The election nerds are convinced Kamala Harris is the real frontrunner. She trails nationwide and suffers from low name id, but she’s popular among women of color. At 54, she’s at the low end of the age spectrum for this Democratic field. Her book tour and “Mood Mix” are meant to raise her profile and emphasize her likability. But I won’t be convinced of Harris’s potential until she starts rising in the polls. She’s never faced a competitive race. She’s never encountered real scrutiny. She laughs too often at her own jokes. Her handling of a top staffer accused of sexual improprieties was far from flawless. Her record as a prosecutor is out of step with the party base. Does she have reasons for running beyond the abstract notion that she’s the right fit for her party, and that victory against Trump appears guaranteed?
The other senators—Booker, Brown, Gillibrand, Klobuchar, Merkley—are no more impressive. There are plenty of theories that purport to explain why each of them should run, but politics doesn’t conform to rational expectations. They also share the burden of running for president from the U.S. Senate. Barack Obama was the exception to the rule. He, John F. Kennedy, and Warren G. Harding are the only presidents elected directly from the Senate in 230 years of elections. None of the senators thinking of 2020 possess the political talent and cultural power of Barack Obama. None.
That leaves the governors and mayors. Jay Inslee, John Hickenlooper, Steve Bullock, Terry McAuliffe, aouigoiangoingogn—sorry, I just fell asleep.