For Democrats, 2020 comes with a wealth of options.
With no heir apparent and no clear national leadership, many politicians — and even some political hobbyists — will run for the Democrats’ 2020 presidential nomination. The list of potential candidates includes a handful of representatives, many senators, a sizable number of current Democratic governors, as well as other (long-standing) party leaders.
Of course, not all will run or catch fire with the primary electorate. Some may spend years courting Democrats for 2020 aspirations only to see little party and activist support, forcing the potential candidate to abandon his or her plans. Others may have a bleak outlook, but will run anyway in hopes of getting lucky.
The table below lists potential candidates for Democrats in 2020. Aspirants are listed by current position (in order of strength); the last column provides a subjective initial standing, to be updated at various points in time.
Democrats 2020 Potential Candidates
|Representatives||Senators||Governors||Other Party Leaders||Political Hobbyists|
|Seth Moulton||Elizabeth Warren||Jerry Brown||Joe Biden||Mark Cuban|
|Keith Ellison||Bernie Sanders||Terry McAuliffe||Jason Kander||Oprah Winfrey|
|Joaquin Castro||Cory Booker||Andrew Cuomo||Gavin Newsom||Tom Steyer|
|Tim Ryan||Kirsten Gillibrand||John Hickenlooper||Martin O’Malley||Howard Schultz|
|Tulsi Gabbard||Tim Kaine||Jay Inslee||Xavier Becerra||Mark Zuckerberg|
|Sherrod Brown||John Bel Edwards||Deval Patrick||Sheryl Sandberg|
|Kamala Harris||Tom Wolf||Thomas Perez||George Clooney|
|Mark Warner||Steve Bullock||Antonio Villaraigosa||Caroline Kennedy|
|Michael Bennet||Dan Malloy||Julian Castro||Jamie Dimon|
|Amy Klobuchar||Mark Dayton||Eric Garcetti|
|Chris Murphy||Jack Markell||Mitch Landrieu|
|Al Franken||Jay Nixon|
|Brian Schatz||Alan Grayson|
|Chris van Hollen|
1. Elizabeth Warren
Pros: She leads early polls, is viewed quite favorably by Democrats, and has strong name recognition. Furthermore, she’s a thorn in Trump’s side, ensuring she stays in the national dialogue.
Cons: If she and Bernie Sanders run, the Democratic Party’s left-wing will be divided, perhaps preventing both Warren and Sanders from seizing the nomination.
2. Bernie Sanders
Pros: Rabid support among his base and a proven ability to raise vast amounts of money. Sanders has emerged as a leading voice in the party that could help him in the Democrats’ 2020 race.
Cons: Many Clinton supporters partially blame Sanders for her 2016 loss. Such lasting animosity could divide the party and lead to a faction bitterly fighting a Sanders candidacy. He might also be too far to the left of the party to clinch the nomination.
3. Joe Biden
Pros: Loved by all and has long expressed interest in again running for president.
Cons: He’s old and the Democrats’ 2020 choice might want to contrast with Trump’s age. Biden has run for president multiple times and has never gained traction. Might be too moderate for a party quickly moving leftward.
4. Cory Booker
Pros: Young, energetic, and frequently discussed as a 2020 candidate. Has strong initial name ID and already has die-hard supporters.
Cons: Already has enemies who view him as too close to large corporations. Not yet polished on the stump or as a candidate (his first Senate campaign inspired few).
5. Terry McAuliffe
Pros: Proven fundraiser, hails from a swing state, and clearly wants it. Would be a strong candidate from the right wing of the party.
Cons: A close Clinton ally, many view McAuliffe as overly friendly to businesses and all too moderate.
6. Kirsten Gillibrand
Pros: Loved by many, would quickly gain many endorsers from the Senate, and is positioned well as compromise candidate that splits moderate and left-wing wants.
Cons: Not yet nationally known and hasn’t indicated an interest in running.
7. Tim Kaine
Pros: Swing-state senator and former governor; nationally known from the 2016 campaign. A folksy gentleman with an impressive record of public service and someone who could campaign on ending the imperial presidency — an important contrast to Donald Trump’s actions and views of the executive.
Cons: Moderate, an uninspiring campaigner, and doesn’t seem to have a desire to be president.
8. Jerry Brown
Pros: Successful governor of the nation’s most populous state. Track record of getting things done.
Cons: Old, has run for president multiple times and fizzled during each campaign. Might be considered too centrist/bipartisan.
9. Sherrod Brown
Pros: Young, populist, represents a swing state, is quite liberal.
Cons: Not well known and has a tough 2018 reelection that would hamper his maneuverings in the Democrats’ 2020 “invisible primary.”
10. Kamala Harris
Pros: Young, energetic, and already a strong voice in the Senate where she has earned the accolades of many liberals through her tough questioning in Senate hearings.
Cons: Inexperienced — come 2020, she won’t have served a full term in the Senate.
11. Mark Warner
Pros: Swing-state senators continuously in the news as the ranking member of the Senate Intel Committee. Wealthy and can raise money.
Cons: Potentially too moderate; couldn’t rally establishment support in the early days of the 2008 invisible primary. Might instead strive for Senate leadership.
12. Seth Moulton
Pros: Youthful and liberal. Focused on driving an economic message.
Cons: Not a faithful colleague — quickly turns on Democrats who lose, offering lousy campaign analysis and distorting happenings.
13. Keith Ellison
Pros: Appeals to the Sanders wing of the party.
Cons: No longer an elected official and has a past that will attract many oppo dumps. Is Muslim, which unfortunately might hurt him in a general election.
14. Jason Kander
Pros: Ran one of the best 2016 Senate campaigns. Loved by many. Youthful and energetic; a continued voice in the party with a strong social media presence.
Cons: Lost his one statewide race.
15. Mark Cuban
Cons: Brash and cocky political novice.