With 288 days until the Iowa caucuses and a record number of Democratic candidates, the 2020 election is already in full swing. Every Sunday, I’ll tell you the 5 BIG storylines you need to know to understand the upcoming week on the campaign trail. And they’re ranked – so the #1 story is the most important of the coming week. Subscribe to The Point newsletter to get this delivered directly to your inbox!
5. 20 for 2020: By the time we hit the end of the week we should have 20 announced Democratic presidential candidates in the race. While Joe Biden’s entrance will draw the most attention – scroll down for much more on the former VP’s candidacy – Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton is also expected to officially join the race this week.
The 2020 Democratic field is already the largest in modern political history – passing the 17 people who ran for the Republican nod in 2016.
The challenges of a big field are myriad: It’s hard to know where to put your resources – or who is aiming at you. (I’ve compared it to a horse running in the always-crowded Kentucky Derby.)
Opportunity exists, too – particularly for lesser-known candidates. Get to double-digit support in Iowa or New Hampshire and, suddenly, you could find yourself in third place!
4. Hogan gets serious: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will travel to New Hampshire this week to participate in a Politics & Eggs event at Saint Anselm College – the most clear sign yet that he is taking a hard look at a primary challenge to President Donald Trump.
Every word Hogan utters within the confines of the Granite State will be closely monitored for clues as to whether he’s moving toward the race or away from it. Hogan has been relatively open in his criticism of Trump’s brand of Republicanism, but has also said he wouldn’t run simply to be crushed underneath the incumbent’s machine.
At the moment, that seems the most likely end for a GOP primary challenge to Trump, given how popular he remains among base Republicans. Unlike Bill Weld, the former Massachusetts governor already challenging Trump, Hogan has a future within the party and may not want to risk it with a long-shot challenge to the incumbent.
3. You get a town hall! And you get a town hall!: We haven’t reached the time when all – or many – of the top Democratic candidates will share a debate stage. (The first Democratic debate will be June 26 and 27 in Miami.)
But on Monday, you’ll get the next-best thing: Five (yes, five!) back-to-back-to-, well, you get the idea, 2020 town halls sponsored by CNN and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar kicks things off at 7 p.m. ET, followed every hour by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Comparisons will be inevitable – whether the candidates invite them or not.
2. The Mueller question: The Mueller report is out! The challenge before the 2020, um, challengers now is what to do with it.
Elizabeth Warren came out in the immediate aftermath of the report’s unveiling calling on Congress to begin impeachment proceedings.
“Mueller put the next step in the hands of Congress: ‘Congress has authority to prohibit a President’s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice,” said Warren. “The correct process for exercising that authority is impeachment.”
Staking out that ground puts major pressure on Warren’s Democratic opponents – especially those who are seeking to convince liberals to choose them. None have followed suit – which, as The New York Times notes here, may be a function of the fact that they don’t talk to future primary voters who are demanding it.
1. It’s Biden Time (finally): Sometime this week, the former vice president will reportedly enter the presidential race. Took him long enough!
Biden held off announcing – even as the field took shape – in hopes of differentiating himself from the field as its clear frontrunner. That didn’t work – as Biden was forced to answer allegations about improper touching from several women including former Nevada state legislator Lucy Flores.
Biden remains atop polling – in key states and nationally – and is likely to roll out a series of major endorsements as he tries to drive the inevitability narrative. But that’s a bit of a tough sell at the moment given Biden’s struggles of late.
Is this week Biden’s best one of the race to come?