Jennifer Rubin here with this week’s commentary. Remember that no matter how Democrats erred, no one had as calamitous a week as President Trump.
With so many candidates already in the 2020 race, it’s hard to remember we’re not even close to the end of announcement season. Consider: We’ve yet to hear decisions from Joe Biden, Beto O’Rourke, John Hickenlooper, and the Middle America offices of Bullock, Bennet & Brown.
But that doesn’t mean the race lacks excitement. This week, we saw four critical developments:
First, with Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) talking about not just Medicare-for-all but reparations for slavery, there seems to be no left boundary for some candidates. You have to wonder whether Democrats will come to regret progressive positions that may harm them down the road. They should worry, if only a little, about playing into President Trump’s “socialist” stereotype.
That brings us to the second development: We really don’t have a standout moderate who will appeal to Democrats who are centrists and/or just want to win. As I have written, this is an underserved market in the party. Perhaps Biden will appeal to such voters. Maybe Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), a progressive who nevertheless shows restraint when it comes to adopting the leftist flavor of the week, will be able to energize the progressive wing while giving centrists the reliable candidate they seek.
Third, and speaking of moderates, this might be the week Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) finally shed the boss-from-hell rap and saw a chance to corner the market for centrist Democrats. Putting out a list of 60 former employees who adore her was a clever move, and voters don’t seem to care about the issue.
Fourth, money! Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) swore off big-ticket fundraising events, but we’ll have to wait to find out whether it’s a populist masterstroke or a sign of weakness. Little-ticket fundraiser Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) pulled in a ton ($10 million, reportedly) in his first week but got tripped up when asked when he’ll release his tax returns. “Soon,” he answered. Unless “soon” is “in the next week or so,” look for this to become a sore point with Democrats, who otherwise have a darn good case that Trump is the most financially compromised president in history.
|Position||Challenger||Change Over Last Ranking|
|1.||Kamala D. Harris||—|
|2.||Joe Biden||UP 1|
|3.||Bernie Sanders||UP 1|
|4.||Amy Klobuchar||DOWN 2|
|5.||Cory Booker||UP 1|
|6.||Elizabeth Warren||DOWN 1|
|9.||Pete Buttigieg||UP 1|
|10.||Michael Bloomberg||UP 1|
|11.||Kirsten Gillibrand||DOWN 2|
|13.||John Hickenlooper||UP 1|
|14.||Howard Schultz||DOWN 1|
|15.||Julián Castro||RETURNS TO RANKING|
Falls off ranking: Bill Weld
Also receiving votes: Jeff Merkley, Stacey Abrams, Tim Ryan
Last week’s ranking: Round 4 | Bernie (and policy) ascendant
Following week’s ranking: Round 6 | 2020 hopefuls are hopping off the fence. But one’s already on deathwatch.
Don’t forget to click on the yellow highlighted text above to expand the Ranking Committee’s annotations. Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments. We’ll see you for the next ranking. Until then, good luck finding 60 former coworkers who adore you.
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