2020 Democrats – House Members, Governors And Mayors

This entire article is tainted by a prejudice I have based on a lot of political experience. I think it is extremely difficult for a member of the House of Representatives or a mayor to be elected President of the United States. Post World War II we have not elected a member of the House or a Mayor. (Gerald Ford was not elected.) We have elected several Governors but I simply do not see that special candidate in this year’s field. With that in mind let’s take a look at Andrew Cuomo, John Delaney, Eric Gacetti, John Hickenlooper, Mitch Landrieu, Martin O’Malley, Duval Patrick and Eric Swalwell.   

Being the son of the late Mario Cuomo, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has the Democratic pedigree to be a serious contender in the minds of older Democrats. His personal record of achievement is nothing special. New York State ranks with states like Alabama for political scandal in recent years. He also was involved in a lot of deals with former Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Several Christie aides ended up being defendants in court. I doubt Cuomo’s record could withstand the intense scrutiny of a national campaign. I could very well be incorrect, especially since he just won reelection and has a safe seat to fall back on, but I think Andrew has enough political sense to not run.

Who is John Delaney? That is his big problem. Delaney is a Democratic Congressman from Maryland who many feel serves only because of favorable gerrymandering. However he has already declared; in fact he was the first one to jump in the water. For the record, as of this writing there is a second declared candidate who didn’t even make the “top 30”. If you can’t even win your own congressional district in 2018 how can I consider you a serious contender for the presidency in 2020?

Eric Gacetti is the Mayor of Los Angeles. The biggest “problem” California Democrats have is an abundance of talented elected officials. By getting some national attention Garcetti might increase his “stock” in California Democratic circles. Being the mayor of Los Angeles or San Francisco can be a springboard in California. If he is smart he takes the free press and doesn’t run.

By January of 2019 John Hickenlooper will be the former Governor of Colorado. He did a nice job in that post and being the Governor of a purple western state is not the easiest task in American politics. Coming from a western state other than California his profile simply isn’t high enough to propel him to the nomination. My guess is that since he is “retired” he will take a shot at it. That could make him a serious contender for the Veep slot; remember Colorado is purple but very winnable for the Democrats and Hickenlooper could deliver it in 2020. Here is a wild card in this case: Will Hickenlooper decide to take on Cory Garner for the Senate in 2020 instead? If so how does that play into his initial presidential decision?

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s name has been mentioned a lot as a possible candidate. For years the Landrieu family name was political gold in Louisiana but in 2014 his sister Mary lost a Senate race and it is not that well known outside the Bayou State. My “prejudice” against the political viability of mayors is already known. If he runs I don’t see him going very far. It will be especially easy for him to get lost in a large field.

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley looks like he will take another shot at the Democratic nomination. He was part of the early 2016 field and was a disappointment in the first debate. What little chance he had as a dark horse died that night. I think he will throw his hat in the ring and his candidacy will die an early death in Iowa or New Hampshire.

Another former governor who is rumored to be in the mix is Massachusetts’ Duval Patrick. Since leaving public office he has been an executive at Bain Capital (does the name Mitt Romney come to your mind?) I don’t see him leaving that position to take a long shot at the Democratic nomination. If he comes back into the government sector I see it more likely to be in the Cabinet of a future Democratic president.

We finish today’s rundown with the very interesting case of Eric Swalwell. He will run. I’m certain of it. (Watch him announce that he won’t between my writing and its publishing.) He has already spent a good deal of time in early primary states. Swalwell is caught in the California Democratic logjam of too much talent and too few available “promotion opportunities”. The Senate and the Governorship is tied up for years. I expect Nancy Pelosi to effectively hand the Speakership over to Adam Schiff before the 2020 election. Where is the opening for Swalwell? He makes an attractive candidate that the camera loves. He is smart and ambitious. If you are looking for a longer odds 2020 candidate this may be the guy to put your money on.

We are now more than half way through the 30. Are you confused yet? You should be.

Please note: This article was written well in advance of publishing in order to accommodate my holiday travel and grandpa time schedule.

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One thought on “2020 Democrats – House Members, Governors And Mayors”

  1. As promised, here is my comment on potential 2020 presidential candidates. I am interested in Gavin Newsome, the newly elected governor of California. He seems to be a legitimate progressive and the appropriate successor to Jerry Brown. The fact that he will be only half way through his first term as California governor by 2020 may be fodder for those who think he is too ambitious. But, as independently elected Lieutenant Governor under Jerry Brown for eight years, he has helped California rise to become the fifth largest economy in the world.

    I think it is time the Democrats stop trying to pander to “Republican” voters and start advocating for “American” voters. And…he’s only 51 years old!

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