Hours after Donald J. Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States, some in the Democratic party are looking to Tim Kaine as a possible candidate in the 2020 election.
With Hillary Clinton being defeated on November 8th, Democrats are struggling to identify their new leader, with some of the party’s most well-liked politicians now nearing the end of their political careers. It’s difficult to imagine Clinton putting herself through another election in 2020, when she would be 73 years old. And Bernie Sanders, senator from Vermont who challenged Clinton during the Democratic primary and who some have speculated could have performed better in the 2016 election, will be 79 years old in 2020. Vice President Joe Biden appears ready to retire, having declined to enter the 2016 race in part due to his grief over the death of his son, Beau Biden.
But Tim Kaine is a young and relatively well popular Democrat who brings an impressive resume to the table. Kaine, who will be 62 years old in 2020, has served as mayor of Richmond, lieutenant governor of Virginia, governor of Virginia, chair of the Democratic National Committee, United States senator, and then candidate for vice president of the United States. He would be running with more political experience under his belt than Barack Obama, John Kerry, or Al Gore did in their respective elections.
Recent history also suggests that Kaine will consider throwing his hat in the ring, as the last two Democrats to unsuccessfully seek the vice presidency both ran for election four years later. Joe Lieberman, Al Gore’s running mate in 2000, later ran for president in 2004, though he dropped out in February after failing to win the New Hampshire primary. And John Edwards, John Kerry’s running mate in 2004, later ran for president in 2008. The Democratic primary that year came down to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, but Kerry dropped out in January after failing to win in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. He later endorsed Barack Obama and was rumored as a potential running mate for Obama before Joe Biden was offered the role.
Another potential candidate for the 2020 election is Cory Booker, a young senator from New Jersey who is one of the state’s most prominent Democrats. There’s also Julian Castro, the United States secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination in 2016, and Elizabeth Warren, senator from Massachusetts who is popular among progressives and Bernie Sanders supporters.
Of course, the person who becomes the Democratic candidate in 2020 will largely depend on how the Donald Trump presidency is going at that point. Will America be seeking a radical change from the previous four years? Will a more moderate candidate be called for? Or will Trump be successful and popular enough by that point that most Democrats who desire to be president will want to wait until 2024 to run?
Democratic bids for the White House will likely announced between the spring and summer of 2019.