Bad news, Pa. Dems: The 2020 primary could be wrapped up way early | Friday Morning Coffee

April 12, 2019 7:05 am

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

So this is one of those good news/bad news posts that us political scribes find ourselves writing so often.

The good news is, as has been so widely reported, the 2020 Democratic primary field is the largest, most diverse, and most wide-open in recent memory. So much so, in fact, that word is that they’re thinking about upgrading from the standard Tastefully Efficient German Hatchback to a much larger Hybrid Sport Utility Vehicle so that all the candidates can come tumbling out together.

The bad news, according to University of Virginia political analyst Kyle Kondik, is that the 2020 primary calendar is so dang front-loaded that the Democrats’ nominating contest could be wrapped up well before it finally finds its way to Pennsylvania in late April.

“As the nominating calendar is currently constructed, almost two-thirds of the total number of pledged delegates will be awarded in the first seven weeks of the nominating season, from Feb. 3, 2020 through March 17, 2020,” Kondik writes.

“It gets late early this primary season,” Kondik added, employing a famous Berra-ism. And while the percentage of delegates, like the calendar, is still subject to change, “it could get even higher if, for instance, states like Colorado and Georgia, neither of which has officially set a date but very well could vote on Super Tuesday, opt to also schedule themselves early in the calendar. New York, as mentioned, is another important state that is not scheduled yet (it voted in April in 2016).”

And take a look at this here map, things don’t look good for Pennsylvania playing kingmaker:

Every region and size of state is represented in this group of states, although the Great Plains and Mid-Atlantic are largely left out (but Northern Virginia will provide some clues about the feelings of voters in the Acela Corridor).” Kondik writes. “We’ll get an early sense as to which candidates have strength where and with which groups. For instance, Vice President Joe Biden — a current non-candidate who appears to be gearing up to run — has shown some strength with African Americans so far. South Carolina, which has a majority-black electorate, will test that strength; so too will other Southern states on Super Tuesday. Can Biden keep that support if he runs? Will it split many different ways among other candidates, or consolidate in favor of an African-American candidate, perhaps Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) or Cory Booker (D-NJ)?”

The irony, of course, is that Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, which are both later states, were determinative in 2016, and are widely expected to occupy that same space again in the 2020 general election season.

Kondik is quick to admit that he has zero idea who’s going to emerge from the field to win the Democratic nomination, leading him to close with another Berra-ism.

“‘In baseball, you don’t know nothing,’” he writes. “We don’t really know exactly what he means by that, but we suspect the observation applies to politics, too.”

But it does seem clear that, barring some bizarro happening on the trail (which is still entirely possible), Pennsylvania could be left out in the primary cold next April.

Our Stuff:
Stephen Caruso 
takes a look at the outlier gun bills that are attracting outsized attention this legislative session.
Capital-Star Washington Bureau Chief Robin Bravender unsurprisingly finds Pennsylvania’s two United States senators splitting on a vote to confirm President Donald Trump’s pick to run the Interior Department.
Bravender also set the Internetz alight on Thursday with her story finding U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle calling Trump adviser Stephen Miller a “scumbag” on Twitter.
Elizabeth Hardison finds environmentalists less than thrilled about the Wolf administration’s efforts to regulate methane emissions.
And we explained why you should contact your U.S. Senator and implore him/her to support a House bill reinstating Obama-era Net neutrality rules.

On the Opinion side of the house, a dozen of Pennsylvania’s urban school superintendents appeal to the Legislature to help them ‘build the Pa. of the future.‘ And the Allegheny Institute’s Colin McNickle explains why, when it comes to legalized gambling, the house (ie: the state) may not always win.

Mayor Jim Kenney’s Democratic challengers — and former Mayor John Street — are hitting Kenney over his record on diversity, The Inquirer reports.
Former Penn State President Graham Spanier has been cleared to spend some of his prison time in Centre CountyPennLive reports.
Pennsylvania colleges are facing some grim enrollment predictionsThe Post-Gazettereports.
Former Veep Joe Biden is an early fave for Pa. Democrats, according to a new Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

Former Philly Mayor John Street has endorsed state Sen. Tony Williams’ mayoral candidacyWHYY-FM reports.
A central Pa. school district says children aren’t getting the mental health services they need,the PA Post reports.
U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle just got himself a Democratic primary challengerPoliticsPA reports.
Politico recalls Elizabeth Warren’s long years as a Republican – and why she doesn’t talk about it.

What Goes On:
12 p.m., Keystone Learning Center, Keystone Building: Dept. of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller participates in ‘One Book, Every Child’ initiative.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition):
State Rep. Mike Tobash holds a 5 p.m. reception at The Green Car Collection in scenic Orwigsburg, Pa. Admission runs $25 to $1,000.

Gov. Tom Wolf has no public schedule today.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Belated best wishes go out to our former PennLive colleague, Joe McClure, who celebrated on Thursday. Hope it was a great day, old friend.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s an old favorite from Passion Pit. It’s ‘Carried Away.’ The perfect sunshine-y jam for a Friday morning.

Friday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link:
After a bumpy first, couple periods, Carolina scored two goals in the third period, still losing 4-2 to Washington on Thursday in the Game One of their Metropolitan Division playoff series.

And  now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.