What the 2018 blue wave means for 2020

CNN's Chris Cillizza reads the political tea leaves and explains what midterm momentum could mean for Democrats and the party's 2020 hopefuls.

Posted: Jan 11, 2019 2:08 PM
Updated: Jan 11, 2019 2:38 PM

Today's date is January 11, 2019. There are 662 days between today and the November 3, 2020 election. There is, roughly, a year before ANY votes are cast for ANY candidate running for president.

But you wouldn't know it by the amount of jockeying happening this week among the dozens -- not an exaggeration -- of Democratic candidates with an eye on beating President Donald Trump next November.

Consider this slew of 2020 news just from the past few days:

  1. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren spent last weekend in Iowa, days after announcing an exploratory committee. She heads to New Hampshire this weekend.
  2. Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who has already formed an exploratory committee, is widely expected to officially enter the 2020 contest tomorrow in Texas.
  3. California Sen. Kamala Harris, who spent the week promoting a new memoir, has walked right up to the line of announcing her candidacy, but has yet to make it official. Her rhetoric, however, makes very clear that she is running: "It has been my life's experience that the American people are smart and they make decisions about what's in the best interest of their household, their family and their community," she told CNN's Jake Tapper. "And I have faith that in 2020, and in any other election, that will be their motivation when they vote."
  4. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has hired a campaign director and a communications director for her presidential campaign, has reportedly also secured space for her campaign headquarters in Troy, New York and is planning a trip to Iowa next weekend.
  5. Ex-Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke responded via Facebook Live to Trump's border wall Oval Office speech, Instagrammed a visit to the dentist's office and is reportedly planning a solo driving trip around the country. Did I mention he's going to sit down for an interview with Oprah Winfrey next month?
  6. Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown is headed to Iowa soon and his wife is telling people a decision will come within the next two months.
  7. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) issued a blanket apology to the women serving on his 2016 campaign after a series of reports emerged about a culture that allowed inappropriate sexual behavior.

That's just in the last five days!! Reminder: It's January 11, 2019.

So what's the hurry? After all, people always like to say they are sick of politics. And politicians pay lip service to the idea that there is a time for campaigning, and it's not right after the last election has ended.

There are two answers to the "hurry" question -- both of which relate to each other.

The first is Donald John Trump. Trump is, by the numbers, the most vulnerable incumbent preparing to run for a second term at this point in an election cycle since Jimmy Carter in 1980. (Remember that George H.W. Bush was quite popular in 1991 before losing in 1992.)

And it's not just that Trump is vulnerable, which makes the Democratic nomination a prized possession. It's that the Democratic base loathes Trump and wants him gone yesterday. So any of the usual concerns about whether the 2020 campaign is starting too soon are cast by the wayside because of the blinding hatred toward the President from within the Democratic base.

The second reason this race has gotten so busy so quickly is the sheer number of candidates expected to run -- which is, of course, directly tied to Trump's perceived weaknesses.

The Democratic field could well top 25 candidates (or even more) at its largest -- by far the biggest field for either party in modern presidential politics. With a few notable exceptions -- O'Rourke and Vice President Joe Biden being the obvious two, due to O'Rourke's buzz and Biden's default frontrunner status -- if you want to start raising the money, building the organization and just plain getting your name out there, you need to start ASAP.

The reality of running for president -- particularly in a massive field like is expected in 2020 -- is best understood by thinking about an iceberg. The portion of it you see above the water's surface is usually a tiny part of the broader ice monstrosity that lurks below. The tip of the iceberg in this analogy is when voters in Iowa or New Hampshire cast their votes for the Democratic nominee in a year's time. In order to even get to that point, there's a massive amount of under-the-surface work that has to be done by these aspiring candidates.

And that work takes lots and lots of time.

The realities of the 2020 field -- and of Trump -- mean that a hyper-active week like this one may only be an appetizer for what's to come once we get into February and beyond. By that point, Democratic candidates are going to be running and running hard. Iowa and New Hampshire will be inundated with would-be presidents. Donors' phones will be burning up with asks for cash. Activists in early states will become precious prizes to be secured by rising candidates.

The 2020 race is here. And it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 93556

Reported Deaths: 2810
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6974155
DeSoto541155
Harrison373272
Jackson338867
Madison320886
Rankin319075
Lee260667
Jones242078
Forrest239070
Washington217971
Lafayette208439
Lauderdale1999124
Bolivar179465
Oktibbeha175050
Lamar163134
Neshoba1536103
Panola144027
Sunflower141744
Lowndes139957
Warren138150
Leflore136980
Pontotoc123416
Pike121248
Monroe118865
Scott116425
Copiah116233
Coahoma112327
Holmes109258
Marshall107615
Lincoln106753
Grenada106135
Yazoo103829
Simpson101143
Union97824
Tate95137
Leake93937
Adams91936
Wayne87721
Pearl River86550
Marion84133
Prentiss81117
Covington80522
Alcorn77311
Itawamba76221
Newton75723
Tallahatchie75418
George74913
Winston72419
Tishomingo65837
Chickasaw65524
Tippah64216
Attala64125
Walthall59325
Clay57817
Hancock56121
Jasper55415
Noxubee54315
Clarke53539
Smith52314
Calhoun50612
Tunica47913
Montgomery45520
Claiborne45216
Lawrence42512
Yalobusha41714
Perry40718
Quitman3745
Humphreys37315
Stone35511
Greene34517
Webster33113
Jefferson Davis32511
Carroll31212
Amite31110
Wilkinson30217
Kemper28615
Sharkey26312
Jefferson2429
Benton2191
Franklin1893
Choctaw1795
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 131405

Reported Deaths: 2292
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19015337
Mobile13066289
Montgomery8674173
Madison758375
Tuscaloosa7240114
Lee571359
Shelby568450
Baldwin506149
Marshall383543
Etowah335547
Calhoun333839
Morgan319726
Houston270822
Elmore254947
DeKalb235519
St. Clair223435
Walker222680
Talladega206926
Limestone199519
Cullman184517
Dallas174826
Franklin174328
Russell17132
Autauga169024
Lauderdale164633
Colbert160626
Escambia156225
Blount155114
Jackson150611
Chilton148527
Dale133043
Covington130927
Coffee12778
Pike11559
Tallapoosa113683
Chambers113042
Clarke104917
Marion94228
Butler90938
Barbour8357
Winston70912
Marengo69919
Lowndes64827
Pickens63514
Bibb63210
Hale61528
Randolph60812
Bullock58714
Lawrence58520
Monroe5758
Geneva5724
Cherokee56516
Washington54613
Clay5427
Perry5376
Wilcox53111
Conecuh52311
Crenshaw52331
Macon47720
Henry4724
Fayette4219
Sumter41819
Lamar3462
Choctaw34512
Cleburne3236
Greene30015
Coosa1643
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