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The 2020 Democratic primary, as a March Madness bracket

The 2020 Democratic presidential primary doesn't officially tip off for another 22 months, but the game-planning is a...

Posted: Mar 15, 2018 11:40 PM

The 2020 Democratic presidential primary doesn't officially tip off for another 22 months, but the game-planning is already well underway. We are now, with history as a guide, probably less than a year from the early favorites making their formal declarations.

Handicapping the field this far out requires more than a little guesswork. None of the top "seeds" listed below are a lock to run. There's at least an even-money chance that the eventual winner doesn't appear anywhere in these brackets. (For ex.: Would this exercise, in 2014, have included President Donald Trump? Probably not.)

Caveats aside, we're not just pulling these names out of a hat. Everyone listed below has some combination of pedigree, money, grass-roots support or, at the least, publicly stated interest in a presidential bid. But like with March Madness itself, chance is often the final arbiter of the aspirants' collective fate. Some of that came into play as we narrowed the field here to only 32 would-be candidates. Oprah Winfrey and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg are among the notable absentees. California Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, too, couldn't be blamed for griping over their omissions.

In the end, we split the contest into four "regions": The Lefties, a pocket of officeholders who tend to come down somewhere on the progressive end of most internal Democratic debates; The Governors, an ideologically diverse group of current and former state leaders with executive experience; The Senators, an ambitious collection of Capitol Hill players and one who narrowly missed out on joining them; and The Wild Cards, a bracket that features allies of former President Barack Obama, a billionaire, a couple of mayors and a pair of congressman.

Let's break it down...

This one is pretty straightforward. If Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (1) and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (2) decide to run, they would be favorites not only in this bracket, but also among the top choices to win a date with Trump in the general. Sanders gets the nod over Warren -- for now -- because of his 2016 experience and the depth of his national organization.

The other six in the bracket are the names most often mentioned by progressive activists when they're asked (by us, at least) who they'd coalesce around if Sanders and Warren weren't options. Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown's seed (6) is lower because of what could be a tough re-election contest this year. Nina Turner (8), a former Ohio state senator, is currently the president of Our Revolution, the political group that emerged from Sanders' 2016 campaign. Reps. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii (4) and Keith Ellison of Minnesota (3) are popular with the Berniecrat grass roots and could be tempted into running if Sanders stands down. Meanwhile, Rep. Luis Guti-rrez (7), a member of the House progressive caucus, is retiring but could be open to pursuing something loftier. His cred on immigration issues, and intense advocacy for DACA recipients, could make the longtime Chicago-based congressman a tricky opponent for more cautious candidates.

Then there's New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (5). He's clearly eyeballing higher office and has some legit progressive accomplishments in his back pocket. But his rhetorical war of attrition with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (see below) is tiring and probably undermines his agenda and standing with national Democrats.

Presidential prognosticators love a popular governor, especially one who's been able to defy the political leanings of their state. Hence, a high seed for Montana's Steve Bullock (2), who has won three straight elections, first to become attorney general, then become and remain governor, in an otherwise pretty red state. (Caution here: He's the second straight Montana Democrat to win consecutive gubernatorial terms.)

On the flip side, there's Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee (3). Still mostly unknown nationally, his state has become a liberal stronghold and his dressing down of Trump during a recent White House visit will please liberals. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (7) is a good bet to be re-elected this fall and has a place in history as the first governor to sign an automatic "motor voter" bill into law. California's Jerry Brown (8) is a lion, though seemingly in winter, but one to watch as his term winds down.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (4) is another Western stalwart, and an interesting character, while former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (6) is expected to consider another kick at the can. New York's Cuomo (5) can be a divisive figure -- a moderate with some big liberal achievements and about as many controversies in his way. (Google: "New York IDC" for a taste.)

Which brings us to the top seed, none other than recently departed Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (1). "The Macker" has, for better or worse, a Bidenesque way with words and access to a wealthy network of donors. That might not be enough to generate the enthusiasm needed to win in Iowa or New Hampshire, but if he runs and survives the early states, it's easy to imagine Clinton loyalists funneling their support (and cash) his way.

Yes, yes, we know that former Missouri Attorney General Jason Kander (7) is not a member of the US Senate. But he came really close. In a red state. So he was granted an exemption. Ironically, if he does run, not having amassed a voting record in Washington could boost his appeal across party sects.

Now for the heavy hitters. California Sen. Kamala Harris (1) will have resources to match anyone in the game and a record that, if messaged nimbly, could keep her in liberals' hearts but also give comfort to moderates anxious over the party's leftward shift. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York (2) and Cory Booker of New Jersey (3) are also popular and politically savvy, and like Harris, susceptible to attacks from the left. But for their purposes here, the bigger challenge might be in securing support from their local establishments, which overlap a bit in the tri-state area.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota (4), Chris Murphy of Connecticut (5) and Jeff Merkley of Oregon (6) are all liberals in good standing with Democratic voters and viable options if they can break through in such a crowded field. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island (8) distinguished himself during Trump Cabinet confirmation hearings and, well, with a name like that...

To note: Harris, Booker, Whitehouse, Merkley and Gillibrand, who helped write it, all backed Sanders' "Medicare-for-all" bill last year, which could soften skeptical progressive diehards. (Warren did, too, but her bona fides there are why she's in a different bracket.)

If we were seeding this 1 to 32, former Vice President Joe Biden (1) would probably -- at this date and time -- be the overall top seed. Polls show him with the best chance of beating Trump -- even though it's so early as to render them near meaningless -- and he has a unique personal quality and history that allow him to speak both to white working class voters and the more liberal Obama coalition. But his long record cuts both ways. Biden's votes on the 1994 crime bill and bank-friendly legislation will be a problem if the nomination comes down to him and a more progressive candidate.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (2) could also eat into Biden's share of the Obama coalition. Patrick is a very popular guy in Obamaworld but his decision to spend the last few years coining it at Bain Capital is a major headwind.

After those two, you have the billionaire Tom Steyer (4), who's launched and backstopped an assortment of liberal causes, and another Californian in Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (5), an ambitious figure also doing his best to establish a profile in early voting states. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (6), whose speech last May after the city removed four Confederate monuments put him on everyone's radar, is quickly becoming a national figure, something Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts (7) is working toward himself.

Former San Antonio Mayor Juli-n Castro (3), an Obama administration veteran who was among the favorites to become Hillary Clinton's running mate in 2016, has been refreshingly transparent about his interest in running. Though not as open as the underdog Rep. John Delaney of Maryland (8), the first Democrat to enter the race -- in July 2017.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
Holmes113560
Leake113340
Tate113239
Itawamba110424
Pearl River108958
Adams104343
Prentiss102619
Wayne98721
Alcorn96012
George93917
Marion92942
Covington92525
Tippah85921
Newton84427
Chickasaw82625
Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
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