by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Democrats should prepare for the double-decker debate stage that Republicans endured in 2016. Start with the well-known, instantly serious candidates. Former vice president Joe Biden (1) told the Washington Post this spring, “Do I regret not being president? Yes.” Vermont senator Bernie Sanders (2) may or may not want to run again, but he would begin with 13 million Democrats who voted for him last time, and he has to at least pretend to be interested in order to avoid the political equivalent of being put out to pasture. Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren (3) has been the Democrats’ presidential candidate of the future since 2011.
It’s not true that every Democratic senator and governor is being mentioned as a potential candidate; it just feels that way. …
… We’re up to 18 candidates, and that’s not counting the celebrities and media figures who might think Trump demonstrated that political experience is not only no longer required, but a liability: Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah, Mark Cuban, and so on. Quite a few Democrats see Trump’s victory in 2016 as a fluke, a historical accident, a twist of fate that can be explained only by Russian mischief. If President Trump’s job approval remains low, a lot of Democrats will conclude that the 2020 race will be the easiest path to the presidency in their lifetime.