Who will run for president in 2020

The 2016 field of Republican presidential candidates was insane, but it's starting to look like the 2020 Democrats might give them a run for their money. Everyone is so desperate to get Trump out of office that it's possible half of America will give it a try.

Only a few people have made official announcements (and you probably haven't heard about any of them). But the big names are getting their ducks in a row. From meeting with donors to going on every TV show to releasing books, plenty of people are showing signs they're serious about running. They come from all over the political map: One is a former Republican, one voted for Trump, and some are actually pretty liberal. And they all might have a chance.

Pundits don't think the really big announcements will start coming until early 2019. But that doesn't mean we can't speculate now.

Amy Klobuchar has location on her side

In the 2018 midterms, Amy Klobuchar won her third term as a senator from Minnesota. She absolutely destroyed her Republican opponent, getting more than 60 percent of the vote. While this was never really in doubt, according to MinnPost, the state had voted for Trump in 2016 and Klobuchar won 43 counties that had preferred him over Clinton. So, of course, on midterm election night, one talking head mentioned that if Klobuchar ran in 2020, she would "bury" Trump.

People analyzed her victory speech looking for signs she wanted to be president. She did throw some shade at Trump, but presented herself as a pragmatist, which could be a problem with the progressive arm of the Democratic party.

But her performance in the midterms was enough to get people talking. Political junkies are calling her a dark horse, pointing out she has less baggage than some other big names, and putting her high on their lists of 2020 possibilities. CNN compared her to Obama. Her performance during the Kavanaugh hearings got her name out there more, and she's done some normal pre-announcement things, like visit neighboring Iowa and go on Colbert. Being from the Midwest, a place Trump did well in, could be key.

Hillary Clinton, yes, really

There is kind of an unofficial idea in politics of it being someone's "turn" to run for president. 2008 was supposed to be Hillary's turn, but Obama cut in line. Then she finally got her chance in 2016. But even people who supported her then would probably say she's had her turn and it's time to give someone else a chance.

But Hillary may not think so, according to Politico. A long-time Clinton adviser wrote a post-midterms op-ed in the Wall Street Journal predicting that she was planning yet another campaign. Supposedly, she won't "let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House" and will try to rebrand herself as far-left. Another former aide has said Hillary's name should be in the mix for 2020 because she would be able to mount the most successful challenge to Trump.

And the former Secretary of State is definitely throwing out mixed signals herself. When asked in an interview in November 2018 if she would run again, she answered no, but then immediately said she would like to be president. However, it is probably a bad sign that when the White House weighed in on Hillary running again, they were all for it. Trump obviously thinks he would beat her again.

Beto O'Rourke is everyone's new favorite toy

During his failed campaign for a Texas Senate seat, liberal darling Beto O'Rourke promised he wasn't going to run for president in 2020. But you have to say stuff like that to get elected to lower offices. Now that he won't be serving in Congress anymore (he used to be in the U.S. House) it's looking like he might use the national momentum that running against Ted Cruz brought him and have a go.

The Guardian reported on a blog post Beto wrote a few days after he lost. The reporting alone shows just how well-known he is now and that his every move is being analyzed. On its face the post is a stream-of-consciousness essay about a run (the jogging type), but people are reading into it. Everything from quoting Lincoln to talking about how the winds have changed could have some deep meaning. Or he could just have been feeling a bit pretentious. (He did name one of his kids Ulysses.) So yes, it's early, but … c'mon.

John Delaney didn't waste any time

There is something to be said for getting in first. And that is exactly what John Delaney, a three-term Maryland Representative, is thinking. That or he is crazy, because he announced he was running for president on July 28, 2017. Trump had only been in office six months at that point. The New York Times reports no serious major-party candidate had ever started their candidacy so early.

Delaney must be putting all his concentration into running for the top job because he decided not to seek reelection to the House in the 2018 midterms. In August 2018, he, along with many people who are probably going to announce eventually, went to the Iowa State Fair. Honestly, that place is so full of politicians, it's a wonder anyone has fun there. When reporters accosted former Speaker of the House John Boehner there and asked for his thoughts on Delaney, he would just say he was "a good member."

Delaney visited every county in Iowa and a poll shows 79 percent of people there know his name now. He's even running TV ads in the state already. He's laying out his plan for his first 100 days in office and talking about fixing Obamacare, immigration, and criminal justice. Of course, eventually he needs to leave Iowa.

Michael Bloomberg had to change parties

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has one huge issue: Until recently, he was a Republican. But this doesn't seem to worry him. According to the AP, he spent "a fortune" trying to get Democrats elected in the 2018 midterms and he "declared lifetime allegiance" to the party. At a time where progressive voices are growing, this might not be enough. His age is also against him; the billionaire is 76.

If Bloomberg does announce, it will probably be in January or February 2019, which he's said is the latest you can do it but also the earliest you will have enough information to decide. He only wants to run if he has a real chance but isn't worried about who might be his primary competition. Bloomberg has said he needs to talk to his advisers and see if people are "warming" to him.

Bloomberg does seem to care about some liberal issues, having spent millions promoting gun control, immigration reform, and climate change initiatives. He claims to have been for gay marriage long before other people and has called Trump a con man. But the chairman of the Democratic National Committee doesn't seem thrilled at the prospect of him running, despite Bloomberg giving the organization $110 million for the midterms.

Elizabeth Warren is a viral star

People have been calling on Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to run since 2016, as videos of her speaking in Congress go #viral and her liberal agenda recalls Bernie Sanders. But she always insisted she wouldn't run for president. According to Politico and basic common sense, it's probably not true.

Trump notoriously responded to Warren's attacks on him by repeatedly calling her "Pocahontas" because she has often told a family story that somewhere down the line she had a Native American relative. In October 2018, she released what was basically a campaign video where she got DNA tests results showing she probably had a Native American ancestor. Effectively meant to shut Trump up on this point, the ad got mixed reviews from Democrats. But it was an opening salvo.

At a town hall meeting in September, Warren was finally more honest about running, saying she was taking a "hard look" at the possibility. She even has a sort of unofficial campaign slogan already: "Persist." This harkens back to a famous moment she was literally made to shut up in the Senate by Mitch McConnell.

Warren has also already released 10 years of tax returns and is talking to the press more than usual. But she didn't head to Iowa yet. Trump has said defeating her would be "very easy."

Joe Biden is on everyone's list

Former Delaware Senator and Vice President Joe Biden considered running for president in 2016 but didn't feel like he could after his son had died of brain cancer so recently. He knew it would get ugly, he wasn't emotionally ready. Two years later, it's probably time and for now he looks like the one to beat, even though he is 76 years old.

Biden is topping almost all the lists of potential candidates at the moment. CNN says he's still being coy about it, though, telling the audience at a speech he gave in London in October that he wasn't running "at this point." That's definitely not a no. Still, he's not attacking anyone else who might want to run, also saying that absolutely any Democrat who threw their hat in the ring would be better than Trump. He even mentioned Sen. Kamala Harris by name as a great possibility.

Biden has said that if he does make an announcement, it would be after the midterms. Before that he was busy campaigning for other Democrats. He's also made his dislike of this administration and the way America is heading very clear. Trump has already given his opinion about running against Biden, calling the prospect a "dream." You do get the sense Trump would say that about anyone, of course.

Kamala Harris is obsessed with Iowa right now

There are plenty of signs this senator from California is running. The Atlantic said in October that the prospect of her running was getting "more serious … by the day." She spent the month before the midterms campaigning for Democratic candidates, particularly in states that play an important part in presidential elections. Especially Iowa.

A poll of Iowans found that Harris has decent name recognition there already. And it's only going to grow. She's doing typical pre-announcement stuff like releasing a memoir and meeting with donors. She has a team putting together a plan for how to stand out in what could be a crowded field, especially since she only has two years of Senate experience to point to. (Before that she was attorney general of California.) She got her name out there during the Kavanaugh hearings, where she voted against him with a simple "nope." But in a more recent Congressional hearing, Harris seemed to imply there was a connection between Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the KKK. That could be a tough one to prove. While going for big moments, she still needs to be careful.

As for the White House's opinion, Kellyanne Conway told Fox News that Harris has "nothing substantive to offer."

Cory Booker talked big against Kavanaugh

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker first caught many people's attention with his fiery speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, where he had the audience quoting Maya Angelou. There were immediate Obama comparisons. Now he seems like a possible frontrunner.

During the Kavanaugh hearings he had a "Spartacus moment" where he released information he (incorrectly) thought wasn't allowed to be released. He was accused by a Republican at the time of grandstanding since he was obviously going to run for president. Booker has great name recognition in Iowa already and went there in October to improve it. Politico called it the unofficial start of his 2020 campaign. He gave another awesome speech to 1,500 Democrats and had them "mesmerized" and received several "roaring standing ovations." According to one party member who was there, "You don't give a speech like that unless you're running for president."

When Yahoo News asked Booker in November if he was considering it, he said yes, flat out, and that he would take the next few months to really think about the possibility. But he added that the speculation was "bothersome" and that it was really "too early" to talk about it. He said no matter who the future leader is, even if it is Trump, they'll need to return to "civic grace."

Kirsten Gillibrand is doing the late night rounds

When a politician goes on non-news TV, you know they're trying to look cool and get their name out there. So it's probably worth reading into Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's appearance on the Late Show With Stephen Colbert. And that was before she started talking.

According to the New York Times, only a few weeks before, Gillibrand had promised she would serve her whole six-year term if she was reelected in the midterms. But when Colbert asked her if she was going to concentrate on another election, meaning running for president, she nodded. She said she had been "called" to fight and that it was a moral question, before adding she would "give it a long, hard thought of consideration."

Colbert was only the first stop on a media tour that included Good Morning America, The View, and The Daily Show, among others. Plus, she just released a children's book about women who fought for the right to vote. So yeah, she's running.

Julián Castro is following the money

Before Beto O'Rourke captured the hearts of liberals in the Lone Star State, there was another Democratic darling there. His name is Julián Castro, and he's a former mayor of San Antonio and secretary for Housing and Urban Development under Obama.

Politico says he's checking off the list of pre-campaign standards: releasing a memoir, traveling to early primary states, and starting a PAC to help other Democrats get elected. But he's been even more obvious. When asked by Rolling Stone if he was going to run for president, Castro said it was "likely."

And he's taking some big steps in that direction. He recently met with Latino leaders in Washington to map out a possible 2020 bid. And in early November he met with about 20 big donors because money is everything in politics. They got to ask questions, and allegedly the consensus was Castro "brings a lot to the table." If he has cash behind him, look out for an announcement.

Richard Ojeda can't get no respect

Richard Ojeda, a guy not on the national stage and whom virtually no one has heard of became the second person to officially announce his candidacy for president. He did it on Facebook in November, and after that still no one had heard of him because it was almost completely ignored by the press. So a week later Ojeda held a press conference trying to make it a bit more official.

According to CNN, Ojeda is a veteran and West Virginia state senator, and having just lost his bid to get into the U.S. House in the midterms, he's going even bigger. It's probably not a good sign that CNN doesn't seem to take his candidacy seriously at all, instead saying it's a sign of just how many people are going to throw their hats in the ring in 2020.

Also despite being a Democrat, Ojeda admits he voted for Trump in 2016 but now dislikes him. That is probably not going to go down well.

Marianne Williamson is not Oprah

A lot of people have been clamoring for Oprah to run for president, but she seems honestly uninterested. That isn't stopping someone Oprah-adjacent, though. Marianne Williamson is not your typical politician because she isn't one. Instead, she's a best-selling author and "well-known spiritual guru." Which will be helpful if the country's chakras aren't aligned or something.

To be fair to Williamson, she actually does a lot of charity work as well, according to Vanity Fair. She founded a major LA food bank as well as HIV centers during the AIDS crisis, and supports lots of other liberal issues. She also tried to run for the House as an independent in 2014, getting 13 percent of the vote and the support of many celebrities.

She has made an official video announcement about her run, saying 1776 was a "miracle" and that we need another one, presumably her. She also wants the country to get "back to an ethical center." All very Oprah Lite.

Michael Avenatti might want to rethink this

No one has asked Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti to run for president, but that isn't stopping him. What might have stopped him was his arrest this month for felony domestic violence. While he hasn't been convicted (and there is some evidence he might have been set up by a political opponent), that would be difficult baggage to overcome. Before his arrest, though, he was definitely preparing to run.

In August, according to CNN, he went to Florida to speak at the Hillsborough County Democrats' Kennedy King Dinner. He said his reception was "flattering" and that people were "energized," presumably because of him.

The very next day he flew to New Hampshire to speak at a Democratic picnic. And he didn't make any secret of why being in that state was important, pointing out they vote second in the primaries and it was important to be there in case he decided to run. Then he went to an even more important primary state, Iowa, for the fair, where his speech was met with "applause." He's met with important Democrats and speaks to voters everywhere he goes. If he runs, he's promised to "fight" and "hit harder" than the Republicans.

UPDATE: He rethought it, apparently. Avenatti announced December 4 that he would not run.