The Trump effect: Everyone’s thinking of running for president

“Everybody assumes that Trump will be dead meat by 2020,” said former Democratic National Committee chairman Don Fowler.

And for the first time in at least a generation, the race for the nomination appears wide open, with no presumed early front-runner to be overcome in a Democratic primary. Conspicuously absent from the preseason handicapping is anyone named Clinton.

The nomination will be “a very inviting prize to have,” said David Axelrod, who was Barack Obama’s chief strategist in 2008 and 2012. “It is more expeditious to put together a list of Democrats who are not thinking they are running for president in 2020, than ones who are.”

Beyond that, “it’s only a matter of time until a Donald Trump runs as an independent and swamps both parties,” said Joe Trippi, a longtime Democratic operative who managed Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s insurgent 2004 campaign.