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My Turn - Dems face daunting tasks

When New York City Mayor  Bill de Blasio entered the 2020 race for president last Thursday, he became, by my count, at least the 23rd Democratic presidential hopeful to do so. He may not be the last in an already crowded field.

The other Democratic candidates, so far are: Sen. Michael Bennett, (CO); former VP Joe Biden; Sen. Cory Booker, (NJ); Montana Gov. Steve Bullock; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former HUD Secretary Julian Castro; former U.S. Rep.John Delaney (MD; U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, (HI); Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY); Sen. Kamala Harris (CA); former Colorado Gov. John Hickenllooper; Washington Gov. Jay Inslee; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN); Miramar, FL Mayor Wayne Messam; U.S Rep. Seth Moulton (MA);  former U. S. Rep. (TX) Beto O’Rourke;  U.S. Rep.Tim Ryan (OH); Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT); U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA); Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA); author Marianne  Williamson; and entrepreneur  Andrew Yang.  

Like most of the Democrats who have announced they are running for the White House in 2020, de Blasio is taking direct aim at President Donald Trump, calling him “ a bully, and I know how to take him on.” He also nicknamed the president  “con don,” asserting “every New Yorker knows he’s a con artist.” 

The problem with this message is Mayor de Blasio and the host of other Democrats now in the race for POTUS are actually running first against each other. Therefore, they face the daunting tasks of television debates, if they make the cut. Then the survivors must run the gauntlet of Democratic primaries and caucuses.

As always in recent decades, money really is the “mother’s milk” for political campaigns, most notably for presidential campaigns. However, even those funds are finite. Therefore, every dollar the Democrats spend on the primary campaign trail is a dollar less available for the general elections war chest of the Democrat who becomes his or her party nominee.

Meanwhile President Trump is “sitting in the catbird seat,” with campaign funds aplenty and only token opposition in the GOP primaries. Given the topsy-turvy nature of presidential politics, that could change, but the Democrats would be unwise to bank on that.

If the Democrats really want to win the presidency in November 2020, they will need to ultimately unite around the candidate who is the best choice to beat President Trump. Do away with so-called “moral victories.” There is no prize for second place in presidential elections. Just ask Democrat runners-up  Al Gore, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton about that. 

Retired Col. Thomas B. Vaughn can be reached at