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The RS Politics 2020 Democratic Primary Leaderboard

Ranking a crowded field as two dozen contenders jockey to confront Trump

Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris

Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris lead the 2020 Democratic pack

Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock, Elise Amendola/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Now things get interesting. In the first shakeup at the top of our rankings, Bernie Sanders has overtaken Kamala Harris — on a powerhouse display of fundraising and mobilization, flashing all the advantages of having done this deal before.

In a refreshing change from 2016, Sanders has jettisoned his consultants, and is foregrounding people of color in his public appearances. (We continue to be puzzled that the senator famous for “free stuff” is so dismissive of the reparations debate, telling The View: “I think there are better ways… than just writing out a check.”)

Despite Bernie’s surge, Harris is hitting her stride, showing broad-based appeal, including turning out big crowds in New Hampshire. In third sits Beto O’Rourke, who has finally decided to enter the fray. Further down the rankings, Amy Klobuchar has found a way to laugh about “combgate”; Mayor Pete continues to punch above his weight; and Kirsten Gillibrand has made it official, launching her 2020 presidential campaign calling for bravery over fear.

The field continues to evolve. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Attorney General Eric Holder have all opted not to run, clearing trio credible contenders from the fray. (He’s not ruled himself out, but we’ve also dropped John Kerry.) But there’s also fresh blood: Climate-focused governor Jay Inslee of Washington has joined the 2020 race, alongside Colorado’s former governor John Hickenlooper. Stacey Abrams rejoins our ranking after teasing a potential run. And even New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio makes an appearance. (Look at it this way, Bill, you’ve got nowhere to go but up.)

1) Bernie Sanders

Candidate Status: Running
Sanders is off and running with a potent combination of people-power and cash. The Democratic Socialist does not have the left lane to himself in 2020 — many candidates have embraced his once-distinctive proposals. But the grassroots army that powered his “political revolution” in 2016 is still feeling the Bern, meaning the 77-year-old will be a force. The Vermont senator raised more than $10 million in the first week of his campaign from nearly 360,000 individual donors. On the first weekend of March, he spoke to massive crowds in Brooklyn and Chicago — contrasting his humble origin story to that of the billionaire in the White House.   
Signature Policy: Sanders’ 2016 campaign set the table for 2020. He gets full credit for mainstreaming Medicare-for-All, a $15 minimum wage, and tuition-free college. Sanders recently introduced the “For the 99.8% Act” — which would sharply increase the estate tax, including imposing a 77 percent tax on estates in excess of $1 billion, raising an estimated $315 billion over a decade.
Signature Apology: Sanders apologized to former female staffers for a 2016 campaign marred by pay disparities and allegations of sexual harassment by male staffers. Sanders has promised to “do better” moving forward.
Previous Ranking: 2
Book: Where We Go From Here: Two Years in the Resistance

2) Kamala Harris

Candidate Status: Running
Harris — the 54-year-old senator who battled big banks and for-profit colleges as California’s attorney general — continues to show star power on the trail, packing houses from South Carolina to New Hampshire. The Californian stands astride the tectonic plates of the Democratic Party — an establishment politician who has adopted a platform responsive to the passion of the grassroots, including a Green New Deal and marijuana legalization. Harris is not shying away from her sometimes controversial record as a prosecutor. Instead, she’s putting her service in law enforcement at the center of her narrative. Black women are the heart of the Democratic Party, and seeing themselves reflected in the Howard University-educated Harris (born to Jamaican and Tamil Indian parents) could boost her prospects. Harris has racked up endorsements, including by storied progressives like labor organizer Dolores Huerta and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). She recently called for a moratorium on the death penalty.
Signature Policy: Her LIFT Act would pay out up to $500 a month for working-class families. Harris says this “tax cut” will be paid for by ending Trump’s “giveaways to big corporations and the top one percent.”
Signature Apology: Harris has accepted accountability for missteps as California’s attorney general: “The bottom line is the buck stops with me, and I take full responsibility for what my office did.”
Previous Ranking: 1
Book: The Truths We Hold: An American Journey

3) Beto O’Rourke

Candidate Status: Running
After keeping Democrats on tenterhooks, Beto finally announced his 2020 run on March 13th. Excitement defined Beto’s run for Senate, and he nearly toppled Texas mega-villain Sen. Ted Cruz last November. But the erstwhile Foss bassist detoured through a self-declared, post-election “funk,” before slowly regaining his mojo, and returning to the national spotlight at a counter-rally protesting Trump’s visit to El Paso in February. The former congressman enters the race with a nationwide grassroots machine that backed him with $60 million in 2018; his campaign says it raised more than $6 million in its first 24 hours.
Signature Policy: O’Rourke, until this year a representative for El Paso, has centered on immigration reform, based on “respect and dignity.”
Signature Apology: Beto was arrested for drunk-driving at 26, which he’s called a “terrible mistake.”
Previous Ranking: 5
Book: Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico

4) Joe Biden

Candidate Status: Undeclared
Biden leads many early polls and offers an appealing narrative: a reset from the Trump catastrophe. In the “final stages” of deciding on a 2020 bid, Biden has reportedly told supporters he’s running. If Democrats don’t fall in love with a new hope, they may fall in line behind the 76-year-old former veep. But in our hyper-partisan age, Biden’s nostalgia for bipartisanship and fondness for Republicans can come across as out of touch. He stepped in it recently, calling Vice President Mike Pence “a decent guy” — before backtracking after being called out by actress Cynthia Nixon for praising a man she called “America’s most anti-LGBT elected leader.”
Signature Policy: Biden has peerless foreign policy credentials: “I’m the most qualified person in the country to be president,” he’s said.
Signature Apology: Biden used the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday this year as a platform to apologize for his role in mass incarceration, calling passage of the 1994 crime bill a “big mistake.
Previous Ranking: 4
Book: Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose

5) Elizabeth Warren

Candidate Status: Running
Warren has rebuilt momentum using policy as messaging, most recently laying out an affordable housing plan. Warren is targeting voters who seek progressive purity from their 2020 champion. But unlike Democratic Socialist Sanders, the 69-year-old Warren is a capitalist at heart, having spent a career trying to make the system work for working people. Before becoming a senator, Warren launched the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And in March, she unveiled a plan to use antitrust authority to break up Big Tech.
Signature Policy: Warren reshuffled the inequality debate by proposing a wealth tax, imposed annually on “ultra-millionaires,” to pay for benefits, including universal free or low-cost childcare, for “yacht-less Americans.” Under her plan, fortunes greater than $50 million would be taxed at 2 percent. Billionaires would pay 3 percent. The proposal has greater than 60 percent support and would raise $2.75 trillion over 10 years.
Signature Apology: Warren has apologized for conflating “family stories” about Cherokee heritage with native identity. “I am sorry,” Warren said, “for furthering confusion on tribal sovereignty and tribal citizenship and harm that resulted.” Warren’s public remarks followed a private apology to leaders of the Cherokee Nation.
Previous Ranking: 6
Book: This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class

6) Cory Booker

Candidate Status: Running
Booker kicked off his candidacy at the start Black History Month. The former super-mayor of Newark, 49, still lives there when he’s not in Washington. He’s running on a values-heavy message of love and unity and calling for “a revival of civic grace.” Booker has one of the most liberal voting records in the Senate and distinguishes himself by centering his agenda on federal marijuana legalization and criminal justice reform. He’s also worked, with Harris, to make lynching a hate crime. But Booker’s outward liberalism has been undercut at times by problematic connections to Wall Street and a vote that boosted Big Pharma.
Signature Policy: Baby bonds. Booker would target the wealth gap in America by seeding “American Opportunity Accounts” for children that would allow kids from the poorest families to enter adulthood with a nest egg of up to $46,000 to invest in education, home ownership or retirement.
Signature Apology: It’s early yet, so The Onion’s satirical headline will have to stand in: “Cory Booker Apologizes To Wall Street Bankers For The Mean Things He’s Going To Have To Say About Them”
Previous Ranking: 8
Book: United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good

7) Pete Buttigieg

Candidate Status: Exploratory Committee
The 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, launched his presidential bid in late-January. Buttigieg — pronounced BOOT-edge-edge — has an impressive resume: He’s an openly gay Rhodes Scholar who was elected mayor of this industrial Midwest city while still in his twenties. He’s led an economic revival over his seven years in office, during which time he also served a seven-month tour with the Navy in Afghanistan. A March CNN town hall showcased Mayor Pete at his plainspoken best. “I have more years of government experience under my belt than the president,” he said. “I also have more years of executive government experience than the vice president, and more military experience than anybody to walk into that office on day once since George H. W. Bush.” The televised event reportedly spurred a $600,000 small-donor haul, helping Buttigieg hit the 65,000 donor threshold needed to qualify for the party’s debates.
Signature Policy: “The electoral college needs to go.”
Signature Apology: Mayor Pete is pretty clean, although in 2017 he apologized for being unable to assist an exchange student who mistook him for the manager of a South Bend supermarket. Time will tell if this comes back to haunt him.
Previous Ranking: 10
Book: Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future

8) Amy Klobuchar

Candidate Status: Running
The Minnesota senator launched her presidential bid in a Minneapolis blizzard in February. Klobuchar’s unruffled persona stands in contrast to Trump’s bluster and bravado, winning her plaudits from Very Serious People like Washington Post columnist George Will. Klobuchar, 58, will benefit from a near-home-field advantage in neighboring Iowa, which holds the first-in-the-nation caucus.
Signature Policy: In contrast to the sweeping promises made by 2020 rivals, Klobuchar has tempered voters’ expectations about proposals like Medicare-for-All and tuition-free four year college. “If I was a magic genie, and could give that for everyone, and we could afford it, I would,” she’s said of the latter. Instead, Klobuchar has emphasized her record of enacting practical laws that have reduced the backlog of rape kits and banned lead in toys.
Signature Apology: Klobuchar has been dogged by reports she abused and demeaned staff, with behavior ranging from the anodyne (leaving “tardy slips” on aides’ desks) to the explosive (throwing a binder that “accidentally” hit a staffer in the head). The senator has admitted she has pushed employees “too hard” at times and can be a “tough boss,” but added she just wants to hold her employees — and the country — to high standards.
Previous Ranking: 9
Book: The Senator Next Door: A Memoir from the Heartland

9) Julián Castro

Candidate Status: Running
The former Housing and Urban Development secretary — and a short-lister for Hillary’s 2016 veep — announced his 2020 candidacy in San Antonio in January. The only Latino contender in the field, Castro, 44, is also one of the youngest. The Texan’s implausible personal story is resonant at a moment when immigration and borders dominate the national conversation. Castro has yet to amass the small-dollar donor network or massive social media following of Sanders or Harris. But he’s got hustle: Castro was the first Democrat to visit Puerto Rico as a candidate, and recently committed to visit all 50 states during the primaries.
Signature Policy: At his campaign launch, Castro promised universal pre-K, i.e. public education for four-year-olds: “As president, I’ll make pre-K for the U.S.A. happen!’
Signature Apology: In 2016, Castro apologized for dissing Trump and talking up Clinton while on the job as HUD secretary, a violation of the Hatch Act. “When an error is made — even an inadvertent one — the error should be acknowledged,” Castro said. “I made one here.”
Previous Ranking: 8
Book: An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream

10) Kirsten Gillibrand

Candidate Status: Running
Gillibrand officially launched her campaign on March 17th, calling for courage from America: “Brave doesn’t spread hate. Cloud truth. Build a wall. That’s what fear does.” Hailing from upstate New York, Gillibrand might play well in New Hampshire. But her brand is beset by contradictions. Gillibrand has evolved from a conservative Blue Dog Representative to a woke liberal Senator — yet still courts Wall Street donors. She has, however, signed a pledge swearing off fossil-fuel funds.
Signature Policy: Gillibrand is a champion of the #MeToo movement, calling out former president Bill Clinton and pushing for Al Franken to resign from the Senate.
Signature Apology: Gillibrand began her 2020 bid with frank apologies for her anti-immigrant past: “I was callous to the suffering of families who want to be with their loved ones,” she told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. “Looking back, I just really regretted that I didn’t look beyond my district.”
Previous Ranking: 7
Book: Off the Sidelines: Speak Up, Be Fearless, and Change Your World

11) Stacey Abrams

Candidate Status: Undeclared
It felt strange keeping someone we called the future of the Democratic Party off the list. Not just out of sentimentality, but because it is now clear that Abrams hasn’t ruled out a 2020 bid. In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, the former Georgia gubernatorial contender said that, “as a black woman who has been responsible for expanding where we get to stand,” she felt compelled to consider a presidential run. Abrams added that geography matters in her decision, too: “I’m Southern. I want people to think about folks from the South, especially black women in the South, being part of this national narrative.”
Signature Policy: Abrams has dedicated her post-election life to registering voters and educating them about their rights. Her newly launched Fair Fight Action is battling Georgia’s efforts to purchase voting machines that critics believe will be more vulnerable to hackers.
Signature (Non)Apology:
Abrams burned Georgia’s state flag, which then incorporated the Confederate battle flag, at a protest in 1992. She’s not sorry.
Previous Ranking: Not listed
Minority Leader: How to Lead From the Outside and Make Real Change

12) Jay Inslee

Candidate Status: Running
Inslee launched his campaign on March 1st at a Seattle solar-energy factory, vowing to be the first climate president in history. “This has to be the number-one priority of the United States,” he told Rolling Stone. “Every agency has to be on board, and it has to take priority over everything else we do…. I think too many other candidates are going to say, ‘I’m for the Green New Deal, and now I’m done.’ That just doesn’t cut it.” The 68-year-old Washington governor has presided over a roaring economy that’s allowed him to invest in infrastructure and slash college tuition. This year he’s called for a “public option” in the state’s health-care system and launched a Marijuana Justice Initiative to grant pardons for past misdemeanor pot offenses in a state where cannabis is now legal. Inslee’s campaign said he’s already raised more than $1 million, but polls suggest he’s largely unknown to most voters.
Signature Policy: Fighting climate change. Inslee’s track record includes creating a $120 million clean-energy fund, directing his state government to set new caps on emissions (now being challenged in court) and launching the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan group of 22 governors implementing the Paris climate accord.
Previous Ranking: 13
Book: Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy

13) John Hickenlooper

Candidate Status: Running
Colorado’s former governor, 67, left office in January having created 400,000 jobs over two terms, with unemployment dropping below 3 percent in 2018. The state currently boasts the number-one economy in the nation, thanks in part to a fracking boom, and Hickenlooper markets himself as a centrist who can bring opposing interests to the table. “I am who I am,” Hickenlooper recently told Rolling Stone. “True to that north star.” Despite a tepid media response to his March 4th announcement, his bridge-building approach seems to be resonating with donors: Hickenlooper’s campaign says it raised over $1 million within 48 hours of his candidacy declaration.
Signature Policy: In the wake of the 2012 Aurora theater shooting that left 12 dead and dozens injured, Hickenlooper’s state government passed background checks and magazine capacity limits.
Signature Apology: In 2014, Hickenlooper apologized to local sheriffs for not consulting them before pushing a gun-control measure, but didn’t take well to being pressed further on the issue by one officer at a public forum. “How many apologies do you want? What the fuck?,” the governor said. “I apologize!”
Previous Ranking: 11
Book: The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics

14) Steve Bullock

Candidate Status: Undeclared
The Montana governor with a Deadwood-worthy name could be a 2020 dark horse. Bullock has the cred of winning statewide office in a state Trump carried by 20 points — and then getting a GOP-majority legislature to agree to expand Medicaid. (Bullock recently received a glowing pre-run profile in Politico.)
Signature Policy: The 52-year-old has focused on ending the influence of unlimited political contributions and dark money. “If we wanna address all the other big issues,” he said in a stump speech in Iowa, “you’re not gonna be able to do it unless you also address the way money is affecting our system.”
Signature Apology: A former Bullock aide, fired for sexual harassment, went on to harass again in the office of the mayor of New York City. “I should have done more to ensure future employers would learn of his behavior,” Bullock wrote in February. “I also know these realizations come too late for the two women in New York City. For that, I’m deeply sorry.”
Previous Ranking: 14

15) Andrew Yang

Candidate Status: Running
Yang is a businessman who founded Venture for America, working to revitalize struggling urban centers by training and fostering entrepreneurs in cities like Detroit and New Orleans. Yang’s grassroots campaign raised more than $500,000 in February, and started going viral in March under the hashtag #YangGang. His appearance on Joe Rogan’s YouTube show drew more than 2 million views, and some odd new fans. And Yang has already recruited more than 65,000 donors, qualifying him for the national debate stage starting in June.
Signature Policy: The 44-year-old is running on a platform of a universal basic income, to counteract the worst effects of automation in the workforce. Yang spoke at length to Rolling Stone about his “Freedom Dividend,” insisting: “You want to universalize it so it’s seen as a true right of citizenship.” He’s also come out against circumcision.
Previous Ranking: 17

16) Eric Swalwell

Candidate Status: Undeclared
The California congressman, 38, is a member of House leadership and the House Intelligence Committee, and has a knack for keeping himself in the news. Even GOP chair Ronna McDaniel has noticed, tweeting: “Want to know why Dems will lose in 2020? Exhibit A: Candidates like Eric Swalwell. They’re so desperate to appeal to the far left that they make insane comments like ‘Trump is an agent of Russia’ that are totally extreme and indefensible.” McDaniel’s tweet also included a video of segment Swalwell making a well-reasoned two minute indictment of Trump on PBS’s Firing Line underscoring the president’s “eagerness to collude” with Russia and his “consciousness of guilt.”
Signature Apology: After a newspaper unearthed a high school yearbook headshot of the future congressman sporting a frosted buzz cut, Swalwell tweeted: “All of us make bad decisions in high school. Sometimes those decisions involve bleach.”
Previous Ranking: 18

17) John Delaney

Candidate Status: Running
The former Maryland Congressman, 55, has been running for president since July 2017. Delaney preaches a relentlessly bipartisan message of national unity. One thing that won’t slow him down is funding: Delaney is worth close to $100 million. An entrepreneur in high finance, he launched two companies that trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Not surprisingly then, Delaney is a capitalist. “The primary is going to be a choice between socialism and a more just form of capitalism,” he said in late-February. “I believe in capitalism, the free markets and the private economy.” Delaney detailed his vision for America in a March interview with Rolling Stone.
Signature Policy: Delaney has is promoting a national youth service program to bring the country together.
Previous Ranking: 25
Book: The Right Answer: How We Can Unify Our Divided Nation

18) Michael Bennet

Candidate Status: Undeclared
The 54-year-old senator from Colorado appears to be ramping up a presidential bid. A former chief of staff to then-Denver mayor Hickenlooper, Bennet has already been visiting Iowa. What’s his lane? Bennet calls himself a “pragmatic idealist” and has been calling for Democrats to temper ideas like packing the Supreme Court. He has been lauded by “Morning” Joe Scarborough for combining “an Ivy League pedigree” with “a common touch” and for his “commitment to key centrist fiscal policies.”
Signature Policy: Medicare X. With Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bennet is proposing legislation to create, and slowly roll out, a public option for the Obamacare state marketplaces, with the same doctor and hospital networks as Medicare, and similar reimbursement rates. (Bennet has called Medicare-for-All, which would disrupt existing health care plans for millions, “bad opening offer.”)
Previous Ranking: 22

19) Tulsi Gabbard

Candidate Status: Running
An Iraq war vet, 37, Gabbard is the first Hindu to serve in the House of Representatives. She declared her 2020 bid formally in Hawaii in early February, and seems to have recovered from early staff turmoil. She has introduced a bipartisan bill with Rep. Don Young (R-AK) to legalize marijuana.
Signature Policy: Gabbard is against wars for regime change. She also holds noxious views on Syria. She visited dictator Bashar al-Assad in 2017 on a secret “fact-finding” mission and dismissed his opposition — across the board — as terrorists. Gabbard recently refused to describe Assad as an adversary. (Gabbard’s rollout has received an unsettling signal boost from Kremlin-backed English language media networks, RT and Sputnik.)
Signature Apology: Into adulthood, Gabbard espoused virulently anti-LGBTQ views. She released an apology video saying, “In my past, I said and believed things that were wrong.”
Previous Ranking: 26

20) Seth Moulton

Candidate Status: Undeclared
A leader of the failed putsch attempt against Nancy Pelosi, Moulton represents a district north of Boston anchored by Salem, famous for its witch trials. Mouton, 40, is a former Marine captain who served four tours in Iraq, later receiving dual degrees in business and public policy from Harvard. Moulton told reporters in February: “I’m thinking about running for president.” The next day he laid out out a foreign policy agenda at the Brookings Institute.
Signature Policy: “Democrats should be the party of national defense,” Moulton has told Rolling Stone. “We have a commander in chief who is reckless. We need a smart, strong national security strategy…. We do that by having credible voices in the party who can speak on matters of national security because they’ve been out there on the ground themselves.”
Previous Ranking: 24
Book: Called to Serve: Learning to Lead in War and Peace

21) Tim Ryan

Candidate Status: Undeclared
Ryan represents post-industrial Youngstown, Ohio, in Congress and wants Democrats to compete for the disaffected voters who turned to Trump in 2016. Ryan, 45, has pitched himself as a candidate who will bring jobs and economic opportunity back to the Midwest and who can win over Miller Lite dads and “yoga vote” moms. But his role in the failed Pelosi coups speaks against his political instincts. In a recent radio interview, he appeared to shy away from the Green New Deal plan floated by his progressive colleagues, saying that “We can’t green the economy without the power of the free-market system.”
Signature Policy: Ryan centers on trade and economic policy: “As Americans we need to recognize that we’re in a very stiff competition with China,” he’s said. “I’m concerned we’ll get so far behind we may not be able to catch back up.”
Previous Ranking: 23
Book: Healing America: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Recapture the American Spirit

22) Marianne Williamson

Candidate Status: Running
Oprah Winfrey may sit out the 2020 fracas, but one of her favorite self-help gurus jumped in feet-first in late-January, arguing that the United States is in dire need of a “moral and spiritual awakening.” Williamson, 66, has limited political experience: She finished fourth in a congressional primary in California in 2014. But she says she’s pursuing the presidency on a track record of helping transform “moral dysfunction.”
Signature Policy: Called for $100 billion in reparations for black people, distributed over 10 years. (Scholars have estimated a fair value for reparations at between $6 and $14 trillion.)
Signature Apology: In her Prayer of Apology to African Americans, the bestselling author apologizes for slavery, lynchings, white supremacist laws, the denial of voting rights, the denial of civil rights, unequal treatment of Black Americans in the criminal justice system, police brutality, economic injustice and more, asking God for forgiveness. “May the screams that were not allowed, be allowed now./May the cries that were never heard be heard now./May the tears that were never heard be heard now./And may the healing begin./In this sacred container, may the healing begin./May the Light of love now heal us all./Amen”
Previous Ranking: 27
Book(s): Many, though none explicitly about politics

23) Terry McAuliffe

Candidate Status: Undeclared
The former Virginia governor, 61, has given himself until the end of March to decide on a presidential bid. “I’d like to do it,” he told CNN in February — touting his ability to work with a mostly Republican legislature during his tenure as governor. McAuliffe has described his agenda in Virginia as “very progressive” But the former DNC chair, a prodigious fundraiser, political fixer, and best friend to the Clintons, would be an establishment voice in the race: He doesn’t believe in free college and writes that “Democrats must maintain our credibility” with voters by presenting an agenda that’s “honest and achievable.”
Signature Policy: Unclear. Were he to run, McAuliffe would likely be one of the more moderate Democrats in the field. He said in December that though he supports Medicare-for-All in theory, paying for it would be “unrealistic.” He has also argued against tuition-free college. “There is no way the Democratic Party should support paying for children of wealthy parents to go to school,” he told CNN.
Previous Ranking: 20

24) Bill de Blasio

Candidate Status: Undeclared
The mayor of New York since 2014, de Blasio appears to have come down with an unfortunate case of 2020 fever. The quasi-progressive 57-year-old has started to publicly opine on the ills of the Democratic party, and in late-February took a trip to Iowa, where he described his presidential ambitions as “a very personal reality.” Meanwhile, his approval rating in New York is hovering in the low-40s. It’s not likely to improve following a failed attempt to bring an Amazon campus to Queens.
Signature Policy: Implemented universal pre-K in New York City.
Signature Apology: In November, de Blasio apologized for botching a memorial service for the victims of a 2017 terrorist attack on Manhattan’s West Side Highway. Not only was the ceremony hastily organized, the names of the victims were not mentioned. “It was not handled right,” said de Blasio.
Previous Ranking: Not listed

Love our rankings? Disagree with a passion? Tell us what we got right — or wrong — on Twitter: @RSPolitics. This leaderboard is updated regularly.

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