Skip to main content

Common Dreams. Journalism funded by people, not corporations.

There has never been—and never will be—an advertisement on our site except for this one: without readers like you supporting our work, we wouldn't exist.

No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news and opinion 365 days a year that is freely available to all and funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

Our mission is clear. Our model is simple. If you can, please support our Fall Campaign today.

Support Our Work -- No corporate influence. No pay-wall. Independent news funded by those who support our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. Please support our Fall Campaign today.

The best option for Democratic primary voters is to research the candidates' positions and records, and pick the one they think is best. (Photo: Illustrated | Scott Olson/Getty Images, slavadubrovin/iStock, jessicahyde/iStock)

The best option for Democratic primary voters is to research the candidates' positions and records, and pick the one they think is best. (Photo: Illustrated | Scott Olson/Getty Images, slavadubrovin/iStock, jessicahyde/iStock)

'Electability' Is a Terrible Reason to Pick a Candidate

Being timid and going with the "safe" choice backfired horribly in 2016

Ryan Cooper

 by The Week

Many Democrats and liberals are fixated on one question regarding the 2020 primary: Who can beat Donald Trump? Dave Weigel reports that even some Democratic women are leaning towards Joe Biden because the 2016 election apparently proved a female candidate can't win. "[T]he likelihood of defeating Donald Trump is to me overwhelmingly the most important factor in choosing a candidate - factors one through three, really one through 300. The key is just figuring out who that person is," writes Josh Marshall.

But this is an impossible task, and therefore a bad thing to prioritize. Rather than trying to guess who might appeal to people who are not loyal Democrats, better to simply pick a candidate you actually like.

The election of Donald Trump ought to have put paid to the idea that anybody knows anything about who can win. The man was a reality TV show host, credibly accused of multiple instances of sexual assault, patently corrupt to his back teeth, and had no political experience whatsoever. Surely this guy can't win, right? For the whole campaign, political commentators were openly contemptuous of the idea that he could win either the primary or the general election. All the election data shops predicted that Clinton would win easily. But nope!

The political details of any country are far too complicated and uncertain to be able to predict with any kind of consistent confidence. You've got to consider whether a candidate will be able to organize an effective national campaign, how he or she will perform in speeches and debates, whether some hidden dirty laundry might come up, what might happen to the economy, whether there will be some disaster and how that might play, and about 50 other factors.

To be sure, sometimes it is possible, like the second round of the recent French presidential election where Emmanuel Macron had a consistent 30-point polling lead and went on to crush the far-right Marine Le Pen. But that kind of gigantic difference is fairly rare — in the first round of the French election, a swap of just 1 percentage point could have meant Macron facing Jean-Luc Mélenchon or François Fillion, which would have turned out very differently.

Read full article here.


© 2021 The Week
Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper is a national correspondent at TheWeek.com. His work has appeared in the Washington Monthly, The New Republic, and the Washington Post.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Key Global Systems Need 'Complete U-Turns' to Avoid 'Disastrous Tipping Points' for Planet

Which system changes are "on track," meaning transformation is "occurring at or above the pace required to achieve" global climate goals? According to a new report: None.

Jon Queally ·


'All You Have to Do Is Follow the Money': Ilhan Omar Rebukes Corporate Democrats

"It is corporate greed, and the lawmakers who serve them," argues the Minnesota Democrat, "who are betraying the values of our party and the American people."

Jon Queally ·


'Outrageous and Shameful': Dems May Cut Paid Leave Due to Manchin's Opposition

Decrying the plan, advocacy groups vowed that "the American people are not going to allow that essential human need to be ignored and negotiated away behind closed doors."

Jessica Corbett ·


Open Letter Warns Trump's 'Big Lie' GOP Poses Existential Threat to Democracy

"Now is the time for leaders in all walks of life—for citizens of all political backgrounds and persuasions—to come to the aid of the republic."

Brett Wilkins ·


Ahead of Historic House Hearing, Fresh Big Oil Misinformation Campaign Exposed

"It's always helpful to remember that big fossil fuel companies (besides being overwhelmingly responsible for carbon pollution) are also skeevy disinformation hucksters."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo