Elections are always on the minds of politicians in the United States. The first item on an elected official’s agenda is how to get re-elected, and when a politician is eyeing a presidential run, there is almost no such thing as announcing your candidacy too early. So, just over two-and-a-half years until the next presidential election, here are the most likely candidates to run on the Democratic ticket.
Joe Biden is one of the most well-respected politicians in Washington. He teased a run in the 2016 race, but ultimately decided against it, in the wake of his son’s death. Biden has said that he regrets not running, but stays firm in believing the decision was the best for his family. His age will be a factor in the upcoming election, being 77-years-old by the time of the election in 2020. Biden is loved by Democrats and generally has the respect of Republicans as well, but not necessarily the support. He could very well be the Democratic nominee unless a young, up-and-coming politician steals the election away, which has happened historically and recently in the Democratic primaries. Think JFK over LBJ, and Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton.
The longest-tenured Independent senator from Vermont had a love affair with liberal millennials in the 2016 election that saw him heavily contest Secretary Clinton in the primaries. Sanders does not have the reach across the aisle that Biden would on account of his polarizing views. These views, though, are what led him to gain such a large base of young supporters. Age being a factor for Sanders as well, he turns 78 just months before the 2020 election. He fell short in the female vote and the African-American vote in 2016, so his success as a candidate heavily depends on if he can gain the support from those two voter-groups in particular.
A familiar face that has yet to run for president, expect Senator Warren (D-MA) to run in the primaries. She was thrust into the spotlight shortly after her election to the Senate in 2013 for being outspoken not shying away from any debate. Recently, she has been in the headlines in relation to a claim she made of being Native American without providing any proof for the claim. She is younger than both other assumed candidates, and she immediately has the advantage over Senator Sanders in the female vote category, but she is viewed less favorably than both. According to Business Insider, Senator Sanders has a 75% approval rating, while Politico shows a 51% approval rating and 37% disapproval rating for Senator Warren. In a head-to-head matchup, Warren is the least likely of the three to beat Trump, with Biden the most likely with a predicted 54%-40% victory prediction by The Hill. She has a lot of ground to make up to seriously contend for the presidency over two popular Democrats like Sanders and Biden. Warren will have to focus her energy on keeping up with the two other expected candidates, but also have to fend off young rising Democrats.
Harris is a first-term Senator from California who gained notoriety during confirmation and committee hearings. She was cut off multiple times by Republican colleagues, but not without putting up a fight. By standing her ground, she became part of the #NeverTheLessShePersisted movement spawned by Senator Warren refusing to be silenced as well. Harris has stood for women’s rights her entire time in office, even going so far as suggesting President Trump should resign amid re-surging backlash in December from the President’s sexual assault claims. She is youthful and energetic and could potentially win more of the woman vote than Senator Warren. Her lack of experience could be a good or bad thing, seeing as we just elected a president with no political experience. But, there is something to be said for having experience in Washington before being elected to the most powerful office in the world.
The New Jersey Senator caught fire with the media during the Democratic National Convention in July of 2016. He was Mayor of Newark, New Jersey from 2006-2013 and was then elected Senator. From the start he had trouble garnering universal support from the Democratic party, as an article from The Atlantic from 2013 states. This was seemingly put to bed after Booker’s speech at the DNC, but he then voted against a measure introduced by Senator Sanders to import cheaper medicines from Canada. In an attempt to repair his image, he ceased taking donations from pharmaceutical companies, but this fighting within his own party could prove damning to his presidential bid.
The former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama also launched himself into stardom at the DNC. Castro gave the keynote speech at the DNC in 2012 as the young mayor of San Antonio, Texas. He would be the youngest candidate of the list, currently aged 43, and possesses the same charisma that vaulted Barack Obama to stardom after giving the keynote speech in 2004. As HUD Secretary, Castro implemented policy to give those with an arrest record a “second chance of life” by way of new guidance for landlords. He was even floated as a potential Vice Presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
The Democratic party as a whole is lacking a clear direction and leadership. For a party that seemingly connects so well with young voters, it is odd that party leaders outside of former-President Obama are old, career politicians. Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden all come to mind when thinking about Democratic leadership, the youngest being Chuck Schumer at age sixty-seven.
Democrats need a unified approach behind a young, new candidate not only to win the 2020 election, but to win and have the support of the American people. Even Democrats are growing tired of the same leadership.
My guess is that the Democrats will push through Biden, which wouldn’t be the worst decision in the world. He is a strong candidate with plenty of support, and the only aspect hindering his election being his age. For the good of the future of the party, the Democrats should capitalize on a weak and divided Republican party, and nominate younger candidates with more of a potential for longevity and prolonged influence from this point forward.