2020 Campaign

Could Pence Survive a Trump Collapse?

Ryan Lizza: “I reached out to Ron Klain, Gore’s chief of staff when he was Vice-President, to ask about how Gore dealt with the complexities of serving loyally as Vice-President for someone who might be booted out of office. He was reluctant to compare Pence’s situation with Gore’s, but he did, however, make it clear that any attempt by Pence to escape Trump’s shadow would be met with a withering argument from Democrats.”

Said Klain: “Over all, I would say that whenever Mike Pence runs for office in the future, the liability he will carry from this period is not how he distanced himself from Trump but, rather, how he deepened his ties to the President. In 2020, at the end of a failed, one-term Trump Presidency, no amount of PAC money or donor meetings will insulate Vice-President Pence from the political fallout from being Donald Trump’s transition chief, Capitol Hill liaison, right-hand man, and principal surrogate.”

Quote of the Day

“Look, it’s not a nice business we’re in.”

— Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), quoted by the New York Times, on the prominent Republicans keeping their names in the running for 2020 despite President Trump’s all-but-certain 2020 re-election campaign.

Pence Denies He’s Getting Ready for 2020 Run

Vice President Mike Pence declared his loyalty to President Trump and denounced a New York Times article suggesting that he was positioning himself to run for president in 2020 if Mr. Trump does not seek a second term, the New York Times reports.

Said Pence: “Today’s article in The New York Times is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family and our entire team. The allegations in this article are categorically false and represent just the latest attempt by the media to divide this administration.”

He added: “Whatever fake news may come our way, my entire team will continue to focus all our efforts to advance the president’s agenda and see him re-elected in 2020. Any suggestion otherwise is both laughable and absurd.”

Republican Shadow Campaign for 2020 Takes Shape

President Trump’s first term “is ostensibly just warming up, but luminaries in his own party have begun what amounts to a shadow campaign for 2020 — as if the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue weren’t involved,” the New York Times reports.

“The would-be candidates are cultivating some of the party’s most prominent donors, courting conservative interest groups and carefully enhancing their profiles. Mr. Trump has given no indication that he will decline to seek a second term.”

“But the sheer disarray surrounding this presidency, the intensifying investigation by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and the plain uncertainty about what Mr. Trump will do in the next week, let alone in the next election, have prompted Republican officeholders to take political steps that are unheard-of so soon into a new administration.”

Democrats Could Have a Huge Field in 2020

Ed Kilgore: “Everybody should get used to the idea of a putative 2020 Democratic field the size of an Iowa cornfield. There are three potential candidates who would each become front-runners in the 2020 race if they decide to run: Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren. There are questions as to whether any or all of them are too old, particularly for a party looking to show it’s shed the barnacles exposed by the 2016 Clinton campaign. Sanders will be 78 when the 2020 Iowa Caucuses are held; Biden will be 77, and Warren will be 71 (for that matter, Donald Trump will be 73). But none of them has any particular reason to diminish their influence by declining interest in 2020. Their long shadows will make it harder for little-known alternatives to emerge. But the possibility of retirement or illness among the Big Three keeps open the gate to dark-horse fantasies.”

“If Sanders, Biden, and Warren do fall by the wayside, Democrats may suddenly find themselves with a presidential field that resembles the mob that ran for the GOP nomination in 2016.”

Moulton and Ryan Fuel 2020 Speculation with Iowa Trip

“Two House Democrats who have drawn increasing notice as potential 2020 White House hopefuls after opposing their own party’s leadership are heading to Iowa,” Politico reports.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) will join Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) “as the headliners of the annual Polk County Steak Fry of the Iowa Democratic Party in September… The trips fuel speculation that Moulton and Ryan are considering White House runs.”

Obama’s Inner Circle Wants Deval Patrick to Run

Politico: “Obama strategist David Axelrod has had several conversations with Patrick about running, and eagerly rattles off the early primary map logic: small-town campaign experience from his 2006 gubernatorial run that will jive perfectly with Iowa, neighbor-state advantage in New Hampshire and the immediate bloc of votes he’d have as an African-American heading into South Carolina.”

“Obama himself—who is personally close to Patrick, and counts him among the very small group of people whom he thinks has actual political talent—has privately encouraged him to think about it, among others.”

Could Seth Moulton Be President?

Politico reports that one of Rep. Seth Moulton’s (D-MA) top advisers is urging him to run for president in 2020.

“This conversation—reported here for the first time—is precisely the type of talk that’s currently causing disgusted eye-rolling among significantly more tenured Democrats in Massachusetts and Washington. They dismiss Moulton, albeit never for attribution, as gratingly ambitious, a grandstanding backbencher who has advocated for the ouster of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to make way for new, younger standard-bearers—like himself. They see Moulton’s message of country over party as not so much admirable as annoying.”

“Every politician, of course, has enemies. But it’s Moulton’s allies who make him atypical—military leaders like David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal, experienced political minds like David Gergen. These people look at Moulton and see the face of the future of the Democratic Party, a social progressive who’s fiscally more moderate. They see somebody who could chip away at the intractable ideological conflict that is crippling this country and appeal to the sorts of voters who have turned away from the party.”

First Read: “Members of the House don’t exactly have a great track record on presidential runs (No congressman has been elected president straight from the House since James Garfield in 1880), but the level of uncertainty in the Era of Trump makes it easy for an ambitious pol to say ‘why not me?’ Add that to the business and celebrity types who’ve now seen that political experience is no prerequisite for winning a national election, and you’ve got a recipe for a big and unruly presidential field. And, while united opposition to Trump is somewhat obscuring the big divides within the Democratic Party for now, a big and unruly presidential field is one surefire way to bring them to the forefront.”

Delaney May Skip Re-Election and Run for President

Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) “plans on bypassing runs for governor and reelection and has told associates he is seriously considering a bid for president in 2020,” Politico reports.

“Delaney, a political moderate and former banker, gave serious thought to running for governor…  A presidential bid would seem quixotic: Delaney is little-known even among Democratic operatives, and his moderate stances and background in finance don’t match a left-leaning Democratic primary electorate.”

Sanders Keeping Door Open to 2020

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is having discussions about running for president again, according to The Hill.

Said one close associate: “He thinks he’s earned the right to run again and he believes if he would have been the Democratic candidate he would have won against Trump. The last thing he’s going to do is step aside and let Joe Biden take it.”

Democratic Donors Buzzing About Kamala Harris

“The Democratic donor class is abuzz about Kamala Harris after the freshman California senator was feted this weekend at an event in the Hamptons surrounded by top fundraisers,” The Hill reports.

“The Bridgehampton event, where Harris mingled with top donors and supporters of Hillary Clinton, was the ultimate signal that Harris is ‘thinking much bigger’ than the Senate, one top bundler said.”

Said one fundraiser: “She’s running for president. Take it to the bank. She’s absolutely going to run.”