2020 could be a landmark year for Asian Americans with the tantalizing prospect of having an Asian American on the campaign trail for President of the U.S. — not one, but perhaps three AAPI candidates could possibly enter that contest.
No one has formally declared her candidacy, but their names are being bruited about as potential candidates.
The rumors swirling around Sen. Kamala Harris, (D-CA), keep her name on almost everyone’s list of potential Presidential wannabees. She has garnered a higher profile with her position in the Kavanaugh hearings as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and she has maintained a hectic schedule criss-crossing the country lending her ability to excited audiences, stumping for Democratic candidates and increasing her name recognition in important early primary states such as Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire and leaving markers throughout the country through her impressive fundraising efforts and her endorsements.
Perhaps, most importantly, Harris represents a state with the most electoral votes and is the source of almost limitless funds from the entertainment and tech industries.
She is half-Indian and half-black potentially giving her an edge in both important communities. Let’s not discount the African American vote which has overwhelmingly supported the Democrats for decades. The Asian American vote is one quickly gaining influence in key parts of the country.
While announcing that she will NOT be running against fellow Republican Donald Trump, her recent statements critical of Trump and the Republican Party as it is now composed, positions herself well among more Republican moderates and keeps open the door for more conservative Democrats who might not be satisfied with their party’s choice.
Brian Hicks, political columnist for The Post and Courier, Charlotte’s newspaper, has been following Haley’s political career since she was in the state legislature to her time as South Carolina’s governor. He writes:
Haley is tough, shrewd and a better leader than anyone in the GOP right now. Admittedly, there’s not much competition. But she’s making the most of this new gig, collecting allies and markers, expanding her influence and support.
Haley will walk away from this train wreck with an attractive resume of foreign policy and executive-level experience. Next to the rest of these bozos, she looks like Winston Churchill. And when — not if — she decides to run for president, the national press will swoon.
Her recent statements separates her from toxic Trump and places her closer to the middle-ground that Americans (before Trump) prefer. She said:
“In our toxic political life, I’ve heard some people in both parties describe their opponents as enemies or evil. In America, our political opponents are not evil. In South Sudan, where rape is routinely used as a weapon of war, that is evil. In Syria, where the dictator uses chemical weapons to murder innocent children, that is evil. In North Korea, where American student Otto Warmbier was tortured to death, that was evil. In the last two years, I’ve seen true evil. We have some serious political differences here at home. But our opponents are not evil, they’re just our opponents.”
After the introduction, which had the audience tittering nervously, she quipped without missing a beat, “Two years ago Trump was here and made some waves with his remarks, so last year you went with Paul Ryan, who’s a Boy Scout and that’s fine, but a little boring. So this year, you wanted to spice things up again,”
“I get it, you wanted an Indian woman, but Elizabeth Warren failed her DNA test,” joked Haley, whose parents emigrated from Punjab, India. “Actually, when the president found out that I was Indian American, he asked me if I was from the same tribe as Elizabeth Warren,” taking a jab at a potential opponent.
Haley insists she is not running against Trump in 2020, which makes her prime for a run in 2024. But … and here is where the rumors get started; what if Trump decides he’s had enough and decides to not run for President in 2020? If the Democrats take the House, impeachment proceedings are very likely and they can call for his tax returns made public. I can see Trump just say, “The hell with it.” If that unlikely scenario were to come into reality, that would open the door to Haley.
One more name to the list of possible candidates is Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii. She has not made any announcement but Politico reports that Rania Batrice, an adviser to the progressive congresswoman, has been putting out feelers for digital and speechwriting staff for Gabbard. One person approached about the positions say that 2020 wasn’t mentioned explicitly, but it was heavily implied.
While most of the national media focused on Harris’s possible candidacy, Gabbard has taken on the dark horse role, quietly making the rounds to the early primary states to meet with local Democrats and what’s left of the Bernie Sanders supporters still looking for a progressive candidate to latch on to.
“I think everybody is focused on 2018, but we will see what happens after that,” Batrice said in an interview. “Someone like Tulsi, with her experience, is an important voice in the party and the country.”
There will be a crowded field running for president in 2020. Among the other Democrats whose name keeps being mentioned are Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Corey Booker, former Vice President Joe Biden and former Senator John Kerry.
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