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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.

Confirmed Cases: 30900

Reported Deaths: 1111
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds249840
DeSoto159416
Madison130034
Jones112449
Neshoba98871
Rankin93412
Harrison91211
Lauderdale90979
Forrest86942
Scott77115
Jackson62216
Copiah60215
Washington5849
Leake57819
Holmes55341
Lee54718
Wayne54513
Oktibbeha54126
Warren51518
Yazoo5096
Leflore48751
Grenada4835
Lowndes48313
Lincoln46034
Lamar4587
Pike43112
Monroe40130
Lafayette3914
Sunflower3727
Attala36023
Covington3565
Panola3506
Newton3399
Bolivar33414
Simpson3173
Adams31118
Pontotoc2866
Tate28310
Marion28111
Chickasaw27718
Claiborne27410
Noxubee2638
Jasper2626
Winston2616
Pearl River25432
Clay25010
Marshall2323
Smith21811
Clarke20724
Union2079
Coahoma2016
Walthall1995
Kemper17914
Lawrence1772
Yalobusha1707
Carroll16511
Humphreys1479
Tallahatchie1364
Itawamba1358
Montgomery1322
Calhoun1304
Tippah13011
Hancock12813
Webster12710
Jefferson Davis1114
Prentiss1083
Jefferson1073
Greene1058
Tunica1003
Wilkinson949
Amite912
George883
Tishomingo801
Quitman760
Choctaw744
Alcorn692
Perry664
Stone651
Franklin452
Sharkey370
Benton360
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5221152
Montgomery4127103
Mobile4080134
Tuscaloosa228842
Marshall171110
Madison14307
Lee138437
Shelby128423
Morgan11025
Walker93924
Elmore92514
Franklin89514
Dallas8809
Baldwin8649
Etowah73913
DeKalb7195
Butler63328
Chambers62927
Autauga60712
Tallapoosa59169
Russell5520
Unassigned50323
Houston4964
Limestone4950
Lauderdale4906
Lowndes47221
Cullman4524
Pike4295
Colbert3956
St. Clair3822
Coffee3772
Bullock36910
Covington3587
Calhoun3545
Escambia3506
Barbour3492
Hale31121
Talladega3097
Marengo30211
Wilcox2918
Dale2880
Sumter28512
Clarke2746
Jackson2732
Winston2583
Chilton2462
Blount2351
Monroe2352
Pickens2356
Marion22413
Conecuh2097
Randolph2069
Choctaw19512
Macon1949
Bibb1901
Greene1868
Perry1771
Henry1343
Crenshaw1253
Washington1097
Lawrence1080
Cherokee977
Geneva800
Lamar771
Fayette701
Clay652
Coosa581
Cleburne361
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