This is split off from the other thread since I think it's really a larger separate topic.
Big topic- I'll try to write some more later as time allows. But let me first say that I was wrong about 2016. I thought Clinton would win, and in my original prediction of the GOP candidates (way back in 2014), I wrote that Christie was best positioned. Now, to be fair, that was shortly after the scandals broke, and before we knew that story would be sticking around a while, so Christie was probably best positioned, at the time. That being said, all of this is to say, that perhaps I have no idea what I'm talking about. I did correctly call the previous elections on this site, right down to the electoral vote count, but maybe I just got lucky. All I'm saying is I don't know that I have any particular insight into 2020, any more than anyone else.
I think who the Dems go with in 2020 largely rest on what message resonates in the primaries: a push to go all-in on the minority vote, or a push to reclaim lost voters in states like MI and PA.
The former is going to be popular among the Huff Post reading, blogging about SJW stuff, etc., type of voter. The latter is going to be more popular among economic leftists, the type of people that voted for Sanders. If the former "wins," I'd expect to see someone like Kamala Harris on the ballot. Already there's a ton of speculation surrounding her... one disadvantage to her is she's relatively inexperienced, but Obama (and Trump, for that matter), proved that most voters don't really care about that if you say the right things. However, it's something that could be a weakness, especially if Trump is a successful president (if he's not, I think it'll matter very little).
Now if the latter proves to win out, then maybe we'll see someone more like Elizabeth Warren. There's this belief among the Dem circles that she can appeal to the white working class and is their leading advocate for economic leftism. I'm not sure that I buy that- there's some evidence that she's actually not that good of a campaigner.. her victory over Scott Brown was in 2012 (when Obama was on the ticket) and the margin was relatively unconvincing, especially when compared to other senate races in MA when Kennedy and Kerry ran.
Another possibility might be someone like Cory Booker. I know the establishment is probably hoping for someone like him, but I also know he does not excite the progressives- to them, he's basically another Clinton. Booker appeals more to the first crowd than the second.. what would be interesting is if we saw both Harris and Booker throw their hat in the ring.
One of the Castro brothers is also a possibility. I think it may be a little early for them though- they haven't really made their way into a prominent government position yet, so we may be a couple cycles away until they're in their prime.
I know Michelle Obama has said she doesn't want it, but people have a tendency to change their minds on these types of things, especially if they're ambitious, and I have no reason to think Obama isn't. If she ran, I suspect it would have a similar effect to when Clinton ran, and a lot of Democrat candidates would refuse to run, leaving her relatively unopposed.
If the Dems take the second route (appealing to places like MI, PA, etc), then I could see Sherrod Brown being a possibility. As of right now though, I don't think that route is going to win the day at the primaries. I think the argument is going to be that Clinton lost states like NC and MI due to decreased minority turnout (especially Black turnout), and that the Dems don't really need to adopt a "rust belt" strategy to reclaim working class whites in that area. So if I had to guess, I'd say it's somewhat unlikely that we'll see a Sherrod Brown type candidate, and a lot more likely that we'll see someone like Kamala Harris.
Then again, like I said, what do I know....
That really is such a big topic and somewhat off to the side thanks to how losing the presidency has exposed just how hollow the Democrat dominance of the last eight years has been. While Obama was running the executive branch, Republicans took over the rest of the country and now Democrats pretty much own nothing except California and some northeast states.
You pretty much hit all the names on the Democrat side I was thinking. I'll go down the list myself tomorrow probably.
I can see where you're going with this though. It's true that the GOP has an overwhelming control of state level legislatures and gubernatorial positions. That being said though- I'm not sure how much that matters in terms of national presidential elections.
The Dems run someone a little more palatable to average, working class people and they win MI, PA, WI, etc. These were all won by 1% or less.
Hell, even if Clinton (the 2008 version) was run, they may have won. Few people seem to remember this now, but she ran a campaign of heartland America vs. the aloof coastal academic in 2008, going county by county to diners, small town halls, and the like in places like OH. If that Clinton came out this year, who knows?
Or, the Dems could just run up the minority vote in NC and FL, with someone like Michelle Obama or Kamala Harris, and then the GOP has the same problem again.
Point is, I'm not so sure the GOP takeover at the state level really matters in terms of presidential elections.