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11 Reasons Why Terry McAuliffe Could Be the Best Candidate to Take on Trump in 2020 – And 10 Reasons Why He Probably Isn’t


I hate linking to far-right websites, but sad to say, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe is busy talking to them for some crazy reason (in general, why on earth do Dems go on far-right TV, radio, blogs, etc???), so…here’s the link.  In short, TMac claims there’s no Democrat better able to go up against Trump in 2020 (“Who better to take on Trump than me?”) than…yep, himself.

The question is, does McAuliffe have a point? Here are 11 reasons that jump to my mind why he might be a strong candidate against Trump in 2020 – and 10 reasons why he might very well not be.

TMac 2020 – YES!

  1. McAuliffe can raise more money than basically anyone, god possibly included; the guy’s a veritable fundraising machine.
  2. He’s got a plausible blue-collar, rags-to-riches story to tell (if he runs, expect to hear a lot about McAuliffe Driveway Maintenance, the old Byrne Dairy milk truck he first used, etc.).
  3. He’s been a successful businessman, has a “pro-business” reputation and can’t easily be tarred as “anti-business” by Trump and the Trumpsters.
  4. He can tell a story, at least, of being a relatively successful/popular “purple state” governor.
  5. He did some progressive stuff as governor, first and foremost being ex-felon voting rights restoration.
  6. He not only ran hard against the NRA in 2013 (and won anyway), he vetoed a bunch of GOP/NRA gun bills as governor.
  7. He helped Democrats sweep the statewide offices (including the person he hand picked for governor, Ralph Northam), as well as pick up 15 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates last November.
  8. He’s tight with the Clintons, of course, which gives him access to “Clinton World” money, connections, possibly campaign infrastructure/resources, endorsements, etc.
  9. McAuliffe could also run, implicitly, as the guy who could get revenge on Trump, etc. for Hillary Clinton’s “loss” (in quotes because she won the popular vote by millions, also because Trump was helped by his pal Putin) in 2016.
  10. There’s no dominant Democratic candidate for 2020, so I could see McAuliffe racking up delegates – even if it’s just 25% or 30% or whatever – in state after state, while others split the “Not TMac” vote.
  11. As Mike Allen of Axios wrote, McAuliffe “has boundless energy, ambition and access to money — and the personality and love of the game to withstand the grind and glare of politics.” In other words, he won’t take s*** from Trump, won’t back down, etc.

TMac 2020 – NO!

  1. McAuliffe’s closeness to the Clintons and to the “establishment” would almost certainly be a big turnoff to many progressive, grassroots activists. It’s hard for me to see McAuliffe being well received, for starters, by Bernie Sanders’ base.
  2. Part of the reason why McAuliffe can raise so much money, of course, is that he’s got close relationships with many in corporate America. Again, how will that play with populist/progressive “Bernie”/Warren/etc. activists?
  3. As governor, there were certainly things McAuliffe did that will be raised repeatedly in Democratic primaries, debates, etc. For instance, McAuliffe was tight with Dominion Energy, basically signing off on Dominion’s agenda, including the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. That won’t make environmentalists happy. In fact it hasn’t, with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) giving McAuliffe a near-failing grade on climate/clean energy issues.
  4. On offshore oil drilling, McAuliffe has been all over the place — against it in 2009, for it in 2013, against it again as of August 2017. That might not go over well with environmentalists either.
  5. I doubt that gun violence prevention advocates will appreciate this: “McAuliffe (D) agreed to legislation that says the state must recognize concealed-handgun permits from nearly all states — a reversal of Attorney General Mark R. Herring’s decision last month to sever the reciprocity rights of gun owners in 25 states.”
  6. McAuliffe does have some baggage, such as the GreenTech Automotive mess, and also an FBI investigation into contributions to his gubernatorial campaign (is this thing still alive?).
  7. The Democratic Party has arguably become more progressive the past few years, and McAuliffe is more of a social progressive/economic “moderate.” How will that play in the 2020 Democratic primaries?
  8. As governor, McAuliffe tried – but failed – to get Medicaid expansion done. More broadly, it’s hard to point to any major legislative accomplishments McAuliffe had in his four years as “his excellency” of Virginia.
  9. While McAuliffe was governor, Democrats lost control of the State Senate, failing to take it back in 2015 despite McAuliffe’s best efforts. That somewhat tarnishes his political legacy in “purple-becoming-increasingly-blue” Virginia.
  10. Does McAuliffe have the gravitas to plausibly put himself forward for president? Then again, how important is that in the age of Trump?  Also, there’s no doubt that McAuliffe has grown a great deal from his more “carnival barker” style in 2009, and probably earned grudging respect – even from many Republicans – as governor.

So…those are ten reasons why McAuliffe probably would and probably would NOT be the best Democrat to take on Donald Trump. Your thoughts?


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