The battle of the septuagenarians is off and running as the Democratic primary candidates head toward the first caucuses of the 2020 electoral season in Iowa.
In one corner is the 77-year-old former vice president Joe Biden, who looked shaky and exceedingly old as he furrowed his brow while honoring the life of NBA great Kobe Bryant at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa on Sunday.
“I didn’t know him well. I only met him a couple of times,” Biden told the crowd. “It makes you realize that you gotta make every day count, every single solid day, every single day count.”
His statement also brought to mind that his own days are waning as he clung to the microphone with his deeply wrinkled hand, no doubt preferring to evade any talk of death.
In the other corner is the elder 78-year-old Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who survived a heart attack in October last year and fought his way back to the trail, evading a looming nursing home residency.
Polls are also clashing as the week unfolds. A New York Times/Siena College poll of likely caucusgoers released on Saturday showed Sanders opening up a lead in Iowa after consolidating support from liberals and getting a boost from divisions among more moderate presidential candidates.
Sanders gained six points since the last Times-Siena survey in late October, and is now leading with 25 percent of the vote in Iowa. According to the poll Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Biden have remained stagnant since the fall, with Buttigieg capturing 18 percent and Biden 17 percent.
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts sunk from 22 percent in the October poll to 15 percent in this survey. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar was the only other candidate approaching double digits with 8 per cent support.
An Emerson College poll released Sunday evening of registered Democrats and left-leaning independents gave Sanders a commanding lead of 30 percent among caucus respondents, while Biden followed with 21 percent.
Warren sunk to fourth place in the poll with 13 percent. She was virtually tied with Klobuchar at 11 percent while Buttigieg rounded out the top tier in fifth place with 10 percent.
It is too early to count Biden out, however, after A USA Today/Suffolk University survey of likely caucusgoers released Sunday showed him with a narrow lead among 25 percent of respondents, while Sanders and Buttigieg trailed at 19 percent and 18 percent respectively.
Warren stood at 13 percent in the poll, while the same percentage of likely caucusgoers told pollsters that they were currently undecided.
Another 45 percent remain uncommitted to their top choice, showing the race is still volatile.
Sanders was tied with Biden in an Iowa poll from CBS News and YouGov released Sunday. Sanders was polling at 26 percent, leading Biden by 1-point which is within the margin of error. Buttigieg followed with 22 percent support followed by Warren with 15 percent and Klobuchar with 7 percent.
A national Washington Post-ABC News poll published over the weekend showed Biden and Sanders holding the top spots nationally — with Biden at 32 percent and Sanders at 23 percent among Democratic-leaning registered voters.
The last time Sanders challenged ‘inevitable’ Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party nomination in 2016, she was definitely ‘feeling the Bern.’ Biden is clearly feeling the surge as the Democratic establishment flounders in response to yet another unwanted threat from the indefatigable, elderly Socialist.