Democratic presidential candidates wake up each morning eager for the latest polls to reveal how little voters think of them. The Morning Consult poll from yesterday surveyed 15,000 people in the four "early" states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina). This was during the period since I lost Kamala Harris and any measure of hope. Here's the menu. It's set, no substitutions.

Swinging Joe Biden breaks away from the pack, but Bernie Sanders is still a strong second. Hillary Clinton was 20 points ahead of Sanders at this point in 2015, but the Vermont senator lacked the name recognition he enjoys now. Elizabeth Warren is a distant third. Pete Buttigieg is tied (!) for fourth place with Tom Steyer's solid gold charisma. Buttigieg's performing well in Iowa and New Hampshire, but Nevada and South Carolina voters are giving him the back of their hands.


You'll notice that three of the top nine candidates are described as "Business Person," and only one of those -- Mike Bloomberg -- has ever held elected office. The current president is a "Business Person." You'd think we'd have enough. Democratic voters are like Hollywood studios that kept greenlighting movies with "surprise twist endings" after M. Night Shyamalan's The Village. We have failed to learn from an obvious mistake.

Steyer says he wants to "get money out of politics" and that just makes you want to smack him. Steyer has so far spent $79 million on media buys. Bloomberg has outspent him with $85 million. Somewhere, a child just died hungry. Setting fire to their money is the only reason why these billionaires with no real platforms or personalities have leapfrogged over actual candidates and Tulsi Gabbard. (I kid but Gabbard still boasts 2 percent support from all Democratic primary voters named Boris and Natasha.)

YouGov released a poll yesterday of South Carolina, where we're supposed to forget that Steyer's campaign stole Harris's voter data. This guy probably puts sugar in his grits and he's somehow in fifth place. What's depressing as fuck is that among black voters alone he's in third place behind Biden and Sanders. He's got 10 percent of the black vote to Cory Booker's piddly 3 percent. My people clearly aren't ready for a vegan president.

Monmouth's poll today didn't shake up the race much. Sanders is still within striking distance of Biden, and that matters in a Democratic primary with no winner-take-all states. Sanders could wind up the kingmaker if not the king himself. Time is running out for Andrew Yang and Booker to qualify for the next debate, so the stage might have more "people of means" than people of color.

However, it's a little heartening to learn that despite sinking countless millions on his vanity campaign, Bloomberg's incredibly unpopular with actual voters. He's the Charlie's Angels reboot of candidates. The Monmouth poll found that 56 percent of voters rated him unfavorably. This is not an area where you should underperform Donald Trump.

Unfortunately, Bloomberg can't literally hand people money at his campaign rallies. When he turned up in Augusta, Georgia, last week to receive an endorsement, he greeted an almost empty room. HIs speech bombed and he resorted to Jeb! Bush desperation.

When Bloomberg joked about his college years, saying he "was one of the students who made the top half of the class possible," he was met by silence.

"You're supposed to laugh at that, folks," Bloomberg said to a room at the city's African American history museum filled mostly with staff and media.

Bloomberg's pays his field organizers $6,000 a month, so I'm sure they laugh extra hard at his jokes. That's almost double that Warren and Sanders pay but they'll still get better results in the polls and at the ballot box. Unrestricted capitalism isn't the answer to everything.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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