2020 Campaign

Is Seth Moulton What Democrats Want?

Seth Stevenson: “I can’t know Seth Moulton’s heart. But there’s no doubt that grand ambition stirs within. It seems unlikely he’d attempt to run against Donald Trump next cycle—too soon, too young—and yet he’s snuck onto all the media short lists anyway. Politico ran a profile of him over the summer asking in the headline if he could be president. The Washington Post has not one but two reporters here in Iowa, clocking his performance.”

“It’s why I’m here, too, to see whether Moulton is a Democratic savior: an honest-to-gosh military hero whose wholesome image, and optimistic palaver about bipartisan solutions, might appeal to the broad middle of the country. No doubt that’s what Moulton’s betting. But as I watch him awkwardly work this heartland crowd, I can’t help but wonder if he’s a candidate custom-built for a different era: a Harvard-bred white guy who thinks he deserves to be in charge, at a moment when neither party’s in the market for one of those.”

Maybe Clinton Wasn’t to Blame for Trump’s Victory

Steve Kornacki: “The narrow lens sees Clinton as a uniquely vulnerable candidate, one whose liabilities — whether deserved or undeserved — enabled Trump to win an election he had no business winning…”

“Then there’s the broader lens, through which Clinton becomes far from the only Democrat who could lose an election to Trump. In this view, Trump has pushed politics away from an ideological battleground and onto a cultural one, creating a new level of polarization that fortifies him in ways that traditional measures don’t fully capture.”

“Trump’s presidency dominates not only the news but all of popular culture, and the effect is tribalizing, a constant invitation to every American to choose camps. He antagonizes giant swaths of the country, but at the same time provokes heated reactions from his opponents that can have their own alienating effect. It’s a combination that practically ensures he has all the right enemies. Even if they have a low opinion of him, how many voters are ultimately with Trump because at least he’s fighting — the news media, Hollywood stars, activist athletes, elite culture?”

“This interpretation of Trump’s rise poses difficult questions for Democrats. It would mean that almost any candidate they run against him would be at risk of suffering Clinton’s fate.”

Democrats Headed for a McGovern Redux?

Politico: “We’re a long, long way from 2020, but it’s abundantly evident that Trump will again run a Nixonian campaign, tearing down his opponent and presenting himself as the champion of an aggrieved coalition that Nixon called the ‘silent majority’ and Trump calls ‘the forgotten men and women’ of America.”

“Consumed by internecine battles and the idea of opposition, Democrats run the risk of again nominating someone like McGovern who pleases progressives but steers a course too far from the country’s center of political gravity to win, even as Trump continues his funhouse mirror impression of Nixon as the avatar of white cultural-grievance politics.”

Trump Is On Track to Win Re-Election

Doug Sosnik: “More than half of Americans don’t think Donald Trump is fit to serve as president, yet he has a clear path to winning reelection. If Trump isn’t removed from office and doesn’t lead the country into some form of global catastrophe, he could secure a second term simply by maintaining his current level of support with his political base.”

“The continued decline in support for both political parties works to Trump’s advantage. The lack of voters’ faith in both parties increases the probability that there will be a major third-party candidate on the 2020 ballot. It will also lead to other minor-party candidates joining the presidential race. The multi-candidate field will further divide the anti-Trump vote, making it possible for him to get reelected simply by holding on to his current level of support.”

“It would be as big a mistake to assume that Trump cannot win reelection in 2020 as it was for those of us who never thought that he could become president in the first place.”

Garcetti’s Travel Raises Questions at Home

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) “logged 112 days, or nearly one-third of his time, away from California over the last 12 months, according to his public calendar,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“Reelected in March with 81% of the vote, Garcetti has refused to commit to serving his entire second term. As he visits New Hampshire and Wisconsin, the mayor remains coy about whether he’ll run for president in 2020.”

“But as he flirts with the idea, Garcetti tests the public’s willingness to tolerate his absences.”

Democrats’ Best Hope for 2020

John Podhoretz: “If any figure in the United States bears watching over the next couple of years as our political culture continues the radical transformation that led to the election of Donald Trump, it’s Oprah. I believe she’s uniquely positioned, should she wish to commit herself, to seek the Democratic nomination for president and challenge Trump in 2020.”

“If you think that Trump can be beaten by a two-term governor of a Midwestern state with really good ideas about health care, or by a senator who really attracts young people, think again. The idea that a relatively conventional elected official will differentiate herself from Trump by dint of her seriousness or that an unconventional elected official can out-populist Trump is crazy.”

Elizabeth Warren Is Getting Hillary-ed

New York Magazine: “Warren is the candidate who many cited in 2016 as the anti-Clinton: the outspoken, uncompromisingly progressive woman they would have supported unreservedly had she only run. Yet now, as many hope and speculate that she might run in 2020, the right is investing in a story line about Warren that is practically indistinguishable from the one they peddled for years about Clinton.”

California Moves Presidential Primary to March 2020

“Backing an effort for California to claim a bigger share of the attention from presidential candidates, Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill moving the state’s primary elections to early March,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“Brown’s decision, announced without fanfare on Wednesday, means the state will hold its presidential primary on March 3, 2020. It’s a reversal from a decision he and Democratic lawmakers made in 2011 to push the state’s primary elections back until June, after years of trying — and failing — to entice major candidates to bring their campaigns to California instead of smaller, more rural states.”