Kamala Harris Tops List of ‘Power Democrats’ for 2020

Kamala Harris

Getty Senator Kamala D. Harris speaks on stage at The United State of Women Summit 2018 - Day 1 on May 5, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

A new “power ranking” of Democrats likely to win the party’s nomination for the presidential race in 2020 puts Kamala Harris in first place. But the rankings, produced by CNN analysts Chris Cillizza and Harry Enten, also highlights the popularity of rising Democratic star Beto O’Rourke.

Cillizza and Enten have been putting together a new power ranking every month. The 2020 race may be heating up already, but it’s also incredibly volatile, with no clear front runner as yet. Political junkies can expect a roller coaster ride over the next few months as the candidates continue to vie for dominance.

For now, Cillizza and Enten are ranking California Senator Kamala Harris in first place. She ranked first last month too, and Cillizza and Enten remain excited about her chances. They note that “her profile — an Indian-American and African-American woman with a law-and-order background — looks tailor made for the 2020 Democratic electorate,” and they add that Harris seems to be “moving methodically” towards announcing a 2020 run, unlike many other candidates who don’t seem to have decided yet.

Analysts Say O’Rourke Is the ‘Flavor of the Moment’

Beto O'Rourke-Chuck-Schumer


Cillizza and Enten admit that they would have ranked Beto O’Rourke higher if they knew for sure that he was planning to run for president. As it is, even with O’Rourke undecided, they put him solidly in second place on their ranking — right behind the front runner, Kamala Harris. O’Rourke also leads the pack when it comes to bettors on PredictIt; you can read more about that here.

Why is O’Rourke ranked so high? More than anything else, the analysts say, it’s because of the intangible qualities he has, qualities which are hard to pin down but which could make a huge difference in the primary. Cillizza and Enten say,
“O’Rourke has that thing that every candidate — Democrat or Republican — wants: organic energy. He generates excitement everywhere he goes — and is being urged to run by activists from all over the Democratic base. He’s the flavor of the moment, no question. But can he turn that initial excitement into a full-fledged campaign and sustain momentum over the next year-plus?”

Cillizza and Enten conclude that it’s still too early to say. But for now, O’Rourke is the candidate to watch, they say.

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