As 2018 draws to a close, all eyes are on potential Democratic presidential candidates. 2019 will be a major year for Democrats considering a presidential run. It is the last full year before the primary season kicks off in 2020 and voters are already itching to hear from presidential hopefuls.
However, Democrats will face crowded field, with potentially dozens of candidates seeking the nomination. This could lead to a long and divisive primary season, as older establishment Democrats vie with newer, more progessive faces for the top of the ticket.
The current favorite to win the nomination is former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden is a household name, has strong working class roots and is very popular with Democratic voters. It’s also believed that he can appeal to voters who chose Trump in 2016. However, Biden is prone to gaffes and former favorites have not always succeeded. There are plenty of lessons, from Gary Hart, Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton, for Democrats to draw on here.
Senator Bernie Sanders remains popular with progressives, though he is not currently a Democrat. This will not prevent him running for the party’s nomination, as he did in 2016, but it seems the self-avowed socialist has lost some of his sparkle. He has not been as prominent in the media over the last year as he was previously.
There’s a slew of other potential candidates, most notably Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, who both made headlines during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Texas’ Representative Beto O’Rourke remains popular despite his close defeat to Republican Ted Cruz in the midterms, though his path to the nomination is narrower.
Progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren is reportedly considering a run, but her public profile seems to have waned in recent months as younger Democrats have entered the spotlight. Her decision to publicize the results of a DNA analysis earlier this year was widely regarded as a poor decision that garnered criticism from across the political spectrum.
No Democrat has formally announced their intention to seek the nomination yet, but it is likely that many candidates will declare by the summer of 2019. The year-long campaign, leading into the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primary, will test any presidential hopeful. At this stage, it is impossible to tell who will emerge at the top of ticket. But 2019 will be a crucial year for Democrats’ chances at beating President Donald Trump.