It cannot be overstated how eagerly the Democrats want to take back the White House in 2020.

The Democrats face many obstacles in this effort, but the greatest threat is the fierce internal divisions within the party.

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Two of the leading prospective presidential candidates, Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisTrump: ‘Dems have a death wish’ Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas Senate Democrats block resolution supporting ICE MORE (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOn The Money: Trump rips Fed over rate hikes | Dems fume as consumer agency pick refuses to discuss border policy | Senate panel clears Trump IRS nominee Dems fume as Trump's consumer bureau pick refuses to discuss role in border policy Trump vows to hold second meeting with Putin MORE (D-Mass.), have begun national fundraising operations. Former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenTrump: Biden would be ‘dream’ opponent ‘Street fighter’ Avenatti says he’s giving ‘serious thought’ to White House run Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE has been busy building a national email list to communicate directly with his supporters, and Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) has already announced his presidential candidacy.

The Democratic Party does not just need a new leader, but a new policy agenda that is aimed at growing our economy, promoting traditional party values and doing more than resisting President Trump at every step.

Major Democratic donor Marc Lasry told The New York Times, “‘It’s gotten ridiculous,” and the Democrats “need a clearer message about what they want to do, not just about opposing Trump.”

As I’ve said before, the Democrats need an alternative plan to rebuild and unite the party if they have any hope in winning back seats in Congress in the 2018 midterms, nonetheless the White House in 2020. 

This alternative plan requires a new, united opposition, led by a political leader with widespread popularity.

The only person I can see accomplishing this would be none other than the party’s most popular political figure: Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama joins stars in launch of voter registration push The Hill's Morning Report — Russia furor grips Washington Michelle Obama launches voter registration initiative ahead of midterms: report MORE.

Let me be clear: This is not an endorsement. I have been, and still am, critical of Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaEx-White House stenographer: Trump is ‘lying to the American people’ Trump has the right foreign policy strategy — he just needs to stop talking The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump faces bipartisan criticism over Putin presser, blames media for coverage MORE’s presidency. Michelle Obama would not be my candidate, and I do not agree with many of the positions I believe she would advance. But as an analyst, Michelle Obama is clearly the Democrats’ best chance to reunite the party and win back the White House in 2020.

Michelle Obama is perceived as a strong, well-qualified leader with immense national popularity. Broadly, the polls show she is respected by the American people and by the near-entirety of the Democratic Party.

Although Michelle Obama has stated that she is not interested in a presidential bid, her appeal and support for her husband remain robust.

According to the January 2017 USA Today/Gallup poll, Michelle Obama left the White House with a 68 percent favorability rating, compared with 58 percent for President Obama and 61 percent for Vice President Biden. 

While it is common for first ladies to be more favored than their husbands, Michelle Obama’s favorability is substantially higher than Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonProminent Putin critic: If Trump turns me over, I'm dead Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia Trump tweets old video of Clinton talking up 'a strong Russia' MORE’s rating of 56 percent from 2000 when she and President Clinton left the White House. 

Further, in plain terms, Michelle Obama would be a far superior candidate to Hillary Clinton. I opposed Hillary Clinton because she faced ethical issues that could very well have initiated a constitutional crisis had she been elected. Michelle Obama does not face such controversy.

Furthermore, Michelle Obama’s favorability rating is significantly greater than President Trump’s. According to the RealClear Politics Average, Trump’s latest favorability rating lies at 39.7 percent — a whopping 30 points less than Michelle Obama.

Just last month, Public Policy Polling found there to be “significant yearning for a return to the days of President Obama,” with 52 percent of voters saying they wish Barack Obama was still president, and only 39 percent preferring president Trump.

In fact, in a series of hypothetical match-ups between leading Democrats and President Trump, Barack Obama’s 52 percent represents the highest level of support, outnumbering Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSenate to vote Monday on Trump's VA nominee Senate approves resolution warning Trump not to hand over US officials GOP leader blocks resolution backing intelligence community on Russia MORE, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren in particular.

This data makes it clear that President Obama, or at the very least a candidate intimately associated with his tenure, would have a better chance at defeating President Trump than any of the 2020 hopefuls.

Considering that Michelle Obama had an even higher favorability rating than President Obama when he left office, she clearly would have a tremendous opportunity to succeed if she ran. 

As an analyst, I believe that she is the candidate the divided Democratic Party needs. Otherwise, the party could well rip itself apart.

Michelle Obama stands a cut above the rest as the only prospective candidate who can bring the party together, rebuild the Obama coalition, win back the Midwest and, thus, win the presidency.

Douglas E. Schoen (@DouglasESchoen) served as a pollster for President Bill Clinton. A longtime political consultant and pollster, he is also a Fox News contributor and the author of 11 books. His latest book is “Putin’s Master Plan: To Destroy Europe, Divide NATO, and Restore Russian Power and Global Influence.”


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.