The second round of the Democratic primary debates is up for grabs in terms of media interpretation. But for our money, Joe Biden was the clear winner.

This springs from our prior piece, “The Strategic Axiom that Will Define the 2020 Presidential Race”. The strategy that will carry the day continues to be played by Mr. Biden, as he carves a path defined by showcasing to the voting electorate his ability to beat Trump, rather than his ability to represent the philosophical Id of the progressive movement.

While other candidates fall all over themselves to demonstrate their willingness to raise taxes and eliminate private insurers and reach for radically progressive solutions to contentious issues, Mr. Biden continues to chart an alternate course designed to maximize favor with independents and divide the political Right, potentially splitting off support of the “Never Trump” centrist conservatives, and either capturing votes or at least dampening their turnout in the general election against the incumbent President.

That strategy first showed up in manifest form back in Iowa in May. But it was on display in supercharged form this week in Detroit. He unapologetically confirmed his position of embracing the continued existence of private health insurance companies in distinct fashion, while Harris, Warren, and Sanders all took the opposite and now clearly more kosher progressive position of the most aggressive form of “Medicare for All”, which would eliminate private insurers.

This alone could carry the day next year for Mr. Biden given that the majority of American voters do not want to eliminate private insurers (according to multiple polls) and given that the other three frontrunners will be destined to split the votes among those who do. In other words, because he is driving alone among frontrunners in a separate lane of traffic on this and several other hot-button issues, he doesn’t need to capture a majority because he isn’t sharing votes with anyone else in his lane.

Furthermore, by brashly accepting that this position would mean that many Americans would not have proper access to health insurance, and by stating that this, although unfortunate, is an unavoidable consequence of financial reality, he once again displayed for voters on the Left that he has an authentic ability to court the center and moderate right come the general election.

Our thesis is that this “peacocking” of center-right moderate appeal will end up winning him primary votes among progressives who sense the difficulty in defeating Mr. Trump next year, and who are willing to concede that some progress is better than none.

In short, we predict that Biden will look like the clear winner in Detroit when polls start to hit over coming weeks, further extending his lead, because he is embracing a strategy of running against Trump now, rather than getting bogged down by the traps and pitfalls of the primary process, and that voters will reward him due to the urgency of defeating Trump over the distant secondary goal of enabling radically progressive policies in a putative coming Democratic presidency.

Time will tell. But that is our prediction for coming polling figures, and it is already on display in political betting sites, where Biden has leaped back out to a dominant lead in the past 12 hours.


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