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2020 Democratic Field Expands

Former Colorado Governor, John Hinkenlooper, has entered the race.

John Hickenlooper has announced that he is running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.

Axios says, “Hickenlooper, who is marketing himself as a pragmatic and productive moderate, is a candidate with little national name recognition attempting to break through the noise with a unique pitch in a crowded Democratic race. He filed documents Monday morning with the FEC and is expected to formally announce his candidacy at a Thursday event, as first reported by the Colorado Sun.”

The Associated Press adds that he is “casting himself as a can-do uniter who’s used to overcoming adversity and accomplishing liberal goals in a politically divided state.”

The AP also says, “He becomes the second governor to enter the sprawling field, after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced last week, and is trying to cast himself as a pragmatist who can also take on President Donald Trump. Though as governor Hickenlooper prided himself for staying above partisan fights, he has argued his record as a former governor and big-city mayor distinguishes him from a broad field of Democratic presidential aspirants who are backing ambitious liberal plans on health care, taxes and the climate.”

Who All Is Running?

Cory Booker – Current US Senator from New Jersey (since 2013)

Pete Buttigieg – Current Mayor of South Bend, Indiana (since 2012)

Julian Castro – Former HUD Secretary under President Obama (2014-2017)

John Delaney – Former Congressman from Maryland (2013-2017)

Tulsi Gabbard – Current Congresswoman from Hawaii (since 2013)

Kirsten Gillibrand – Current US Senator from New York (since 2009)

Kamala Harris – Current US Senator from California, (since 2017) Former AG of California (2011-2017)

John Hickenlooper – Former Governor of Colorado (2011-2019)

Jay Inslee – Current Governor of Washington (since 2013) Former Congressman (1993-2012)

Amy Klobuchar – Current US Senator from Minnesota (since 2007)

Bernie Sanders – Current US Senator from Vermont (since 2007) Former Congressman (1991-2007)

Elizabeth Warren – Current US Senator from Massachusetts (since 2013)

There is an assortment of yet to be declared candidates like Joe Biden, Beto O’Rouke, and several US senators.  Obviously, this is the first time since 2008 where the democratic party does not have an heir apparent.  When Bush was term limited, the Republican party had no one to turn to.  It spent, 2008, 2012, and 2016 looking for someone to lead the party.  The democrats had Obama from 2008 to 2016 and it was always assumed that it was Hillary Clinton’s turn.  When that didn’t pan out, the democrats are now where the republicans had been for eight years.  It is culminating in a huge field.  Let’s compare it to the 2016 GOP primary.

Who ran for the GOP in 2016?

Donald Trump – Businessman from New York

John Kasich – Then current Governor of Ohio (2011-2019) Former Congressman (1983-2001)

Ted Cruz – US Senator from Texas (since 2013) Former Solicitor General of Texas (2003-2008)

Marco Rubio – US Senator from Florida (since 2011)

Ben Carson – Neurosurgeon

Jeb Bush – Former Governor of Florida (1999-2007)

Jim Gilmore – Former Governor of Virginia (1998-2002) Former AG of Virginia (1994-1997)

Chris Christie – Then current governor of New Jersey (2010-2018) Former US Attorney (2002-2008)

Carly Fiorina – Former CEO of HP (1999-2005)

Rick Santorum – Former Senator from Pennsylvania (1995-2007) Former Congressman (1991-1995)

Rand Paul – US Senator from Kentucky (since 2011)

Mike Huckabee – Former Governor of Arkansas (1996-2007)

George Pataki – Former Governor of New York (1995-2006)

Lindsey Graham – US Senator from South Carolina (since 2003)

Bobby Jindal – Then current governor of Louisiana (2008-2016)

Scott Walker – Then current governor of Wisconsin (2011-2019)

Rick Perry – Former Governor of Texas (2000-2015)

When we compare the two lists, we see that the democratic field appears stronger and more current than the 2016 field for the GOP.  With the exception of John Delaney, Pete Buttigieg, and Julian Castro, the democratic field has been in politics longer and has remained relevant.  The GOP in 2016 had individuals whose only claim to fame was holding elected office nearly a decade prior.

In terms of relevance and significance (and my arbitrary parameters) only 56% of the 2016 GOP field had current experience in government.  Meanwhile, 75% of the democrats running have relevant current significant government experience.  The addition of Biden and a few other senators of governor would bump that number up.  Though the addition of novelty candidates or individuals like O’Rourke (who possess similar experience to that of Gabbard, though unlike Gabbard, is no longer in office) would certainly bring that percentage down.

While briefly talking with one my political science professors, we discussed how the 2016 election shot all expectations to heck.  We used to assume, as Ann Coulter has pointed out, that strong candidates for president must be a current of former governor or current senator, though a governor is preferable to a senator.  We were supposed to laugh at congressmen and businessmen and the other types of novelty candidates.  Yet 2016 presented the US with a scenario where a crude businessman took up the issues that no one else would touch.  The American people were sick of immigration double talkers like Marco Rubio, who run for office opposing amnesty and get to Washington only to pursue that policy in conjunction with democrats. Say what you want about Trump now, but in 2016, a non-politician was a rational option given the history of political betrayal.

In Hillary Clinton, we had “the most qualified politician to ever run for president.”  The democrats have exceptionally qualified individuals in their field at this moment.  After Hillary, does it mean anything anymore?


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