Democrat hopefuls pursue Hillary Clinton’s endorsement ahead of 2020

With the 2020 campaign season kicking off, progressive Democrats are reaching out to former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for her endorsement.

At least 5 Democrats have met with Clinton so far, but the list of endorsement hopefuls includes several familiar names long believed to be 2020 primary contenders, like Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ), as well as the less-hyped Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Dems seek Clinton endorsement

Warren is the only Democrat who has taken any steps toward launching a presidential campaign; she announced last week that she was forming an exploratory committee for a campaign, which was followed by weekend stops in the key primary state of Iowa. But that news was met with speculation that her campaign could be doomed by a botched DNA test in October, and President Donald Trump immediately mocked Warren following the news with a meme poking fun at her fraudulent claims of Native American ancestry that read, in campaign bumper-sticker format: “Warren 1/2020th.”

Other candidates are “scheduled” to meet with Clinton to curry her favor, Axios first reported. A source close to Clinton told the site that “tens of millions of Democrats love Hillary and want her to try again” and that candidates have been meeting with her for months.

“The savvy [candidates] know she’s the most valuable endorser in the party not named Obama,” the confidant said. “A bunch have picked her brain.”

The confidant said that Hillary is desperate to see Trump lose, but she’s keeping an open mind to find who among a crowded field of candidates has the best shot, assuming she does not herself run again.

“Hillary wants Trump gone,” the source said. “She doesn’t know who’s best able to beat him, but she knows about grueling nomination fights.”

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill told Axios that he wouldn’t comment on private discussions but said that “she’s more than happy to talk to anyone considering a run about the challenges that go with it” as well as “lessons learned on what to watch for in this next cycle.”

Democrats split on who to choose

Meanwhile, as the Democratic party has lurched farther to the left, it’s uncertain whether the party’s leadership will seek a progressive candidate or settle on a more familiar face. None of the candidates named by Axios as having sought Clinton’s endorsement are polling very well.

Leading the pack of rather feeble Democratic candidates are former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke. Voters are comparatively lukewarm on Warren, Harris, and Booker.

There has also been plenty of speculation about another Clinton run, but many Democrats are loath to let her ambitions spoil the party’s chances again.

Currently, Biden is considered the front-runner in the race and the expedient choice to defeat Trump. Biden has even said that he is the only one who can win, and for the anti-Trump left, getting Trump out of office is the number one priority.

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But some on the left are hesitant to run a white male with centrist views in a time when the party is embracing more women leaders, diversity, and radical politics.

Clinton has said that she would still like to be president and those close to her say the chances of her running are at least greater than zero. Still, it remains to be seen whether Clinton will run again or simply choose a surrogate to seek revenge on her behalf.

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