Looking Ahead: Who will Democrats Choose to Run Against Trump in 2020?

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Robert J. Guttman
June 14, 2017

With all his many faults, low poll numbers, overall un-presidential type behavior, total lack of any legislative accomplishments, and the Russian hacking investigation hanging over his White House. Democrats will still have a very tough time defeating the incumbent president in 2020.

To beat an incumbent president, who has a solid hardcore base of supporters, the Democrats need a new, dynamic, positive candidate. At the moment, there is no one candidate who stands out as the leader of the party.Let’s face it. The Democratic leadership has been around for a long time and Hillary Clinton should definitely not run again as she has proven not to be a particularly effective or inspiring candidate.

Former VP Joe Biden should have run last time around. He is a good person with solid blue collar roots who is staying active in national politics. But, he is not a new face for a party looking for a new standard bearer.
Senator Bernie Sanders, who became the champion of progressive causes with his surprisingly popular run in 2016, is also not a new face for 2020. Bernie may run again and more power to him if he does, but he also is definitely not a new face for the party.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is also positioning herself as the progressive candidate for the Democrats in 2020. She has a large following but if the Democrats hope to defeat Trump in 2020 they will most likely need a more centrist, pro-business presidential candidate.

The talk of former First Lady Michelle Obama running for president is out of the picture. She was and is quite popular with her party but the Obama era is over.

My state of residence, Virginia, has the most potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates including outgoing Governor Terry McAuliffe, 2016 Democratic Vice-Presidential Candidate Senator Tim Kaine and Senator Mark Warner. Plus, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, who unsuccessfully tried to capture the nomination in 2016, may be more in tune with the more conservative times ahead in 2020.

If the Democrats want a brash, outspoken successful businessperson, who has the background of a Democratic fundraiser and is a one term governor of the key swing state of Virginia, then they should look no further than Governor Terry McAuliffe.
McAuliffe could do well against Trump in debates as he actually understands and knows the issues of the day. He would not be afraid to take on Trump and it would certainly be a lively 2020 presidential contest with McAuliffe running against Trump. McAuliffe, who has been a big supporter of both Clintons, would actually be a new face on the national scene if he runs for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. His four years as Governor has already given him the political stature he needs to capture the 2020 nomination.

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine was Hillary’s popular VP candidate in 2016. He is the exact opposite of the outgoing governor of Virginia. Kaine is very low key and humble which are two traits not used when discussing McAuliffe.

The other Virginia US Senator Mark Warner has been receiving national exposure as Vice-Chair of the hearings into Russian involvement in the 2016 elections. He is also a former successful businessman who could do well against Trump.

Former US Senator Jim Webb, who was too far right for the Democrats in 2016, might be a better fit in 2020, as the country might be trending more to the center-right.

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who tried to capture the Democratic nomination in 2016, may also try again in 2020.

In addition to outgoing Virginia Governor McAuliffe, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper may throw their hats into the ring in 2020. While Cuomo has long been mentioned a possible presidential candidate for the Democrats, Hickenlooper could be a dark horse possibility from the west who projects an image of the average man who also had success in business.

The United States Senate may be controlled by the Republicans but the majority of the minority Democratic senators will be looking at running for their party’s nomination in 2020.

My favorite would be Senator Al Franken of Minnesota as it is so apparent we need more humor in the country and especially in the White House. What better way than to actually put a comedian in the Oval Office. The former Saturday Night Live comedian, and now the author of a new book, would be an interesting choice. Think about it. A candidate with a sense of humor running against Trump who has no sense of humor at all. Franken can laugh at himself and we all know Trump does not have that capability.

My other favorite to run would be Ohio US Senator Sherrod Brown. He is a low key and capable US Senator who knows the issues and is in a key electoral state Democrats need to win in 2020.

Newcomer Kamala Harris from California is gaining national exposure in her role investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 election. She has proven to be an aggressive questioner, most recently, of Attorney General Sessions.

Other senators who are eyeing running in 2020 include Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Jon Tester of Montana, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Kristen Gillibrand of New York.

The senator with the best name for 2020 would have to be Rhode Island, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. Put a Whitehouse in the White House could be his campaign slogan.

In the US House of Representatives, Congressman Charlie Crist, who has been governor of Florida who changed parties, has a nationally known name as does Congresswoman from Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard.

Senator Bernie Sanders seems ready to run again in 2020. Hopefully, Hillary is finished with elective politics and will not run again.

Other names being discussed at this early date include Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who could claim to be much wealthier than Trump. A progressive billionaire versus the incumbent bombastic, incompetent billionaire would be an interesting race. Another billionaire, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban would run a spirited contest against Trump.

New names will surface for the Democrats especially after the 2018 midterm elections where 2020 Democratic presidential candidates might emerge. Trump will be beatable in 2020, assuming he hasn’t been impeached or resigned by then, but the Democrats need a positive presidential candidate who is a moderate in his or her views.

The field is wide open for the Democrats in 2020. Like the GOP in 2016 with 17 presidential candidates, the Democrats in 2020 could field this number or more!

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