It may have been only a year since the last presidential election, but the race for the White House in 2020 is already heating up.
One of the names being touted as a likely contender to take on Donald Trump is a familiar face within Democrat circles… and he has close ties to the Clinton machine.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is now seen by many pundits as a rising star for the next presidential election. Although his term as governor is over in a few months, he was seen as instrumental in recent Democrat victories within his state — and those have propelled him to the front of the pack for 2020.
“Certainly Tuesday night was a triumph for McAuliffe, who looks like a potential if not likely presidential contender. His pitch is simple: ‘We took on Trump in Virginia and won,’” said Kyle Kondik, a University of Virginia political editor, according to The Washington Examiner.
McAuliffe’s lieutenant governor Ralph Northam secured the victory at the polls on November 7, and the defeat of Republican candidate Ed Gillespie was seen as a sign that Trump might be vulnerable in 2020.
“He’d be able to raise money, he has the the beginning of a national network from his years in national politics, and now he has a Virginia record in both policy and politics to put out there,” explained Mo Elleithee, the director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Policy.
However, those same pundits also admitted that Terry McAuliffe is very much an “establishment” candidate, and his long history as a Clinton insider could be a disadvantage.
“He’s a Washington insider who many people still mostly know as the Clinton’s deal-making insider friend who was a creature of the swamp Trump ran against,” said Elleithee.
Interestingly, well-known Democrat pollster John Zogby pointed out that those Clinton connections might do the most damage among left-leaning progressives.
“The Establishment-Progressive split is approaching the hopeless stage, and McAuliffe is too closely associated with both the Establishment and with Bill and Hillary Clinton to rise above the fray,” Zogby explained.
“Any run for president by McAuliffe will conjure up many of the things that voters don’t like about both Clintons — the lifestyle, the fundraising, the rule breaking. He will not get a pass from the Progressives for all these reasons,” he continued.
Considering the rift that is currently forming within the Democrat party in the wake of the Donna Brazile DNC scandal, McAuliffe might want to run as far away from the Clintons as possible. Whether he’ll be able to do that without Hillary dragging herself into the campaign like an unwelcome guest remains to be seen.