Beto and Ex-Governors Stop Biding Time, Gun for Presidency
Where Things Stand
After a two-week hiatus, we have a much fuller field taking shape. Here’s what our field of fourteen looks like:
- John Delaney
- Andrew Yang (back on the list because he met the 65,000 donor threshold and will included in the first primary debate)
- Elizabeth Warren
- Tulsi Gabbard
- Julián Castro
- Kirsten Gillibrand
- Kamala Harris
- Pete Buttigieg
- Cory Booker
- Amy Klobuchar
- Bernie Sanders
- Jay Inslee
- John Hickenlooper
- Beto O’Rourke
The Exit Ramp: two moderates, Michael Bloomberg and Sherrod Brown, bowed out – likely in deference to Biden’s firm ownership of the “middle-of-the-road” lane in the 2020 contest.
Who’s up next?
- So, Joe Bidenis running. It’s just a question of when.
Keep an eye on …
- Stacey Abrams
- Seth Moulton
On Beto, Inslee and Hickenlooper
We had three big entrants in the 2020 primary over the past two weeks – and here are some brief thoughts on all of them.
Those who know me know that I’m a big fan of Beto. I think his historic challenge to Ted Cruz was ground-breaking in how to run state-wide races and he was an incredibly inspirational candidate.
That said, I’m less sold on the idea of a Beto run for president. While the move from the House to Senate made sense, we rarely see the jump from House. Beyond that, the lack of specificity in message and policy – while passable in a statewide campaign – probably won’t fly on the presidential level.
That said, I think the Beto candidacy offers a lot of opportunities. It’s hard to deny the importance of his youthfulness and energy in a campaign like this – especially at a time ripe for generational change. He’s also demonstrated a commitment to campaigning across the country, which will bring more folks into the fold beyond the conventional early states that typically dominate the nomination process.
While his single-issue candidacy isn’t primed to win the nomination, I think he’s doing the country and the party a very important service by elevating climate change to the forefront of the political dialogue. Now, every candidate will be forced to put their plans for mitigating and preventing climate disaster on the record – and voters will be more inclined to keep the issue top-of-mind in the voting booth.
That’s ridiculously important for the most significant national security challenge of our lifetime.
I didn’t know much about Hickenlooper until his launch – but I like a lot what I’ve seen so far. He has a fascinating story, rising from successful brewery owner to governor presiding over one of the hottest economies in the country. His success as an executive in transforming Colorado into one of the strongest states in the Union is a testament to his abilities, and his moderate streak with commitment to core progressive values like universal health care, racial equality, and combatting climate change is laudably unique.
His main challenge will be getting his story before an electorate that generally doesn’t know who he is. Also, in a year with a ton of diversity in identity and ideology among the field, another moderate white man doesn’t necessarily stand out. But that makes his candidacy so exciting – I can’t wait to see how he tries to carve out some space for himself over the next year or so.
On My Mind
We’re coming up on the first of the Democratic debates, tentatively slated to start sometime in early summer. This will finally give us the policy debate we’ve all been waiting for (or, at least, I hope it well).
Ideally, we can sort out our “Medicare for All” quagmire and start talking specifics. I want to see some real discussion over single-payer versus Medicare buy-in – as it seems like we’ve been talking past each other rather than let ideas clash. Then, I hope we can dive into specifics on climate change mitigation and prevention (where Inslee’s voice will be huge) and poverty reduction (where Warren and Harris will shine).
In all, I’m looking forward to seeing style AND substance – and if the media can cover it right, we may be able to get a better sense of who actually has a good shot to be president here.