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.
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.
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.