So, with the 2020 election closer than we realize, where are we now? One thing for sure is that we are going to have plenty of candidates and possibly even more Republicans. Already several Democrats are out in Iowa with well organized beginnings of a national campaign. Several more are very likely to follow including an Independent candidate (one who usually negatively impacts the results). I hope the Democratic Party learned from the 2016 Republican Party mistakes dealing with so many candidates. Remember, they almost all initially thought Donald Trump was unqualified but they ended up splitting the votes and nominating the least qualified candidate.
So who is, for Democrats, the best nominee? It is obviously way too early to tell but I certainly have some criteria that I am using to evaluate the candidates. I am going to try avoid falling in love too early with any candidate that, upon further review, is unlikely to win in November 2020. That candidate might fit my personal agenda to be the one I want to work for in say a caucus fight, coming in about a year for Kansas. But that choice also might be one that has little chance in the end of winning.
So how do we pick a winner, one who can not just get the nomination but win and be our next President? First, it is remembering the Electoral College, not the popular vote, determines the outcome. Democrats have done well winning the popular vote, but that is not enough. What does this mean? Simple. The states Hillary Clinton lost but were very close need to be won. That means keeping in mind, as we evaluate the field, who will best appeal in states from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin? This is where we are most likely to pick up the electoral votes we need to win. It will be important to consider who is best at communicating a message that reaches the voters we need.
It is my hope we have a nominee who can run a creative campaign that doesn’t come across to voters in “red states” that they are the enemy. We need a candidate who brings people together, not further divides us. And, if done during the campaign, this will increase his or her chances of having success when elected. Having the right nominee will also give us a better chance of electing more Democrats to Governorships and more majorities in more state legislatures. Remember that it is not just “Winter is Coming” but the census and reapportionment that will be on the line in 2020.
Bottom line: Don’t rush to judgment. There is way too much at stake to get this election wrong.