2020 visions: Presidential potentials make power moves - yes, already

Potential 2020 candidates

(RNN) - Democrats and some Republicans are lining up to win financial support and political buzz to challenge unpopular incumbent President Donald Trump.

Former Vice President Joe Biden polls highest among the Democrats who may vie for the Democratic nomination.

Biden prevailed in a Reuters/Ipsos Election Day poll, garnering 29 percent of the respondent. 2016′s Democratic runner-up Sen. Bernie Sanders was chosen by 22 percent, with the rest supporting senators Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris.

Trump’s approval rating remains underwater, as it has through much of his term, with more than half of Americans disapproving of his job performance.

As of Nov. 19, 53 percent disapprove of the president’s job performance and 42.5 percent approve, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Trump’s unpopularity continues despite his constant rallies – Trump has held 44 rallies in 2018 as of Monday, the Washington Post said.

Trump speaks on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as he awaits an anticipated CIA report that raises questions about who's behind it.
Trump speaks on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as he awaits an anticipated CIA report that raises questions about who's behind it.

Yet he has a fundraising head start on any potential challenger because he filed for re-election on the day he was inaugurated. Trump’s first re-election event happened 29 days into his presidency.

As of October, his campaign has raised $100 million, CNN reported.

But the challengers are working to catch up. Potential candidates such as Harris have already started wooing donors, the Washington Post reported.

Democratic high-flyers were hard at work in the midterms, helping out candidates while raising money - and their own profile among voters.

According to Politico, Harris raised more than $9 million for Democratic candidates and committees, Warren raised $8 million and Booker raised $7 million.

Biden was a long-serving senator from Delaware before Barack Obama chose him as running mate. He declined to run in 2016 after his son Beau died of cancer.

Both Trump and Biden engaged in verbal threats of violence earlier in the year, with both men older than 70 bragging that they could beat the other up ... in high school, CNN said.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, votes while holding his granddaughter, Ela Molina, 1, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Phil Long)
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, votes while holding his granddaughter, Ela Molina, 1, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Phil Long) (Source: Phil Long)

National Review editor Rich Lowry considers a potential Biden candidacy a serious threat to a Trump second term, saying “His gruff manner, Catholic faith, Irish ethnic background, union-friendly politics, and upbringing in Delaware via Pennsylvania make him as close as the contemporary national Democratic party gets to a working-class match for the Great Lakes states that Trump stole from it in 2016.”

Pundits have heaped similar praise on Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who said he’s considering running for president. Matthew Walther in an opinion piece in “The Week” calls Brown the best shot for taking back the White House.

“Brown’s amiable, folksy style and practical, bread-and-butter approach to issues make him an ideal candidate for reversing Trump’s narrow but all-important 2016 margins in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and his home state,” he said.

Harris, the daughter of immigrants, is only the second black woman to have been elected to the U.S. Senate. Only 10 blacks have ever served in the Senate - including Harris, Booker and former President Barack Obama.

She entered office the same year as Trump, 2017, and since then, her prosecutorial background has come into play in Senate hearings - grilling both former Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his 2017 confirmation hearings and current Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his October confirmation hearing.

She also has taken Trump to task on a number of fronts, including his anti-immigrant rhetoric, noting “The idea that we’re vilifying any one group, and the fear-mongering - that’s not in the best interest of our country.”

Warren’s battles with Trump took the form of Twitter feuds and a genetic test that some called misguided after the president called her “Pocahontas” derisively and cast doubt on her Native American heritage.

The progressive icon from Massachusetts is better known for her consumer advocacy and battling big banks than talking smack. After all, she helped launch the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, serving as an adviser to Obama.

Some progressive actually wanted her to run in 2016 and tried to draft her.

Booker - New Jersey’s junior senator who, as former mayor of Newark, saved a woman in a house fire in 2012 - has unveiled legislation designed to bridge the wealth gap. Called the “American Opportunity Accounts Act,” it creates an interest-bearing savings account for every child, which that child can draw upon at age 18 for “allowable uses like buying a home or paying for educational expenses,” according to the news release.

He was criticized by Republican Senate colleagues for the tactics he used during the Senate hearing on the Supreme Court nomination of Kavanaugh.

Described as his “Spartacus moment,” he released committee-confidential documents related to Kavanaugh’s memo about racial profiling from the President George W. Bush era. Other Democrats followed suit.

Booker will violate rules to release Kavanaugh documents

When Sen. John Cornyn warned him of possible consequences on releasing committee-con, Booker said, “Bring it.”

Whoever chooses to battle it out for the nomination could potentially tap into the excitement of a midterm election that drew nearly 50 percent of those eligible to vote, according to the United States Elections Project. The turnout was the highest rate for midterms since 1914, Forbes said.

The midterms also saw the Democrats take back the House of Representatives, picking up 34 seats, while losing ground in the Senate. Democrats also took seven governorships and six legislatures, which will help the party craft future congressional maps.

It’s not only Democrats angling for a shot at sending Trump back to his opulent Manhattan apartment.

Kasich: Trump 'not capable' of being a unifier

Outgoing Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been among those who have made the trip to New Hampshire - and not just to marvel at the autumn leaves.

Actively pondering a presidential run, he called out Trump at the Loeb School’s First Amendment Gala in Manchester. NH, on Nov. 16, The Hill said.

“What I have resented and disliked about the president is instead of being a unifier and someone who can dig deep into people’s problems and say ‘yes those are problems, but together we can fix them,’ he has played a blame game," he said.

Retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, a noted Trump critic, thinks a true conservative should challenge the president in the GOP primary.

“I hope somebody does [run], just to remind Republicans what it means to be conservative and what it means to be decent. We’ve got to bring that back,” Flake said to Politico. “You can whip up the base for a cycle or two but it wears thin. Anger and resentment are not a governing philosophy.”

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