Hillary meeting with potential 2020 Democratic nominees

Axios reported Friday that Hillary Clinton has been meeting with potential 2020 Democratic nominees for the past several months.

Clinton has discussed the next presidential race with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Cory Booker, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, according to a longtime Clinton confidant…

“Hillary wants Trump gone,” the confidant said. “She doesn’t know who’s best able to beat him, but she knows about grueling nomination fights.”

One name conspicuously missing from the Axios report was that of Sen. Kamala Harris. However, yesterday CNN published a follow-up of sorts which added Sen. Harris name to the list of people Clinton has met with. The obvious purpose here is to try to win Clinton’s endorsement:

The meetings with Clinton are a sign that potential Democratic presidential candidates see value in her endorsement. Clinton maintains a devoted group of supporters around the country (she won over 65 million votes just two years ago) and a strong fundraising network.

The sources close to Clinton tell CNN that the five Democrats she has met with and others waiting for a meeting are asking for her support if they run.

“People are direct in saying they want her support,” the source said. “Others are reaching out.”

It’s safe to assume Hillary is not going to endorse Bernie Sanders if he runs and I think it’s unlikely she’ll endorse Warren who holds a similar stance and was passed over as a VP choice in 2016. The name that stands out in this list is Sen. Harris. Last summer, Hillary was introducing Harris to top donors in the Hamptons. One fundraiser quoted by the Hill said at the time, “She’s running for president. Take it to the bank.”

The other big endorsement for 2020 is Barack Obama. Here again, he was smitten enough with Harris back in 2013 that he described her as the “best-looking attorney general in the country.” He later apologized for that. But here’s how Obama was gushing about her back then:

“You have to be careful to, first of all, say she is brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough, and she is exactly what you’d want in anybody who is administering the law, and making sure that everybody is getting a fair shake,” the president said. “She also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general in the country.”

All that to say, I think the party insiders are pretty likely to line up behind Harris if she’s remotely competitive in the primaries. The question is whether the base is going to go all in on someone much more progressive. Certainly, the Bernie people don’t want Sen. Harris and won’t fall in line if Warren is viable. I think the most likely outcome here is a repeat of 2016 with the two wings of the party once again duking it out over whether they want a progressive candidate or a far left socialist candidate.