With the Clinton’s presumably out of the race in 2020, the field is now wide open on the Democratic side. Politico reports today there are already a number of potential candidates talking to campaign consultants:
Until recently, few Democrats had given any thought at all to 2020 since Clinton’s expected 2016 win was widely thought to seal off any 2020 campaign within the party.
As a result of the vacuum left by Clinton’s defeat, many more Democrats than usual are taking a look at running, calling media consultants, political strategists, and organizing operatives around Washington to sound out ideas for what a campaign starting in just over two years might look like. The early behind-closed-doors moves to court the relatively small group of top-level, battle-tested campaign operatives reflect the widely-held belief that the primary field is likely to be larger than any other in years.
Multiple operatives are already advising ambitious candidates to have a clear message and rationale for running, using the example of Sanders and Trump — and contrasting with Clinton. But so far, the conversations have largely been hypothetical, say Democrats familiar with several of those discussions.
Of course the conversations are hypothetical at the start of 2017, but the fact that people are already having these conversations suggests there is a lot of interest in making a run. Candidates mentioned in the piece as “in the mix” already include Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Al Franken, Kirsten Gillibrand, Sherrod Brown and Chris Murphy.
Then there are the Democratic governors who might run including Andrew Cuomo of New York. Jay Inslee of Washington, John Hickenlooper of Colorado and Terry McAuliffe of Virgina. Finally there are some Democratic billionaires who could be potential candidates including environmentalist Tom Steyer and Dallas Mavericks owner and reality TV star Mark Cuban. Last weekend Cuban wore a number 46 jersey to a celebrity basketball game, a reference to the next president.
— WFAA-TV (@wfaachannel8) February 18, 2017
I’ve skipped over a few names but it’s possible you could have a field a lot like the one Republicans had in the 2016 primary race. And just like that contest, I think about half of these names would bow out relatively quickly from lack of support. I’m not convinced Sanders will return but of the remaining group, who represents the top tier? Is it Warren who the far left loves but who might be a bit strident for much of America? Is it a relative unknown like Harris? Or could it be an outsider like 2016? Cuban seems like a capable guy from what I can tell, but I’m not sure the left-wing of the Democratic party could ever make peace with a billionaire businessman as a candidate. He seems like a long shot unless he switches parties.