Yes, unfortunately, the circus is getting back up and running again, so that means we're going to start talking about 2020 here and there and by March we're really going to be talking about 2020 and by the fall we're all going to be sick to death of 2020 and by the time election day comes around in November of 2020 it's going to be a wonder any of us actually bother to vote at all. But anyway: people are starting to run for President. Like, a lot of people. I'll probably revisit this list as it gets smaller over the next few months but for now, here's the comprehensive list I used.
It's way too early to get a sense of what the dynamics of the 2020 race are going to be like. It's going to be interesting though: none of these Democratic candidates are nearly as polarizing as Hillary Clinton was in 2016. (As always with Mrs. Clinton: a lot of the garbage flung at her over the decades has been extremely sexist and more than a little unfair. However, you can't deny that in 2016, she was a candidate that people either absolutely loved or absolutely hated and there was very little wiggle room off of those two polar opposite reactions.) What this President is going to do against a candidate that people don't find to be all that polarizing is going to be fascinating to find out.
So, let's get sorting. There's like a million and a half of these people, so it's hard to put together a good ranked list yet, but we can sort, find out which of these candidates doesn't bring us joy and which needs to be folded neatly into thirds and put back in a drawer until next year.
These Candidates (Potential Or Actual) Bring Me Joy:
Kamala Harris: strong start, but a lot of question marks about her record as a prosecutor.
Amy Klobuchar: really hoping she jumps in, because really, why not? Bipartisan record, focused on policy. Midwestern.
Cory Booker: His opening ad might have overdone it with the inspirational rhetoric, but I've always thought he was an interesting guy. Downside: if we elect the first vegan president we'll never hear the end of it.
Pete Buttigeig: Mayor of South Bend. Young. Interesting issues. Gay. Married. Veteran. If he makes it to the fall, he could catch fire. Has the young telegenic thing going for him with policy specifics to boot.
John Delaney: has practically moved to Iowa since 2017. Been doing the work long before anyone else got into the race at all.
Sherrod Brown: Little bit of Biden, little bit of Bernie but a couple of decades younger. Plus, he's Rust Belt, which could help.
John Hickenlooper: Governor that as far as I know has a decent record in a purple-ish state.
These Candidates (Potential Or Actual) Might Bring Me Joy:
Julian Castro: I really want him to separate himself from the pack a little. So far, so 'meh.'
Tulsi Gabbard: has shown willingness to challenge party orthodoxy in the past, but has also had photo ops with Assad. Need to do more research here.
Steve Bullock: Governor of a Red State, doesn't look like we're going to hear one way or another until Montana's legislative session wraps up in May.
Elizabeth Warren: The DNA test might well prove to be her undoing, but she's tough on Wall Street- I just don't know if Leftist Populism is going to be able to overcome Trump-Flavored Populism.
Kirsten Gillibrand: Was a Conservative Blue Dog Democrat until about ten minutes ago in the grand scheme of things. Could be a sign of a politician willing to have their views evolve. Could be seen as opportunistic- and so what if she was a Conservative Democrat like ten minutes ago? So was the President.
Beto O'Rourke: I really dislike the gooey eyed media coverage and verbs like Kennedy-esque. His whole blogging stint seems like the most unconventional way possible to test the Presidential waters, but does conventional wisdom even matter anymore? I mean, look who's President.
Joe Biden: Uncle Joe! Has the working class blue collar thing going on that should play well in the Rust Belt. But isn't all that great at running for President. Plus, fair or not: he old.
Bernie Sanders: Feel the Bern One More Time? Maybe. He's moved the Democrats to the left. Has the name recognition and it would actually be pretty interesting to see how he'd do against President Trump. But downside: he old.
These Candidates (Potential Or Actual) Don't Bring Me Joy:
Marianne Williamson: Oprah's spiritual guru. Talks a lot about 'miracles.'
Andrew Yang: the UBI guy! Props to him for pushing the issue into the conversation, but don't think this is his year.
Jay Inslee: Saw something that he was going to run on Climate Change and just that. Maybe run on the importance of vaccines, instead?
Jeff Merkley: Consistent on Civil Liberties. Have no idea if he's going to run or not.
John Kerry: Nope. We tried this before in 2004, remember?
Michael Bloomberg: Hard pass.
Bill De Blasio: Super hard pass.
Terry McAuliffe: Meh.
Michael Bennett: Nice speech on the Senate floor during the Shutdown, but is it enough for a Presidential run?
Eric Swalwell: who?
Eric Holder: Not against this notion, necessarily. I seem to remember him being a decent attorney general, but it's a crowded field.
Tim Ryan: who?
Howard Schulz: the panic and immediate MUST DESTROY mode that Democrats went into was laughable. I'm not a fan because I don't want billionaires thinking they can just run for President because they're bored or whatever. The reality so far is that he seems to be a complete muddled mess and the only way I can see him catching fire and becoming Ross Perot is if Hillary Clinton ran for an won the nomination again. If we get a repeat of Trump-Clinton then yes, I think the country will be quite happy to vote for someone else. Anyone else. But the odds of the voters warming up to a non-orange colored billionaire don't seem that great. Nominate someone who's not wildly out of step with the general electorate and you'll be fine, Democrats.
A GOP Challenger: I think it depends on how the rest of President Trump's year goes. I think it depends on what, if anything, there is Mueller's Final Report. But Larry Hogan? John Kasich? I don't see a credible primary challenger at the moment, but you can't rule it out either.