Posted on Oct 30, 2019
With Donald Trump mired in an impeachment inquiry that seems only likely to heat up over the next month or two, news relating to the 2020 elections in the U.S. has faded. The impeachment process in the American government makes it highly unlikely that Trump would actually be removed from office (Republicans in the U.S. Senate would have to turn on him in fairly significant numbers). But this is nonetheless a rare occurrence in American politics, and something that’s going to dominate headlines until an outcome is reached.
Even so however, the U.S. presidential election is essentially a year out at this point, and campaigns have begun (in some cases quite a while ago) in earnest. For those just now tuning in, here’s a look at where things stand with Trump’s potential opposition.
Republican Primary Challengers
Incumbent presidents in the U.S. rarely face serious primary challenges within their own parties, and the assumption remains that Trump will have little trouble securing the Republican nomination next year. However, given the aforementioned impeachment inquiry, it’s at least worth monitoring those Republicans who might consider running against him (or are already doing so). Fringe Republican Party figures Joe Walsh (a former congressman), Mark Sanford (a former senator), and Bill Weld (who ran as a third-party vice presidential candidate in 2016) have all started primary campaigns against Trump. Meanwhile, the odds for the Republican nomination indicate that Vice President Mike Pence, former South Carolina Governor and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and Senator Mitt Romney (who ran against Barack Obama in 2012) would have the best chances of defeating Trump by a wide margin.
Again, the widespread assumption remains that Trump will be his party’s nominee. However, should the impeachment inquiry reach a point at which Trump is either removed from office or becomes less viable politically for Republicans, these would be the names to watch.
Democratic Primary Contenders
Assuming Donald Trump does wind up as the Republican Party’s nominee, he’ll likely face one of a number of Democratic challengers who have already been vying for their own party’s nomination throughout most of 2019 so far. It’s still fairly early in the primary campaign (the first state to be decided, Iowa, will hold its election just under 100 days from the time of this writing), but so far three main contenders have emerged to lead the pack. They are Joe Biden, who was vice president under Obama; Senator Elizabeth Warren; and Senator Bernie Sanders. And depending on which polls, predictions, or odds you’re looking at, any one of them might look like the strongest candidate (though Biden has been at the head of the pack the longest).
Because it is still early, it’s not out of the question that one of the candidates polling in lower positions could also become a serious contender. There are numerous U.S. senators in the mix, in addition to ex-congressman Beto O’Rourke and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg.
Potential Long-Shot Entries
Just recently, there were stories circulating in American news outlets about uneasy Democratic Party members hoping for a white knight as an alternative to the frontrunners mentioned above. A late-entry candidate favored by the establishment is not an altogether unheard of thing in U.S. elections, but it’s not exactly common either - and many prominent pundits, analysts, and strategists in the party shrugged off these reports.
For the sake of thoroughness though, we should mention that some of the figures evidently being eyed by some as potential additions to the field were former Michael Bloomberg (the billionaire former mayor of New York City), Sherrod Brown (a popular senator from the state of Ohio), and 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton.
Given how much time there is to go and all the factors at play, it’s still impossible to predict whom Trump will run against in 2020 - or even if he’ll be in the race himself. One way or another though, it’s reasonably likely that one of the people whose names you just read above will win the U.S. presidential election next November.
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