Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Democratic Party field for 2020...

The Democrats are not exactly in disarray when it comes to the next Presidential election, but any clear leader is completely lacking.  Whether this could lead to something positive like more voter involvement or something negative like voter fatigue is up in the air.  There is time, but this needs to shake out over the 12 months.

The landscape is broad.  There are as many as five possible candidates from New York.  Andrew Cuomo, despite his disavowals, is clearly and almost manically setting the stage to be "drafted".  Michael Bloomberg is straightforward as always, busy analyzing his chances and setting up behind the scenes support.  New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has unlimited ambition, despite his limitations that are obvious.  Hillary Clinton, having adopted the state, is absolutely willing to be pulled into the race as she and her husband are addicted to the spotlight. Her hints are transparent.  Then there's Kirstin Gillibrand, who looks at Obama's limited Senate experience before running and sees a model for her run, as well as being a more palatable female candidate than Hillary.

Kamala Harris is a star of the West, not enough experience to have much baggage but articulate and carrying a big blue state.  Cory Booker has made his exploratory work clear.  Eric Holder is doing some groundwork, but already seems to be a longshot, as his stature as a politician is much harder to see than his stature as a jurist.  Some talk about Mitch Landrieu of Louisiana, Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, and Martin O'Malley of Maryland, but anyone of those would need some major breakthrough to be viable.  Not likely,  but nothing is impossible anymore.  Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Steve Bullard of Montana, John Delaney of Maryland, and a partridge and a pear tree.

This year there is also a new category of candidate, strong losers.  Into that bucket goes Beto O'Rourke, the strong competitor to Ted Cruz in Texas and Heidi Heitkamp, who lost her Senate seat in North Dakota as she stuck by her principles, and voted against the Bret Kavanaugh knowing that it would hurt her chances(Kavanaugh is deeply flawed, not because of what may or may not have happened in high school but because he is a rigid right wing idealogue on many issues and an ardent Trump supporter, open to political driven decisions as a jurist).  O'Rourke taps into the deep nostalgia of Democrats for a Robert Kennedy style candidate who elicits real enthusiasm.

Then there is the celebrity and business crowd.  Oprah keeps saying no way but here name is kept alive by others.  Howard Schultz of Starbuck's success wants a role in civic engagement.  Tom Steyer has strong opinions that he backs up with activity and funds from his hedge fund success.  Mark Cuban?  There are more that are being missed here.

Key to all of this are the ambitions of perceived party stalwarts like Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren.  Biden is perhaps a viable candidate although a bit shopworn.  The opinion here is that Sanders and Warren would be poison for the party.  They would be far too left leaning for crossover Trump voters and anathema to the "deplorables". Yet they are clearly setting up for possible campaigns.  Those two love attention.  Without question, each of the three have significant name recognition so must be taken seriously.

Certainly, there are others that have been overlooked in this review of candidates.  Will this be interesting to watch or just painful?

POSTSCRIPT:  I have been alerted to the omission of Amy Klobuchar from this comment. That was not intentional.  She belongs in this list as well, and may be one of the few that could stand toe to toe with the hostile Trump and stay balanced and focused. 


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