America's milk industry is struggling. Don't blame oat milk

But opponents believe Walmart’s new chain denies most ranchers the opportunity to participate and “does nothing to relieve the pressure on America’s family farmer,” said Joe Maxwell, the former Missouri lieutenant governor and policy director for the Organization for Competitive Markets, an advocacy group for farmers and ranchers that opposes corporate consolidation and is critical of Walmart.
“It only keeps them locked in to a supply chain run by the world’s largest company,” he said. “The farmer is still just trapped.”
Jess Peterson, senior policy adviser at the US Cattleman’s Association, a lobbying group for ranchers, said his group is in a “wait-and-see process” with the Walmart supply chain.
He fears a “singular, vertically-integrated system” that limits access for independent ranchers and reduces competition.
“It does give us pause for concern that we might be moving toward vertical integration,” he said. “Walmart is assuring us that it’s not.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials confirmed at least six wolves were spotted in Moffat County, the northwestern most corner of the state. The pack was found about two miles from a trail of wolf tracks they discovered earlier this month.
The discovery is notable: It’s the first pack spotted in Colorado for nearly 100 years.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis said he’s honored to welcome the animals back to the state after “their long absence.”
“While lone wolves have visited our state periodically including last fall, this is very likely the first pack to call our state home since the 1930s,” he said.
According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the last gray wolves were killed around the 1940s. The animals were shot, trapped and poisoned by hunters’ who, at the time, were protecting their livestock.
But Under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, gray wolves were protected, meaning anyone who hunted or killed the animals faced federal charges.
That may soon change.
In March of last year, the US Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a rule to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list after the wolf population increased. According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, there are more than 5,600 gray wolves in the US.
In response, the Center for Biological Diversity said the proposal is “a death sentence for gray wolves across the country.”
“The Trump administration is dead set on appeasing special interests that want to kill wolves. We’re working hard to stop them,” Collette Adkins, a senior attorney at the Center, said in the statement.
Dan Prenzlow, Director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife said officials “will not take direct action in these cases,” but will monitor the situation, he said in a statement. Officials urged Colorado residents to report any wolf activity.
The victims — identified as Holli Christina Durham, age 36; Branson Durham, age 13; and Baron Durham, age 13 — were found dead of apparent stab wounds inside a house in Munford, Alabama, the Talladega County Sheriff’s Office said.
The victims’ son and older brother, 16-year-old Landon Durham, faces a capital murder charge for all three killings, Talladega County District Attorney Steve Giddens told CNN affiliate WBRC. Durham is being charged as an adult.
According to Giddens, Durham allegedly killed them “probably sometime early Tuesday morning.” Asked if Durham went to school after the alleged murders, Giddens said, “I was told that he did, yes.”
Suzanne Lacey, the superintendent of Talladega County Schools, called the killings a “tragedy.”
“Like any small town, when tragedy strikes, it affects the entire community, including the school community,” Lacey said. “Our focus is to support the school family during this difficult time.”
Authorities have not released a motive for the murders. Durham is expected to make a first court appearance on Friday.
16-year-old charged as adult in the fatal shootings of his mother and 3 siblings in Utah

Durham’s arrest marks the second time in a week that a teenager in the US has been accused of murdering his mother and siblings.
Colin Jeffery Haynie, 16, faces four counts of aggravated murder in the shooting deaths of his mother and three younger siblings at their home in Grantsville, Utah. He confessed to the murders, according to prosecutors. Haynie also faces one count of attempted aggravated murder for his father, who was the only survivor.
The 30-second spot, which stars retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin, re-enacts the October 18, 2015 death of Boldin’s late cousin, Corey Jones.
Boldin’s cousin was shot by former police officer Nouman Raja in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Raja, who was later found guilty of manslaughter and attempted murder in Jones’s death, was sentenced to 25 years in prison last year.
“I’ll never forget that night,” Boldin says during the video. “My wife walks up after the game and told me that my cousin, Corey, had been killed.”
When Raja was shot, Boldin was playing in an NFL game — catching passes from former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick brought significant attention to the issue of police brutality in 2016 by kneeling in protest against it during the National Anthem. Other NFL players, and eventually athletes around the world, began protesting in solidarity. In response, the NFL created a rule requiring players to stand during the Anthem or risk being fined in May of 2018.
But the league ultimately decided against punishing players for protesting during the Anthem and signed a $90 million deal with the Players Coalition, a nonprofit charitable group formed in 2015, to fund the athletes’ civic efforts across the country.
The protests — and the NFL’s reaction to them — garnered a firestorm of criticism. Now some experts question whether the league risks reigniting the controversy with some fans, including those who have boycotted in recent years at the behest of President Donald Trump.
The new ad is a promotion for the league’s Inspire Change initiative, a program created to address athletes’ social justice causes in their home communities. They are designed to serve as conversation starters for football fans, according to NFL chief marketing officer Tim Ellis.
“We felt it was important to clearly define for our fans what Inspire Change is, the work that our players are doing in support of social justice, and what inspired Anquan — who has been one of the players at the forefront of this work — to get involved with these efforts,” Ellis wrote in an emailed statement to CNN Business.
The commercial debuted Sunday during the AFC Championship game, but will re-air during Super Bowl LIV on Sunday, February 2. Another commercial, released online Wednesday, is a longer spot, telling the story of the late Botham Jean, the unarmed 26-year-old accountant who was fatally shot by a Dallas police officer in his own home in September 2018.

Risk vs. reward

Showing the ads on Super Bowl Sunday is a risky, but potentially shrewd move said Donald Lehmann, professor of business marketing at Columbia Business School. It could reignite an anti-NFL social media firestorm among some conservative fans, but it could also pay dividends down the road with more sympathetic fans.
“It makes the brand look pretty good,” said Lehmann. “They didn’t over hype the issue, which will appeal to moderate people. … It’s a very measured ad. I give them credit for that.”
Both the NFL ads and Inspire Change could give the league a reputational boost, according to Helio Fred Garcia, the president of Logos Consulting Group, who teaches crisis communications at New York University.
“This is far more artfully done than I would have expected from the NFL,” Garcia said. “The NFL has not been very adept at dealing with controversies.”
Retired NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin stars in an NFL PSA addressing police brutality set air during Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 9.

Patrick Yoes, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents 800,000 officers across the United States, said he applauded NFL players for their “constructive” approach to police shootings. But he said the Boldin ad mischaracterizes how police typically interact with their communities.
“It’s a tragedy all the way around,” Yoes said of Boldin’s story. “This one incident that’s identified [in the ad] makes it appear law enforcement is something other than what it is. That one instance does not define who [police officers] are as a profession.”
Some local police union members made public statements denouncing the players’ kneeling protests. But Yoes said his organization and its members have no plans take action or speak out against the NFL in response to its new campaign.
“We want to be part of the solution,” he said.
Social justice activists largely praised the commercials.
Several groups joined forces in 2017 to form the United We Stand coalition, which called for a boycott of the NFL and its sponsors until Kaepernick once again works for the NFL. Kaepernick settled a collusion lawsuit against the NFL in February 2019, but hasn’t played in the NFL for the last three seasons.
 Colin Kaepernick looks on during his NFL workout held at Charles R Drew high school on Nov. 16, 2019 in Riverdale, Georgia.

 Colin Kaepernick looks on during his NFL workout held at Charles R Drew high school on Nov. 16, 2019 in Riverdale, Georgia.

“The ads are certainly thought provoking,” Women’s March co-founder Tamika Mallory, one of the leaders of United We Stand, said ” It is extremely important they reach an audience outside of the communities being impacted by police violence.”
Many have argued Kaepernick and the Anthem protests contributed to the NFL’s ratings decline in 2016 and 2017, but viewership has risen the last two years even as the protests and the Kaepernick saga have continued.
“The skeptic in me says this [Inspire Change] effort is trying to focus attention away from Kaepernick,” said Helio Fred Garcia, the president of Logos Consulting Group, who teaches crisis communications at New York University. “The less skeptical side says, at least they’re making a difference in a public discussion that needs to happen and has been mishandled so many times.”
On Friday, the company shuttered locations in Wuhan, Ezhou, Huanggang, Qianjiang and Xiantao — all cities that have been impacted by the Chinese government’s travel restrictions, company spokesperson Barry Sum told CNN Business in an email. At least 10 cities in central Hubei province are facing travel restrictions, including Wuhan, where this strain of coronavirus originated.
“McDonald’s restaurant operation in Hubei province runs normally in cities where public transportation is available,” Sum said. “Staff and customers’ safety is our first priority and we have comprehensive, precautious measures being implemented to all restaurant operations and office staff.” It’s not clear when the affected restaurants will reopen.
A McDonald's location in Wuhan, China.

At least 800 people have been infected with the virus, which has killed dozens. The respiratory infection has spread to Japan, Thailand and the United States, among other countries. Major cities including Beijing have canceled some or all major Lunar New Year celebrations in an attempt to prevent more illness and death.
McDonald’s (MCD) “will maintain close communication with local health and other relevant authorities, actively implement any guidance by medical authorities for containment of the virus, and continue to work together to fight this epidemic,” Sum said.
In addition to suspending service, McDonald’s is also enacting strict new standards to monitor employees for signs of the infection. The company shared on its Chinese social media platforms that “all restaurants are required to commence a system of measuring body temperatures of all crews upon arrival at work,” adding that it has “established a reporting, recording and observation mechanism for employees traveling to and from Wuhan during the New Year Spring Festival.”
Employees with fevers or cold symptoms are to be sent home. Additionally, workers will start wearing masks and are being instructed to wash their hands and use disinfectants more frequently.
Disney closes Shanghai park as deadly coronavirus spreads

Disney closes Shanghai park as deadly coronavirus spreads

The chain is also placing hand sanitizers in stores for customer use, increasing the frequency of cleanings in stores and instructing suppliers to take safety precautions, as well.
McDonald’s is betting big on China as a growth market. During an October call discussing the company’s third-quarter earnings, former CEO Steve Easterbrook pointed to China as one of the best-performing international markets.
During the quarter, he said, more customers went to Chinese restaurants and spent more compared to the year before. Chinese customers responded especially well to McDonald’s digital initiatives, he added.
Other global businesses are responding to the outbreak, as well. Shanghai Disney Resort is closing its doors during the holiday “in response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak.” It’s not clear when the park will reopen.
-— CNN Business’ Sherisse Pham contributed to this report.
Oklahoma’s Republican governor, Kevin Stitt, issued an executive order Thursday that prohibits state employees from “all non-essential travel” to California, with exceptions for Department of Commerce employees traveling for business recruiting. He was responding to California’s ban two years ago of state-funded and state-sponsored travel, with exceptions, to Oklahoma after the state passed a law that critics said allows adoption and foster agencies to deny children be placed with same-sex parents based on religious or moral grounds.
“California and its elected officials over the past few years have banned travel to the State of Oklahoma in an effort to politically threaten and intimidate Oklahomans for their personal values. Enough is enough,” Stitt said in a statement.
“If California’s elected officials don’t want public employees traveling to Oklahoma, I am eager to return the gesture on behalf of Oklahoma’s pro-life stance,” Stitt added.
State college athletes and their teams will still be allowed to travel for scheduled games. Also exempt from the ban are school groups, including bands and sports teams, traveling to participate in programs or events in California.
During a news conference Thursday at the state Capitol, Stitt told reporters that “if a state is going to ban travel here, I’m going to reciprocate that, and I’m not going to spend our tax dollars going to conferences and spending money in their state, as well,” CNN affiliate KOCO reported.
Oklahoma House Democratic leaders Reps. Emily Virgin and Cyndi Munson said Stitt’s ban was nothing more than an effort to divert attention away from in-state issues such as health care, education and a feud over Native American tribes’ casino operations.
“To those that believe that this isn’t simply an attempt at distraction, why would the governor exempt travel for sporting events and business recruitment? And with those exemptions in place, who does this ban actually affect?” they said in a statement.
California has taken similar actions against other states, banning official state travel in 2017 to 10 other states for laws it says discriminate against LGBTQ people.
And the city of San Francisco in October limited city-funded travel and contracting with 22 states, including Oklahoma, for what it called “severe anti-choice policies.”
In a new ad entitled “Threat” running across Iowa starting Friday, a female narrator makes the stakes of the Democratic primary plain:

THE POINT — NOW ON YOUTUBE!

In each episode of his weekly YouTube show, Chris Cillizza will delve a little deeper into the surreal world of politics. Click to subscribe!

“Every day he’s president, Donald Trump poses a threat to America and the world. We have to beat him. Joe Biden is the strongest candidate to do it. He beats Trump by the most nationally and in the states we have to win. This is no time to take a risk. We need our strongest candidate, so let’s nominate the Democrat Trump fears the most. Vote Biden. Beat Trump.”
On screen a series of polls are shown — all of which show Biden running ahead of Trump.
Although none of his rivals for the Democratic nomination are shown in the ad (it’s just Trump and Biden), the message is un-missable: The former vice president is a known commodity with a demonstrated appeal to swing voters. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg, on the other hand, represent something of a risk — and “this is not time to take a risk.”
It’s a fascinating choice of message — mostly because primary voters are, typically, motivated by their hearts and not their heads. They vote for the candidate who hits them on an emotional level rather than an intellectual one. Electability tends to be the sort of thing that political pundits and party officials spend lots of time on and something voters are less interested in. (Witness the rise of Donald Trump in the 2016 Republican primary.)
So, why end on that message if you are Biden’s campaign?
Well, first and foremost, because Biden is never going to be the liberal heartthrob in this race. (Sanders and Warren have that locked up.) And at 77 years old and having been in public office almost non-stop for five decades, he’s not going to be the fresh-faced outsider (that’s Buttigieg, obviously). Being the one who can win is the best argument he’s got.
Then there is the Trump factor. Biden’s team is betting that Democratic voters so loathe Trump — and believe he is doing so much damage to the country — that they will prioritize beating the incumbent more than picking a candidate who mostly agrees with their views.
And it seems like a good bet!
In a new CNN national poll, almost 6 in 10 Democrats (57%) said they wanted the “Democratic Party [to] nominate a presidential candidate with a strong chance of beating Donald Trump,” while just 35% said they preferred a candidate show “shared” their views on major issues. (Back in December, only 47% prioritized a nominee who could beat Trump.)
The thinking here also has some historical precedent. In 2004, then Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry made a similar argument — I am the one best positioned to beat President George W. Bush — in the closing days of the Iowa caucuses. He won Iowa — beating out liberal favorite and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. (Kerry then won New Hampshire and cruised to the nomination.)
Biden has to hope the Democratic electorate is in a similar frame of mind this time around. That the desire to get rid of Trump pushes them to choose the candidate perceived to be the best-equipped to beat him. Of course, Biden also has to hope the Kerry comparison only goes so far. Kerry lost the 2004 election to Bush.