If you have been following politics, you might be exhausted right now. You probably stayed up late to see who won last night and who is in control of Congress.
Now that Election Day, 2018, is history, though, do you have the energy to start all over again TODAY? Today is the first day of the 2020 election campaign, a campaign that will include an election for president as well as every seat in the 435-member U.S. House and one-third of the 100-member U.S. Senate.
While you were following the 2018 mid-term campaigns, innumerable people expressed interest in running for president in 2020. In fact, many would-be contenders have been actively involved in the kinds of activities presidential candidates are traditionally involved in. They have, in effect, been running for president for quite some time now.
Do you know which Democrats have been the most active on the campaign trail and how they are faring in polls and other indications of support? We do. Below is what we have learned, but first let’s start off by analyzing the 2020 Trump re-election campaign.
Trump Is Very Prepared
Many longtime political professionals criticized Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign as unprepared for many of the logistical challenges that campaigns ordinarily face.
Trump won anyways (thank God), but he promises his 2020 campaign will be different. We hope it will simultaneously retain the plainspokenness of the 2016 campaign and be as prepared organizationally as the campaigns of the most experienced politicians.
Trump’s five most immediate predecessors — Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan — all declared they were running for re-election in the third year of their presidencies. Trump officially declared he was running for re-election via a filing with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on the day of his inauguration — Jan. 20, 2017.
Trump’s preparation has paid off. As of Sept. 30, his presidential campaign had raised $106 million. Even CNN, one of Trump’s most diehard opponents, conceded this is an impressive figure. Trump’s fundraising success is “stunning and totally unprecedented,” according to CNN.
The anti-Trump media outlet compared Trump’s Sept. 30 fundraising report with Obama and Bush Jr.’s year-end 2010 and 2002 reports. Not exactly fair, but Trump has raised “more than 26.5 times what Obama had raised for his re-election race ($4.1M) and 32 times what Bush had raised ($3.2M).” Trump had $35M cash on hand to Obama’s $2.3M and Bush’s $3.8M.
Trump might be able to save most of the money he raises for the general election campaign because he is VERY popular among Republicans and, thus, very unlikely to face a serious challenge in the GOP primary. Trump has an 88 percent job approval rating from Republicans, the highest for a recent Democratic or Republican president within his own party except for the younger Bush’s rating right after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attack.
Dems Might Be Unprepared
You should be awarded the prize offered by the television show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” if you can name all the major Democrat candidates who have said they’d like to run against Trump in 2020. As many as 50 Democrat leaders have “expressed an interest” in the presidency in the past six months alone.
Some of the contenders who are not currently in Congress and who have never held a public office include creepy porn lawyer Michael Avenatti, ex-Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz, impeach Trump crusader billionaire Tom Steyer, “spiritual teacher” and author Marianne Williamson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Chelsea Clinton, Mark Cuban, banker Jamie Dimon, Al Franken (didn’t he leave public life after some of his “jokes” turned out to be sexual harassment?), Disney exec Bob Iger, actor/wrestler The Rock, basketball coaches Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, and various Kennedy offspring.
And, yes, Hillary Clinton might still run.
As soon as you stop laughing, you can look at our analysis of the serious contenders. First of all, you can’t ignore the polls, although the election won’t be held for another two years. Based on polls, ex-vice president Joe Biden is the overwhelming favorite to be the Democratic Party nominee in 2020.
A CNN October poll had Biden at 33 percent to 13 percent for Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, 9 percent for California senator Kamala Harris, 8 percent for Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, 5 percent for 2004 nominee John Kerry and New Jersey senator Cory Booker, and 4 percent for ex-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke. Other national polls have similar results with Clinton and Winfrey exceeding 10 percent in some polls.
But Biden isn’t the favorite despite his overwhelming lead in the polls, according to several political prognosticators. CNN asserts “Fauxcahontas” Warren is the favorite and Kamala Harris is ranked second.
Biden is third because “he’s an old white middle-of-the-road Democrat in a party that is getting younger, more diverse and more liberal.” In fact, CNN’s analysis is VERY dependent on Democrats’ affinity for identity politics with its prognosticators emphasizing how women and “people of color” had an advantage in the 2018 Congressional primaries.
The Washington Post ranked Biden fourth behind Bernie Sanders, Warren, and Harris. Following Biden is Corey Booker, N.Y. senator Kirsten Gillibrand, ex-Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, ex-Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, ex-attorney general Eric Holder, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, Connecticut senator Chris Murphy, N.Y. governor Andrew Cuomo, Ohio senator Sherrod Brown, New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu, and Oprah Winfrey.
Getting attention and recognition, of course, is significantly important to getting higher up in the polls. Politico identifies six Democrats “leading the 2020 media primary” — presidential candidates who are mentioned the most in print and social media articles. The six are Joe Biden, Corey Booker, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Michael Avenatti.
The bottom line is that the 2020 general election presidential campaign is going to be a contest between President Trump and someone who might be severely wounded by the speeches and advertisements of 40 or 50 other candidates.
Trump triumphed in 2016 after a GOP primary process that was similar to what the 2020 Democratic primary process is shaping up to be, but are Democrats prepared to support a candidate who can unite them the way Trump united the GOP? As of today the answer to that question is very uncertain because it’s very uncertain who the Democratic Party presidential primary winner will be.