Democrats in Trouble as Buttigieg Takes the Lead in Iowa

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With more than three months to go until Iowa caucusgoers give us the first official glimpse into the state of the Democratic primaries, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is finally enjoying his moment in the sun. According to the latest round of polling from Monmouth University, the South Bend Democrat has a narrow lead on the rest of the field for the first time. Since the university took its last poll of Iowa in August, Buttigieg has jumped past Joe Biden to lead the pack with 22% support from likely Democratic caucusgoers.

Buttigieg’s top spot is followed by Biden at 19%, Elizabeth Warren at 18%, and Bernie Sanders at 13%. Since August, Buttigieg has gained 14 percentage points, Biden has dropped 7 points, Warren has lost two points, and Sanders has gained 5.

For Democrat donors and party officials who were concerned about Joe Biden’s staying power and Liz Warren’s extreme, socialist policies, news that Buttigieg is now leading in Iowa can only be regarded as grim. The South Bend mayor may be beloved by the media class, but a viable presidential candidate he is not.

Just last week, fellow contender Amy Klobuchar wondered aloud if a woman with Mayor Pete’s qualifications could get within shouting distance of the White House. We don’t necessarily agree with her gendered argument, but she’s certainly got a point about one thing: This kid has absolutely nothing recommending him to be the leader of the free world.

And he will get torn to shreds by Donald J. Trump, assuming he actually gets the nomination.

For now, that seems only slightly less improbable than it did yesterday. This is just one poll, and Iowa’s results – even if they played out in just this fashion – do not carry as much weight as they used to. After all, Ted Cruz won Iowa in 2016, and you’ll recall how that race turned out.

Still, if we were in a position to wring our hands over the Democratic primaries, we would be biting our fingernails to the quick at this point. It looks increasingly clear that the only shot Democrats have in 2020 lies in the House’s absurdly-partisan impeachment proceedings. The contenders they’ve assembled to actually go toe-to-toe with Trump are a collective joke, and no, Michael Bloomberg’s late entry doesn’t change that calculation.

If Hillary Clinton was waiting for disaster before dragging herself out of retirement, well, disaster is pretty much here.