The definitive ranking of 2020 Democrats

Because Donald Trump is, well, Donald Trump, a lot of attention has been paid to his hostile takeover of the...

Posted: Aug 16, 2018 1:47 PM
Updated: Aug 16, 2018 1:47 PM

Because Donald Trump is, well, Donald Trump, a lot of attention has been paid to his hostile takeover of the Republican Party -- and how he continues to consolidate that power.

What that focus on how Trump killed the old -- and by that we mean the 2012 -- version of the Republican Party misses is how much the Democratic Party has evolved -- and is evolving -- in its own way.

Continents and regions

Eric Garcetti

Massachusetts

North America

Northeastern United States

Political Figures - US

The Americas

United States

Amy Klobuchar

Barack Obama

Bernie Sanders

Cory Booker

Donald Trump

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Joe Biden

Kamala Harris

Liberalism

Political candidates

Political organizations

Politics

Primaries and caucuses

Society

US Democratic Party

US Federal elections

US political parties

US Presidential elections

2020 Presidential election

Political parties

2016 Presidential election

Hillary Clinton

Like Republicans, that change sped up -- rapidly -- in 2016. It was led by an unlikely figure -- Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders. To say Sanders was lightly regarded when he started running against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to do a disservice to the term "lightly regarded."

But what Sanders understood was that the Democratic Party of 2016 wasn't the "Third Way," centrism-over-all Democratic Party of Bill Clinton and the mid-1990s. The Democratic base had moved to the left on virtually every issue -- pushed that way by the financial collapse of the late 2000s and ready to be mobilized on behalf of a candidate who embraced things like radical campaign finance reform, single-payer health care insurance and unapologetic tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans.

Sanders didn't win. But he awoke something in Democrats. And, when Hillary Clinton lost the general election to Donald Trump, Sanders' message and stock gained further prominence. Voters wanted someone who said what they meant and meant what they said.

In the wake of that 2016 loss, candidates inspired by his unapologetic liberalism -- if not his weak affiliation with the Democratic Party -- began recruiting themselves into races. While the upset primary victory of fellow Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York drew the most attention, other progressives such as Ilhan Omar and Jahana Hayes have won primaries too. (One notable exception: The Midwest, where establishment Democrats in a number of high-profile primaries beat back Sanders-inspired -- and endorsed -- candidates.)

The last two years have proven -- beyond any reasonable debate -- that the progressive end of the party is growing. Whether that growth is enough to produce a nominee from that end of the party remains a question.

What's interesting to contemplate is that while Sanders may be the founder of the (r)evolution within the Democratic Party, he may well watch politicians who are later-arrivers to his brand of liberalism pass him by in the fight for the party nod come 2020. Sanders, who will be 79 on Election Day 2020, may struggle to argue that he is the "new" face that many Democrats want.

The point: Even if Sanders doesn't improve on his 2016 showing (assuming he runs in 2020), he will have had a profound impact on the future course of the Democratic Party. Without further ado, here are our new rankings of the 10 Democrats most likely to wind up as the nominee against Trump. (For last month's ratings, click here.)

ADDED from last month: Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar

DROPPED from last month: Eric Holder, Sherrod Brown, Mitch Landrieu

10. Steve Bullock: The Montana governor is, without question, the least well-known candidate on our list -- for the second straight month. And his profile -- a moderate, pragmatic problem-solver -- might not play well in a Democratic Party that seems to want politicians willing to throw a punch or 10. But Bullock is the most aggressive candidate this side of Garcetti (and, of course, longshot Rep. John Delaney, who has already announced his bid) in terms of positioning himself for a run. And even we were somewhat taken aback by what a positive response our inclusion of Bullock last month got from smart Democratic insiders. (Previous ranking: 7)

9. Amy Klobuchar: There's a lot to like about Klobuchar, who debuts on the list at number nine. You want someone who is a proven winner in the Upper Midwest? She's well on her way to winning a third term in the Senate from Minnesota. (Note: Minnesota's proximity to Iowa could also help launch her in the first-in-the-nation contest.) You want someone from a law-and-order background to beat back Trump's rhetoric on crime? Klobuchar's a former prosecutor. She's also a she, which can only help given the primary electorate's voting patterns in 2018. Klobuchar has two obvious flaws. One, she may be too moderate for the base. Two, she hails from a very white state and lacks the long-term connection with black voters. (Previous ranking: Unranked)

8. Eric Garcetti: We're convinced that in a field as large as 2020 is likely to be that a mayor -- particularly of a major metropolis -- has a chance to be a bit of a dark horse. Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles takes New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu's place in this month's rankings because he is, at the moment, generating far more buzz for his potential candidacy than Landrieu. That's the result of Garcetti's aggressiveness when it comes to the possibility of running; he's made no secret he's interested and has already raised $100,000 for the South Carolina Democratic Party with plans to do the same for the state parties in New Hampshire and Iowa. Although Garcetti is far from a household name nationally just yet, his profile -- he's young (47), of both Jewish and Mexican heritage and a West Coaster -- could be appealing to a Democratic electorate looking for something different. (Previous ranking: Unranked)

7. Cory Booker: It's difficult to run for president and not have your heart in it. That would never be a question with Booker. He clearly loves the limelight. Booker also recognizes that the Democratic Party has moved to the left, which would at least partially explain why he has such a liberal voting record. And if you're looking for a politician who is liberal and black (and could appeal to both those groups) like a certain first-term senator named Obama, then Booker (who is serving his first full term) is better positioned than most. Booker has a few issues. His oratory can strike some as inauthentic. And while Obama was able to placate the progressive base, Booker's ties to Wall Street may prevent that. (Previous ranking: 8)

6. Deval Patrick: We left the former Massachusetts governor off our last list because, well, we weren't sure he was serious about actually running. We've been convinced otherwise since. For example: A former Massachusetts governor doesn't go to Texas in the sweltering heat of late July to campaign for Democratic candidates if he is perfectly content in the private sector. While it's unlikely that there will be any single "Obama" candidate -- given that the former President has ties to so many people in the potential field -- there's little question that Patrick is closely aligned with many Obama insiders and some of the major donors that helped finance the former President's bids. Plus, being an African-American two-term governor of one of the most liberal states in the country isn't a bad place to start from in the modern Democratic presidential primary electorate. (Previous ranking: Unranked)

5. Bernie Sanders: Perhaps no pick generated as much controversy last month as placing Vermont's junior senator at number five. Some wanted him higher because he retains high favorable ratings nationally and came in second to Hillary Clinton in 2016. Both are fair points, and why he's so high up on the list. Sanders' problem is he's trailing Biden, has many of Biden's flaws (old, white and male) and carries a huge additional one: Sanders is not a Democrat. Even after winning the Democratic nomination for Senate in 2018, he declined the nomination and forged ahead with his independent bid. Most of the people who vote in Democratic primaries are Democrats. (Previous ranking: 5)

4. Kirsten Gillibrand: No one's ranking this side of Bernie Sanders got a bigger reaction from people last month than the New York senator's. Lots and lots of people think we have her ranked too high for, among other reasons, the fact that her conservative record as a House member suggests her liberal turn is easily caricatured as entirely political. Maybe! But the 2018 primary season so far has taught us that the Democratic Party wants to elect liberal women. And Gillibrand will have the record (in the Senate) and the money to make that case. (Previous ranking: 4)

3. Kamala Harris: Harris carries obvious advantages that few other Democrats can claim. We saw how Trump leveraged the media to his advantage in 2016, and Harris hails from the state with the second-largest media market in the country (Los Angeles). Being an Indian-American and African-American woman will help her draw a sharp contrast with a white male Republican who made his bones in reactionary politics. Harris is also very liberal in a party that is becoming more liberal, but has ties to the establishment. The latter may hurt her, though so far the establishment is doing about as well in 2018 primaries as it did in 2016. (Previous ranking: 3)

2. Elizabeth Warren: "We believe that in America every family deserves a fighting chance, and we're ready to fight as hard as it takes, as long as it takes, to deliver on that promise," the Massachusetts senator said earlier this month. "I get it. It won't be easy. We're going to have to fight uphill. But me? I'm going up that hill. And I hope you are, too." That speech was to the liberal Netroots Nation annual convention, but it could easily double as a piece of Warren's 2020 announcement/stump speech. That sort of leaning-in rhetoric coupled with the fact that two of Warren's aides have recently signed on to senior positions in the New Hampshire Democratic Party make it pretty easy to connect the dots: She's running. (Previous ranking: 2)

1. Joe Biden: The former vice president retains the top ranking on our list. Yes, his age (75) and the fact that he's a white man have their disadvantages in a Democratic Party that is getting younger, more diverse and is nominating more women every cycle. Biden, though, continues to have clear advantages: he was the vice president to President Barack Obama, who remains the closest thing the party has to a leader. And Biden himself is very popular. He also currently ahead of his nearest competitor by about 10 points in primary polls. Even at this point, polls have forecasted the nominee since 1972 about half the time when no incumbent was running for a major party nomination. (Previous ranking: 1)

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845108

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161242006
Mobile741961379
Madison53291732
Shelby38328368
Baldwin38074589
Tuscaloosa36017641
Montgomery34483781
Lee25557263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22454406
Etowah20016517
Marshall18781316
Houston17729425
St. Clair16880358
Limestone16138218
Cullman16050303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14984306
Talladega14191299
DeKalb12971269
Walker12029380
Blount10715192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10161194
Coffee9415192
Colbert9341208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7255201
Russell707865
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5403130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317763
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 41°
Columbus
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 38°
Oxford
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 39°
Starkville
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Feels Like: 36°
High pressure will continue to control our weather forecast for the next several days. This will keep our area filled with plenty of sunshine. We will see both daytime highs and overnight lows gradually get milder and warmer.
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