The bug bites early

Many Democrats want to be pres­i­dent, but there’s no star in the wings

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

The Democrats did mod­er­ately well in the midterm elec­tions, but not as well as they ex­pected, and they lost the three big races they re­ally wanted to win, the gov­er­nor­ships in Florida and Ge­or­gia and the U.S. Se­nate seat in Texas. Win­ning any one of them would have been im­pres­sive, par­tic­u­larly given the gen­er­ally con­ser­va­tive vot­ing record of those states. Such a re­sult would have cheered the Demo­cratic base, and given mo­men­tum to the party for 2020. The Demo­cratic me­dia would have put that win­ner in the win­ners bracket in the pres­i­den­tial sweep­stakes.

In­stead, with the de­feats of charis­matic black prospects, Stacey Abrams in Ge­or­gia and An­drew Gil­lum in Florida, to­gether with leav­ing Beto O’Rourke los­ing in Texas, the Demo­cratic field ap­pears to be re­mark­ably un­set­tled. There’s such an ex­cess of can­di­dates that it’s dif­fi­cult to find a Demo­crat who isn’t run­ning. Rep. David Ci­cilline of Rhode Is­land, co-chair­man of the party’s Pol­icy and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mit­tee, says “we’ll have be­tween 30 and 40 great can­di­dates run­ning for pres­i­dent. There’s a lot of U.S. sen­a­tors, a lot of gover­nors, a lot of peo­ple out­side of pol­i­tics.” In­deed, there’s prob­a­bly an al­der­man in Boise or Al­bu­querque even now en­list­ing his wife, daugh­ter and the fam­ily cat for an ex­plana­tory com­mit­tee to size up his chances. Only one known Demo­crat has ac­tu­ally an­nounced his or her can­di­dacy. Rep. John De­laney of Mary­land has camped out in Iowa to be first in line for the Iowa pres­i­den­tial cau­cus two years hence.

The Se­nate, as al­ways, is seething with pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tion. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who posed as Spar­ta­cus dur­ing the Ka­vanaugh hear­ings and earned more laughs than ap­plause, is fired up and ready to go. Ka­mala Harris is ped­dling her chops as a plain-vanilla left-wing Cal­i­for­nia “pro­gres­sive.” So, too, Kirsten Gil­li­brand of New York, run­ning as fast as she can from the mod­er­ate record she com­piled as a pre­sen­ta­tive of a con­ser­va­tive cor­ner of up­state New York. In a feat of per­for­ma­tive Wo­ke­ness, she tweeted the other day that “Our fu­ture is: Fe­male, In­ter­sec­tional, [and] Pow­ered by our be­lief in one an­other.” Elizabeth War­ren of Mas­sachusetts, known to the masses as Poc­a­hon­tas, claims Na­tive Amer­i­can (i.e., In­dian) her­itage from a mi­nus­cule smear of DNA de­rived from an ances­tor in one of the five civ­i­lized tribes in Ok­la­homa. The sen­a­tors are all go­ing left, led by Bernie San­ders, the so­cial­ist Demo­crat from Ver­mont who al­most top­pled Hil­lary Clin­ton the last time out. Hil­lary is mak­ing pres­i­den­tial noises again, but she may just be try­ing to sell books on her book tour with Bubba. They’re play­ing to small crowds in book­stores and half-empty are­nas, so she and Bubba may be get­ting a dis­cour­ag­ing mes­sage.

Sev­eral gover­nors are try­ing to play the game. Steve Bul­lock is con­tem­plat­ing a run from Mon­tana. So is John Hick­en­looper from Colorado. Terry McAuliffe thinks he hears the roar of a crowd from Vir­ginia, even if he’s merely a for­mer gover­nor. It’s hard to know where a for­mer sec­re­tary of Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment, or a for­mer mayor, even a for­mer mayor of New York, should prop­erly fit into this spec­u­la­tion, but Ju­lian Cas­tro and Michael Bloomberg are ea­ger to give it a try. Rahm Emanuel, the for­mer mayor of Chicago isn’t run­ning, not yet, but as a hand­i­cap­per he gives the brush to Beto. He says it would be un­seemly for a “loser” to run so soon for higher of­fice.

Fi­nally, there’s the for­mer vice pres­i­dent, Joe Bi­den. He has run twice be­fore, and never came close. He nearly made a run in 2016, when he might have been the al­ter­na­tive to Hil­lary that many Democrats were look­ing for, but he was mourn­ing the death of a son, and said no. So ad­vanced is the jock­ey­ing for 2020 that two prospec­tive can­di­dates have al­ready dropped out. Michael Ave­natti, a lawyer at the edges of the search for a col­luder in the Rus­sian at­tempt to fix the 2016 elec­tion, and De­val Pa­trick, the for­mer gover­nor of Mas­sachusetts, have thrown in the towel. It’s ap­par­ently a ban­ner year for for­m­ers.

One prospect get­ting a lot of early ink and ca­ble-TV men­tions isn’t ac­tu­ally el­i­gi­ble, but Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cortez, only 29, an in­com­ing Demo­cratic So­cial­ist from the Bronx, has stolen Demo­cratic hearts from coast to coast. Most of the at­ten­tion comes from the goofy things she says, such as com­par­ing the im­pact of her elec­tion to the im­pact of the land­ing of an Amer­i­can on the Moon. Many new con­gressper­sons ar­rive in Wash­ing­ton with sim­i­lar ideas about their im­por­tance, and soon learn bet­ter.

All this spec­u­la­tion and en­thu­si­asm for 2020 is based on the be­lief that Don­ald Trump is a pres­i­dent ripe to be taken down. But he might not be, and all the learned spec­u­la­tion will have been in vain. That’s part of the game. En­joy.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.