The hesitation among Democrats to solidify support around a single candidate has some primary voters hoping for a late entry by big name politicians like former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergWithout drastic changes, Democrats are on track to lose big in 2022 Bidens, former presidents mark 9/11 anniversary The tragedy of 9/11 — an inflection point in American history MORE or 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty MORE. The whispers around their potential entrances into the 2020 race have only been amplified by reports that both politicians are unimpressed by the current field of candidates and are considering jumping into an already crowded primary field.
Bloomberg flirting with a run for president is nothing new this election cycle. He has repeatedly floated the possibility. In 2016, he raised the possibility of running as an independent if Senator Bernie Sanders were the Democratic nominee, and he once again created fodder inside the Washington Beltway when he announced earlier this year that he was considering jumping into the 2020 race as a Democrat. It has become somewhat of an annual tradition for pundits to debate if Bloomberg will come to the rescue of a party embracing its progressive values.
I can confidently predict that this election cycle will be no different than previous cycles when it comes to a potential Bloomberg candidacy. It is not happening, and for good reason. While Bloomberg may have the resources to run the type of campaign that would make even Tom Steyer blush, he has little organic support within the party and a political record that would turn him into a punching bag for candidates like Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren. It is not happening this far into the race.
The same can be said for 2016 Democratic nominee. Clinton may still haunt President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE in his nightmares, but she certainly will not be living in the White House again. If Democrats hope to defeat Trump and win back the White House, it is well past time for her to say out loud the thing that we all know she is saying behind closed doors, which is that she is not running for president. I say that with the utmost respect for the former secretary of state and all that she has done for our country.
While it may be fun to debate what a potential rematch between Clinton and Trump would look like, that is something I hope we never ever see again. It is not because I do not think she would be a better president than Trump, which I believe, but because the country and the party cannot afford to go down that path again. Campaign staff may want to relitigate the merits of 2016 and why she lost, but those arguments should be left to pundits. It does nothing to advance the interests of the party and is only a distraction for voters who want to settle on a Democratic nominee.
There are so many reasons why Clinton will not run for president in 2020, but the most practical reason is that it is too late. Campaigns have staffed up, donor bases have been accounted for, and the process to qualify for state ballots has begun. As Clinton is well aware, running for president is no small feat. Forming a campaign takes months of preparation and research. With less than 100 days until the Iowa caucuses, there is not enough time. That is probably a good thing because Democrats cannot afford to play defense, which is sure to happen if Clinton runs again.
Her candidacy would fracture the existing field even further and lead to a contested party convention in Milwaukee. That is a result that could be devastating to the chances of Democrats to recapture the White House. Further, Clinton would pull support from a range of candidates and water down their poll numbers. As much as some people wish she was running, she is not the right person to turn the page on the Trump presidency. Thankfully, I would be willing to bet the house that Clinton agrees with me. While she may enjoy stirring up hot takes on Twitter and staying on the mind of Trump, she has no intention of running for the nomination.
The current crop of candidates can rest confidently knowing that the field is set. The eventual Democratic nominee has already appeared onstage at one of the televised national debates, traveled extensively to the early voting states, and built up an apparatus that is prepared to take the fight directly to Republicans. There are not many things that one can be sure of in politics, but I can be sure that no one is coming in at the last minute to be the proverbial white knight. It is simply not happening at this point.
It is time for voters to focus on the field of Democratic candidates who have declared their intentions to run for president and decide who they support. It is never too early for the party to begin the difficult process of building up a coalition that can defeat Trump at the ballot box in 2020.
Michael Starr Hopkins is the founding partner of Northern Starr Strategies. He served on the Democratic presidential campaigns for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Delaney. Follow him on Twitter @TheOnlyHonest.