2020 Democrats – The Senators

All of my regular readers know my unexplainable passion for the Senate so it will come to you as no surprise that I think today’s pool is the most likely in this series to contain the next Democratic nominee and the next president of the United States. Let’s take a look at Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Tim Kaine, Amy Klobuchar, Jeff Merkley, Chris Murphy and Mark Warner.

New Jersey’s Cory Booker is one of the favorites going into the contest. He is tall, handsome and intelligent. He can speak on seemingly any policy topic at the drop of a hat with passion and knowledge. Nobody seems to mention it (yet anyway) but in addition to a Stanford undergraduate and master’s degrees, he stopped over in England to get a second masters at Oxford (as a Rhodes Scholar) then completing his education with a law degree from Yale and played division I football (at Stanford). Remember how easily he dispensed with Texas Republican John Cornyn in during the Kavanaugh hearings? The only speed bump in his path is that his senate seat is up in 2020. He will enter the race and with early success will roll the dice to go all the way. Remember, coming from New Jersey he will have easy access to the northeast corridor deep pocketed Democratic donors.

For what seems like forever I have been begging the Democrats to give Sherrod Brown the Veep nod. With the Democrats losing the Ohio governor’s race in November I can’t see the Party giving up a Senate seat to put Brown in that slot even though he appears to be able to carry his crucial home state for them. (No Republican has ever won the presidency without carrying Ohio.) For now if Brown wants higher office he will have to take a shot at the top slot. Since he is safe in his Senate seat I think he will enter the race and see what happens in the early going.

I left New York before Kirsten Gillibrand came onto the scene so I do not know her or have any inside information about her. The camera likes her and she should certain to be able to get a good share of the women’s vote (especially young women). Her main thrust has been protecting the rights of sexual assault victims particularly those in the military. While she will be the first to point out that all sexual assault victims are not female the vast majority are and it is (too often in my opinion) viewed as a women’s issue. She makes no secret that she is considering running and I think she is among the many that will jump in and see how the early primaries go.

Another frontrunner in the early going is California’s Kamala Harris. Hailing from California money should not be a problem. She is smart, quick witted, attractive and aggressive; all good qualities in a candidate. Democrats need to get women and especially women of color to volunteer and turnout if they are to win in 2020; Harris is both. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that she will run. If I find myself writing President Harris in 2021 it will not be a surprise to me.

2016 Vice Presidential nominee and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine is the subject of much speculation. I don’t know if he’ll stick his hat in the ring or not but if he does I don’t see him going very far.

The most underrated among those frequently mentioned is Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar. While she has the outward warm manner of a soccer mom don’t sell her short! I watch the Kavanaugh hearings with a good bit of attention to how the probable 2020 candidates handled themselves, primarily Booker and Harris. The best performances were turned in by Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono and Klobuchar (Hirono isn’t running). With the political demise of Al Franken it cleared the decks for Klobuchar; she comes from a somewhat purple Great Lakes state; that is a region Hillary Clinton underperformed in in 2016. I think she’ll run and if she does well in the early contests (and would a win or strong performance in Iowa really be a big surprise) she will be a force to contend with. Can’t you see her cutting down a debate opponent while all the time smiling like the nice lady next door or from church?

Oregon’s Jeff Merkley seems to be making some noise like he may be running. His Senate seat is up in 2020 and he can’t afford to mess around with a presidential run too long unless he catches fire early. If he runs I think he will exit the race quickly and quietly.

Connecticut’s Chris Murphy is definitely one of the Democrats’ rising stars. He has had several good moments. His main issue is gun regulation which the nation overwhelmingly agrees with. I see bigger things for him on the horizon but I don’t think 2020 is the year. I think he’ll take the extra free press while it lasts but stay pat this time around.

Mark Warner is going to get more than his fair share of news coverage because he is the ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee which will be involved in Russiagate. Like Kaine he is from Virginia and other than in a huge state I don’t feel that both Senators of the same Party can run simultaneously. If he is smart, and I think he is, he will not jump in and hope to be tapped for the number two slot. A Democratic Veep nominee makes a lot of political sense. Hillary barely won Virginia in 2016 and Kaine probably brought it home for her.

Well that’s it folks. If you are looking for a definitive prediction you came to the wrong place. I don’t think there is a prohibitive favor or anyone who can clear out the field. People to particularly watch for an early impact on the race are Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Oprah Winfrey. It will be fun and I’ll be writing about it often in the coming months!

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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