(Tom Toles/The Washington Post)

I’m Charles Lane. In real life, I look nothing like Peter Sarsgaard.

Enjoy this installment of the Post Pundit 2020 Power Ranking, but never forget that forecasting is even more cray-cray than usual because anything — anything — can happen. Or did you miss 2016?

The Commentary

Consider the improbable fact, which emerged over the last week, that the Democratic candidates spent much of that time recycling a Republican arch-villain’s 50-year-old idea for constitutional change.

"I believe the events of 1968 constitute the clearest proof that priority must be accorded to electoral college reform," President Richard M. Nixon said in February 1969.

And mind you, Nixon won that election. It’s just that he felt his margin was dangerously narrow thanks to the reactionary — Trumpian, even — candidacy of Alabama Gov. George Wallace, a segregationist who captured 9.9 million popular votes and 46 electoral votes from the Deep South.

Who knew Tricky Dick started out on such a bipartisan note of constitutional reform?

On to the matter at hand, which is the fact that the entire primary process is a waste of time. President Trump is fated to win reelection easily, according to a Politico report on the latest models fed by key data such as wages, unemployment and gas prices. According to this brand of punditry, Democrats must hope either that there’s a sharp recession (not something you’re supposed to hope for) or that Trump’s highly unpopular persona nullifies all the good economic news.

Certainly, that’s the theory behind the deepening insertion of Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s toe into presidential waters. “I come from the Ronald Reagan school of politics,” Hogan told The Post in an interview this week, which is the sort of thing a Republican would say while auditioning to be the tribune of the roughly 40 percent of GOP voters who tell pollsters they’d like a primary challenge to Trump.

Alas for Hogan and his boosters, 40 percent is still a minority. It doesn’t seem likely that the other big recent development, the president’s bizarre posthumous attacks on John McCain, will do any more lasting harm to his grip on the party faithful than the nasty cracks he made about the senator (then still alive) at the start of his campaign in 2015.

If that changes, though, Hogan, it seems, will be ready to go.

— Charles Lane

The Ranking

Ranking not showing? Click here.

Position Challenger Change Over Last Ranking
1. Joe Biden
2. Kamala D. Harris
3. Bernie Sanders
4. Beto O’Rourke
5. (TIE) Cory Booker UP 2
5. (TIE) Amy Klobuchar UP 1
7. Elizabeth Warren DOWN 2
8. Pete Buttigieg UP 1
9. John Hickenlooper DOWN 1
10. Michael Bennet
11. Julián Castro RETURNS TO RANKING
12. Kirsten Gillibrand DOWN 1
13. Jay Inslee DOWN 1
14. Howard Schultz DOWN 1
15. Andrew Yang ADDS TO RANKING

Falls off ranking: Stacey Abrams, Nikki Haley

Also receiving votes: Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan, John Delaney

Last week’s ranking: Round 7 | It’s time for Democrats to make a huge 2020 choice. (Republicans, too.)

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, just try to do Nixon proud.

Read more on 2020:

Greg Sargent: How Democrats can defeat Trump and his ugly ideas, according to Pete Buttigieg

Catherine Rampell: The GOP has turned into the boy who cried socialism

Karen Tumulty: Don’t do it, Stacey Abrams

Henry Olsen: Think before you defend the electoral college, conservatives

Jennifer Rubin: How Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren seized their moment to shine