Comedian who predicted Trump’s rise names Yang, Gabbard as top 2020 contenders

Comedian Adam Carolla said during an interview that aired Wednesday that authenticity will play a key role in determining the next Democratic presidential nominee.

Carolla, who in 2008 accurately predicted Donald Trump’s 2016 presidency, said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and businessman Andrew Yang stand the best chance in making that appeal, arguing that voters have lost faith in seasoned politicians.

“At this point, I think we’re looking for authenticity now,” Carolla told Hill.TV, adding that voters knew what they were getting with Trump.

“It would be more Tulsi Gabbard-type who has authenticity with a certain dignity and a more middle of the road approach to politics,” he added. “I think it will be someone a little closer to the center.”

Carolla also floated Yang as an alternative, saying he possesses a sense of authenticity that stands in direct contrast to Trump.

However, both candidates have yet to crack the top-tier list of Democratic contenders. Though Yang raked in $4 million in campaign donations in December, RealClearPolitics average of national polling shows him with just 3.5 percent support. Gabbard, meanwhile, registers at 1.8 percent, and has come under fire for her opposition to Trump’s impeachment.

Carolla’s comments come as the 2020 Democratic primary enters a critical phase with roughly one month before the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses.

Though the Democratic contest started as one of the largest and most diverse primaries in U.S. history, a number of big-name candidates have since dropped out of the race. Most notably, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) ended her presidential bid in December, citing insufficient campaign funds.

Harris’s exit prompted renewed criticism of billionaire candidates like Tom Steyer and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, both of whom have been accused of buying their way into the 2020 race. 

Following the suspension of Harris’s campaign, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a top contender, issued a statement calling out the two men.

“Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand — who, together, won more than 11.5 million votes in their last elections — have been forced out of this race, while billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg have been allowed to buy their way in,” Warren said in a fundraising email to supporters. 

White House contenders have also been critical of the Democratic National Committee’s polling criteria. 

The DNC on Monday rejected Yang’s request to commission new early-state polling ahead of the January presidential primary debate to make up for the lack of surveys during the holiday season, which Yang had argued might keep him and others off the stage.

In an email to The Hill, the DNC said that commissioning its own polls would call into question the national party’s own partiality.

“The DNC has been more than inclusive throughout this entire process with an expansive list of qualifying polls, including 26 polls for the December debate, more than half of which were state polls,” a spokesperson said.

— Tess Bonn