Sep 10, 2019 - Politics & Policy

The Democrats' 3-way, 70-something race

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Every public poll shows a steady and indisputable trend: The Democratic 2020 race is a three-way brawl between 70-somethings who came to fame in the U.S. Senate.

Why it matters ... In this era of change, technology and disruption, Democrats seem content with three pre-Internet era throwbacks: Bernie Sanders, 78; Joe Biden, 76; and Elizabeth Warren, 70.

  • The Democratic nominee will run against 73-year-old President Trump.

The big picture: National and state polls show all three have consistent bases of political support, virtually assuring them the money and grassroots to grow or at least hold their top-tier position.

  • For all the hype, Pete Buttigieg 37, and Kamala Harris, 54, rarely crack double digits, and sometimes sink into the low single digits.
  • And age, of course, doesn't dictate sensibility: Warren was an early blogger, and is legendary on the selfies front.

Breaking a record? Reagan was 77 when he left office. Biden turns 77 in November.

  • Trump, at 70, was the oldest president at inauguration. (Reagan was 69.)

Reality check: An experienced Democratic adviser points out that a whole bunch of eventual nominees were in low single digits or very far behind at this point in the cycle — Jimmy Carter, Mike Dukakis, Bill Clinton, John Kerry.

  • The people paying attention now aren't representative of the mass of Dem primary voters. So things could shift when they start tuning in for real.

Go deeper: Inside Democrats' 2020 Trump war room

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