A Harris poll found a plurality of respondents, 40%, believe the Democratic party has no leader. From the Hill:
Fifteen percent named former President Obama as the party’s leader. Twelve percent said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has gone out of his way not to join the Democratic Party despite running for the its presidential nomination last year.
Eleven percent view Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as the party’s leader, and 10 percent answered with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.
On the question of who should be a Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, Sanders led the field, at 14 percent, followed by former first lady Michelle Obama at 11 percent, Warren at 9 percent, Clinton at 8 percent, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo each at 4 percent, and television personality Oprah Winfrey and Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) each at 3 percent.
What this poll demonstrates is that the party is in bad shape for the 2020 presidential election. Having already served two terms, President Obama obviously can’t come back and Michelle Obama is not getting in. That leaves the party with aging retreads like Bernie Sanders and two-time loser Hillary Clinton. Of the rest, Senator Elizabeth Warren seems like the leading choice for the socialist wing of the party, but her ability to appeal to moderates is an open question.
Further down the list, you have the Governor of New York tied with billionaire Mark Cuban. This gets to something I wrote about last November. The Democratic Party has no bench and because that’s true they are soon going to start tapping into the deep well of wealthy celebrities on their side of the aisle. Mark Cuban is an obvious choice because he’s a lot like Trump, i.e. he’s on TV a lot and has plenty of money to self-fund a campaign. I’m not convinced Oprah has the discipline it would take to run a campaign but she also has the money, the appeal and is very good on camera.
The point is that after Trump’s election, the rules have changed. This is probably something Democrats should have figured out after Schwarzenegger became governor of California but if they didn’t then they surely have now. The White House can be won without a lifetime of experience in congress or as a governor. In fact, it can be won by anyone with enough name recognition and money to assemble a team. In 2020 that could be Cuban, Oprah or god forbid Kanye West. The already thin line between culture and politics is going to get even thinner in coming years.