Chuck Todd on 2020 “Wildcard” Candidates –and Why Politics Today is like “Back to the Future”


JANE HALL: How do you think this is all going
to play out, and what impact is it going to have on the 2020 election? CHUCK TODD: My new favorite political pundit
is Doc Brown from “Back To The Future.” There’s a part where I think it’s end of the
first back to the future he picks them up, and they’ve got to go into the future. And they’re like, “Oh there’s not enough road.” And he’s like “Roads, where we’re going there
are no roads.” That’s the way I feel about where we’re headed. JANE HALL: Really? CHUCK TODD: Anybody who tells you what’s going
to happen? Give me a break. If I could make one bet right now, the only
bet I’d be comfortable making is that somebody not named, Sanders, Warren or Biden will be
the top 3 finishers in Iowa – that candidate could be the person X that everybody is wondering
“Who would be the alternative to Biden if Biden collapsed?” Here’s what I’d say, If somebody finishes
third not named Warren, Biden or Sanders then I think that person becomes a big deal. JANE HALL: And you don’t want to fill in the
blank. CHUCK TODD: Well no, on paper there’s two
candidates best positioned to be that person right now. Pete Buttigieg, financially, and I think he
plays well in Iowa, he’s one of the few – people forget – Iowa Democrats are more religious
than average Democrats. Democrats as a whole are a little more secular
than the country as a whole. But in Iowa many Democrats are still weekly
church goers. So is Pete. He is comfortable talking about God, in ways
that you see the other candidates are not. So I would just – I think Pete has a chance
to do better in Iowa. He’s built for Iowa. I don’t know how Pete gets past South Carolina
but that’s another story. But to get Iowa – I think Booker has a chance
to be that candidate out of Iowa too, he’s got a very good campaign. And I think the person that is going to – that
could be the wild card here if Bernie starts to recede is Andrew Yang. JANE HALL: Andrew Yang, wow.You heard it here
first folks? CHUCK TODD: I’m not saying Andrew Yang is
going to be the nominee or anything. But Yang – there’s a part of the Bernie base
and the Yang base that interacts. The people that haven’t left Bernie for Warren,
haven’t left Bernie for a reason. I’ll let you guys decide what that reason
is. They’re more likely to go to Biden or Yang
than Warren. So what I would say is, I think Yang is somebody
that I would not be writing off – he may not be able to win a single primary – but if you
told me he finished third on caucus night, I wouldn’t be floored.