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The Rushmore Report: Donald Trump – Who I’ll Likely Face in 2020

Donald Trump became the first president to address the National Rifle Association in over 30 years. That alone made news. But it was a statement about the 2020 presidential election that caught his audience off guard. Mr. Trump delivered the kind of raw meat NRA members expected. His stance on guns remains undeniable. But then the president named the Democrat he believes he is most likely to face in his re-election bid in four years.

Trump said he thinks his 2020 presidential opponent will be liberal Senator Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts. In his speech, he referred to the senator by a nickname he gave her last year – a name many say is racially insensitive.

“It may be Pocahontas,” Trump said before the Atlanta crowd, noting that Ms. Warren is not a big fan of the NRA.

Warren has been discussed as a potential 2020 candidate before and was considered to be one of the most effective foils for Mr. Trump in the 2016 campaign. Before Hillary Clinton even won the Democratic nomination last year, Ms. Warren had stood up to make a name for herself as a tough opponent to Mr. Trump.

She has not warmed to the man who has become her president since. The former Harvard professor who has positioned herself largely as an anti-Wall Street and pro-banking regulations senator frequently characterizes Mr. Trump as a billionaire false populist who is taking advantage of working class voters.

When asked, Warren has generally ducked questions of a potential 2020 run, which has fueled some speculation that she may have plans to announce a bid after her re-election to the Senate. She also recently published a new book. That book, titled This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class, has led some to wonder if she intends on using it as a launching pad for a White House bid.

Mr. Trump, who is well known for coming up with nicknames for his political foes on the campaign trail, started calling Warren “Pocahontas” after he learned that she has some Native American heritage. While her heritage has been disputed since then, Ms. Warren contends that she has never furthered her career by using that heritage to her advantage in any way.

About the Author

Clark Mindock writes for The Independent.

The Rushmore Report: Hillary’s Four-Point Plan for 2020

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water again – Hillary is running. Again. In 2020. She has slowly been re-entering the public spotlight. She has slowly returned to the speaking circuit. She has begun doing the things a future candidate must do. Does it sound crazy? Maybe. But insiders offer a four-point plan for Hillary to run – and win – in 2020. This is that plan.

Step 1 – Let them come to you.

Positioning herself as the prohibitive front-running inevitable juggernaut soaking up dollars like gravy on a biscuit has never worked for Hillary. Her best moments have come when she appeared to be the underdog. Whether it was living through the Monica Lewinsky scandal or her bully-opponent in the New York Senate race, Hillary does best when playing the role of outsider or underdog. So her best first step is to not step first. Wait and let party leaders come to you. Be the reluctant candidate.

Step 2 – Fly casual.

In a crucial scene in Return to the Jedi, Han Solo pilots an imperial transport ship onto the forest moon of Endor. Trying to avoid detection by the enemy, he offers Chewbacca crucial advice: “Fly casual.” This must be Clinton’s mission for the next two years – stay visible without attracting too much attention. Do not look too eager.

Step 3 – Support everyone – and no one.

In her effort, a central goal will be to provide support for Democrats who will be seeking re-election in 2018. She should give a boost to each and every potential presidential candidate, saying nice things about them when prompted, but not showing any favoritism. Let the crowded field remain crowded.

Step 4 – Enter late – and humbly.

Do what George W. Bush did in 2000. Act so casual that you have to be drafted. Hillary has 100 percent name recognition, so there will be no reason to enter the fray early. The one label she cannot wear is “Frontrunner.” The best way to avoid that is to not run at all – until drafted.

Will this work? It’s too early to tell. My best guess is that Hillary will be encouraged to remain on the sideline. But if and when no other candidate emerges, she can become the consensus candidate. Will she be too old in 2020? Well, she will be one year younger than Donald Trump. The betting money says Hillary won’t run in 2020. But then, those were the same pundits who said she would win in 2016.

If 2016 taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. So get ready. We may be looking at Trump-Clinton. Again.

The Rushmore Report: Two Leading Dem Presidential Candidates in 2020 Dropping in Polls

With national polls now showing President Trump’s approval rating as low as 34 percent, Democratic contenders for the 2020 election are already emerging. While the likes of Cory Booker (NJ), Andrew Cuomo (NY), and Tim Kaine (VA) are likely to seek the Democratic nomination for president, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are the clear favorites. But there’s a problem for both of them.

Senator Sanders may be the most popular politician in the United States today. But the news for him is not all good. His approval rating in his home state of Vermont has dropped by 12 points since the 2016 election. Meanwhile, Senator Warren’s approval rating in Massachusetts has ticked down four points.

A Vermont newspaper, Morning Consult, states, “Sanders’ elevation to national prominence does appear to have compromised his standing among some of his constituents.”

Warren, on the other hand, is being viewed as overtly partisan, especially with recent comments about new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. The more popular she becomes with the far left, the more difficult it becomes to appeal to a broader base.

The irony is that President Trump’s challenges may actually be hurting his main rivals for 2020. Because he is seen as divisive, more and more Americans are looking to someone considered “mainstream,” a label that does not fit the two most liberal members of the United States Senate.

With the 2020 election 3.5 years away, anything can – and probably will – happen. But it’s interesting to note that at a time when many Americans are looking for an alternative to President Trump in 2020, the primary options are becoming a bit less appealing.

The Rushmore Report: Six Celebs Who Could Run for President in 2020

Try to suspend belief here and imagine that a celebrity, with zero governing experience, could become president. Oh, wait. All things are possible now, it seems. Here is a list of a few stars who have either discussed a possible run for office or for whom the drumbeat has already started to sound to get them to throw their hat into the presidential political ring.

1. Tom Hanks

Michael Moore suggested to CNN’s Jake Tapper that Hanks would be a Democratic candidate who so many could back in 2020. “Why don’t we run beloved people? We have so many of them,” Moore said. “The Republicans do this. They run Ronald Reagan and the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and other people.” And in a recent speech, Hanks sounded downright statesman like. “We are going to be alright, because we constantly get to tell the whole world who we are,” Hanks said. “We do have the greatest country in the world.”

2. Oprah Winfrey

Moore also mentioned Oprah Winfrey, who has been a strident supporter of President Obama and Hillary Clinton. There are few celebrities who have had as much influence over our nation as Oprah. From her book club to her favorite things list, when Oprah speaks, people listen. Sure, she recently told Jimmy Kimmel that she “would never run for office,” but there are still a few years for her to change her mind.

3. Kanye West

The rapper announced his intention to run for president at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards. “It’s not about me. It’s about ideas. New ideas. People with ideas. People who believe in truth,” he said. “And as you probably have guessed by now, I have decided to run for president in 2020.”

4. Stephen Colbert

Colbert already ran for office, remember? Longtime viewers of Colbert’s late night shows know he’s got his finger on the pulse of politics in the country. He has even testified on Capitol Hill. It’s time we voted someone into office who can make us laugh – intentionally.

5. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

People’s Sexiest Man Alive 2016 is now saying “there’s a good chance” that he could run at some point. Especially because people keep asking. “And so I started to really think, could I make a difference? Could I surround myself with really brilliant people to help me make decisions? Do I care about this country? And when the answers continued to come up ‘yes,’ then I thought, there’s a good chance.”

6. Tim McGraw

The country music superstar is beloved – and a Democrat – which might help the party pick up some votes in the South. And who wouldn’t want Faith Hill as First Lady? Back in 2006, McGraw told Esquire magazine he was seriously considering entering politics in “maybe 10 or 15 years.”

About the Author

Lisa Respers is an entertainment writer for CNN.

The Rushmore Report: The 2020 Candidate Trump Fears the Most

Donald Trump is reportedly already looking ahead to the 2020 election and has his team looking into the backgrounds of potential challengers. According to the New York Post, Trump’s team is looking into four Democrats: Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, and this man – the one person Team Trump fears the most.

Multiple sources say the current administration is threatened by these potential opponents because of their ability to raise money and support quickly. However, the White House’s “biggest fear,” according to reports, is fellow political outsider Mark Cuban.

“He’s not a typical candidate,” says a Trump confidant. “He appeals to a lot of people the same way Trump did.”

Another source said, “If you believe in the Trump revolution, you can believe a candidate like Mark Cuban could win an election. And Mark is the kind of guy who would drop half a billion dollars of his own money on the race.”

Last weekend, the two billionaires got into a public squabble on Twitter. Cuban even tweeted a screenshot of an email he sent to then presidential candidate Trump in 2016, saying, “I may go after that job some day and it could be against you.”

Surprisingly, those who appear to be missing from Trump’s list include Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

The Rushmore Report: Vegas Odds on 2020 Presidential Winner

Donald Trump has not yet been inaugurated, but that isn’t stopping Vegas from taking bets on the next presidential election. The gambling site Bovada is laying the odds on who will win the election in 2020. Twenty-one names are on the list, including eight Republicans. Some of the names will surprise – the list includes potential candidates named Biden, Clinton, Sanders, and Obama. Yes – Obama. Here’s the list.

John Kasich (40/1) – Bovada ranks several Republicans, which means they would have to replace Trump as the Republican nominee. Ohio’s governor famously skipped the GOP convention because he didn’t support Donald Trump.

Marco Rubio (33/1) – Note that several people are tied at 33-to-1 odds. Rubio, a Florida senator, famously feuded with Trump during the 2016 primaries, earning the nickname “Little Marco.”

Kamala Harris (33/1) – The first Democrat on the list, she was just elected as a California senator after previously serving as the state’s attorney general. She’ll only have four years of experience in 2020, but President Obama also only had four years experience when he was elected president in 2008.

Nikki Haley (33/1) – The South Carolina governor and new member of the Trump cabinet is a rising Republican star and favorite among young conservatives.

Trey Gowdy (33/1) – The South Carolina Republican congressman is known for talking tough and he has a strong legal background.

Kristen Gillibrand (33/1) – The Democratic junior senator from New York has vowed to recruit more women for political office.

Ted Cruz (33/1) – The Republican Texas senator battled Trump for the 2016 nomination and unenthusiastically endorsed him.

Catherine Cortez Masto (33/1) – The Democratic senator-elect from Nevada will be the first Latina senator. Like Harris, she will only have had four years of Senate experience in 2020.

Michael Bloomberg (33/1) – The former mayor of New York City considered running in 2016 and probably regrets that he didn’t, so 2020 could be his year.

Joe Biden (33/1) – The outgoing vice-president considered running against Hillary Clinton in 2016 but decided not to after the 2015 death of his son Beau. Biden is popular, particularly with working class voters whom Trump lured from the Democrats. He’ll be 77 in 2020, which would make him the oldest person to win the presidency if he won.

Bernie Sanders (20/1) – The Vermont senator came close to upsetting Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. But in 2020, he’ll be 79.

Amy Klobuchar (20/1) – The Minnesota senator is extremely popular in her home state and a rising star in the Democratic party.

Hillary Clinton (20/1) – After losing the Democratic nomination in 2008 and coming so close to the presidency in 2016, does the former Secretary of State have it in her to try again? She’ll turn 73 in 2020, but Trump is eight months older.

Julian Castro (20/1) – The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is a Texas native and considered a future leader among Democrats. He could put the state of Texas in play for the Democrats.

Cory Booker (20/1) – The New Jersey senator is a talented campaigner and speaker and is one of the most prominent African-American Democrats. He is also very popular among his peers.

Elizabeth Warren (14/1) – The Massachusetts senator could pick up supporters of the Sanders movement. She has feuded with Trump, but also has expressed a willingness to work with him on certain issues.

Tim Kaine (14/1) – Clinton’s running mate knows his way around Washington and may be the de facto candidate given his role as her understudy.

Michelle Obama (12/1) – The First Lady is terrifically popular, but has said the job doesn’t interest her. That may change after a few years of Donald Trump.

Paul Ryan (10/1) – The House Speaker is a star among traditional conservatives, but it will take a TV drama worth of surprises for him to somehow replace Trump as the presidential nominee, but that’s true of every other Republican on this list, too.

Mike Pence (10/1) – The new vice-president would be the obvious candidate to replace Trump if he opts to not seek a second term.

Donald Trump (2/1) – The president-elect will be the man to beat, assuming he seeks a second term. So far, there’s no reason to think he won’t.

The Rushmore Report: The Man Who Can Beat Trump in 2020

Now that the 2016 presidential election is in the books – discounting the ridiculous Wisconsin recount backed by Hillary Clinton – it’s time to start the next election cycle. With the 2020 election a mere 1,439 days away, let’s look at the potential candidates best positioned to take the presidency from Mr. Trump. While there are several viable candidates looming, there is one man in particular that should worry Republican leaders.

It’s only a matter of time before some potential candidates stick out their heads to evaluate the competition – and not just Democrats, either. President-elect Donald Trump may have to fend off primary challenges, as well. Before we get to the one man best positioned to win in 2020, here’s a quick look at the other contestants.

Democrats

John Bel Edwards – This is the “bubba” candidate for the Democrats. The newly elected Governor of Louisiana is also pro-life. He is perfect to cut into the Republican base of pro-life white voters in the South.

Bill de Blasio – The mayor of New York City is a big-city progressive, just what the base wants. His problem is a 40 percent approval rating in his own city.

Cory Booker – The New Jersey Senator is the best chance for America to have its next black president. He can also rival Donald Trump on social media use.

Julian Castro – The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and former mayor of San Antonio would bring more Hispanics into the party and perhaps even put Texas in play.

Andrew Cuomo – The attractive New York Governor is better connected than any other potential candidate. His strength will be in fund-raising.

Tulsi Gabbard – The Representative from Hawaii endorsed Bernie Sanders in 2016. With his backing, and as the lone woman in the race, she could go a long way.

Tim Kaine – As the 2016 Vice Presidential candidate, he is expected to be a lead candidate early on. But Kaine will run into one problem. He is boring.

Amy Klobuchar – See Tulsi Gabbard.

Thomas Perez – As President Obama’s Secretary of Labor, Perez did an outstanding job. As a Hispanic, he could rival Castro for a growing segment of the Democratic base.

Bernie Sanders – Yes, he’ll be 105 on Inauguration Day, 2021. But his followers will “feel the burn” one more time. Sanders is the wildcard in the 2020 race. He probably won’t run, but if he does, he could surprise – again.

Elizabeth Warren – The early frontrunner is a darling among Progressives. But early frontrunners rarely win. Just ask Presidents Gary Hart and Rudy Giuliani.

Republicans

Ted Cruz – The “rebel without a pause” may jump in early, if Trump backs off any promises made to hardline conservatives. Trump’s best move may be to appoint him to the Supreme Court.

John Kasich – The maverick from Ohio never endorsed Trump; he would be on good footing to make an outsider bid. But his party loyalty may keep him from running.

Now – The One Man to Really Watch

Sherrod Brown – Haven’t heard of him? That works in his favor. Had you heard of Bernie Sanders before he ran? Sherrod Brown is the Democrats’ best hopes for three reasons . . .

1. He is a Senator from Ohio. No Republican has won the White House without carrying Ohio since Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860. Brown has won four statewide races in Ohio. If nominated, he will carry Ohio for the Democrats. And that makes it nearly impossible for the Republicans to win the national election.

2. He is a beloved progressive. Brown can garner the support of fellow-Senator Bernie Sanders. He is a populist/progressive who can run within the mainstream of the Democratic Party.

3. Brown can run as an outsider. Sure, he is a U.S. Senator. But had you heard of him? At a time when Americans want an outsider, he fits the bill.

So there you go . . . I am the first to declare the name of Trump’s greatest challenge in 2020. Does that mean the Democratic Party will nominate Sherrod Brown? No. Does it mean they should? Probably.