The Democrats have the potential to fracture even more than the GOP did in the highly contested 2016 primary. In addition, only a few months ago, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) resigned, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid retired, leaving the Democrats with uncertainty in the Senate and the leadership. To us political junkies out there, it’s never too early to speculate on who the Democrats will nominate in 2020 to contest the White House.
Disclosure: I do not identify as a Democrat, nor does this article intend to make opinionated statements about the politicians themselves.
10. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Senator Wyden made national coverage when he helped Senator Rand Paul filibuster against National Security Agency spying, and has served in Congress since 1981.
This experienced left-libertarian has supported gay rights and free trade throughout his term as Senator, but he is nothing short of a longshot for 2020. Senator Wyden will fight an uphill battle, but from a purely issue-based analysis, Wyden could unify the fractured Democratic Party, assuming his lack of name recognition or lack of donor base don’t render his campaign irrelevant.
Status: No information at the moment.
9. Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
Not a single person in the country was more uneasy on election night 2016, as Maggie managed to beat the Republican incumbent, Kelly Ayotte, by a margin of 0.1%.
As a former governor and current senator, she’s a rising star in the party. She’s young, successful, female, from a swing state, and she won’t have to worry about a Senate race if she runs four years from now.
Senator Hassan has some work to do to get some media attention, but she is my dark horse pick for 2020. Don’t count her out.
Status: No information at the moment.
8. Bill de Blasio (D-NY)
An opponent to stop and frisk and Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio has many tools to win the primary, such as a strong donor base, a platform and history that could be of interest to liberals, such as his opposition to Citizens United.
Becoming Mayor of New York is no easy feat, as he battled past Anthony Weiner, Christine Quinn, and Bill Thompson to replace Michael Bloomberg.
In addition, his support for Hillary Clinton could give him a boost, but his lack of name recognition outside of New York, several ongoing scandals and lack of experience as a governor or in Congress, could hinder his 2020 hopes.
Status: Mayor De Blasio is actively trying to move the 2020 Democratic National Convention to New York City, but his 2020 run is just widespread speculation.
7. Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Kaine will, without a doubt, have several advantages going into 2020, including: Unmatched support from the establishment, considering his former status as DNC Chair and vice presidential nominee, excellent name recognition, viability in the general election because of his residence in a swing state, and access to Clinton’s donors.
The obstacle that Kaine will face is selling himself to voters, as his poor debate performance against Governor Mike Pence and overall inability to excite voters could bore the Democratic faithful after seeing his loss to Trump.
Status: Several reports from Democratic insiders show hints of potential support for a 2020 run.
6. Bernie Sanders (D-VT)
The self-proclaimed democratic socialist could strike again with left-wing populist fury, leading a charge of millennials to the White House.
Moreover, the Vermont Senator officially hasn’t ruled out a 2020 run for President, and by endorsing Clinton, the DNC can’t hold anything against him.
Yet, a 2020 run might prove more troublesome than his 2016 run, as his sellout to back Clinton might lose some previous supporters, and the moderates won’t have interest in backing his ticket.
Overall, it’s foolish to rule him out for 2020.
Status: Bernie Sanders publicly announced he hasn’t ruled out a 2020 run.
5. Michelle Obama (D-IL)
While it’s unknown on whether or not Michelle Obama is interested in the presidency, she has complete name recognition and could appeal immensely to the Democratic Party’s faithful.
She’s an excellent speaker that won’t be bogged down by previous issue stances or scandals. However, some concerns are that she doesn’t have experienced in a debate format like Donald Trump, and her experience will come into question.
Regardless, Michelle has the potential to invigorate the left and rock the women vote.
Status: Despite masses of people and celebrities pushing her to run, she hasn’t commented.
4. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY)
Like Biden, Cuomo held off on a 2016 run, but he could be a serious candidate.
Andrew has many connections to major donors, he has experience as a former governor and decent name recognition. Unfortunately for Cuomo, sour Bernie supporters won’t be excited for another establishment New York Democrat in 2020. In addition, Governor Cuomo could ultimately face similar trouble as Martin O’Malley faced in 2016: Inability to win the far-left with ideological purity, and unable to win the center with spokesmanship and party allegiance.
This, of course, brings me to number three on the list:
Status: A top Democratic official with ties to the Governor told sources that a Hillary Clinton loss could open the field for a Cuomo run in 2020.
3. Martin O’Malley (D-MD)
Martin has the opportunity to redeem himself after his unconvincing performance this past year. He’s likeable, tall and charismatic enough to survive Donald Trump, and his blue-collar attitude could win back the Northern states that Clinton lost.
Further, his very progressive stances on social programs and gun control could appeal to progressives, and his experience as governor and mayor could win over the centrists.
Martin does have a few major concerns, such as his inability to raise funds and the fact that his tenure in Maryland caused homicide rates to spike, while tax hikes caused 37,000 taxpayers to leave to Virginia.
Status: Only speculation at this point.
2. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
He’s a young, African American Senator from a blue state with good speaking skills and many powerful friends. Does he remind you of any President?
That’s right – Cory Booker will have no problem appealing to Obama supporters, and he also has an appealing platform on government surveillance and marijuana legalization.
Booker has slowly approached the national spotlight, starting as a mayor, getting elected to the Senate and delivering a riveting speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. He’s likeable, experienced and young, and his nomination could render Trump a one-term President.
Status: Only speculation at this point.
1. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Our democratic-socialist friends will need someone to rally behind when this primary heats up, and Bernie Sanders 2.0 is available.
Not only does Warren hold several views to the left of Bernie, such as support for a $22/hr minimum wage, she never technically bailed on Clinton or endorsed Senator Sanders.
She’s experienced and has name recognition. The question will be if this wealthy Massachusetts Senator can appeal to the white working class that have abandoned her party in droves, and the moderates in this country might not find her appealing.
Status: Warren eyed the Presidency in 2016, but her 2020 run is only speculation.
* Jake Dorsch is a college freshman at Drake University, double majoring in quantitative economics and political science. Currently, he is the founder and President of Drake’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter, but he has been politically active and a card-carrying Libertarian prior to the election.
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