Only a year into Donald Trump’s presidency and Washington is already starting talk of the 2020 Presidential election. Democratic insiders state that they expect as many as 30 candidates to run in the primary. Yet since their devastating 2016 defeat, the Democratic party still struggles with a message and platform. Their autopsy placed most of the blame on the Russians and we have yet to see fresh names emerge from the party. Moreover, they are still losing gubernatorial campaigns and may even lose a Senate race to a man facing rape allegations. The party still has a serious problem.
The two names that carry the most buzz are Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Biden would likely face questions about his treatment of aggrieved lawyer Anita Hill. In addition to Anita Hill, he would have to provide fresh ideas without relying on the legacy of Obama. Hillary Clinton tried that strategy and failed miserably. Bernie Sanders, however, is seen as a much more palatable candidate. He still retained much of his fiery base from the 2016 primary and continues to be as politically active as ever. Many in the party are beginning to see him as the de facto head of progressive ideals. Since the crushing defeat of Hillary Clinton, the antiquated ways of neo-liberalism have started to die. Many political strategists claim that Bernie’s faction is currently “the dominant wing of the party”. It’s also clear that Democrats have buyer’s remorse when it comes to Hillary Clinton. Data and hindsight show that Bernie Sanders was the candidate to beat in 2016.
Bernie Sanders is a Democratic socialist who identified as Independent for over 30 years. In 2016, he became a Democrat to run for president and basically set the Democratic party on fire. His rallies had epic showings and social media screamed his name. The youth were “feeling the bern” and he seemed poised to upset Hillary Clinton. Debbie Wasserman Shultz and the Democratic Party had other plans and he was robbed of the candidacy. Well, Hillary lost and Bernie Sanders now holds a significant strategic superiority within the party.
Early polling indicates that Bernie has a 6-point jump on President Trump in 2020. It appears that President Trump’s support is waning, as 3 in 5 voters now say that Donald Trump is unfit to be President, according to the Quinnipiac University poll. However, his term is still young and unforeseen events may turn the tide not only for our President, but also for Bernie Sanders. Take Al Franken for example. The Democratic senator was poised for a potentially successful run to the Presidency. Now he’s facing sexual misconduct allegations and his political career may be over. Such are the fortunes of the political winds. Anything can happen within both parties. In 2013, Bernie Sanders attempted to pass a single-payer Medicare bill through the Senate. He garnered no support. 4 years later, a third of Democratic senators support the single-payer system, a massive turning of the tides in such a short time.
The conditions of the political landscape are primed for a fresh, charismatic leader. The message is only as strong as the speaker who delivers it and Bernie Sanders seems poised for a comeback. It all boils down to whether the nation grows so weary of Trumpian politics that it’s willing to accept dramatically radical ideas. The funny thing about US politics, however, is that the idea of something or somebody sounds good until it becomes a reality, then it becomes a nightmare. Stay tuned America.