Democrat Bench for 2020 Is Razor Thin With Oldies v Unknowns

American voters with election burnout from the lengthy 2016 presidential campaign, here’s a message. You ain’t seen nothing yet. Pundits predict that as many as 30 Democrat candidates will compete in their party’s presidential primary in 2020.

The list is full of the usual suspects with some dark horses. When reviewing the top candidates this time around for the party of the Donkey, who will win?

Hillary was their shoo-in for the Democratic nomination and presidency in both 2008 and 2016. A funny thing happened on the way to a sure bet. She met up with extreme dark horse Barack Obama and an even darker pony in Donald Trump.

The Democrat bench is thin early in the game and some of the old and tired faces lead the early pack.

Beware of some potential candidates, even as other hopefuls fade to the background. The lessons learned in the 2016 election will not go unnoticed in selecting the 2020 candidate. There’s also no clear standout in the potential field.

There are already casualties in the ranks. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), for example, was regarded just a few weeks ago as a potential dark horse candidate in 2020, but that changed instantly when sexual misconduct charges surfaced against him. It seems Al is in way too many photos from his past, lurking and touching women.

The latest sexual harassment flurry of charges may be the undoing of famous groper, Joe Biden. Many clips of Joe honoring families at the White House in past years send chills up the spines of Democratic high command movers and shakers. Joe likes the young and innocent to be front and center in photos with his hands all over the kiddies.

One down and one out, but there are more.

Here is a list of the early contenders. It might be wise to keep this article to stroll down memory lane in a couple of years to remember some of their names.

1. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) – Old Bernie, who would be almost eighty if elected in 2020, leads the list. His network of the young and naïve is vast. Socialism is his game and he has an army of loyal backers. But is the army that will vote for him bigger than a few million living in their parents’ basements?

His people have never gone away, but they may have awakened to the world of jobs and responsibilities by the time 2020 hits. That means paying taxes, which tends to move many people into more conservative and level-headed ground.

Bernie will be 79 in 2020. Is that a number tech nerds can compute? They may be busy figuring how they can pay off student loans before mom and dad are sick of them.

2. Joe Biden (Retired) – Old Joe is known as the happy warrior who slaps party hacks’ backs the best. He has a big smile, but underneath that is a vacuous grasp of the issues beyond sound bites.

The former vice president’s book tour has kept him in the spotlight at a time when Democrats are nostalgic for the Obama years. Not many books were sold, but a party desperate for name recognition keeps him in the running, even if most of the party elite smirk when Joe passes by.

But Joe is playing coy. He continues to talk “Democratic values” to those many mouths that remain agape wondering what that really means. He can’t tell you because he is busy reading it on the monitor. Much like Hillary, Joe is a lot of grand gestures and little else. He’s excellent at being the first with the lampshade at the party, but leading the Democratic Party?

Joe will be 78 in 2020. Like Bernie, the only house he may be running for is one that serves three square meals a day and allows family visits until 7 pm. Joe may be a viable name right now with the bench still thin, but time is ticking away.

can democrat joe biden play in 2020?3. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) – “Pocahontas” is fired up and ready to engage. The school teacher turned college professor is mad about a lot of things. For one thing, she hates Donald Trump more than anybody but Maxine Waters. But hate doesn’t win elections, issues do. Her views are radically far left and not where a majority of votes are. It may sell books, but winning the NE corridor and the Left Coast won’t cut it in any try for the White House; just ask Hillary.

Word has it that if she steps out of her academic cocoon to make speeches in many parts of the country, her audience may be lit up by the torches and ropes they carry. Unlike the parents’ children that could possibly protect Bernie, Elizabeth has a questionable base, but she sells lots of books. They do know how to read, they just don’t have a job yet.

Many will say, why not nominate a woman? That very question may cause a few high placed decision-makers to stutter and wake up screaming. But she sure looks pretty all in red face and screaming.

4. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) – She is considered the Barack Obama of the Democratic women. Democratic strategists salivate at the thought of her on the campaign trail capturing 100 percent of the African-American vote by just being black. Throw in the woman card and she could get a lot of votes.

Unfortunately she is as green as a politician can be in national politics. She has no real base outside of California and basically zero recognition other than a shaky grilling of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which she lost badly on national TV.

When Democrats talk about “fresh blood” in the party, they think Kamala. But are they thinking more of vice president? That could make more sense with a seasoned political figure at the top of the ticket and the young senator looking at 2028.

She’s smart and unapologetic, but would need an East Coast following and that takes more time than she has. She likes to inject the fact she is female, but just being herself might work better.

5. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and 6. Deval Patrick (Parts unknown) – Hillary gave deep thought to Brown as her VP candidate when she was running. That may have saved his reputation for a serious run down the line, but 2020 is too early.

Deval Patrick is the former Massachusetts governor. Elizabeth Warren may crowd out any noise made since they hail from the same state. Not enough name recognition outside the Northeast. A hard choice to think of nationally and God forbid the Midwest.

The bench is razor thin. It should fill up after the 2018 midterms nicely. But if the top choices in 2020 are a socialist and a washed-up vice president, both heading towards 80-years-old, look out. Trump will win 43 states and bring back nightmares of George McGovern v Richard Nixon in 1972.

Right now, there doesn’t appear to be a viable Democrat candidate around.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. He has written more than 3500 national political and foreign affairs columns. His BS in journalism from the University of Oregon, with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing.


Dwight has 30-years in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. His first book, “Redistribution of Common Sense – Selective Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014,” was published in July, 2014. “The Game Changer – America’s Most Stunning Presidential Election in History,” was published in April 2017.


Dwight is a native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.