Well, I suppose this country ought to be grateful to Donald Trump. Thanks to his outrageous in-your-face incompetence, lunacy, ignorance, thuggery — you can fill in the rest — it seems the majority of the country is in concert with one fundamental fact: beings like Trump must never take the helm of the most powerful position in a governance that insists on calling itself a democracy.
The absurdity of a Trump “presidency” has stirred the urgency for many to — as James Brown used to sing — “Get Up, Get Into It , Get Involved.”
The Democratic constituency has proven by the returns of the mid-term elections that they want their 2020 presidential candidates (and indeed, more than just one!) to be youthful, firebrands, respectfully non deferential, progressive and diverse.
Right now the party is fractured between hard-left liberals and the moderate, establishment liberals. Whoever the democrats eventually choose as their nominee will need to be a strong compromise between the two.
Next up are some possible contenders for a 2020 presidential race and some that I’d pay not to run;
Hillary Clinton: In an interview a few weeks ago, Clinton began talking about how qualified she felt to be our next president. No Hillary. No! Your window of opportunity has shut. What you can do is mentor as many of these young bucks and buckettes as you can. The Knowledge, you’ve got. The energy, idealism and enthusiasm for a third run … not so much.
Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.): Perhaps nobody on this list hits all the bells and whistles like Harris. And that upside is worth a lot in what almost undoubtedly is going to be a crowded field of viable candidates. Harris is exactly what many democrats seem to be looking for — a diverse, fresh-faced, progressive female candidate. Many see Harris as tough and dedicated to fighting Trump, so it seems that she has a solid chance of being a top contender for the democratic nomination. The black woman voter block finds a strong voice in her.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.): The Minnesota senator’s 24-point reelection win on Tuesday was never in doubt, but it emphatically got some Democrat leaders’ attention. Klobuchar did well in the rural areas along the Iron Range and in Southern Minnesota, where Democrats are struggling hard to hold onto in the Trump era. She’s making her case as a pragmatic, smart pick.
Julián Castro: A former HUD Secretary under President Barack Obama, the 44-year-old Texas Democrat has indicated he’s very “likely” to run for president. If Castro announces a bid, he’ll likely be the lone Latino candidate.
In an October interview with Rolling Stone, Castro said, “Today, I’m convinced that a lot of young people are waking up, realizing that their generation has this new burden to choose light and optimism and expanding opportunity instead of a dark, pessimistic, divisive vision for the country that Trump and others have embraced. That’s the charge of the new generation.”
Michael Bloomberg: Former New York mayor Bloomberg sank a huge amount of money into the 2018 election for Democrats — $110 million, all told, according to his team. But after so many head-fakes about running for president, does he actually do it this time? Do Democrats even care? The Dems can use that PAC money though!
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Tex.): O’Rourke is an American politician and businessman serving as the U.S. Representative for the 16th congressional district of Texas since 2013. O’Rourke was the 2018 nominee of the Democratic Party in a U.S. Senate race, running against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. He lost, but it was close — only a three-point gap. Very impressive. He has earned a ticket to ride in a Democratic Party badly in need of young stars.
Stacey Abrams: Famous for her non deferential concession speech as Governor to Georgia senator Brian Kemp, who she accuses of voter fraud in the state of Georgia, Abrams remains a huge adversary against voter fraud, like what’s happening right now in North Carolina– voter suppression and an advocate to amend the Voting Rights Act. Yale-trained attorney with a gift for organizing and delivering a good speech—and a non-deferential black woman—Abrams embodies everything that the white nationalist Republican party has taught its base to fear.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio): Leaning hard into the next 2020 campaign after maintaining his seat as an Ohio senator, Sherrod Brown, in his victory speech he said, “That is the message coming out of Ohio in 2018, and that is the blueprint for our nation in 2020”. And he’s that rare surviving old-school midwestern Democrat who thrives among the kinds of workers who voted for Trump. He’s also among the most progressive senators who wins in big cities. Plus he finally got a haircut, which reeks of presidential aspirations.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.): Gillibrand said during a debate for her reelection bid that she would serve out her six-year term if she won. But then she seemed to reopen the door to a run just two days after the election on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Her dismissal of Al Fraken, who was one of the Dems strongest voices against Trump, cost her some brownie points with some progressive Democrats though.
Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.): Booker hasn’t made a decision yet on whether he’ll run for president in 2020 (of course he’ll run). A senator from New Jersey for nearly five years, Booker has an impressive background, from his attendance at Stanford, Oxford and Yale, he received nationwide his fiery rhetoric against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Although he’s among some of the youngest members of the party, only 49 y.o., he’s less progressive than some of his younger colleagues, and is considered a centrist, much like Obama and Clinton.
Joe Biden: A recent CNN poll made Former vice president Biden the big, early favorite for the Democratic nomination. Its not certain that Biden jumps in, but the stage is set. While well loved by central democrats, the candidate is a white male who is already 75. The Democratic party seems to be turning away from old white men, so Biden may not have much of a chance. His persuasive powers may best used on getting behind a new maverick nominee, or perhaps run on a ticket with a progressive and relinquish the reins after 2 years.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.): Sanders is far-left compared to the establishment Democrats, who currently make up most of the party, including the party leadership. A favorite among young liberal voters when he ran against Hillary Clinton for the Democrat nominee for president in 2016, his chance as a 2020 nominee increases as the number of young, liberal people involved in politics increases. A wait and see moment if ever there was one.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.): Not quite certain what prompted that whole “DNA thing’. Best I could come up with is that she wanted to site some type of diversity as not to be classified as generic Hillary Rodham Clinton. What it was successful in doing was to announce beyond any shadow of a doubt that she’s ready to run in 2020. Fairly new to the political scene,Warren joined the Senate in 2013, and has been serving as a Massachusetts senator ever since. She’s worked on the economy as an assistant to the president and a special advisor to the secretary of the treasury under President Barack Obama. She’s will be a favorite if she does run, with her passionate, no bull-shit appeal to young and middle-aged white liberal women.
Andrew Gillum: Gillum, Mayor of Tallahassee, Florida since 2014, rejected the strategy Democrats have used for years in red or purple states, of racing to the center in hopes of peeling off centrist Republicans. Instead he took the path that new progressive are paving that’s leading directly to the White House.
“I believe that we are running as the most unapologetically progressive candidate because I believe that is how we are going to win the state of Florida — by leaning into who we are and not against who we are,” Gillum said on a debate stage. And although he lost the bid for Florida Governor by an astoundingly small margin — he’s a candidate whom liberals love to drop into the 2020 speculation game.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Ocasio-Cortez, a democratic socialist, won a startling defeat of Rep. Joe Crowley, a powerful establishment Democrat and a close ally of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. You can already see the sparks from the fireworks that will be going on between her and proposed House Speaker Pelosi.
Ocasio-Cortez speaks to the new generation of young voters whom she urges to step up: “For young people, the thought of maintaining the status quo for our entire lives is unthinkable,” she tweeted recently. “More than anyone else, WE will have to live in the future our politicians are creating. And the one they’re making now is completely unsustainable. Together we can change that.” And young folks are listening.
The field of prospects is widening and changing as I write. More on that in future blogs.
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