Politics

A Look at President Trump’s Top Challengers Come 2020

2019 is almost here and that means 2020 is closing in as well. President Donald Trump will be up for re-election in 2020 and, unlike the 2016 race, he’ll have to face off against a Democrat who will be emerging from a tough and contested primary race. In 2016, Hillary Clinton was all but gifted her nomination by the DNC establishment.

That’s not going to happen next time around, and the increased competition will likely produce an even more vigorous race. Come 2020, several viable Democrat challengers will be looking to get their name on the ballot. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest names in the field.

Strongest Democrat Candidates Right Now

Beto O’Rourke

Beto O’Rourke just lost a hotly contested Senate race against a Republican in Texas. So how does a “loser” end up on the list? Despite his loss, O’Rourke generated a ton of buzz in his campaign and nearly managed to flip a solidly red state. Many believe that he’d be a lock in more liberal states and districts.

O’Rourke favors looser immigration policies, universal healthcare, and other left-wing policies. He’s a star among progressives, having taken first place with 15.6 percent in a MoveOn.org straw poll. He’s also polling at 8 percent in Iowa. This might not sound like much, but keep in mind that O’Rourke has neither declared his intent to run for president nor is he putting much by the way of resources into Iowa. He’s winning over voters simply with the prospect of running.

Former Vice President Joe Biden

If O’Rourke is a star on the rise, Biden is an old horse looking to upset what might arguably be a young person’s game come 2020. Biden nearly challenged Hillary Clinton in 2016 but decided against it. The former vice president has claimed that he’s the most qualified for the job, which is hard to deny given his “vice” title.

Still, Biden is already 76 years old and he won’t be getting any younger between now and 2020. Biden will also be at risk of being labeled a centrist, arguably corporate Democrat, much in the same vein as Hillary Clinton. Yet, Biden has a well-known name, is outspoken, and has decades of experience in Washington DC.

Despite his centrist reputation, Biden actually polled second place in the MoveOn.org straw poll. He’s also polling first place in Iowa with 32 percent currently backing him.

Senator Bernie Sanders

Despite facing a steep uphill battle against establishment darling Hillary Clinton in 2016, Socialist Democrat Bernie Sanders nearly managed to knock her out in the primary. Many believe that if the process wasn’t so heavily skewed against Sanders, he could have triumphed in the primary.

The biggest problem facing Bernie Sanders is Sanders himself. At 77 years old, many question whether his ship has sailed. His age might explain why Sanders secured “just” 13 percent in the MoveOn.org straw poll. One might have expected progressives to flock to him.

In the Wings for 2020 Race

Senator Kamila Harris

If there’s a candidate outside of the top three who could quickly surge to first place, it’s probably Harris. The California senator has the support of 5 percent of Iowans but also 10 percent of MoveOn.org straw poll voters.

Harris is known for being outspoken, sharp, and eloquent. She’s also got solid progressive chops, which might come in big in 2020. As a person-of-color and a woman, she’d make history if she won.

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has emerged as one of the more popular senators, especially among progressives. Currently, she’s got the support of about 8 percent of Iowans but just 6.4 percent of the MoveOn.org poll.

Warren’s star appears to have been fading ever since she released a DNA report that showed she may indeed have a small amount of Native American ancestry. In her past career as an academic, Warren apparently showed off her Native American heritage. Many pundits and President Donald Trump found her DNA ancestry unconvincing and it’s plausible that voters feel the same.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Brian Brinker

Brian Brinker is a political consultant and has an M.A in Global Affairs from American University.

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