It’s about time to update my ranking. I noticed that Julian Castro got his last poll to get him on the debate stage in September. That makes 10, with Tom Steyer and Tulsi Gabbard close to making it. I’m also considering Steve Bullock as a contender, even though he might not make the stage. So, from that list of 13 candidates, here’s my ranking. Remember, this is the list of which candidate I’d like to see running against the incumbent in the 2020 election. And, at this point, I’m not even 100% sure that guy is going to be Trump.
- Elizabeth Warren – Staying steady. I imagine she’s going to occupy this spot for a long time. Doesn’t mean she’ll get the nomination or that she’s even the most electable. I think I have a quibble with her trade policy, that might make a difference down the line. But not yet.
- Julian Castro – Up 2 spots. I still don’t know that he’s got a chance at the top spot, but he keeps making moves that I like. He has his ad that he directed right at the president – I discussed that here. Also, he just introduced an animal welfare plan. It’s pointed at the recent Trump move against the Endangered Species Act, but also toward ending euthanasia of dogs and cats. I suspect any Democrat who ends up winning in 2020 would undo Trump’s damage in this area. But Castro went first, so points to him.
- Beto O’Rourke – up 1 spot. I’m keeping an eye on Beto because of his recent change of campaign strategy. The focus on gun violence is a good move.
- Joe Biden – down 2 spots – The former VP is still the odds on favorite to take the nomination. And he will probably be a good foil for Trump, if he runs next year. Still, he doesn’t excite me and I worry that he won’t excite enough people to win a close election.
- Kamala Harris – Up 1 spot. Kamala isn’t doing anything right now, but it’s early. I would have her tied with Buttigieg, except tie goes to the woman for me, so she’s here. I need to see something from her in the next debate.
- Pete Buttigieg – down 1 spot. If Joe falters, I think Mayor Pete might be able to take over the moderate lane. But no room for him if Joe remains viable. He also won’t get the VP spot with Biden. Joe will pick a woman – Gabbard, Klobuchar or Gillibrand.
- Cory Booker – Staying steady. I like Cory, but I just don’t see a path for him right now. He needs to make some waves in the next couple of months.
- Amy Klobuchar – up 1 spot. She’s got geography on her side, plus she’s going to help fill the moderate lane.
- Steve Bullock – previously out of the ranking. He’s another candidate who might get some traction if Biden falters. A VP possibility for Warren or Harris.
- Bernie Sanders – down 2 spots. I worry that Bernie is going all the way to the convention, no matter what else happens. Does he end up undermining the eventual nominee and help Trump? While I’m with Bernie on a lot of his policies, I’m down on him because I don’t see a way he’ll get the top spot and he’s going to make it harder for the Dems to defeat Trump or whoever is running next year.
Dropped out: – Gillibrand. I like her, but she’s got no shot at the top spot. Still an outside chance to be Biden’s VP pick, but I’m not sure she adds anything to the ticket. She’s from safely blue New York. I like Klobuchar or Gabbard for the VP if Biden is the nominee.
Others: 11 – Andrew Yang; 12 – Tom Steyer; 13 – Tulsi Gabbard.