2020 Democrats Have a Rough Week

• December 7, 2018 2:40 pm


It wasn't a banner week for Democrats thinking about making presidential bids in 2020, with four getting some bad headlines and two quitting the race altogether.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) saw one of her top, longtime aides resign after a harassment and retaliation lawsuit against him came to light, nearly two years after it was filed. The Sacramento Bee editorial board didn't think much of Harris' excuse that she had no knowledge that someone she'd known for 14 years settled a $400,000 suit over behavior the plaintiff said happened inside Harris' California Justice Department.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) was the subject of a withering New York Times story about how her decision to release a DNA test about her Native American heritage has backfired—badly. The test, which showed she could be as little as 1/1024th Native American, was greeted by widespread mockery in October and derision from tribal leaders, and Warren and her allies are now privately worrying about the damage she may have done to her relationship with ethnic minorities and Native Americans.

Her allies also think she made a mistake by "treading too far into the fraught area of racial science — a field that has, at times, been used to justify the subjugation of racial minorities and Native Americans," according to the report.

Adding to the bad news for Warren: The Boston Globe editorial board, which encouraged her to run for president in 2016, said it looks like she "missed her moment" and should bow out of the race in 2020.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) took sharp criticism for tweeting "the future is female" and "intersectional," with her own colleague Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) replying that instead the future is "American." CNN's S.E. Cupp groaned at her "dumbed-down" version of feminism.

Of course, those three are spring chickens next to former Vice President Joe Biden, who has been mulling a run for months and declared this week he was the most qualified person in the country to be president. But a Wall Street Journal survey of Iowa Democratic leaders showed the majority of respondents wanted generational change, which wasn't a welcome sign for a man who would be 78 on Inauguration Day in 2012.

That was coupled with a report in The Atlantic that numerous 2018 midterm Democratic candidates didn't use robocalls Biden recorded for their campaigns, because he sounded "too tired and worn out."

Finally, Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti, pinning it on his family, decided to drop out of the 2020 race, as did former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D).

President Donald Trump hasn't had a great week either—the stock market continued its free fall on Friday while he kept up his attack on special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation—but for several of his potential 2020 foes, it was downright rough.