Party pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls

The Observer - - World -

Democrats are di­vided over which can­di­date, strat­egy and vision can forge a coali­tion ca­pa­ble of beat­ing Trump in 2020. The ma­jor fault line is be­tween those who want an un­apolo­get­i­cally lib­eral can­di­date – who can boost turnout among pro­gres­sives, mi­nori­ties, young peo­ple and other base vot­ers – and those who want a mod­er­ate who ap­peals to in­de­pen­dent and un­de­cided vot­ers in bat­tle­ground states. The fron­trun­ners are:

El­iz­a­beth War­ren

The Mas­sachusetts se­na­tor has long been touted as a 2020 nom­i­nee. War­ren is a for­mer Har­vard Law School pro­fes­sor and well re­garded on the left. This year she un­veiled plans for leg­is­la­tion to curb big busi­ness and re­dis­tribute wealth. A fierce Trump critic, she was la­belled “Poc­a­hon­tas” by the pres­i­dent, who mocks her claims of Na­tive Amer­i­can her­itage.

Bernie San­ders

The in­de­pen­dent Ver­mont se­na­tor and 2016 Demo­cratic pri­mary chal­lenger, who is yet to de­clare any in­ten­tion to run, said last week the midterm results showed a pro­gres­sive could win the White House. “Take a hard look at the [House Democrats] elected to Congress,” he said. “It’s not just that many are women or peo­ple of colour: many are pro­gres­sives who won their elec­tions de­mand­ing Medi­care [govern­ment-backed health in­sur­ance] for all, rais­ing the min­i­mum wage to $15 an hour, and mak­ing pub­lic col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties tu­ition free.”

Joe Bi­den

An­other longtouted 2020 con­tender, Barack Obama’s vi­cepres­i­dent is a cen­trist, but may seek to tap into the eco­nomic pop­ulism that pro­pelled San­ders to run Hil­lary Clin­ton close in 2016. He has spent 36 years as a se­na­tor and eight as vice-pres­i­dent, but al­ready has two un­suc­cess­ful bids for the pres­i­dency be­hind him.

Ka­mala Har­ris

The Cal­i­for­nia se­na­tor (pic­tured be­low) – a com­par­a­tive un­known on the na­tional stage – made head­lines with her tough ques­tion­ing of Trump’s for­mer at­tor­ney gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions dur­ing a Se­nate hear­ing in 2017. A fig­ure whose suc­cess in­spires young women of colour, she is also scrupu­lously cen­trist in many is­sues, and is a for­mer pros­e­cu­tor who thinks Democrats should pivot from be­ing “tough on crime” to “smart on crime”, the ti­tle of her 2008 book.


New Jer­sey se­na­tor Cory Booker; New York se­na­tor Kirsten Gil­li­brand; for­mer New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg; high-pro­file lawyer Michael Ave­natti.

… and the ris­ing star

New su­per­star Demo­crat Beto O’Rourke was a rel­a­tive un­known un­til last year, when he be­gan a jug­ger­naut of a grass­roots cam­paign that came close to un­seat­ing Se­na­tor Ted Cruz in Texas, and which would have bro­ken a decades-long Repub­li­can grip on the state. With such mo­men­tum, it’s un­likely we’ve seen the last of O’Rourke.

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