Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Prediction: You Probably Only Vaguely, if at All, Recognize the Name of the 2024 Democratic Presidential Nominee

I don't really have a dog in the 2024 presidential hunt. I've never voted for a Republican and never plan to. I've only voted for a Democrat once (as a callow youth in my first presidential election in 1988 -- Michael Dukakis) and never plan to again. If the Libertarian Party doesn't offer up a satisfactory alternative, I probably just won't vote at all.

But assuming Joe Biden doesn't run again in 2024 (I don't think he will), there's been a lot of talk about whom the Democrats will nominate.

My first prediction is that it will obviously not be vice-president Kamala Harris. Nobody liked her when she ran for the 2020 presidential nomination. Nobody liked her when she ran for VP on the Biden ticket (I suspect she cost him a million votes, minimum). Nobody likes her now. She's a continuous train wreck of undisguised, poorly-implemented opportunism and poor public speaking skills. If she does seek the nomination, her status as sitting VP might -- might -- bring her in a distant and embarrassing second place, but I wouldn't bet on even that.

My second prediction is that the three front-runners and most likely nominees, all unannounced and if they decide they want it, are (in alphabetical order):

  1. Andy Beshear;
  2. Laura Kelly; and
  3. Jared Polis.
They are, respectively, the governors of Kentucky, Kansans, and Colorado.

They're Democratic governors who got elected in red (Kansas and Kentucky) or "purple" (Colorado) states.

They're Democrats who've proven they can compete with Republicans in places where the electorate leans Republican, or at least not strongly Democrat.

Does the name "Jimmy Carter" ring any bells? In 1964, Georgia went for Republican Barry Goldwater. In 1968, it went for George Wallace, but with Republican Richard Nixon in second place and Democrat Hubert Humphrey in third. In 1972, it went for Nixon. But in the middle of all that, Carter got elected governor as a Democrat and went on to the presidency.

How about Bill Clinton? Arkansas also went Wallace/Nixon/Humphrey in 1968, Nixon in 1972, Reagan in 1980 and 1984, and Bush in 1988 ... while electing as governor a Democrat who went on to the presidency.

Most of the states tend to remain aligned with the same party over long periods of time. No matter who the Democrats nominate, they'll carry the states that "always vote Democratic." In the swing states, they need a candidate who can beat Republicans in competitive races.

Of course, there's a caveat here: I'm assuming that the Democratic primary electorate is interested in actually winning the 2024 election. It may be that the party splits badly enough along "progressive" / "moderate" lines that there just won't be any enthusiasm and that there will be the possibility of an outlier candidate with no real shot (like George McGovern) getting the nomination.

But if they want to win, one of the three people I just named in the top slot is likely their best shot at doing so.

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