For the past two months, we have been bombarded with announcement after announcement by presidential candidates hoping to dazzle us with their credentials. Even with 13 new potential Democratic nominees to date, the declarations keep coming.
Some of the would-be presidents choose a late night television show for their big moment. Others make their bid at a planned outdoor rally with all the trappings.
The latest person to jump in is former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, whose claim to fame is that he raised $80 million in contributions in a losing battle with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Are there more coming? As they say down South, you can bet the ranch that they are coming.
Many of the questions I get are along the line of “who do you think would be the best person to challenge Donald Trump?” My answer is, “call me in either October or November.”
If you start to sift through the field, you will find that at least six of them all stand for the same thing.
Even though Sen. Bernie Sanders may be the left-wing frontrunner, almost every one of his pledges is being used by at least four or five candidates including Senators Gillibrand, Booker, Warren and Harris.
By late this year, only one of two of those senators will be in the hunt as sooner or later they will fail for lack of money and inability to build up a following.
I am not in the betting business, but I anticipate that the first casualty in the race to the White House will be Kirsten Gillibrand.
Even though she has strong dollar support from businesses in Texas, she is weighed down by lots of other issues. The recent revelation that a member of her staff was harassing other members has to hurt.
Rather than fire that employee when the accusations surfaced, she kept him on and made a hollow gesture of expressing her sympathy to the woman who was driven out by the pressures.
In addition, it is no accident that no member of the New York congressional delegation has declined to endorse her. The junior senator has never endeared herself to her colleagues and almost all of them are turned off by her lack of collegiality.
When you look at the ever-expanding field of candidates it reminds you of the 2016 avalanche of Republican candidates that eventually faded away in favor of the current president.
They will all get a chance to stand on a public stage and display their talents in the presence of their competitors, but one-by-one they will drop out when the money runs dry and their campaign ideas fall flat.
A well respected political analyst recently commented that there has to be a defining moment which will propel one of the group to the front and no one knows when that moment will come.
Years ago, in the midst of the Republican primary fight for president, Ronald Reagan had that moment in New Hampshire when he declared that “I am paying for that microphone and it’s my time to do the talking.”
No doubt one of the current crops may have that soundbite or incident that defines their candidacy.
If you look at the current roster most of them lean to the left. Candidates such as Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee and former Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper are occupying the center lane of politics but no doubt will soon be joined by former Vice President Joe Biden.
Once Joe Biden is in the contest it will provide an interesting contrast. Think Beto O’Rourke and Joe Biden jockeying for the middle of the road.
The young dynamic former Congress member and the seasoned public official who is known and liked by leaders throughout the world. Biden will have to deal with a history of support for issues that today are controversial. O’Rourke may be charismatic and aggressive, but no one knows where he stands on all of the current issues.
If you can remember back to 2012 and 2016, candidate Hillary Clinton ran advertisements asking who would you trust to answer the White House phone at 3 a.m.?
Up to this point, not one of the announced candidates has stressed their foreign affairs credentials and spoken out about any international issues. Of all the potential Democratic nominees, only Biden has the capability to stand tall in a moment of international tension. Surprisingly, none of the other Democratic hopefuls have claimed to have any foreign policy experience.
Considering that President Trump has alienated almost all of our foreign friends and kissed up to numerous dictators, sooner or later foreign policy will be a front-and-center issue.
While we are waiting for the field to narrow or expand, it is worth talking about money. Sanders was enormously successful in raising money three years ago and enjoyed a big boost in funding right after his recent announcement.
Behind him are Elizabeth Warren and Harris.
No doubt Biden will be able to raise funds from big corporations but that may not be enough to carry him to victory. We are living in new times and for now, the small-dollar donor has helped make or break all candidates. This race to the White House will cost at least $1 billion dollars and most of that money arrives when the donors think it is a sure thing.
So, for now, I urge you political junkies to change the TV channels away from 24/7 politics and spend your time watching some of the good movies that are available. Anyone who tells you that their candidate is a sure thing may be using some illegal substance.