2020 is still a few years away, but the chatter has already begun. Here are fifteen Democrats to watch while preparing for the 2020 elections.
Oh, god. Please god, no.
The former Secretary of State will be in her seventies by 2020, but there is clear evidence she is hedging her bets to allow herself to run again. Clinton has lost two Presidential elections, a primary and a general, twice in eight years. Given her age and past failure, I do not think she will run but I also do not doubt her ambition and desire for power.
2. Chelsea Clinton
If Chelsea runs in 2020, I think it will be conditioned on her mother not running. Even today, we can see lefties pushing her as if she was the savior of the Democratic party, and she refuses to close the door on a run. When pressed on the subject, she issues nondenials– denials which appear to be denials but leave the door open. Her strengths are clear; name recognition, an established organization, young, female, and she is checking off all the SJW/leftist boxes. Her weaknesses are also clear, primarily her last name, although she would come in with less baggage than her mother.
3. Bernie Sanders
Senator Bernie Sanders’ biggest plus is simple, he ran in 2016 and had a fair amount of success against the Hillary machine. On the flip side, as Senator Rick Santorum learned in 2016, just because you have success one cycle does not mean you will have success the next. He would also basically be eighty years so that could be a problem.
4. Pocahontas– I mean Elizabeth Warren
Bernie Sanders with boobs and vagina. That is basically it. You could also consider her a more radical Hillary Clinton.
5. Kamala Harris
These first four are who I would look at closely and pay attention to the most. I also do not think it is a coincidence that these four share such common traits. Their similarity, I would argue, is a function of the failed Obama years. The Democrats have been demolished since the victories in 2008/2012 and have become relegated to the American north-east, Western coasts, and major cities in between, and these remaining strongholds are often hotspots for American leftism making these candidates so far left of the “American Center”. Although it applies to these four, my general hypothesis is this: the Democratic party is doomed to national irrelevance because of their dedication to an elite social justice leftward agenda that does not appeal to the rest of America. I think they can easily fix this by doing what they did in 2006 and recruiting blue dog democrats, but that doesn’t seem very probable.
6. Tulsi Gabbard
A crazy conspiracy theorist progressive that has a soft spot for dictators that use chemical weapons. I think she would have a better chance if it was not for that affinity for dictators and her having a bigger platform (she is only a representative from Hawaii).
7. Sherrod Brown
I think this Ohio Senators fortunes ride on his 2018 election. If he can be reelected in a state that Trump won by eight percent then I think his star will rise but if he loses then I think his chances disappear.
8. Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy is an upstart Senator from Connecticut. He is young, on multiple major committees, and is having his name thrown around. He will need to do some work in the Senate to up his name identification but he is someone worth watching.
9. Kirsten Gillibrand
If I had to put money on one Democrat to get the nomination in 2020, it would be this New York Senator. By constantly opposing Trump at every corner and nomination, she has gained a reputation for being hard-line anti-Trump and that would be a perfect message for the 2020 Democratic primary. Watch for her when a Trump initiative makes it to the Senate floor.
10. Cory Booker
Much like Gillibrand, he is a young Senator from the Northeast that is associated with liberal values. Like her, I doubt his ability to connect to fly-over America. As of now, I think he has the second best shot to be the 2020 nominee and he is clearly maneuvering for it.
11. Caroline Kennedy
Americans love royalty. While she personally lacks name recognition, her last name will more than make up for it. Unlike Chelsea, her family’s retreat in recent years from the national light will keep her from carrying their baggage.
12. Joe Biden
Crazy uncle Joe is keeping his opinions open. He would have the name recognition and connections to mount a formidable campaign. While I do not think he will run, if he would, I would have to change my prediction from Gillibrand to him. His biggest advantage is his appeal as your crazy uncle. He is able to hold the radical social positions which would kill most Democrats in the fly-over country without being killed for them.
13. John Hickenlooper
The Governor of a swing state, he has lots of upsides but I do not think he has the political power to make a primary run.
14. Mark Dayton
The successful governor of Minnesota, a swing state. The problem with Dayton is simple, outside of a brief meme a few years back, he has zero name recognition. While I think he would do good in a national campaign, I doubt his ability to make it in a Democratic primary.
15. John Bel Edwards
Honestly, the governor of Louisiana is probably the best pick for the Democratic party in 2020, but he faces two major problems: 1) Being a moderate Democrat (pro-life, pro-traditional marriage and pro-gun), he would be able to appeal to middle America opening up areas which were closed off due to cultural alienation. This means he could never win a national content in a democratic party that is becoming more and more radical on social issues. 2) He comes from a state that Trump won by twenty points and is dominated by Republicans. It is not at all a safe political move to place himself in opposition to Trump.
If, and that is a massive if, he could manage to win the Democratic nomination, I think he would win in a landslide.
I want to make two honorable mentions, Tammy Duckworth and Roy Cooper. Tammy Duckworth is a female, a disabled veteran, and born in Thailand (eligible to run for President because her father was a citizen). She checks off many of the demographic boxes. While I think she has a legitimate shot to run in 2020, I left her off because I did not think she was interesting enough and because too much was up in the air for her (since she has low national name identification, she would have to maneuver the Senate to get some).
Roy Cooper on the other hand, while on paper he has a solid shot as the governor of a major swing state, I think he has little political future at any level. He barely scraped out a victory against an unpopular Republican governor in 2016 and will be defeated in 2020 by Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest. He is bland, offers little upside, and lacks the intersectional credentials to make the jump to national democratic politics without the governorship as his trampoline.
The Democrats face one major problem in 2020, they have pushed too far in the culture war. When you ignore the social issues, I think they could easily beat Republicans in a fair fight on the national stage. Americans tend to agree with them more. The problem for them is they take a whole loaf when they only have half a loaf and end up alienating voters. In 2010, they pushed too far with the unpopular Affordable Care Act and now they are pushing too far on culture issues alienating Americans. A recent PPRI analysis found the second best predictor on someone supporting Trump was “Fears about cultural displacement”. Just under half felt like they were strangers in their own country. The Democrats have one problem when it comes to victory, they stake out and defend positions which are foreign to half the country. They do not understand that radical intersectional feminism is not common across the country. They confuse their base with the American voting population.