The Biggest Skeleton In Each 2020 Candidate's Closet

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.

The announcements are starting to come thick and fast, and big names are getting their ducks in a row. From meeting with donors to going on every TV show to releasing books, the political machine is firing up. But like any good politician, all these candidates have something working against them. Whether it's their voting records, off-the-cuff comments, old indiscretions, or something else entirely, everyone has something they'd rather not publicize. Don't worry — it'll all be in the attack ads soon anyway. Here are the skeletons in each 2020 candidate's closet.

Beto O'Rourke isn't that innocent

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.

Beto's image may be based around an air-drumming, skateboard-riding cool boy next door, but that boy is also stupidly rich. According to the Houston Chronicle, while his family is wealthy, Beto's connection to real money came when he married the daughter of a real estate developer worth millions and known as "the richest man in El Paso."

When he was on the El Paso City Council, Beto worked his butt off to get a huge redevelopment plan passed — a plan, it just so turned out, that would make his father-in-law a lot of money. People pointed out his conflict of interest at the time. While in the House, Beto faced an ethics violation for some investments he made, and his mother was also accused of trying to launder money and using her business to hide $630,000 from the IRS in 2010.

Amy Klobuchar could have some anger issues

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.

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. Being from the Midwest, a place Trump did well in, could be key. That she made her official announcement in a heavy snowstorm in Minneapolis will only further her street cred in flyover country.

What could possibly go wrong? Well, as soon as she announced, she was hit with accusations from former staffers and others in the know that she had some pretty significant anger issues, and not entirely in the "women can't raise their voices like men can" way. Stories include her throwing things at people and humiliating/berating aides in front of colleagues and others. She's dismissed this all as her having high standards for herself and her staff, but time will tell if that defense works or not.

Hillary Clinton has some obvious demons

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. Hillary may not think so, according to Politico

It's pretty much understood that once you lose the race for president, you don't try again. Sure, you can take another shot if you just lost in the primaries and didn't get the top spot (think John McCain and Joe Biden) but once you all-out lose, voters tend to want to move on. Think how weird it would be if Mitt Romney or Al Gore or John Kerry suddenly decided they wanted to give it another shot.

It's worse for Hillary, since she actually lost to Trump himself. There's no reason to think this time would be any better for her. Probably better to go down in history as getting 3 million more votes and the moral victory and leave it at that. The other thing Hillary had going for her, being the first female presidential candidate from a main party, is also now not impressive. This time, women are throwing their hats in the ring like it's no big deal, and their gender is barely being mentioned in the press.

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.

Despite his contributions to Democrats running in 2018, Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee offered "a lukewarm assessment" of his involvement. In other words, while Perez wants the billionaire to keep handing over money, he probably doesn't want Bloomberg getting the idea he should run himself.

Guy Cecil, chairman of the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA says, "ultimately it's going to be about what Bloomberg's vision is for the future." While he might be willing to part with his cash, at one point he agreed enough with what Republicans liked to be one. Has his mindset really changed? Will voters feel safer going with a younger, obviously liberal candidate than an old guy who they have to hope won't get conservative again once he's in office? Bloomberg allegedly already knows his "justification" for running but hasn't shared it publicly yet.

Elizabeth Warren's DNA test debacle

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. Don't worry, your common sense was right all along. She's formed an official exploratory committee and everything.

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 test results showing she probably had a Native American ancestor. Effectively meant to shut Trump up on this point, the ad got mixed reviews even from Democrats.

While some people saw it as standing up to Trump's racism, plenty of outlets called it a "debacle." Rolling Stone quoted Chuck Hoskin, the Cherokee Nation secretary of state, who noted that DNA tests did not prove tribal membership and that it was "dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens." One Cherokee genealogist said she would never vote for Warren "under any circumstances" after her DNA reveal. A New York Times reporter wrote that Warren had "put too much emphasis on the controversial field of racial science." And Trump still won't stop calling her Pocahontas. The whole thing might have been a terrible idea.

Joe Biden is America's old, creepy uncle who doesn't care about millennials

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.

Just know that if you're a millennial and you think your life is hard, Joe Biden does not have time for your crap. In an interview he said he had "no empathy" for kids these days who tell him "how tough things are."

The thing is, everything isn't perfect, his generation screwed a lot of stuff up, and Biden himself directly made things harder for millennials. In 2005, as a senator, Biden voted for the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, which made student loans one of the few debts that can never be forgiven. So if you're crushed under your student loans to the point of bankruptcy, bummer, Joe Biden says you still have to pay them back and they'll pass to your family if you die.

Two issues that would normally disqualify Biden are less of an issue in a race against Trump, as Politico points out. But his age and the fact he's been super handsy with women (on tape!) could easily be used against him.

Kamala Harris might be anything but progressive

California Senator Kamala Harris is officially running in 2020, and she's probably been running from the minute Hillary lost in 2016. Harris likes to talk about how she was a "progressive prosecutor" when she was San Francisco's district attorney and then California's attorney general. But according to a New York Times op-ed, Harris was far from progressive.

She didn't seem to have a problem if innocent people stayed in jail, even after she knew they probably didn't do what they were accused of. In 2010, she tried to hide the fact a lab technician was "intentionally sabotaging" hundreds of cases. A judge reprimanded her for withholding this information from defense attorneys. Harris also repeatedly fought to keep innocent people in jail on legal technicalities.

She wasn't cool with other progressive policies either. She defended the use of the death penalty when a judge ruled it unconstitutional. She laughed when asked if she supported legalizing marijuana. Harris opposed a bill that would require her office to investigate officer-involved shootings and refused to support state-wide use of body cameras on cops.

Cory Booker puts his vote where his wallet is

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.

Booker has been a bit of a left-wing darling, speaking up against Jeff Sessions and Brett Kavanaugh in their respective confirmation hearings. But on less public issues, he often sides with big money.

Right after he became the first senator to testify against a colleague during Sessions' hearing, Booker voted against lowering prescription drug prices, according to Vox. The bill was supported by enough Republicans that it might have passed, but Booker, who coincidentally took over $250,000 from pharmaceutical companies, broke ranks.

But he loves Wall Street even more than Big Pharma. says he took almost half a million dollars in contributions from financial companies in just one 9-month period in 2012 when he was mayor of Newark. He also went on TV to defend Bain Capital, Mitt Romney's company, while Romney was running against Obama. Only a few years after the financial crash, Booker said attacks on bankers make him "uncomfortable."

Kirsten Gillibrand has really turned her ship around

Kirsten Gillibrand might have announced her candidacy on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert like some hip, liberal politician, but her past is full of some not-at-all liberal stuff that could hurt her candidacy.

Gillibrand was originally elected to represent a rural, conservative district in upstate New York. These were people who liked guns and didn't like immigrants, so Gillibrand took those positions with relish. According to 60 Minutes, in the House she joined the "Blue Dog Coalition," a group of conservative Democrats. She was super hard on immigrants, backing a crackdown on sanctuary cities and more fencing along the border, and saying there should be no amnesty or benefits for illegals. She even supported legislation to make English America's official language.

It didn't stop there. The NRA absolutely loved her, giving her voting record a 100 percent. The Human Rights Campaign, on the other hand, gave her the lowest rating of any New York Democrat.

Julián Castro can't build momentum

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. Castro became a star at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, where his keynote speech was reminiscent of then-Senator Obama's years before. He was even floated as a running mate for Hillary Clinton in 2016. But his biggest problem is that he hasn't done anything with that momentum.

In the years since his star turn on the national stage, other names have eclipsed his, says the Dallas Morning News. He's not even the biggest Democratic name in Texas anymore, with Beto the shiny new toy of Lone Star liberals.

Castro's experience is decidedly low-level. He was the mayor of San Antonio for five years, and by all accounts did a good job, but mayors don't usually become presidents. Starting in 2014, Castro took the job of United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. While some cabinet positions are impressive, HUD isn't usually considered one of the big dogs. Castro may regret taking the job and fading from public view.

Tulsi Gabbard has a bigoted past to overcome

Tulsi Gabbard has "cemented herself as a rising star within the Democratic party," according to the Guardian. Her progressive credentials seem rock solid. Bernie Sanders loves her. So do environmental groups, major labor unions, Planned Parenthood, and National Nurses United. Her voting record shows she cares about "Medicare for All, transitioning to clean renewable energy, criminal justice reform, and making Wall Street pay their fair share." She was the first Hindu elected to Congress in 2012, is an Iraq War veteran, and a woman. She should be a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination.

But there is some sketchy stuff in Gabbard's past that's getting all the headlines. She's met with people the left doesn't really like, from Donald Trump to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, reports the Washington Post. While it could be argued that meeting with bad people is part of diplomacy, you would also be forgiven for thinking this was a bad idea.

Then there are her past feelings and actions toward gay people. When Gabbard was in her teens and early 20s, CNN says she worked for her father's anti-gay organization. It promoted gay conversion therapy and helped end same-sex marriages in Hawaii. Once her own political career started, Gabbard talked about "homosexual activists" and "homosexual extremists" and fought against gay marriage. Gabbard says her views have since changed and apologized for past comments. People can grow and change, but when they have other options, the voters might pick someone with less baggage.

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. 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. 

The fact that no one knows who Ojeda is will just become more of a problem as big names keep announcing their candidacy. With a big field, the debates could theoretically end up being split between the important candidates with a chance and a debate for everyone else, like the Republicans did in 2016. We all know which one Ojeda would be invited to.

Also despite being a Democrat, Ojeda admits he voted for Trump in 2016. The hate for Trump is so strong among liberals that even the fact that Trump openly called Ojeda "a total wacko" at campaign events in 2018 probably won't be enough to atone for the sin of helping him get elected.

Then there's the fact he just lost a House race in 2018 and now wants to be president. Sure, Beto lost his Senate race, but he got huge name recognition when he ran. Ojeda has none of that.

At least John Delaney is somewhat impressive

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's visited every county in Iowa, and one poll showed 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.

The problem is, on the national level, no one knows who Delaney is, let alone that he's running. If you have been in the race for that long, you'd hope the voting public would at least go, "John Delaney? Yeah, I think I know that name." Now that more famous people are throwing their hats in the ring, does he realistically stand a chance? The best press he seems to have gotten is when the editorial board of New Hampshire's Nashua Telegraph called him "somewhat impressive."

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. 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.

Not being Oprah could actually be a huge problem. There is something about the self-made billionaire that has people, specifically women, absolutely in love with her. While Williamson does have lots of devoted followers, the name recognition simply isn't there. Plus she's a bit weird, like when after 9/11 she called for "angels to surround the country" and form a "mystical shield" to stop more attacks.

Then there was the time Williamson tried to run for the House as an independent in 2014, in a district that covered Brentwood, Santa Monica, and Malibu. She got a lot of celebrity support but crashed into fourth place, and the Daily Beast called her "a $2 million Congressional flop." If she can't deliver in the heart of Hollywood where she is most famous, how can she step up on the national stage?

Donald Trump might be completely screwed

While a couple Republicans have made vague noises about running against Trump in 2020, realistically no big name is going to do it. It's not that it hasn't happened before, because it has pretty often (Bush Sr. faced a Republican primary challenger as recently as 1992) but Trump's chances of winning would be pretty much 100 percent, right?

His chances in the actual election are not so good. The one thing saving Trump from total ruin is the fact the economy is doing well. Sure, the stock market had a volatile 2018 and we've added $2 trillion to our national debt, but in general people have jobs and money, so they are happy.

But then there are all the issues that will count against him. His approval ratings have been bad for most of his tenure, and people are placing almost all the blame for the shutdown on him. His border wall idea is not popular with the electorate. That's not even taking into account stuff from the past that could come back to haunt him come election time, like the family separation policy that traumatized more children than we were originally told, according to the New York Times.

This doesn't even take into account what will happen when the Russia investigation ends. It could be so bad impeachment or indictment could be on the table before the next election.