2020 watch
November 25, 2018

ABC's George Stephanopoulos had 2020 on the mind while hosting This Week Sunday, asking Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) if they're considering a presidential campaign. All three said yes.

"We're seriously talking about it with family, with friends, and with political allies who have come to me about this," Brown explained. However, he also said he does not have a longstanding ambition for the presidency and has not taken concrete steps like visiting early primary states.

Kasich as a presidential candidate would find himself challenging a sitting president from his own party. "We need different leadership. There isn't any question about it," he told Stephanopoulos. "I'm not only just worried about the tone and the name-calling and the division in our country — and the partisanship — but I also worry about the policies."

Klobuchar was the most tentative of the lot. "Right now, I am just still thinking about this, talking to people," she said, emphasizing her effectiveness as an elected official and the enthusiasm among her constituents.

If 2016 is any guide, presidential candidacy declarations could begin as soon as March of 2019. But don't worry: A 21-month election is totally normal and healthy, right, guys? Right? Bonnie Kristian

September 30, 2018

Watching Thursday's Brett Kavanaugh hearings in the Senate, "I thought: Time's up," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said Saturday at a town hall event in her home state.

"It's time for women to go to Washington and fix our broken government, and that includes a woman at the top," she continued. "So here's what I promise: After Nov. 6, I will take a hard look at running for president."

Warren is one of several Democratic senators expected to make a play for the progressive vote in 2020. No Democrats have declared their candidacy so far, and Warren pledged in April to serve her full Senate term if re-elected. Bonnie Kristian

February 15, 2018

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) gave a surprise speech at the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, and she started by taking a whack at the elephant (not) in the room. "I've noticed that every time my name comes up, President Trump likes to talk about Pocahontas," Warren said. "So I figured, let's talk about Pocahontas." And she did.

Accusations that Warren misled people by claiming Cherokee heritage, based on family lore and not other evidence, did not prevent Warren from being elected to the Senate in 2012, but they are a cloud over her possible presidential run. Trump didn't start "our country's disrespect of Native people," she said:

But now we have a president who can't make it through a ceremony honoring Native American war heroes without reducing Native history, Native culture, Native people to the butt of a joke. The joke, I guess, is supposed to be on me. I get why some people think there's hay to be made here. You won't find my family members on any rolls, and I'm not enrolled in a tribe. ... I understand that tribal membership is determined by tribes — and only by tribes. I never used my family tree to get a break or get ahead. I never used it to advance my career. [Elizabeth Warren]

Warren affirmed her belief that she has Native American heritage, a common notion in her native Oklahoma. "My mother's family was part Native American, and my daddy's parents were bitterly opposed to their relationship, so in 1932, when Mother was 19 and Daddy had just turned 20, they eloped," she said. "The story they lived will always be a part of me. And no one — not even the president of the United States — will ever take that part of me away." She got a standing ovation. The Republican National Committee, which had criticized "Fauxcanhontas" for not being scheduled to speak, also criticized her for speaking. Peter Weber

January 16, 2018

The 2020 election is still over 1,000 days away, but President Trump is already floating, and ruling out, possible challengers, Politico reports. "He's always asking people, 'Who do you think is going to run against me?'" said one aide who has personally heard such musings.

Two of the Democratic Party's most high-profile potential candidates, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, don't cause Trump to break a sweat, Politico notes. Despite Sanders being rated as the most popular politician in the country by several polls last year, and Public Policy Polling predicting in July that he could beat Trump by 13 points in a head-to-head general election, Trump dismissed Sanders, 76, as being too old to run again. Warren would also be "easy to beat," Trump has reportedly said, and his team is similarly unconcerned about Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

"If the Democrats think a socialist or a liberal professor from Massachusetts are a path to victory, we're happy to help them highlight that, because we don't think that is in tune with the vast majority of Americans," a Republican National Committee spokeswoman said. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), another potential 2020 candidate, was not on Trump's "radar yet," Politico notes.

Trump hasn't ruled out every potential challenger, though. His team is reportedly concerned about former Vice President Joe Biden, fellow billionaire Mark Cuban — and Oprah Winfrey. "Oprah would be a problem," a Republican strategist told Politico. "She'd be their best. She's ubiquitous, she's black, she has crossover appeal, and she probably clears a lot of the field out." Jeva Lange

December 20, 2017

If you are still nursing a figurative hangover from the never-ending 2016 presidential race, new polling from NBC News/Wall Street Journal may trigger some emotional discomfort, but early numbers for President Trump's presumed 2020 re-election campaign are in, and they aren't great. Only 18 percent of Americans say they would definitely support Trump next go-around, the poll found, while another 18 percent would probably back him, 38 percent would definitely vote against him, and 14 percent would probably vote for whatever Democrat is on the ballot.

If you're keeping score, that's 36 percent for Trump, 52 percent for Generic Democrat.

In comparison, only 14 percent of Americans told NBC/WSJ pollsters they would definitely vote for a generic Republican over President Bill Clinton in December 1993, after a tough first year for Clinton. There is a predictable partisan split in the Trump 2020 numbers, with 43 percent of Republicans saying they will definitely support Trump and 73 percent of Democrats saying they will definitely vote against him. Trump has lost ground among key demographics, with only 47 percent of white voters without a college degree saying they will definitely or probably vote for Trump and 43 percent of rural voters giving a definite thumbs-up.

The NBC/WSJ poll was conducted Dec. 13-15 among 900 adults and it has an overall margin of error of ±3.3 percentage points. Peter Weber

November 20, 2017

Here is another name to add to your list of potential 2020 candidates: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

De Blasio will travel to Iowa in December in a move many interpret as testing the waters on a national next step, Politico reports. Although de Blasio denies he is running for president, he has also signaled in interviews that his sights are set on much more than just his city: "I think the Democratic Party is ill-defined right now and I think it's ill-defined because it's lost touch with what should be its core ideology," he said Sunday. "Because it's ill-defined, they're not winning elections and the two go together."

While de Blasio ran Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign in 2000, Politico reports that he is now "fully embracing the Sen. Bernie Sanders wing of the party." De Blasio's trip to Iowa is paid for by Progress Iowa, which, as the name implies, champions progressive candidates. The mayor is scheduled to be the headliner of the organization's holiday party, "the group's largest event of the year and its most important outlet for fundraising," Politico notes.

Hizzoner waved off speculation about his trip as being "infantile," but he didn't deny he is looking at the big picture these days. "The big future of this country is when a handful more states start to move and they include Texas and Arizona and Florida too," he said. "Those will be decisive to the future of the country and the future of New York State and New York City. That change is available — I'm saying that as a Democrat and a progressive — that change is available to us and I'm obsessed with it." Read more about a possible de Blasio 2020 bid at Politico. Jeva Lange

August 25, 2017

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) could challenge President Trump in 2020 on a bipartisan ticket with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), people familiar with the plans told Axios.

Kasich, who ran unsuccessfully in the 2016 Republican primary, would likely be at the top of the ticket, and the two Johns would focus their campaign on immigration and job creation in the face of automation. While one strategist told Axios that "no Dem wants Kasich anywhere near our ticket," another operative said "our political system is completely broken. Something big and historic needs to happen to break the logjam. I'm a big Dem but I'm for anything that ... does away with this hyper-partisanship on both sides that is paralyzing our government."

Read the full scoop at Axios. Jeva Lange

May 19, 2017

Former Vice President Joe Biden is still talking about what it would've been like if he'd run for president in 2016. At a SALT hedge conference Thursday night in Las Vegas, Biden reportedly took a dig at one of the Democrats who did run, Hillary Clinton. "I never thought she was a great candidate," Biden said. "I thought I was a great candidate." Biden later added that Clinton still "would have been a really good president."

Biden ultimately decided not to run in 2016 because he and his family were still grappling with 2015 death of Biden's son Beau from brain cancer. When asked Thursday about the possibility of running for president in 2020, Biden didn't totally rule it out. "Could I? Yes. Would I? Probably not," Biden said, later suggesting he "may very well do it."

Biden will be nearly 78 years old by the next presidential election. Becca Stanek

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