As we move into 2018, the speculation game of who will emerge as the Democratic nominee for president in 2020 will begin in earnest.
In my view, the early front runner is Senator Bernie Sanders, the Independent Socialist from Vermont. Seemingly coming out of nowhere in 2016, Sanders gave Hillary Clinton a run for her money for the Democratic Nomination.
Sanders was a major force — winning 23 contests and garnering more than 13 million votes. He was the champion of the progressives and younger voters. On the campaign trail he spoke passionately about income inequality and the system being “rigged.”
His message resonated with a significant percentage of the Democratic base and his supporters were enthusiastic and energetic.
Since losing the primary to Hillary, Sanders has worked at getting closer to Labor and he has been polishing his foreign policy credentials. Sander’s main obstacle may be his age — as he will be 79 on Election Day in 2020.
Which brings me to Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts...
Warren, a former Harvard law professor, is the darling of the “Left” and a leading contender for the 2020 nomination. Her no-holds-barred style and her attacks on the banks and financial industry have ingratiated her to the progressives of her party. In addition, she is one the most vocal and fiercest critics of President Trump.
In short, she is a fighter. And like Senator Sanders, she is working on her national security credentials. And not long ago, she became a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. At the time of next election she will be 71 — but that is three years younger than President Trump will be.
Making the much needed generational change for the Democrats at age 47 is Senator Corey Booker of New Jersey — one of three African Americans currently serving in the U.S. Senate.
Elected to the senate in a special election 2013, Booker was elected to his first full term in 2014. Make no mistake about it, Booker is a rising star in the Democratic Party. He’s telegenic and media savvy.
Booker’s not anti-business — and could be a bridge between the center-left and the progressives in the party. On the downside, he may be seen as too close to corporate America for the base of the Democratic Party.
Another rising star is Senator Kamala Harris, who is serving in her first term from California. She is the daughter of an Indian-American mother and a Jamaican-American father.
Many women on both sides of the aisle consider her to be a barrier-breaker in that she’s the first African-American to elected Senator from California and the first woman African-American and Indian-American woman elected as Attorney General in California.
In July of 2017, Senator Harris met in the Hamptons with many of the Clintons' biggest donors — fueling speculation of her further ambitions.
Rounding out the field are former Secretary Hillary Clinton, who continues to make news, Governors Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, and John Hickenlooper from Colorado — both from key swing states.
Other honorable mentions are former first lady Michelle Obama, former 2016 Vice Presidential Nominee Senator Tim Kaine, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, Senator Kristen Gillibrand of New York and billionaire and environmental activist Tom Steyer.
All the pretenders will be testing themes, campaigning in key congressional and senate races, garnering IOU’s, and building infrastructure for a potential run.
Will they campaign on resisting President Trump, class warfare, and identity politics or will they offer real solutions to the challenges middle class and blue collar families face everyday day? Only time will tell but in the view of this author Resistance is not a winning electoral strategy. It may appeal to the “far Left” in Manhattan and Hollywood but it won’t work in “fly over country” — where the real battle in 2020 will be fought.
Marc Rotterman worked on the national campaign for Reagan for president in 1980. He currently serves as senior fellow at the John Locke Foundation. He is the host of "Front Row" on UNC-TV and The NC Channel. Follow him on Twitter @FrontRowmarc. For more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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