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With the 2018 midterms just heating up, it’s never too soon to start looking a little further into early next year when Democratic candidates will come running from every direction to challenge President Trump in 2020. At a conference for progressive activists this past week, several top Democratic contenders attended to offer their vision for the country and rally the base for battles in 2018 and beyond.

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Politico reports on the Netroots Nation conference, which took place in New Orleans, providing an outlet for Democratic hopefuls looking to build name awareness and sharpen their messaging:

An unwieldy field of top Democrats clamored for critical ground in the run-up to the 2020 presidential primary over the weekend, courting progressive activists as they tilt toward a full-on campaign.

In a three-day audition of presidential campaign themes at the annual Netroots Nation conference, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) pledged not to be “shut up” by critics of “identity politics,” while Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) lamented “things that are savagely wrong in this country.”

At a forum across town, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called the criminal justice system “racist … front to back.”

For a Democratic Party desperate to keep its focus on the looming midterms, the gathering laid bare how quickly attentions can turn to 2020 — and how volatile the pre-primary contest remains.

No first-tier Democrat has announced that he or she will run. But when Cedric Richmond, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, asked Warren whether anything had changed since her decision not to seek the presidency in 2016, Warren replied, “Two words: Donald Trump.” [Emphasis added]

I emphasized that last sentence because it’s almost a declaration on the part of Warren to say she’s indeed running in 2020. In fact, it’s almost certain she’s running. The others mentioned will certainly run also since they believe the electoral environment will favor Democrats and each of them are hungry to take on Donald Trump.

The 2020 Democratic field will be wide and fractured, there will be candidates from all points on the political spectrum from center-left to far-left progressive. However, aside from Bernie Sanders, who frequently tops the list of 2020 candidates, Sen. Kamala Harris, of California, has seen her stock rising, according to SFGate:

Oddsmakers are bullish on California Senator Kamala Harris’ 2020 presidential chances.

According to online betting site Oddshark, Harris has surged into a tie with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for the best Democratic odds to win the 2020 presidential election.

Oddschecker, a site that compares odds across a number of prominent betting sites, also found that Harris consistently receives better odds than her Democratic counterparts.

The site gives Kamala Harris 9/2 odds to win the Democratic nomination, followed by Joe Biden with 11/2 odds.

For what it’s worth, I can see Biden as a top contender, but even his big personality might get lost in such a large field. Who embodies the ideal candidate Democrats would like to put forth in a challenge to President Trump? Some conventional wisdom says the candidate should be female, and perhaps a minority, to try and bring out the same coalition that twice-elected Barack Obama. Harris would fit that mold but she’s never been tested in a national campaign. Ultimately the 2020 Democratic primary will be bruising and testing for each candidate despite calls to stay united against Republicans.

If you’re interested in watching any of the potential 2020 Democratic candidates speak at the 2018 Netroots Nation conference, check their video archive.

2020 Resources:
2020 Primary Schedule
2020 Democratic Candidate List

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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