The Gillum Effect; 2020 Field & Winning By Small Margins

We’re not even halfway through February and there’s a good chance you’ve already lost track of how many Democrats are running for President. After Amy Klobuchar’s entrance, the answer is 15. Nine who are current office holders and six who aren’t currently in elected office. That’s right we’re only two away from the massive Republican field of 2016. It appears likely that we’ll blow right past it. For now, any specific analysis of candidate chances is a waste of breath. Just look at who was leading the Republican field in polling at this stage in 2015, Jeb Bush, and you’ll get the idea. But for those who are attempting to size up what’s going on here with Amy Klobuchar’s alleged centrist approach is this, what I’ve coined the Andrew Gillum effect. 

Yes, Andrew Gillum narrowly lost the Governor’s race last year but the real takeaway was how he was even in a position to come close to winning in the first place. Gillum only won the primary with barely more than a third of Florida’s Democrats voting for him. Florida’s Democrats are by no means Bernie Sanders styled Democrats. What happened is that six other Democrats competed over that left-of-center but right of socialist position. Between the six of them, they won about two-thirds of the vote but beat each other up in the process. The result was that Andrew rode 34% of the vote to victory by appealing to the Democratic-Socialist wing of the party along with increased black turnout. Watch that in the 2020 Democratic primary. 

The conventional wisdom is that the Democratic base has been so energized and driven by the hard-left AOC’s of the party, that the path to victory is over there. Take a quick look at the Democratic roster and you’ll already see numerous candidates that occupy that space. Warren, Harris, Booker, Gillibrand, etc. It’s already so competitive that you might notice Joe Biden, this cycle’s Jeb Bush, leading the polls in the low 30’s. Is all of this starting to make sense? 

Amy Klobuchar’s no centrist by voting record. There are 13 Democrats who vote to the right of Amy in the Senate but she’s happy to paint herself that way. Not only is Joe Biden yesterday’s news. He’s an older white man. Bad Democrat politics. Enter the younger female alternative. It’s clear that she wants her path to be the traditional Democrat primary voter letting the others fight over the radicals. The point is this. The Gillum effect reminds us that you don’t have to win a majority of Democrats. You just have to win a bigger minority of them than your opponents. 

Watch this as the campaign advances. There’s also a very good chance that the winner of the Democratic primary is a name we’re still not talking about. 

Photo by: Joe Raedle/Getty Images



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