Image Credits: Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
We haven’t even gotten to the first presidential debate of the 2016 general election cycle, but people are already looking four years into the future. As Republicans, we can certainly say that in 2012, we did not see Donald Trump becoming our 2016 nominee. This list should be taken with a grain of salt. Our political system has changed so much in the past year. It is difficult to imagine what it will look like in four more. No one knows who will win in November, but already both parties have started floating names of candidates they would love to see run in 2020. Of course, all of this depends on who wins the White House in November. If Trump takes home the bacon, then Democrats will be frantically searching for someone to take him on in 2020. If Hillary wins in November, it will be the Republicans who will be looking for a candidate that can dethrone Hillary.
Batting for the Republicans…
1) Ben Sasse
A sitting freshman senator from Nebraska, Sasse got a lot of publicity for his involvement in the Never Trump movement. He’s young and has a bright future in politics ahead of him. He served as the president of Midland University for six years. This proves he has leadership experience that isn’t relegated just to the political arena. He’s a strong opponent of Obamacare, is pro-life, and serves on committees including the Subcommittee on Economic Policy, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation, and Joint Economic Committee. He is the father of three children and is a Harvard and Yale graduate.
2) Paul Ryan
Paul Ryan knows how to run for office, and he’s gotten closer to the White House than anyone else on this list. The former vice-presidential nominee was highly desired to run for the highest executive office in the land during this past cycle. He stated that his service as Speaker of the House was more important. He’s been working to unify the Republicans in Congress. He has developed a strong leadership style that would do well on a national and international stage. He’s only 46, so 2020 might be the perfect time for him to seek the presidency. He’s a father of three and previously served as the Chairman of the House Budget Committee and the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
3) Marco Rubio
The Senator from Florida was one of the final men standing during this year’s heated Republican primary. He is now seeking re-election for another six years in the US Senate. A 2020 run would require him to forgo that seat should he get the nomination. Even with that in mind, most people believe that Rubio will be a player in 2020. He earned a good-sized following in 2016. While he was eclipsed by major stars like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, he is still young and has many elections ahead of him. He sits on the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, among others. He has four children.
4) Tim Scott
Scott is a Senator from South Carolina and one of only two African-Americans serving in the Senate. In the Senate, he sits on the Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation and Export Promotion and the Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. He is 50 years old and unmarried, like his fellow South Carolinian Senator Graham. Before getting elected to the Senate, he served in the House of Representatives from 2011-2013, when he beat his opponent 62-36.
5) Rand Paul
The Constitutional conservative Senator from Kentucky tried his hand at the Republican primary in 2016 with not much of a splash. He’s only 53, so he has several more times to try. As the son of Ron Paul, we can expect him not to give up without a fight. He’s currently in the middle of running for his Senate seat again. He would have to give that up to run for the White House again. He’s notorious for his filibusters and stands on the Senate floor, so it would be interested to see him take on the White House.
6) Nikki Haley
The current Governor of South Carolina is extremely popular within the Republican Party. She was selected to give the official response to the State of the Union in 2016. She’s a vivacious woman of Indian descent, and she hasn’t let the supposed “War on Women” keep her down. She was floated as a possible VP for this election cycle, but stated publicly that she was not interested. She’s done great things for the state of South Carolina and truly brought the citizens of her state together after the horrible shooting in Charleston in 2015.
7) Joni Ernst
Joni Ernst is a freshman senator from Iowa who is already climbing the ladder of success. Just this year she was vetted to be Trump’s Vice-President. She withdrew her name from consideration later on. She’s a firecracker, to be sure, and with her history of great political ads and her military experience, she would be a tough candidate. She is truly the walking definition of “Though she be but little, she is fierce” and no doubt we will be seeing a lot more of Senator Ernst in the next years.
8) Justin Amash
Justin Amash is a representative from Michigan and has been in the House since 2011. He, like many others on this list, have expressed interest in running for president in the future. Justin is currently 36 years old. The congressman has many opportunities ahead. Unlike many members of Congress, he has a solid conservative voting record and great attendance. In 2012, he didn’t miss a single congressional vote. He’s an advocate for economic freedom and a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. He endorsed Ron Paul in 2012 and Rand Paul then Ted Cruz in 2016.
9) Scott Walker
Governors usually do very well in presidential elections, but nothing about this year was usual. People were shocked when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was the first to drop out of the Republican Primary. The beloved Governor knows how to handle an election, even a tough recall election. He’s only 48, so he’s got a long career ahead of him. He’s an outspoken Hillary critic. If she is our next president, he’d be a great candidate to take her on in 2020.
10) Tom Cotton
Tom Cotton is the youngest current Senator in the US and already making a name for himself. The Arkansas native also served in the US Army, where he served in Iraq and Afghanistan, before turning to public service. He served in the House from 2013-2015 and was elected to the Senate in 2014. Cotton would be perfectly timed to run for president in 2020, though he may have to take time off for the campaign. The Senator gained notoriety for penning a letter to the Iran government in opposition to the Iran Nuclear Deal, which was highly criticized by the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress. Tom Cotton is 39 years old.
Batting for the Democrats…
11) Jerry Brown
Jerry Brown is the Governor California and a former presidential candidate. While he is up there in age (78!), the candidacy of Bernie Sanders has us wondering just how much people care about age, if at all. Some of his past platforms have including curbing carbon dioxide emissions, federal funding for abortions, slowing down fracking, and the funding of college tuition for illegal immigrants.
12) Cory Booker
The New Jersey Senator and Yale Law School grad was considered one of the “finalists” to be Hillary Clinton’s Vice-President, but lost out to Tim Kaine in the end. At only 47, you can be sure that you haven’t seen the last of Cory Booker. He’s only been a Senator for three years. By the time that the primaries for 2020 rev up, he’ll be ripe and ready. He’s unmarried, and seems to be constantly swatting down rumors that he is homosexual. He supports abortion, affirmative action, and same-sex marriage, and would slide nicely into the platform of the Democrat Party.
13) Bill De Blasio
If you can control NYC, you should be able to control Washington, right? Not always, but I’m sure New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio would love to give it a try. He is the first Democratic mayor of the city since the Clinton administration. He is an opponent of stop-and-frisk and post-9/11 surveillance to monitor the Muslim population in the city. As you can guess, he’s also a big proponent of gun control. His 2013 election for mayor was an easy victory: he won 72-24. Recently, he has been criticized for his relationship with the New York City Police Department, but that’s not exactly an issue Democrats seem to care about these days.
14) Julian Castro
Julian Castro is the current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and was formerly the mayor of San Antonio, Texas. In a surprise to no one at all, he was mentioned as a possible Vice-Presidential pick for Hillary Clinton. He’s a graduate of Harvard Law. He is pretty young, only 41, so if 2020 isn’t his year, 2024 might be. He’s a notable activist for gay rights, dating back to his time as mayor of San Antonio. Julian has shown the Democrat way of avoiding scandal when he violated that Hatch Act by making political statements while speaking on behalf of HUD. The secretary also been mentioned as a possible replacement for disgraced DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
15) Rahm Emanuel
Democrats seem to love Chicago, even if it is Example A for failed Democratic policies. Perhaps 2020 will see the rise of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel as a presidential candidate. Emanuel was the former White House Chief of Staff for Obama, even after he endorsed Clinton in 2008. Of course, he has come under fire recently for happenings in Chicago, including the way he handled the police shooting of Laquan McDonald. He’s only 56, certainly not too old for public service. If he can overcome the dirt on his reputation that comes from Chicago, he may be the next Obama, at least as a candidate.