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CNN Poll: Biden is top 2020 contender

A new poll conducted by CNN and SSRS shows former Vice President Joe Biden leading with 30% of the vote. The survey asked Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents their picks.

Posted: Dec 15, 2018 8:44 PM
Updated: Dec 15, 2018 8:51 PM

The Democratic Party has a lot going for it right now. An energized base of supporters in cities and suburbs, a more diverse freshman class in Congress to mix up the agenda, interesting likely candidates for President, and a shared focus on defeating President Donald Trump.

It is easy to see why, in the age of Trump, the debate about who should be the next nominee is primarily about who can beat Trump.

The questions many are asking go something like this: Does the nominee need to be a white man to reach voters the Democrats lost in states like Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania in 2016? Does the nominee need to be a woman or an African-American to energize key parts of the Democratic base who turned out in record numbers in the 2018 midterms?

What kind of candidate, on paper, can bring an end to Donald Trump in the White House?

But these are the wrong questions. And they reflect the approach that has led the Democratic Party to nominate losing candidates. The belief that Trump has changed everything, while understandable, is a misconception.

Instead of asking what kind of candidate can win, the question should be: What makes a good President?

What are the qualifications or, more critically, the qualities we should look for in a nominee? And who has them? The fundamentals of these qualities have not changed, but the way we understand them and the public hopes and expects to see them has changed.

Finding the right Democrat to run is not about out-Trumping Trump. Democrats can't and shouldn't compete with the anger and the divisiveness that have run through the veins of the Trump campaign and presidency.

If Democrats are going to win in 2020, they need to go back to basics and look for the person with the intangible qualities needed to serve as an effective President. They need to find the optimistic antidote to Trump's divisive, destructive style of governing.

It sounds simple, and perhaps quaint these days, but one of the most important qualities we need in a President is honesty. Not the "aww shucks" kind, but the kind where our President is not afraid to tell the American people what is happening in our economy and in our global engagements, not afraid to share views that aren't politically popular, and not afraid to admit mistakes.

We saw this quality in Congressman Beto O'Rourke when he gave a candid answer at a town hall meeting on the NFL controversy about kneeling during the National Anthem. He didn't offer poll-tested language; he spoke from the heart about what he actually believed. His honesty is one reason he has quickly emerged as a Democratic frontrunner, although he narrowly lost his Senate race in Texas. He is authentic and inspiring and says what he thinks. And more than anything, that is what inspires people to follow a leader.

An underrated but essential quality in a President Is empathy. It may seem foreign in this current environment, but an effective President feels the struggles and challenges facing the American public and then does something about them.

We have seen this quality in former Vice President Joe Biden time and time again. After experiencing unimaginable tragedy, with the loss of his wife and infant daughter and later his son, he turned his grief into an incredible capacity to comfort others -- a quality that is called upon often for Presidents after a school shooting, a hurricane or any unpredictable moment when the country looks to the Commander in Chief.

Sen. Cory Booker has this quality, as well. He may have gone too far in his self-promotional pronouncements at the Senate confirmation hearings on Justice Brett Kavanaugh, but his time as Mayor of Newark led him to be a fierce and vocal advocate for criminal justice reform, long before it was an issue with real bipartisan potential.

And there may be a healthy debate within the party about the impact of trade, but Sen. Sherrod's Brown's passionate defense of Ohio workers speaks to his empathy as well, and to the years he has spent in office representing towns where the closing of a factory has been devastating.

The job of running the United States requires not just a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the world as it has been, but also a curiosity about where the world is going and a willingness to take a fresh approach to the challenges we are facing as a country.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren had a serious fumble over the release of her DNA. But years ago, she also had the bold idea for addressing consumer woes long before Bernie Sanders ever ran for President.

Warren was still a Harvard Law School professor when she came up with the idea for a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She pushed forward an idea that eventually became not just law, but an entirely new federal agency dedicated to defending consumers. That was before she ever was in public office.

Running for President is tough, but being President requires a superhuman level of tenacity. There is a number of potential candidates, mostly women, who have shown they have the guts.

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Kavanaugh would not have been as pointed and tough without the dogged questioning of Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar. Neither gave an inch beneath the stares of the all-male and all-white Republican side. They asked smart, incisive questions and in Klobuchar's case, and stood firm in the face of aggressive personal questioning from the nominee.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand got her start in electoral office by running for the US House of Representatives against a popular longtime incumbent in a district in New York that had not gone for a Democrat in decades. She pushed her way to the top of the pack without the initial help of the national party and not only won the seat, but quickly emerged as a rising star. After being named to the Senate to fill Hillary Clinton's seat when Clinton became Secretary of State, she later won the seat in a special election -- and soon took on the military to hold them accountable for dealing with rampant cases of sexual assault. All of that displays another essential quality for a President -- courage.

These candidates, and many not mentioned, have strengths and flaws. While a long primary process is exhausting to everyone involved, it allows for candidates to rise and fall. And the prism through which we should judge each candidate in the 2020 presidential race is how they exhibit these core human qualities: honesty, empathy, curiosity, tenacity and courage.

Democrats have come too far to be stuck still in entrenched factions and the false perception that an African-American woman can't represent white men, or a white man can't represent African-American women. All wings of the party have more in common than they have differences, especially when compared with Trump.

The debate needs to move beyond all this, because picking a presidential candidate is just not about what is on paper, or which nominee looks the part. It is about who embodies those intangible qualities that not only make a good human being, but also a great leader.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 455783

Reported Deaths: 6166
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin945441502
Ramsey40698749
Dakota33623354
Anoka31398368
Washington20579237
Stearns18111190
St. Louis14006251
Scott1221199
Wright11811107
Olmsted1083075
Sherburne831270
Carver705639
Clay660684
Rice624774
Kandiyohi558772
Blue Earth549533
Crow Wing490678
Otter Tail464968
Chisago460438
Benton423788
Winona394948
Douglas379766
Nobles374847
Mower374429
Goodhue358163
Polk330760
McLeod328647
Beltrami316148
Morrison314645
Lyon306139
Becker289439
Itasca287843
Isanti286143
Carlton284443
Steele279510
Pine270515
Freeborn254723
Todd233730
Nicollet230538
Brown218634
Mille Lacs215745
Le Sueur214416
Cass210824
Meeker201533
Waseca193316
Wabasha17483
Martin172026
Roseau166517
Hubbard151138
Redwood141327
Houston140314
Dodge13974
Renville138540
Chippewa133232
Cottonwood129118
Fillmore12778
Wadena120818
Rock112012
Aitkin111533
Faribault110116
Sibley11017
Watonwan10698
Pennington101016
Kanabec99818
Pipestone97223
Yellow Medicine95016
Murray9137
Jackson87310
Swift84718
Pope7485
Stevens7078
Marshall70415
Clearwater68814
Lake66415
Lac qui Parle66116
Wilkin63510
Koochiching60810
Lincoln4912
Big Stone4703
Unassigned43968
Grant4388
Norman4268
Mahnomen4167
Kittson37420
Red Lake3204
Traverse2623
Lake of the Woods1981
Cook1160

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312194

Reported Deaths: 4433
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46975465
Linn18114279
Scott15900172
Black Hawk14123243
Woodbury13145181
Johnson1231752
Dubuque11651159
Pottawattamie9182115
Dallas910872
Story883538
Cerro Gordo474372
Webster473377
Warren461539
Sioux460457
Clinton459168
Marshall432262
Buena Vista397230
Muscatine396578
Des Moines395543
Plymouth353670
Wapello351798
Jasper333359
Lee326932
Marion310853
Jones275250
Henry269131
Carroll258934
Bremer250448
Crawford235824
Washington224133
Boone223517
Benton213950
Mahaska198637
Jackson195332
Tama190959
Dickinson189229
Kossuth180944
Delaware176536
Clay173021
Wright167624
Fayette166324
Hamilton162530
Buchanan162324
Winneshiek161020
Harrison158762
Hardin157831
Cedar155819
Clayton153949
Butler152324
Page148115
Floyd141936
Cherokee140327
Mills138517
Lyon137933
Poweshiek135424
Hancock132424
Allamakee131530
Iowa128022
Madison124210
Calhoun12379
Grundy122828
Jefferson122425
Winnebago122329
Mitchell117137
Louisa116430
Cass115343
Chickasaw113812
Appanoose113040
Sac112815
Union111723
Emmet111332
Humboldt107819
Shelby106427
Guthrie104624
Franklin103618
Unassigned10210
Palo Alto92611
Montgomery89224
Keokuk86426
Howard85919
Monroe82620
Clarke8199
Pocahontas78711
Ida76430
Davis70421
Adair69720
Greene6977
Monona68418
Lucas66910
Osceola65011
Worth6224
Taylor6009
Fremont5276
Van Buren50515
Decatur4994
Ringgold45511
Audubon4258
Wayne42021
Adams3023
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