The 2020 presidential election cycle now has begun. Most of the initial
speculation understandably is about whom the Democratic nominee
will be. A record number of potentially serious candidates are openly
mentioned, and already a notable number of them are in various stages
campaigning, ranging from creating exploratory committees to visiting
Iowa and New Hampshire, and to fundraising.
The latest name to be added to a very long list is Democratic Washington
Governor Jay Inslee. He had not previously appeared on most lists ---
which suggests that even more liberal political figures will likely throw
their hats into the ring before long.
(Incidentally, the early 19th century origin of “throw one’s hat in the ring”
has a certain relevance to its contemporary political usage. In the
early 1800s it meant literally throwing one’s hat into a circular boxing
ring as an announcement of a challenge. Since presidential politics today
more resembles pugilistic fighting than a contest of civic discourse, the
phrase seems especially apt.)
Other politicians more or less into the 2020 nomination contest include
(in no particular order) Congressman John Delaney of Maryland,
former Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City, Senator Elizabeth
Warren of Massachusetts, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former
Vice President Joe Biden of Delaware, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio,
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Texas Congressman Robert
Only one previously cited potential candidate, former Governor Deval
Patrick of Massachusetts has publicly announced he will not run.
But the list of potential candidates is quite long, and includes (again
in no particular order) Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper,
California Senator Kamala Harris, former Virginia Governor Terry
McAuliffe, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Colorado Senator
Michael Bennet, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, former HUD Secretary
Julian Castro, Los Angeles Mayor Ed Garcetti, Minnesota Senator
Amy Klobuchar, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, South
Bend Mayor Peter Buttigieg, Montanta Governor Steve Bullock,
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, New York Senator Kirsten
Gillibrand, and 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has appeared on most lists, but he
has just endorsed Joe Biden. His name could reappear.
Most Americans, outside the home areas of many of the above potential
candidates, have not ever heard of them. Those whose names they know
could have political problems --- most frequently those who will be 70
or older in 2020.
But most Americans had not heard of Jimmy Carter in 1975, Bill
Clinton in 1991, nor Barack Obama in 2007.
Simply by name recognition, Joe Biden leads in early polls.
Democrats have already announced early debates, primaries and
caucuses as a way to make the candidate field smaller.
In the next few weeks and months, the political ring will be filled with
hats. --- and hesitations, demurrals and second thoughts.
Copyright (c) 2019by Barry Casselman. All rights reerved.