The primary election process for the 2020 presidential race has begun. Several Democratic candidates have already announced that they will be running. Some, like Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti, have even completed the cycle from presidential hopeful to hopeless outcast. But, so far, only one thing stands out about the current crop of possible Democrat candidates—which is that no one is standing out.
Robert Francis O’Rourke has a “white privilege” problem that does not magically go away simply because he uses the hispanic nickname “Beto.” And, despite overwhelming national support from the Democratic establishment, he lost the Texas Senate race to Ted Cruz, a guy who often drops below 50% favorability within his own party. Elizabeth Warren has a similar privilege problem, having unjustifiably claimed minority status in both College and Congress. Any chance she had to become president went up in smoke the moment she turned her race into a national issue during a misguided fight with president Trump. Joe Biden is certainly “presidential,” but he does not stand out. In fact, he uncannily resembles all of the stiff, stale, presidential-election losers of the last several decades: McCain, Romney, John Kerry, and Al Gore.
Did I say that no one is standing out among the Democrats? I take that back. One Democrat politician has risen heads and shoulders above the rest, especially in the ways that matter for a presidential election. Recently “leaked” footage of her dancing on a roof-top has endeared her to the public in much the same way that Bill Clinton’s appearance on a late night talk show did when he jammed out on the saxophone. Her “personal likability” is, like Obama’s, off the charts. But, unfortunately for Democrats, (and fortunately for her), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not eligible to run for President until 2024.
Ocasio-Cortez will certainly run for president in 2024—she would be stupid not to. She has the a once-in-lifetime chance to be both the youngest president and the first female president of the United States. She would very likely win the Democratic primary. If a septuagenarian Bernie Sanders can nearly win a rigged Democratic primary against the Democrats’ largest fundraising candidate, then Sanders’ intellectual grand-daughter should easily sail through the newly-reformed Democratic process.
Moreover, after Trump’s second term, America will, once again, be ready for a “change.” Trump is not the kind of president who can pass on a legacy—like Reagan did to Bush. “Trumpism” is Trump himself. Trump is a guy who incarnates a political moment, and therefore “Trumpism” will die with him (although nationalism is here to stay). In order for a Republican candidate to win after Trump's two terms, they would need to be a fresh, new thing. But that is not what Republican primary voters will want after eight successful years. Republican voters will want more of the same, and no one will properly fill those shoes.
Thus, in 2024, the ball will be teed up for Ocasio-Cortez, who has the potential to usher in a decade or more of Democrat political dominance. But, in order for that to happen, the current crop of establishment Democrats must fail in 2020. A loss for someone like Joe Biden, on the heels of Hillary's loss in 2016, would have much the same effect on the Democratic Party as McCain and Romney’s back-to-back establishment losses had on the Republican Party. Like the Tea Party, the populist Left could take over their own Party. And, unlike "Occupy Wall Street," which was a pathetic, astro-turfed imitation of the Tea Party movement, this new wave of grass-roots democratic-socialists would be a real force to be reckoned with. And this spirited movement has already found its attractive and charismatic leader.