Democrats have already predicted that there may be as many as 30 contenders for the shot at the presidential primary in 2020.
Here is a look at the Hill’s first poll of the top Democrats who may be potential candidates. The most significant finding of the poll is that there is no clear standout in the potential field of contenders.
According to Phil Singer, Hillary Clinton’s former Press Secretary and a Democratic party strategist, “You have a bunch of Celine Dions but there’s no Beatles.”
Given that there is a good bit of time before serious campaigning for 2020 begins, expect the list to change radically as time goes on. For example, Sen Al Franken, who was seen as a potential candidate just a few weeks ago, was dropped since his recent sexual misconduct charges.
The top of the list is Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont, even though he has an Independent status. According to Sanders’ advisers, he is looking into a 2020 run. Also, his base is already ready for him to run as they believe he could have beaten Trump in 2016.
Democratic strategist Brad Bannon, states, “His people have never gone away And he has a loyal core following out there that will be with him come hell or high water.”
Bannon also added that the Democratic party is shifting to the left so this would work to Sanders’ advantage.
He said, “The Sanders wing is becoming the dominant wing of the party.”
However, strategists note that Sanders’ age could be a disadvantage. Sanders will be 79 in 2020.
In second place is former Vice President Joe Biden. Even though Biden hasn’t specifically come out saying he’ll run in 2020, he keeps talking about how he could win back frustrated blue-collar workers who reluctantly voted for Trump because of his message.
In regards to Biden, former Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) says, “He’s the perfect antidote to Trump. And he has broad appeal in areas of the country we have to win.”
He added, “He probably has the best voice at this stage of the game.”
Like Sanders, Biden’s downside is his age, as he will be 77 in 2020. Biden is only two years younger than Sanders.
Also as sexual harassment scandals are emerging, Biden is facing new criticism for how he treated Anita Hill when he was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Hill was an attorney who accused Clarence Thomas, her former boss, of sexual harassment back in 1991. According to Hill, she came out this week, saying that Biden hasn’t taken “ownership” of how Biden treated her then. Biden recently apologized but Hill says it is not enough.
Senator Elizabeth Warren is next on the list. This comes as many Democrats believe it is time for a woman to have her time. According to every strategist and political observer, Warren has been a consistent top contender for 2020.
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Jammal Simmon, a Democratic strategist, believes that it’s more likely for a woman to win 2020 because of the sexual harassment allegations that have been coming forward.
Simmons stated, “I’m not sure a man can get nominated as the Democratic nominee right now. There are some who could and should, but the level of vetting on male candidates will be more intense than normal. Democrats should be looking for people to capture this energy that is out there right now and I think Elizabeth Warren belongs at the top of that list.”
However, a disadvantage for her would be her age, as she would be 71 in 2020.
The fourth in the poll is Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). She is the “fresh blood” of the list. She is a freshman senator who has proved that she is not afraid to speak up.
Harris came to light when she was shushed twice by Republican senators during Senate Intelligence Committee hearings.
According to a Democratic strategist, Harris “is the real deal. She’s smart and unapologetic. Her biggest problem is that she likens herself to being the female Barack Obama and she should really just be herself.”
In July, she was seen at the Hamptons with some of the party’s biggest financial power brokers. However, she still has to show that she is faithful to her party and she has what it takes to win.
The fifth on the list is Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). There was a growing consensus for Brown to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate. Brown is expected to appeal to both centrists and progressives.
Former Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) stated, “He knows how to go into tough districts in a tough state and win. I think he blends populism with pragmatism. He’s viewed as someone who has a pragmatic approach and populist values.”
He added, “He’s probably the one who Clinton should have picked. A lot of us have said that. And who knows. Maybe he could have tipped the scales?”
The final person on the list is Deval Patrick, the former Massachusetts governor. According to a fundraiser for Patrick, “A lot of people in our world see Deval as the one who will carry the Obama legacy.”
Another donor says that Patrick is “something different.”
The donor stated, “I think people are looking for someone outside DC, outside the norm, and he fits the bill.The problem is who knows. Maybe by then we won’t want something different.”
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