The Hopefuls, the Hopeless and the Hoped for

The Democrats Presidential Candidates for 2020 (ver. 2.7 June 10,  2019)

by John C. Dvorak

Here are the known people saying they are going to run for President and those who people eventually expect to run. The primaries are almost a full year out with the Iowa caucuses on Feb 3 followed by New Hampshire vote in Feb 11, meaningless Nevada’s caucuses on Feb. 22 and the South Carolina vote on Feb 29. After that on March 3 is super Tuesday when all hell breaks loose if there is not a front runner by then.


But it is time to discuss all this as the debates will begin in June and continue non-stop to the end.


Those in charge of these debates have made it clear that they do not want the humiliation of a children’s table, so they will have to come up with a completely new formula if they are going to accommodate dozens of candidates. The latest and supposed final proposal is to pick the top 20 candidates (based on polling results combined with the ability to do grassroots fundraising).


To make it worse, the top twenty will be randomized and do the debate over a two-day period with two different groups of 10 probably answering the same questions. And unless they are in a sound proof booth the second set of candidates will have the big advantage of getting to assess the questions (and answers) overnight. To avoid this, they would have to answer a set of completely different questions which would annoy an audience because some undoubtedly great questions would have been asked to group one. The audience would like to know how group two would respond to the same questions.


In other words, this idea is dumb and untenable. The field needs to be narrowed down to 10 maximum as soon as possible, which may occur after the first debate with its two parts.


David Graham in the Atlantic did a nice piece on the candidates with commentary about the possibility of them getting the nomination. It came up with 33 Democrats would are or might run. And there are about 9-10 would he thinks could be nominated. So this could pare down fast.


The problem will be can and stragglers impress the audience on the first debate and be thrust into the top 10. And will any of the top 10 choke on stage like Rick Perry did in 2016? These possibilities are the reason to watch.


THE picks (in order of favorites to win):


Bernie Sanders – Bernie Sanders moves to top after performances at Fox and elsewhere. His supporters are aggressive and infiltrate other campaigns and events to an extreme. He still manages to draw the biggest crowds of all the Dems and his gaffe of caving to Hillary in 2016 seems to be in the past. His many leftist sales pitches regarding universal health care and free college were blatantly stolen by nearly all the Democrats running, leaving him nothing distinctive except nostalgia. And the new pitch is that Bernie will implement these programs and the others will not rings true. That said his comments that the working classes are upset over climate change may indicate that he is losing the plot.

Hillary Clinton (still undeclared)– Podesta made a public comment about how Hillary was out for 2020, but I’m not counting her out. The argument goes that she can beat Trump and did beat Trump in the popular vote. She was also robbed by Russian meddling and the last-minute Comey announcement that they were re-opening the investigation of her emails. The rationale to run again is strong. She still is blaming everyone but herself for the loss and she never dismantled her political machine. She would gladly run again and take the lead over the other candidates quickly. Many old-timers do not want to see her running again. Yet she is recently all over the news with campaign rhetoric. Her access, especially to NBC is unparalleled. 

Joe Biden Everyone loves Joe. That should be his running phrase. It has the simplicity of the “I like Ike” campaign of the 1950’s without being vague and somewhat pandering to women the way “I’m with Her” sounded for Hillary. Biden could get momentum as a moderate if he had the best team behind him. He carries a lot of baggage that will become an issue. The appearance of anti-Biden memes, possibly orchestrated by Clinton forces, must abate by the first debate. When he announced his candidacy, it appeared that his campaign was going to ape Hillary’s 2016 campaign and make it about Trump and only Trump. This is a losing strategy which he has appeared to have dropped. More recently his warming up to China and sounding drunk drops him on this list despite his polling. This article explains a lot.

Pete Buttigieg Moving up by showing he can draw a crowd and get money. He may also be a CIA asset, if not an employee of some such agency. He only recently emerged from the third tier and out-the-blue based on some Iowa polling. He is personable and charming. His experience is that of a middle-sized town mayor and his emergence makes you wonder who is behind him. He gets booked on far too many important news shows to just be some schmuck from Indiana. He is openly gay and this is a plus for Democrats who want to eschew straight white males who aren’t named Bernie or Joe. As long as the media promotes him, he’ll stay high on the list. He may linger longer than expected.

Elizabeth Warren – She blew it when she didn’t run in 2016, Back then she was sharper and seemed to get Trump’s goat constantly. Now she is burdened with the American Indian claims and her do-nothing Senate record. In an attempt to get traction, she is jumping on every bandwagon including the one that wants to bust up Facebook. You can expect wilder and wilder ideas in an effort to get a lot of attention.

Kamala Harris – She is being overly scrutinized for good reason, her record and opinions are not going to work out and she should become an early casualty. Many progressives hate her. She is very entrenched in the old Democrat machine, though.

Second tier.

Beto O’Rourke – Moving down. A great fund raiser and millennial hopeful. His chances are slim since he could not even beat Ted Cruz, but he has talented people running the campaign. His lame “Trump must be impeached anyway” rants are not going to help him unless he is looking for the Maxine Waters vote. More recently he’s jumped on the “climate crises” bandwagon after seeing polling results indicating that climate has dubiously emerged as the number one issue for democrats topping health care concerns.

Amy Klobuchar -- She’s being targeted by the media for being mean to her underlings. Not Presidential. She has been increasingly left out of the conversartion.

Tulsi Gabbard – Up from third tier. Only running to improve her profile in hopes of gaining a Senate seat in 2024 by unseating Mazie Hirono, who is something of an idiot and an embarrassment to the Democrat party. Gabbard takes a firm and old-fashioned anti-war posture.

Cory Booker – Unhinged, weird and off-putting. By voting against the Bernie Sanders Senate Amendment that would allow US citizens the right to buy expensive pharmaceuticals from Canada (where they are far cheaper) he sealed his fate as a stooge for big pharma and will never get very far.

Kirsten Gillibrand – Hillary clone with baggage and a snooty demeaner. Sorority sister type that everyone hates. Her recent speech where she refers to the dangers of “tactile” nuclear weapons contributes to a building “dingbat” image. May not qualify for the debates.

Third Tier.

All the rest.

*(this will be updated as necessary)

Dropped out:

Sherrod Brown

Michael Bloomberg