By: Dokter Prax Evad | Contributing AOJ journalist
In more ways than one, Democrats need new faces to lead into the future. There has been some research on the ideal political experience of a presidential candidate. Typically, being a politician for more than 20 years becomes a hindrance. Why? Because that leaves a politician tied to a record that opponents can easily attack. This is why Kirsten Gillibrand is going to face a difficult time running for president in 2020. And yes, she’s clearly running in all, but explicit terms. Democrats need to nominate someone who pleases progressives, but can build a winning coalition. The old school politicians are not able to do that. They are too broadly disliked. This is why Obama won the presidency. He was a fresh face, when the country wanted that. Trump was too. Democrats need to reiterate that strategy. No, I don’t think that means nominating a reality TV star. Just someone without as much of a clearly defined public image. Democrats also should find a solid contrast to Trump in terms of personality: articulate, young, and humble.
Who fits this profile? Well, probably a lot of people. I will float someone not as clearly on the radar of 2020 nominees, but certainly a solid option. Those watching for the 2020 nominee have heard of Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and countless others making moves toward running, but what about Representative Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts. Sure, he’s young. That’s kind of the idea. With a political dynasty that I need not remind the reader of, Joe Kennedy III automatically has some name recognition and clout through this old dynasty. Fortunately, this is a dynasty that has been out of the public eye for many years and won’t have nearly as many negative associations as a Bush or Clinton today due to the many years since the Kennedy’s truly dominated the political sphere. Nonetheless, people still certainly remember the famed name ‘Kennedy’ with positive associations to a past president and several progressive leaders of past decades.
Think about why Hillary Clinton lost. No, I don’t mean the electoral college. That’s an issue for another day. She had a lot of scandal attached to her and a bit too much public recognition of those past scandals. There were policy issues politicians tied her down to readily. Think of the TPP, which Trump ran against and Clinton, who had helped write the TPP, and ended up opposing it as a candidate. Then there were the controversial policing policies of the Clinton administration, which Hillary had supported. These were among the more prominent policy attacks Clinton suffered in her run. A politician without decades of political history to dig up is a lot less likely to face multiple attack lines based on policies that never worked or lost appeal over time. The same can be said about scandals. A newer politician may have less scandal to dredge up and much less association with ‘the swamp’ that is DC. Of course, there is concern that untried politicians will have even more scandal. It just hasn’t been found yet since they haven’t ran in a competitive race. I think that is a valid point and precisely what the primary race should help screen for.
The current political mood calls for an outsider and the liberal base demands a progressive. But the current president calls for an articulate, humble challenger with policy chops behind them. Democrats need to make sure they nominate someone to fit the national environment as much as they can if they want to win as bigly as possible and ensure no more president Trump in 2020.