2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates

This is a thread for random thoughts and comments about the Democratic presidential candidates. I only have a vague, superficial impressions of the current candidates, but here’s the one that appeals to me the most

: Senator Amy Klobuchar. Why does she appeal to me? Off the top of my head, I think she seems reasonable, intelligent, competent, and well-respected by both sides of the aisle. She also seems less a good foil for Trump. I feel like Trump’s name-calling schtick would not work well against her. Additionally, and more importantly, I feel like she has a less of a chance of riling up and motivating Trump’s base to turn out and vote. Again, all of this is based on my impressions of seeing her on TV–in other words, the impression isn’t worth a lot. There is one significant problem that has come up–namely, reports that she mistreats her staff. I would like to see more reporting on this, getting at whether she is a good leader who can be tough to work for or someone who is abusive and therefore can’t return a good staff. This last point may be the most critical for me. Can Klobuchar attract and keep talented and good people to her administration? This will be something I will monitor closely, starting with the quality of individuals on her campaign team. Lastly, let me say a few more general comments about the Democratic candidates. A key attribute, in my opinion, is a candidate who can talk about race, gender, and other social issues in way that resonates with the Democratic base–without inflaming the Trump voters and alienating moderates. All the candidates are way better than Trump now, so I might support the candidate does the best in this domain. On a related note, a more moderate, versus far left candidate, is going to appeal to me. Any candidate that promises all sorts of good programs, in a way that seems unrealistic and irresponsible (i.e., not thinking about the way to pay for these programs) is going to turn me off. I would support more taxes and government spending, but anyone that acts as if spending doesn’t matter will turn me off.

18 thoughts on “2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates

  1. Hopefully the foil aspect won’t matter because she’ll be running against Pence. Or someone else running in the Republican primary.

    1. I hope you’re right, but since you bring up Pence, what is your thoughts on him? That is, how would you feel if he were president, not just for the remainder of Trump’s first term, but after 2020?

      I don’t think Pence is mentally unstable, and in the past, I would have assumed he respected the rule of law and the Constitution. However, given what I’ve seen, I have some doubts about that, and I would oppose him in 2020.

    1. I agree with you. It’s just that my estimation of Pence has gone from I’d be OK if he were POTUS to being more uneasy and uncertain. But I would still prefer him over an unstable person.

      1. Same here, but as time goes on, I’m less and less sure that Pence is significantly less evil. I mean, if the evil occurs right in front of you on a regular basis and you do nothing, at some point, doesn’t that make you evil, too?

        But I don’t have serious doubts about his mental stability and capability or his emotional maturity.

  2. New York Times Daily podcast today–Democratic Candidates So Far

    A reporter gives a short profile of each, starting with the ones that are farthest left and working towards the middle. They really didn’t talk about race, spending more time talking about policies, especially economic ones.

    I’d like to hear them talk about social issues, especially on race, sex, gender, and even religion. I think how they talk about these issues is more important than their economic policies.

  3. Here’s some sections that caught my attention:

    Democrats in Washington say she has struggled to recruit and retain top talent. Some operatives say they have shied away from her 2020 campaign, mindful of Ms. Klobuchar’s reputation.

    If this is true, this is a big deal to me–bigger than the anecdotes about her harsh treatment of her staff. Indeed, some of the anecdotes cast her in a kind of positive light for me. (I’m less of a fan of Bobby Knight these days, but I could see him smiling at this.)

  4. Some remarks about white nationalism from Peter Buttigieg that I wanted to comment on:

    Right now, I think the key for a Democrat to win 2020 is the way they handle white grievance (that I talked about here and here, so I was curious to get some insight into Buttigieg’s thinking.

    The comments here are short, so I wouldn’t conclude this the sum total or even the main thrust of his opinion on the subject. With that said, he focuses on people not feeling a sense of place and losing a sense of identity and purpose, that jobs provided in the past; and that this has made some people more vulnerable to white nationalist ideology.

    While this may be a factor, this doesn’t seem like the main one to me. If I’m right, Buttigieg, if nominated, won’t be effective if he operates from that premise.

  5. I liked this. Very presidential. Very American.

  6. Elizabeth Warren

    This is the kind of message and approach that really resonated with me when Jerry Brown ran in ’92.

    And, I must say, the message still resonates with me now. I guess I’m not that cynical and jaded, which is a good thing.


    Critique of Warren’s policies from the right (I haven’t read this yet, but want to.):


    Another critique

  7. Tulsi Gabbard

    The donations seem small from the donors they mention, and I’d also like to know if any other candidate, Democratic or Republican, got money from similar people. It would help to know if this is unusual or not.

    Having said that, in my opinion, she needs to be more transparent and speak more openly about where she’s getting her money in my opinion. Also, she says things that raise red flags for me. For example, in this article, she says,

    “The conclusion that came from that Mueller report was that no collusion took place,” she told Fox News last month. “Now is the time for us to come together as a country to put the issues and the interests and the concerns that the American people have at the forefront, to take action to bring about real solutions for them.”

    In my opinion, saying we should move on–without Congress having any information on the counter-intel investigation or knowing more about Trump’s sources of money and debt situation–is irresponsible.

    Also, she needs to publicly address the following:

    Though she has not courted their support, some prominent figures in the white nationalist community have flocked in Gabbard’s direction. David Duke, the former KKK leader, has heaped praise on her. And on several occasions, Richard Spencer, the avowed white supremacist, has tweeted favorably about her, including once again this week.

    She should clearly denounce white supremacy and white nationalism, and say she doesn’t welcome support from people like Duke and Spencer. This should be one of the easiest things for an American politician to do.


    Getting endorsed by RT may not always be utterly damning, but it’s at least a serious red flag. If I were a U.S. politician, I would not see a RT endorsement as a good thing–just the opposite.


    I believe Hillary Clinton recently accused Gabbard of being a Russian asset, someone Russia will push as a third party spoiler in 2020. I’ll post Gabbard’s twitter response, which I find odd:

    The offense she takes is understandable, but I find the call to Hillary to join the race to be really odd. Also: “It’s not clear that the primary is between you and me.” What is Gabbard talking about? The first thing that came to mind is an incredibly lame attempt to goad Hillary into the race. I don’t see how this would benefit Gabbard. I do think it would benefit those who want to increase polarization in the country.

    Shouldn’t it be easy to disavow support from Russian state media? How would alienating them hurt her politically? Are there Americans who are fans of Russian state media, that if she alienates, would cause political damage to her campaign? That seems unlikely.

  8. Joe Biden

    I don’t know if Biden actually believes this, or if he’s just saying this to show that he is reasonable and pragmatic. Or maybe he’s trying to reduce polarization or use a guilt trip on Republicans. If so, I’m OK with this.

    But if he actually believes this, I disagree with him, and would find this worrying. I really do not think the GOP, especially people like Mitch McConnell, will change–change in the sense of compromise and work with Democrats in good faith. I do not believe that will really happen until Republicans suffer significant losses at the polls.

    1. I tend to agree with this, and this is one of the more appealing parts of Biden.

      There’s a Trumpian aspect to him that I don’t really care for though, and his age does matter to me. (I was also an issue for me when McCain ran.)

  9. Mayor Michael Bloomberg

    Whoever the next POTUS is, I believe we need someone who will respect and strengthen the rule of law, critical norms for out system of government and key democratic institutions. Bloomberg saying what he says below, and the way he says it, suggests he’s not the guy for the job.

  10. Pete Buttigieg

    Along with the quality of people that a candidate attracts, who endorses a candidate is a big deal to me. I don’t have strong feelings about Buttigieg, but these seem like good endorsements.

  11. This leads me to some unpleasant thoughts that have been on my mind recently. Democrats have to be ready for almost anything from Trump and the Republicans, AG Barr given how they’ve behaved so far–especially the Republicans during the impeachment inquiry. Preventing actions to secure the election (McConnell still hasn’t allowed the bill to do this to be voted on), suspending elections, seeking aid from Russia or anyone to politically damage the opponent (see Ukraine scandal)–actions that are just unthinkable–I think the Democrats have to be prepared. And maybe ordinary citizens need to start thinking of this, too.

    Here’s the cold hard truth: If Trump loses, he’ll likely go to jail–if he’s compromised by Russians that may be exposed. If this is true, you’ll think Trump will just run a proper campaign and accept the results? He didn’t do this when the stakes were lower in 2016. I think he will behave like a dictator trying to save his skin. People have to be aware that he almost certainly won’t behave like a candidate that respects elections. If this sounds hyperbolic, just read the Mueller report or about the recent Ukraine scandal (and Trump really hasn’t totally backed down–he hasn’t granted a meeting with the Ukrainian president yet). And the Republicans will enable this, if their behavior is any indication. I hope I’m wrong about the Republicans, but I don’t see much to offer hope–including Romney.

    1. With regard to “doing anything” to win, here’s a tweet I just saw:


      Scholar on Mussolini:

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