The 2020 Democratic field is crowded, we keep hearing. Everybody wants to be president, allegedly—Mark Zuckerberg! The Rock! Your uncle who’s always thought he had some pretty good ideas! “How can you possibly tell someone they shouldn’t run for president? There’s no one on the planet who you can tell, ‘That’s crazy,’ ” former Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri told the Washington Post. Wrong. Trump’s win may have opened the doors to a wider variety of candidates than we’ve seen in the past, but there are still some people who need to be told, “No.”
In an article titled “The Trump Effect: Everyone’s Thinking of Running for President,” the Post underlines the potentially crowded nature of the field, and the concern, noted prominently by Michael Bloomberg—who is also, ironically, speculated to be interested in running—that if too many Democrats make it into the 2020 primary they’d eat each other’s souls in the same way the Republicans did last year. But here’s why people are so tempted, according to the Post:
The president’s low poll numbers suggest a real opportunity for whomever the Democrats pick as their standard-bearer.
“Everybody assumes that Trump will be dead meat by 2020,” said former Democratic National Committee chairman Don Fowler.
Hm, where did I hear that before? And speaking of stupid fucking mistakes in the Democratic party’s near future, there are a few names in particular that should not be coming up and yet keep coming up. As I read this mild, matter-of-fact article about all the idiots making up this crowded field we keep hearing so much about, I felt an overwhelming urge to set my comforter on fire. As my colleague Hamilton Nolan pointed out earlier this year, the Democratic party has not done an enormous amount thus far to demonstrate that they’ve taken the correct lessons from their 2016 election loss, a feeling compounded by the stubborn, looming presence of stale celebrity Democrats like Caroline Kennedy and John Kerry. This is, unfortunately, still the case.
The Post article noted the potential ambitions of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who recently saw nine members of his inner circle charged with corruption and who was accused of inappropriately intervening in a state anticorruption mission when it got too close to him—what could possibly go wrong? Then there’s Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who recently announced that Virginia will comply with the Paris Accord in defiance of Trump. A longtime friend of the Clintons, McAuliffe was the subject of a federal investigation into his campaign contributions and was described in 2013 by a Mother Jones reporter as being unique for “his brazen mixing of his campaign fundraising activity and attempts to enrich himself personally.”
Sounds great so far! The Post also mentions Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, under whose watch the city has seen a 43 percent increase in traffic deaths, and who is known to plead ignorance when faced with difficult questions about things like gentrification or his gutting of the public library system.
Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, the distant third-place finisher in the 2016 Democratic primary, has been the most active of the presumed hopefuls. He has shown up in 13 states since the election, campaigning and raising money for candidates, and speaking at party dinners.
O’Malley “made friends here,” said former DNC head Fowler, who lives in South Carolina. “There are some people here who have an affinity for him.”
Then, of course, there’s Joe Biden, who will be pushing 80 years old in 2020 and has his fair share of baggage. And don’t get me started on Bernie Sanders, who is even older than Joe Biden. Elizabeth Warren, too, will be battling with this issue if she decides to run, though she has arguably more going for her and, you know, women live longer than men.
Here’s what the Democrats don’t need: people who have been accused of corruption. Anyone with anything close to a billion dollars. People who are perceived as being particularly close to the Clintons. People who don’t know why they’re running. People who are old as hell. This is all incredibly obvious. What is going on?