In one respect, the leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination have something in common with Donald Trump: obvious flaws that could turn away voters.
The president’s most annoying traits are his habit of embellishing stories, which often extends to telling straight-up lies; and the way he insults people on Twitter. Yet the celebrity businessman steamrolled an experienced field of Republican politicians in 2016.
Democrats running this time are certain to come under fire for various shortcomings, starting in two nights of debates this week.
Frontrunner Joe Biden has already wrestled with this problem. A few weeks ago he apologized for his touchy-feely habits with women that made more than a few recipients uncomfortable. More recently, while trying to promote the useful idea of bipartisanship in Washington, Biden botched it by saying he found a way to work with old-time segregationist senators in the 1970s.
Biden is not alone. Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend, Ind., mayor who’s running surprisingly well, had to stop campaigning last weekend after a police officer in his town shot and killed a black man who was prowling around some parked cars. Critics in South Bend said Buttigieg has not done enough to reform the police department.
Then there is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is campaigning on the fact that she’s got an idea to solve every problem afflicting America — but undercuts this with a clear indifference as to what these solutions will cost.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, who almost beat Hillary Clinton in 2016, is not doing as well this time around. Maybe that’s because there are a lot more candidates running — or maybe it’s because his recent financial disclosures show that he’s a millionaire. Which is poor form for any socialist.
The point is that no one — neither Trump nor any of his potential challengers — is perfect. Over the next few months Americans will see which Democrat is best able to cover up his or her shortcomings.