With the election just around the corner, the races are really heating up.
The Democratic presidential campaign is well underway, even though no one has officially declared. But the would-be candidates are doing everything short of an actual announcement. There’s the “I’m thinking about it” interviews. There are the sudden trips to Iowa. There’s the posturing for the base.
The field already has some frontrunners. Chief among them is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has been building a campaign infrastructure and courting media attention. (Her attempt to address questions about her Native American ancestry seemed like a smart move, only to backfire.) Also waiting in the wings is the 2016 runner-up, Bernie Sanders.
Then there’s former Vice President Joe Biden, whose will-he, won’t-he game is beginning to wear a little thin.
The problem with this top tier of candidates is that their combined age come election day will rival the age of the U.S. as a nation: 221. For a party increasingly reliant on millenials, the prospect of electing your grandparents is a problem.
There are plenty of ambitious younger Democrats ready to remedy that situation.
Sen. Kamala Harris has been making a tour of some of the key early primary states, including South Carolina and Iowa, the very first state to vote in the 2020 race. Harris established her progressive bona fides interrogating Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings, declaring him “unfit” to serve on the Supreme Court. She has said that she will “seriously take a look at” running after the November elections–which is a pretty good sign that she is running.
Similarly, Sen. Cory Booker has been making the rounds in primary states as well. He’s already built an impressive campaign structure in Iowa, where he recently spoke to large crowds. Unlike Harris, Booker has been willing to offer hands-on fundraising help for local candidates in the state, thereby earning their loyalty going into the presidential season.
Then there’s Julian Castro, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama. Castro has said he is “likely” to run, but will wait until–you guessed it–after the November elections to make a decision.
Castro in particular suffers from a relatively low-profile among voters, even though he was on Hillary Clinton’s list of potential running mates. However, all the candidates take comfort in Obama’s example: he was a first-term Senator virtually unknown to most of the public when he launched his campaign in 2007.
There are plenty of others just as eager to join the fray. The list of potential candidates who are believed to be thinking seriously about a run include Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and even Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels.
All in all, Democrats will probably be looking at a field of at least a dozen candidates and possibly more. That will give party followers a lot to choose from. On the other hand, it will also compare to the number of candidates in the Republican field in 2016, which allowed for an oddball candidate to slip through.
With any luck, Democrats will repeat Trump’s success–just not his candidacy.