This is the earliest start to the sort of jockeying that precedes a campaign for presidential nomination, according to top Democratic donors and political operatives. It’s a reflection of the deep antipathy toward Trump among Democrats—and the widespread belief that the right candidate could defeat him, according to the New York Times. The donors agree this could be the longest, most crowded, and most expensive in history.
Allies of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. say his new political group is building an email list so he can “communicate directly with his supporters about the future of the party and the country.” Biden has been arranging one-on-one meetings with some of the top donors in the party. He also met privately in May with leaders of nine new or emerging groups opposing Trump and Republicans on various fronts, and supporting Latino, African-American and millennial candidates and causes.
There are some other notable Democrats waiting in the wings. The problem? No one wants to admit they’re running! All their fundraising and campaigning is for other reasons, supposedly:
Aides to Sen. Kamala Harris of California say that her fundraising events in Martha’s Vineyard and the Hamptons this summer have simply been to help Democratic candidates win Congress back in 2018.
Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio says he’s been traveling to Iowa and New Hampshire in part because “I like being out around the country.”
Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York has paid more than $1 million this year through her political committees to a top online fundraising firm. She has held two fundraisers last month in the Hamptons, and has not explicitly ruled out a White House run.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee who maintains deep ties to some of the party’s most generous donors, has spent $164,000 through his political committee on staff members and consultants this year.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is crisscrossing the country, stumping for populist candidates and causes. A political organization founded by his former campaign aides has raised nearly $5.3 million in the past year from donations that average $22. And, even as he faces his own 2018 re-election race in Vermont, his backers are signaling that they will support another presidential run.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, whose populist rhetoric has attracted a grassroots activist and donor base that overlaps with that of Bernie Sanders, has said that the party should avoid a temptation to moderate its views, and that its candidates should not “grovel on Wall Street” to raise money.
What do you think?