Ohio’s senior U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown was vetted last year by Hillary Clinton to be her running mate. Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine got the call instead.
But if Clinton picked Sen. Brown, who has a long history of fighting for workers and their issues, her economic message may have been stronger in important states like Wisconsin and Michigan where Donald Trump eked out wins by a very thin margin.
As Democrats look forward to 2020, the portfolio of potential presidential candidates is taking shape now. If Sen. Brown can win in 2018, his name could be added to the 15 people already on a list released by The Hill, a long-standing Washington insider publication, as prime suspects to take on the Donald.
So who are these 15 potential Democratic candidates that could save the party in four years?
The Hill has posted it’s initial rankings of who these saviors or cannon fodder might be:
1. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) – The leading contender for the 2020 nomination. She won kudos taking on banks and the financial industry.
2. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) – He lost to Hillary Clinton but won 23 contests and amassed more than 13 million votes doing so, as he captured young voters and progressives.
3. Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) – He’s joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and at 47 years of age, he is among the few African-Americans in the Senate. His corporate-friendly stances could be problematic.
4. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) – She’s seen as a “popular, practical, appealing [and] progressive” by The New Yorker. Labor and progressivism runs strong in her state of Minnesota, so she could maybe appeal to Rust Belt voters whom her party needs to win over.
5. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y) – Representing New York, she has easy access to the national media and to powerful Democratic fundraising networks.
6. First lady Michelle Obama – She’s said no, but speculation doesn’t take no for an answer. She enjoys a strong a hold on liberal hearts and minds.
7. Gov. John Hickenlooper (Colo.) – Colorado has gone for the Democratic nominee in the past three presidential elections and Clinton won the state by five points. He is almost unknown in the nation at large.
8. Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.) – He needs to display more policy breadth and heighten his national profile if he is to be a genuine contender.
9. Vice President Joe Biden – He would be 77 by next Election Day, and his two previous runs for the presidency, in 1988 and 2008, ended in failure.
10. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.) – As governor of a huge, liberal state, who is positioned as a “centrist,” is he the right fit for the times?
11. Sen.-elect Kamala Harris (Calif.) – She succeeds retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, and is seen as a rising star in the party.
12. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – There is still a large, wealthy circle of Clinton loyalists, who would back any future run. Recall that Richard Nixon lost the presidency in 1960 then lost a race for governor of California after that, but returned to win the White House in 1968 and 1972.
13. Former Gov. Deval Patrick (Mass.) – He has political skills and is likened to President Obama. Now out of office and working for Bain Capital [Mitt Romney’s company], he might not win over liberal activists.
14. Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) – He’s now experienced after running as Clinton’s VP pick.
15. Oprah Winfrey – She’s a big celebrity, like Trump. She’s a trusted celebrity, unlike Trump. Can she be tempted into a race to defeat Trump?