early and often

Voters Can’t Even Name Many Democratic Presidential Prospects

Senator Elizabeth and some unknown Democrats. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

It may not matter, since Joe Biden is probably to going to win the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination without a serious challenge. But a poll that asked Democrats to name their favorite candidate if Biden does not run may be rather disappointing to presidential hopefuls who assume they’ve built up a real national following:

“Everyone else” includes the following:

• 2020 candidates Michael Bennet, Bill de Blasio, Michael Bloomberg, Cory Booker, Steve Bullock, Julian Castro, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Mike Gravel, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Seth Moulton, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, Tom Steyer, and Eric Swalwell.

• Red-hot 2024 presidential prospects (according to the Washington Post “Top Ten Candidates” list): Jared Polis, J.B. Pritzker, Josh Shapiro, and Gretchen Whitmer.

That’s an awful lot of forgotten politicians. Bloomberg, for example, spent over a billion dollars on his failed candidacy. Bennet, Booker, Gillibrand, and Klobuchar are sitting U.S. senators. Bullock, Inslee, and Hickenlooper were sitting governors when they ran in 2020. Governors Pritzker, Shapiro, and Whitmer are still in office.

This collective amnesia only matters if Biden doesn’t run. But it tells you that the political capital a lot of people spend on preparing themselves for a presidential candidacy winds up getting wasted. Democrats better hope Biden serves out the rest of his current term and runs for a second. Otherwise, Democratic candidates will need to start all over introducing themselves to the voting members of their party. Right now, a lot of them are basically nonentities.

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Voters Can’t Name Many Democratic Presidential Prospects