The nation’s oldest party has been battered over the last seven years. In 2010, we lost control of the House of Representatives in a massive Republican landslide. In 2014, we lost control of the Senate. Last November, the world woke up to President Donald Trump. Nevertheless, I am still proud to call myself a Democrat.
The one enormous benefit of being the minority party is that we cannot be blamed for any of the horrendous legislation being passed by the 115th Congress. However, we must look forward to elections in 2018 and 2020. We have some amazing Democrats rising and/or shifting in the party.
1. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III (MA-4)
Being a Bay Stater, the first shoutout has to go to Joe Kennedy. He is wildly popular amongst the progressive wing of the party. He has the smarts, the looks, and the name to go far. Although Kennedy has said that he does not want to run for president in 2020, I would keep an eye-out for a potential Senate run to replace Ed Markey or as a possible vice-presidential nominee.
2. Senator Kamala Harris (CA)
Perhaps the best thing to come out of 2016, Kamala Harris is full of the passion and energy that has been drained from the party after so many defeats. She represents one of the most solidly blue states in the country, but does not shy away from fights. In the last seven months, she has been aggressively pushing a progressive message and become a feminist superhero for fighting back against a sexist attempt to quiet her on the Senate floor. She is securely at the top of my list of potential vice-presidential nominees for 2020.
3. Governor Roy Cooper (NC)
I know some progressive Democrats would be horrified at the inclusion of Governor Cooper on this list. I think they have not given him a fair chance. His election in itself was a miracle, unseating the incumbent, Republican Pat McCrory, by 0.2%. I will concede that the revised bathroom bill that Cooper signed was far from perfect. Faced with Republican supermajorities in both houses of the North Carolina Legislature, there was little more he could do. He is committed to bring in progressive change to North Carolina, even while the spiteful Legislature reduces his power. Roy Cooper is one of top three choices to run for President in 2020.
4. Senators Maggie Hassan (NH) & Tammy Duckworth (IL)
Like Kamala Harris, these two women are also freshman Democrats and they bring tremendous potential to the party. Senator Hassan is a well known figure here in New England. As Governor of New Hampshire, she passed excellent legislation and was instrumental in getting her state first place for states to start a small business. I do not necessarily see her on the Presidential ticket, but she will prove to be an invaluable resource in the Senate, with less of the spotlight than Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Tammy Duckworth is also on my list of potential vice-presidential nominees. Her impeccable military service and her courage in the face of traumatic injuries make her an excellent contrast to Mike Pence. Unlike Senator Hassan however, she does not have a lengthy legislative record.
5. 47th Vice President of the United States Joseph R. Biden (DE)
Yes, I know he is not a new Democrat, nor is he a young Democrat. However, as a party we do have to acknowledge who is the most popular amongst all Americans. That person is unquestionably Joe Biden. The latest polls (if you do not trust them anymore, fair enough) show Biden with the highest lead over Trump. He has the fighting spirit of Bernie Sanders and the appeal to establishment Democrats and Independents of Barack Obama. If age/health is a roadblock to you supporting him, I would remind you that the current president is the oldest and third-heaviest ever elected.