In 2020 Democrats face a choice between old candidates and unknown ones

It’s still early to be worrying about the 2020 presidential election but Democrats are already aware they face a significant problem in a year or so when the race begins. Politico reports:

The older generation — Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders — would be tested and experienced on the national stage, with high name recognition and built-in support. They’d also all be in their 70s, people who’ve been around forever for Trump to use as perfect foils for exactly what he stands against…

If only, Democrats say, there was some person under 55 who had any profile.

“That person doesn’t exist,” said Howard Dean, the 2004 presidential candidate and former Democratic National Committee chair.

The two people who probably are first in line to run are Biden and Sanders. Biden would be 77 in 2020 and, if he won, would turn 78 before he was inaugurated. Speaking of a possible Biden run, unnamed Democrats tell Politico, “it’s not what we need right now.” Sanders, the other person with the most claim to be on the ticket, will be 79 on election day in 2020. Elizabeth Warren would be a relatively spry 71 years old on election day.

So what’s the alternative? Politico mentions a few younger Democrats who are thinking about getting into the race, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and Rep. John Delaney of Maryland. Both are relative unknowns. One name conspicuously not mentioned in this piece is, Kamala Harris.

The California Senator has already received pushback from the Bernie Sanders wing of the party. In particular, the leader of the push for single-payer in California said of Harris, “In terms of where the progressives live, I don’t think there’s any ‘there’ there.” With that in mind, look at the announcement Harris made yesterday:

To the delight of a hometown crowd at a packed town hall meeting Wednesday in Oakland — where she was raised — Harris announced for the first time that she intended to co-sponsor “Medicare for All,’’ the single-payer health care bill which has the strong support of progressives and groups including National Nurses United, saying it was “the right thing to do.”

There have been rumors since July that Harris is thinking about running, that’s when she met with top Clinton supporters in the Hamptons. She is probably the Democrats’ leading contender under 70. Two things will have to happen for her to make a run of it. First, Biden and Sanders will need to be convinced to stand aside to give her a clean shot at the nomination without a messy primary that could, once again, divide the party along Clinton/Sanders lines. Second, Harris will have to move far enough to the left to get an endorsement from Sanders and/or Warren. With the announcement yesterday, it seems she’s already started that process.

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