It’s only 2017, but the Democratic field for the 2020 presidential election is slowly beginning to take shape. At the moment, the field is fairly shallow in terms of national name recognition, and only a handful of names carry a national donor pool, but there are many others just waiting to break into the top tier. For the moment, however, it’s the party of Bernie and Joe.

The Hill surveyed a large group of “Democratic insiders” to guage their sense of where the field was sitting and which candidates were rising to the top.

A year after a devastating 2016 defeat, Democrats are craving new faces with fresh ideas. Yet many of their leading contenders for the White House in 2020 are politicians who have been around for decades.

There’s also no clear standout in the potential field.

“You have a bunch of Celine Dions but there’s no Beatles,” said Phil Singer, a Democratic strategist who served as press secretary on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential run.

The fortunes of potential candidates can change quickly. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), for example, was regarded just a few weeks ago as a potential dark horse candidate in 2020, but that changed instantly when sexual misconduct charges surfaced against him.

The Hill interviewed nearly a dozen prominent Democrats to find out who has captured the party’s attention in recent months and who has fallen out of favor.

Here are the top 3 names so far, with some background and reasoning for each selection:

1. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Advisers to the senator are telegraphing that Sanders is eyeing a 2020 run — and his network is already ready to go, with supporters convinced that he was the candidate who would have beaten President Trump in 2016.

“His people have never gone away,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon. “And he has a loyal core following out there that will be with him come hell or high water.”

Also working in Sanders’s favor, Bannon said, is the leftward shift of the Democratic Party.

“The Sanders wing is becoming the dominant wing of the party,” he said.

Still, strategists note that Sanders would be 79 in 2020, which could work against him at a time when Democrats are hungry for change.

2. Joe Biden

The former vice president’s book tour has kept him in the spotlight at a time when Democrats are nostalgic for the Obama years.

While playing it coy about his 2020 plans, Biden has consistently been talking about Democratic values and how the party can win back frustrated blue-collar workers who voted for Trump.

“He’s the perfect antidote to Trump,” said former Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.). “And he has broad appeal in areas of the country we have to win.”

Added Singer: “He probably has the best voice at this stage of the game.”

With sexual harassment back in the headlines, however, Biden has faced new criticism recently for his treatment of Anita Hill, an attorney who accused her then-boss Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during hearings in 1991.

Hill told The Washington Post this week that Biden has yet to take “ownership” for how she was treated during the hearings; at the time, Biden was the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. Biden apologized recently, but Hill said it wasn’t enough.

If he chooses to run, Biden will also have to contend with his age. He’ll turn 78 in 2020.

3. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

Many Democrats say women are having a moment — so why not nominate a woman who is wildly popular with the Democratic base?

Every strategist and political observer interviewed by The Hill mentioned Warren consistently as a top contender for 2020. Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons was one of them; he said the recent wave of sexual harassment allegations makes it more likely that a woman wins the 2020 nomination.

“I’m not sure a man can get nominated as the Democratic nominee right now,” Simmons said. “There are some who could and should, but the level of vetting on male candidates will be more intense than normal. Democrats should be looking for people to capture this energy that is out there right now and I think Elizabeth Warren belongs at the top of that list.”

Two things not in Warren’s favor: There’s no love lost for her in Obama World, and she’d be 71 by the time 2020 rolls around.

The age of these three averages to 73 years. That’s a fairly old number for the top candidates in the field. Yes, Donald Trump was 70 when he won the White House. But if you add two more years, the average age of these three kicks up to 75 years which means they would be pushing 80 by the time re-election came around. That’s not to seem ageist over the issue, and maybe 70 is the new 50 when it comes to presidential politics, but it also may create an age gap with younger Democratic voters. Then again, the college crowd seemed to lover Bernie over Hillary so perhaps age is less important than a candidate’s ability to connect.

Here’s the rest of the list as it stands:

4. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)
5. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
6. Deval Patrick

Harris should probably swap places with Elizabeth Warren on that list. In fact, I just don’t see Warren going very far in 2020 despite her past popularity. There are plenty of others to take on the progressive mantle and she’d be competing with Bernie for that lane as well, and he already has a wide national donor base and name recognition far beyond hers.

Sherrod Brown and Deval Patrick are probably mere placeholders in this list.

Can we be so lucky to watch Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders go at each other on the debate stage for a few months? That would be be some entertaining political television.


  1. The list should include Hillary. She is keeping in the public eye, and after losing, she thinks she can win, just like President Adlai Stevenson. Or Tom Dewey.

    Losers have not been renominated for over 50 years for a reason.

    • Clearly the Dem insiders polled for this survey didn’t think her name should be on the list. Either they don’t think she’s going to run or they don’t want her to run. I don’t think she’s going to run.

  2. It is so funny to see how hard up the Democrats are these days. That Bernie Sanders who will be 79 come election day of 2020 and Joe Biden who will be a few days shy of 78 at this time, only means one thing. The Democrats are DESPERATE.?

    All I can say is that I hope that the Democrats are foolish enough to have as their candidate one of these two, it will be a cakewalk for President Trump.?

      • You can count!!! Still 75 is a far cry from 78 or 79. What is it they say, for every year difference in a senior there seems like how many years of change.

        • Wow, talk about convincing people of accepting age.. LOL..

          Old Men with Limp Dks fighting over a bone.. What a comedy that will be.. LOL…
          @Straight Shooter says: It is so funny to see how hard up the Democrats are these days. That Bernie Sanders who will be 79 come election day of 2020 and Joe Biden who will be a few days shy of 78 at this time, only means one thing. The Democrats are DESPERATE

          Well, there is the contradiction folks.. StraightShooter is trying to convince people that voting for a 70-ish yr old is a good thing.. However, laughs at the fact that voting for a 70-ish yr old is desperation..

          Typical of a Reichtie!!!!!… Maybe you oughta think before you write you comment so that it makes sense..

          • Should your handle be WITLESS, or are you another who can’t count. I suggest you re-read my post very, very slowly and perhaps you will understand what I am trying to say. ?

            I shouldn’t be so harsh on you. You probably are a product of the American education system. That fact compounded with your liberalism, you should be applauded. Most would think that you have a head of mush, but you can actually string sentences together.?

          • Then you’re saying President Trump is a very wealthy moron. A moron in your opinion. I wish I was a wealthy moron if that is your definition.

            Putin. What a farce. Did you forget that Hillary wanted to “Reset” relations with Russia/Putin. So it is obvious that Hillary is the Putin lover.

            • Wow, how the Reich likes to twist words.. Can’t distinguish the difference between Diplomatic and someone who depended on a Foreign Country to get elected..

              Wow, wealthy or not it don’t matter a moron is a moron, a narcissist is a narcissist.. Just because he has money doesn’t make him flawless..

              Well, I wouldn’t bet on those tax cuts making you wealthy.. You are better off going and playing the lottery or get a job and work hard and stop buying the latest electronics..

            • No one has ever told me how the Russians got me to vote for Trump. So, tell me, how did they do it? What proof is there that Trump did anything wrong?

              Doubling the personal exemption will affect my tax return. Quit worrying about whether the wealthy get a tax break. They got a tax break under Obama. They’ll always get tax breaks. That is the way the system works.

            • There is zero research to be done. Except to read Fake News. That’s the real reason you’ve said ” Do your own research. ” Nada. Zippo.

              You lost and are having a hard time dealing with it. The people gave the elite the middle finger. Waaaaaa.

    • LOL.. I dunno, after yesterdays revelation with Flynn, that is a far fetch thing to be saying..

      Flynn pleading guilty means there is a lot more to the story than meets the eye.. He’s singing now!!

      What was his phrase standing on that convention stage: “If you want immunity you must be guilty” He didn’t get immunity but he did get off on lessor charges..

      They want the big fish!!.. Flynn is nothing but a pawn in this thing.. It is not going to end by no means..

      • You are absolutely correct, this will not end anytime soon. I can see in the near future the reopening of Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay. Here they will jail the scum of the scum.?

        You and your snowflake friends should be prepared to see Billary, Bubba, Chelsea and the rest of the CLINTON CRIME FAMILY in prison jump suits. Don’t worry because they won’t be lonely. O’Bugger, Holder, Lynch and the majority of that crooked administration will also be locked up with the Clinton clan.?

        When this happens and it surely will, I don’t know if I can watch the deterioration of you and your precious libtard friends again.?

  3. Sanders, Biden, and Hillary. Hum. Doesn’t the Democrat party have anybody who isn’t drawing Social Security that wants to be president.

    • Donald Trump has been eligible for drawing social security for over 10 years.
      These Trump’s cabinet members are also eligible for social security:
      Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services, 62
      Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, 64
      Steve Bannon, Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor, 64
      Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation, 64
      Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, 65
      Andrew Puzder, Secretary of Labor, 66
      Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy, 66
      General John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security, 66
      General James Mattis, Secretary of Defense, 66
      Jeff Sessions, Attorney General, 70
      Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, 79

      • Many are successful million/billionaires. Who would you want handling/dealing with your/public money successful people or young broke kids?

        Personally I’d want successful business people, like those in Trump’s cabinet, handling my money.

        • The millionaire/billionaire people you speak of did not accumulate their wealth, unless inherited, without a few dubious transactions. That’s the Art of the Deal.

          To be successful in life doesn’t mean being rich or being top dog. It means you deal from the top of the deck. It means being fair and honest with your fellow man.

          Example: Wilbur Ross as secretary of commerce is responsible for policies to create jobs in our country. Ross made his money buying up struggling or bankrupt companies on the cheap. Knowingly taking advantage of another struggling citizen may be to your liking but it is a blaring character flaw.

          In 1990, when Trump’s Taj Mahal casino was careening toward bankruptcy, Wilbur Ross brokered the deal that allowed Trump to keep 50% of the casino so it’s easy to see how he got his present job. Forbes has just removed Wilbur Ross from their millionaire/billionaire list because he lied about his true wealth. “After examining the financial-disclosure forms he filed after his nomination to President Donald Trump’s Cabinet,” Forbes said, “Ross’s net worth now appears to be less than $700 million”. And you want this man, a proven liar and cheat, handling your money?

          I think I’ll take the broke kids if you are meaning the one’s fresh out of college who want to be good citizens and save the world.

          • You did some great research. Thanks.

            Yes, go ahead and take the fresh broke kids out of college. I’m sure they’ll learn the ropes and eventually fail their way to success. Personally, I’d rather have experienced people handle my money and give me advice.

            When buying a house people look for experienced brokers. They feel more comfortable with them. There is a huge difference between people with real life experience and those who’ve only had “book knowledge.”

            • If you have to pay to let someone else to tell you how to handle your money then you are either inept or just plain lazy.

              If you have to pay a broker to sell or buy a house the same rule applies—you are either inept or just plain lazy. If your new home value is $250,000 then you will pay a broker’s fee of about $20,000 or more depending on where you live. $20,000. is a year’s groceries for the average family.

              Even a little “book knowledge” would tell you when you’ve been had.

            • You obviously don’t have a clue about investing. Only a fool, which you must be, acts as their own attorney. I was a broker for 20 years and only a fool would sell their own home. I Guarantee you a broker would save a person tens of thousands of dollars.

              But go ahead and sell your home. You’ll learn. I’ll also gladly invest with Berkshire. They’ll make money while you’ll make peanuts.

              I’m glad you showed me your ignorance as I actually thought you knew what you were talking about.

            • Unless you own your own agency, according to, at the present time, most real estate agents earn a median salary of about $36,000 per year. The top producing agents do make more, and agents who sell one home every few months earn much less. Whichever category you fall under, it is an 18 hour a day job if you’re successful.

              Personnel investment, like Berkshire, have nothing to do with being a real estate agent or any other form of employment. No where will find any Buffet advise on allowing anyone to manage your money other than yourself.

              We are all entitled to opinions but that doesn’t make you right. You write with malicious intent, and that is a simple form of bullying. Surely you can do better than that.

            • You, not yours truly, was the First to say that I was Inept. In other words you said I was ignorant. So you need to take your own advice about not bullying. Liberals, like you, tend to be the ones who degrade others but then don’t like it when someone else uses that same tactic. Why?

              When I sold real estate I was married to my job. I worked easily 18 hours a day. I set a goal of selling 4 homes a month. When i finally became a broker there were obvious rewards and responsibilities. But I was tired of seeing the boss carry his millions to the bank while I slaved away. So I wanted some of the action. I never took millions to the bank but I finally earned a decent living.

              I mentioned Berkshire because you’d said something about the fact that I must have been lazy to want professionals to handle others/my money. Why wouldn’t you want a professional to deal with others money? Example: Pension funds are run by professionals. Pension fund companies do extremely well.

    • Don’t the Reich have someone who isn’t drawing SS as well..

      Thats interesting that the Reich brings up age.. How contradictive, but, nothing new for the Reich…

      • I was referring to the fact that it serms that the Democrat party doesn’t have any youth that wants to be president.

        • The return of young voters to the Democratic fold also may have a bearing on who is chosen to run. The party needs to remember that their recent presidential wins came with younger man…Kennedy, Clinton and Obama. The democrats have several hopeful in this range. Julian Castro of Texas (43), Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey (48); Eric Garcetti of Calif (46); Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio (44), Sen. Chris Murphy of Conn (44); Rep. Seth Moulton of Mass (39) and Mark Zuckerberg of Calif (43). All are interested in making the run.

  4. My Favorite Candidate is Tulsi Gabbard, She is only 36 and She has served in the Military, She has strong Progressive values that would resonate with Rustbelt voters. She has Poise, but she speaks Authoritatively. The Contrast between her and Trump on a Debate Stage alone could win her the Election.

    Personally this is my list of Prospective Dem. Candidates for 2020:
    Sen. Bernie Sanders
    Sen. Russ Feingold
    Sen. Sherrod Brown
    Rep. Keith Ellison
    Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
    Sen. Kamala Harris
    Rep. Joaquin Castro
    Sen. Elizabeth Warren
    Gov. David Ige
    Sen. Julian Castro
    Sen. Claire McCaskil
    Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto
    Sen. Tammy Duckworth
    Rep. Val Demmings
    Sen. Amy Klobuchar
    Sen. Caroline Kennedy
    Sen. Gavin Newsom
    Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
    Gov. John Hickenlooper
    Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney
    Ken Salazar
    Dir. Jim Comey
    Gov. Maggie Hassan
    VP Al Gore
    Van Jones
    Tom Steyer
    Chelsea Clinton
    Atty Gen. Xavier Becerra
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo
    Gov. Deval Patrick
    Gov. Martin O’Malley
    Sen. Maria Cantwell
    VP Joe Biden
    Gov. Kate Brown
    Ben Affleck
    Sen. Chuck Schumer
    Chris Brown
    Gov. Marty Walsh
    Spkr. Nancy Pelosi
    Jonathan Rothschild
    Sen. Tammy Baldwin
    Anthony Foxx
    Jon Stewart
    Rep. Adam Schiff
    Sen. Mark Warner
    Myr. Rahm Emanuel
    Steve Beshear
    Bill Nye
    Sen. Cory Booker
    FLOTUS Michelle Obama
    Atty. Gen. Eric Holder
    Gov. John Bel Edwards
    Atty. Geoffrey Fieger
    Sen. Martin Heinrich
    Sen. Richard Blumenthal
    Sen. Mazie K. Hirono
    Sheryl Sandberg
    Gov. Grace Napolitano
    Sen. Jeff Merkley
    May. Kirk Caldwell
    Sec. John Kerry
    Rep. Seth Moulton
    Daniel Malloy
    Rep. Tim Ryan
    May. Eric Garcetti
    Gov. Steve Bullock
    Sen. Joe Kennedy III
    Gov. Jay Inslee
    Amb. Rufus Gifford
    Gov. Howard Dean
    Martin Heinrich
    George Clooney
    Howard Schultz
    Sen. Jon Tester
    May. Mitch Landrieu
    Stephen Colbert
    Michael Bloomberg
    Bob Iger
    Jerry Seinfeld
    Gov. Bruce Rauner
    Oprah Winfrey
    Rep. Maxine Watters
    May. Chris Coleman
    Sen. Heidi Heitkamp
    Sen. Terry McAuliffe
    Gov. Bill DeBlasio
    Sen. Bob Menendez
    Gov. Roy Cooper
    DNC Chair Tom Perez
    Jay Nixon
    Mark Zuckerberg
    Sen. Chris Murphy
    Sec. Jason Kander
    Sen. Joe Donnely
    Adv. Collin Powell
    Rep. Bart Lower
    Sen. Tim Kaine
    Mark Cuban
    Gov. Mark Dayton
    Sec. Hillary Clinton
    Sen. Lincoln Chafee
    Sen. Jim Webb
    Prospective VP candidates for 2020 (If Not Presidential Nominees.):
    David Ige
    Terry McAuliffe
    Julian Castro
    Deval Patrick
    Tulsi Gabbard
    Martin O’Malley
    Anthony Foxx
    Keith Ellison
    Caroline Kennedy
    Andrew Cuomo
    Johnathan Rothschild
    Richard Blumenthal
    John Bel Edwards
    Ken Salazar
    Jeanne Shaheen
    Gavin Newsom
    Rahm Emanuel
    Xavier Becerra
    Tammy Baldwin
    Claire McKaskil
    Russ Feingold
    Sherrod Brown
    Kamala Harris
    Maggie Hassan
    Catherine Cortez Masto
    Mazie K. Hirono
    Kate Brown
    Adam Schiff
    Geoffrey Fieger
    Tammy Duckworth
    Chris Murphy
    Tom Perez
    Al Gore
    Kirsten Gillibrand
    Jon Tester
    Eric Garcetti
    Rufus Gifford
    Amy Klobuchar
    Seth Moulton
    Grace Napolitano

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