(Tom Toles/The Washington Post)

I’m Hugh Hewitt, and this is Round 56. In this season of shock, it’s a good thing to focus on the younger political talent with bright futures. And by “focus on,” we mean “rank.” Read on for the 2020 also-rans who have the rosiest paths forward.

The Commentary

I thought Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) would be the nominee, and I still think she’s the best bet to join Joe Biden on the ticket. She has terrific political gifts, but everyone not named Barack Obama has had a tough go of their first run for president, even when successful, as with George W. Bush. Her run was a learning experience that provided an invaluable lesson to Harris, who will show she’s a quick study come fall if Biden makes the obvious selection.

The imperturbable Pete Buttigieg also demonstrates skill sets that will surely land him in the Cabinet if Biden wins. The same can be said for Julián Castro, Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) and, yes, even Beto O’Rourke, who came through for Biden in Texas and won’t be forgotten if a Biden administration assembles. I would not be surprised to see the mayor at the traditional landing spot for individuals with his set of skills: HUD. Beto is more of a White House job candidate — a superb surrogate, especially on gun issues.

My old friend Tim Ryan also lined up behind Biden, and early on. Ryan has a future in a Democratic Party looking for its roots along the Ohio-Pennsylvania border and even in the “state up north,” as Buckeyes say of their rival. Count on Ryan playing a big role in a Biden administration, or possibly in a reconfigured House leadership. Ryan needs to work western Pennsylvania, where he’s beloved, while Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (an emerging superstar for the D’s) works Philly and, indeed, the whole of the Keystone State.

I believe everyone else is out of the presidential sweepstakes for good. Age, a terrible showing, or simply an inability to connect with donors or interest groups seem likely to send them in different directions. Though if I ran the search committee for any major industry trade association, I’d reach out to John Delaney. Same with big corporations.

In a time of trouble and fear, it’s good to know both parties have deep benches of well-meaning people with the ability to communicate even with folks they disagree with. But Sen. Harris — her star is still the brightest.

— Hugh Hewitt

The Ranking

Don’t forget to click on the chart’s yellow highlighted text to see the rest of the Ranking Committee’s annotations.

Position Rising Star
1. Kamala D. Harris
2. Pete Buttigieg
3. Amy Klobuchar
4. Cory Booker
5. Elizabeth Warren
6. Julián Castro
7. Andrew Yang
8. Steve Bullock

Also receiving votes: Kirsten Gillibrand, John Hickenlooper, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, Mike Bloomberg

Last week’s ranking: Round 55 | The 11 likeliest people to be Biden’s VP

From the Annotations

It’s not entirely clear what this fascinating newcomer wants, but the fact that people care about the answer shows just how far he has come. Now the coronavirus will give the public a taste of Yang’s universal basic income. The most intriguing new face in politics in quite some time.

David Von Drehle, on Andrew Yang

Beto self-sabotaged by pulling left in the presidential primary. I’m not sure how he comes back from this in modern-day Texas. But I’m sure he’ll try!

David Byler, on Beto O'Rourke

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments. We’ll see you for the next ranking. Until then, let your star shine on, too.

Read more on 2020:

Jennifer Rubin: Bernie Sanders has some nerve

Henry Olsen: We can and must prevent coronavirus from upending our elections. Here’s how.

Jonathan Capehart: Biden wants a woman as his running mate. Val Demings could be the one.

David Byler: Sanders should drop out of the Democratic primary for the sake of public health

Election 2020 live updates