For Republicans, the primary for the 2020 presidential race has been fairly straightforward up to this point. With Trump’s approval among Republicans consistently averaging in the high 80s according to Gallup’s polling, Trump seems all but certain to win the nomination outside the unearthing of an extraordinary scandal of some sort. Even in such a case, Trump has been immune to scandals since his 2016 candidacy by an unprecedented extent.
For Republican Trump skeptics and Republican Never-Trumpers, the recent candidacy of Bill Weld for the nomination offers the only other party choice in the 2020 primary. FiveThirtyEight wrote a decent article about Weld which can be found here. Essentially, Weld is running a more moderate and slightly libertarian-centered campaign. The argument for Weld often hinges on winning the New Hampshire primary, but recent polling shows Weld has been trailing Trump by around 60% in the last month or so.
The Democrats, on the other hand, face an extremely crowded 2020 primary.
We now have our field of candidates for the Democratic Nomination, folks. One of the more interesting questions about the Democratic primary battle will be how the Democratic National Committee (DNC) handles the process. It was recently found out that the DNC was anything but neutral in the previous presidential primary in 2016 between Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. A great article by The Intercept’s Ryan Grim describes the situation. Reader’s Digest version: the DNC was in debt going into the 2016 primary:
“And so the DNC, to save itself, sold everything to the only bidder. The Clinton campaign bailed out the DNC and, in exchange, effectively took it over, according to Donna Brazile, who served as the organization’s acting chairperson from July 2016 to February 2017.
“The agreement — signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias — specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff,” Brazile wrote in an explosive excerpt of her book published Thursday in Politico. “The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.””
In light of this scandal, the question remains for 2020: will the DNC desire to redeem their image as neutral in primaries, or will it again find a way to keep their thumb on the scale to promote a preferred candidate?
As of this writing (May 10th), there are over 20 candidates for the Democratic primary, with Joe Biden recently entering the race and forming the new front runner. Biden’s entry into the race should shake up the polls but as they adjust, Biden and Sanders should be the front runners at this point (although expect the polling dynamics to change over time). Importantly, Sanders being a front runner among declared candidates, as well as a serious contender for the nomination, the Democratic political establishment is becoming noticeably concerned. The NY Times (the unofficial paper of record and general barometer of where established power in the US feels politically) published an article recently mentioning that:
“From canapé-filled fund-raisers on the coasts to the cloakrooms of Washington, mainstream Democrats are increasingly worried that their effort to defeat President Trump in 2020 could be complicated by Mr. Sanders, in a political scenario all too reminiscent of how Mr. Trump himself seized the Republican nomination in 2016.”
As this primary continues, we are going to see the Democratic establishment and all it’s supporters from the financial industry to big tech rally to stop a Sanders nomination. It’s going to be a wild ride to 2020 from here on out.