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A First Look At The 2020 Presidential Field, Led By Women

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is seated during a hearing of the the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs for Steven D. Dillingham to be Director of the Census, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018 in Washington. (Alex Brandon/AP)
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is seated during a hearing of the the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs for Steven D. Dillingham to be Director of the Census, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018 in Washington. (Alex Brandon/AP)
This article is more than 4 years old.

With Meghna Chakrabarti

At least four women are now running for president in 2020. We’ll look at the field and their prospects.


Lisa Lerer, reporter at The New York Times covering campaigns, elections and political power. Lead reporter on the 2016 presidential race for The Associated Press. (@llerer)

Kim Alfano, Republican strategist and president and CEO of Alfano Communications. (@ALFANOCOMM)

Celinda Lake, longtime Democratic pollster and expert on women's votes. Founder and president of Lake Research Partners, a political strategy research firm. Author of "What Women Really Want: How American Women Are Quietly Erasing Political, Racial, Class, and Religious Lines to Change the Way We Live." (@celindalake)

From The Reading List

New York Times: "‘There’s a Real Tension.’ Democrats Puzzle Over Whether a Woman Will Beat Trump" — "Joyce Cusack would love to see a woman as president in her lifetime. But she is not sure it should happen in 2020.

"'Are we ready in 2020? I really don’t think we are,' said Ms. Cusack, 75, a former Democratic National Committee member from Florida. Too many Americans may not want to 'take another chance' on a female candidate, Ms. Cusack said, after Hillary Clinton was met with mistrust and even hostility in swing states.

"But Andy McGuire, the former chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party, sees a different reality after a record number of Democratic women won races in the 2018 midterms. 'I’d go back to this last election — who won?' said Dr. McGuire, who, as a superdelegate like Ms. Cusack, supported Mrs. Clinton at the 2016 convention. 'Who had the excitement? Who had all the volunteers and power behind them? It was women.'

"As the 2020 primary competition gets underway with Elizabeth Warren’s entry into the race, and with several other women likely to be early contenders, two competing narratives have emerged about the possibility of another woman leading the Democratic ticket, interviews with more than three dozen party officials, voters and pollsters showed."

Glamour: "Who’s In and Who’s Out of the 2020 Presidential Race—So Far" — "In the 2016 presidential election, Senator Ted Cruz (R–Tex.) didn’t declare until March 2015. Hillary Clinton released a YouTube video announcing her candidacy in April. Donald Trump didn’t take that famous ride down the escalator until June. But America now lives squarely in the era of The Endless Campaign: The 2020 race is already here.

Before 2018 was even over, Senator Elizabeth Warren announced she had formed an official exploratory committee and was headed to Iowa to campaign. A long list of Democratic contenders will likely follow. (In one CNN poll of the potential field, only one woman, Senator Kamala Harris, broke into the top five contenders. And despite lots of talk about a new wave of young, ethnically diverse leaders shaking up politics, the two top slots were held by older white men: former vice president Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.)

"Early polling doesn’t always indicate which candidates will jump into the ring—and if they do, every day of a presidential race, from the first to the last, can be a political minefield. (Not to mention the potential pitfalls of at least a dozen presidential debates that are already on the calendar.)"

Washington Post: "Before you run against Trump, you have to run against Hillary (if you’re a woman)" — "Just hours after Elizabeth Warren announced her plans to run for president, a question began surfacing about a possible weakness. It wasn’t derived from opposition research into some facet of her life. It had nothing to do with her policy ideas.

"It was the question often asked of female candidates and rarely of men: Is she 'likable' enough to be president? Others put it another, potentially more devastating, way: Is she too much like Hillary Clinton to be the nominee?

"It’s not just the Democratic female senator from Massachusetts who may feel compelled to come up with an answer. The 2020 presidential campaign is expected to include the largest-ever field of female candidates, all of them campaigning in the wake of the defeat of the first female nominee of a major party.

"The reasons for Clinton’s loss are still debated two years after the election. But even as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was elected House speaker on Wednesday, the women looking at White House campaigns continue to shoulder gendered criticism and demands not placed on their male counterparts: to be strong but not too tough; to be assertive without being pushy, lest voters turn away for reasons that they may not acknowledge are sexist but that researchers say are."

Allison Pohle and Adam Waller produced this show for broadcast.

This program aired on January 22, 2019.



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