Brown 2020? (Open Thread)

Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio is taking a hard look at a run for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination. He and his wife, Connie Schultz, say they’ll make a decision in the new year, but they’re doing a lot of the legwork now, including media interviews like this long piece published at Buzzfeed last week. Here’s an excerpt:

“We really weren’t expecting this,” Schultz said of the calls for Brown to run. “I love being married to a man who doesn’t look in the mirror and see the next president of the United States. It’s never been his aspiration.” Still, she admits to disappointment when he wasn’t chosen as Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016. “And believe me,” she added, “the idea of being second lady — even the title? Blech. But country first on this.”

The decision to run for president is major, but not entirely unlike the one they made in 2006 when he first ran for Senate.

“We were talking about what got him in last time,” Schultz told me. “Are we getting too comfortable? That’s weighing on us a bit.” They’re really lucky, Schultz said. They love their house and neighborhood, their grandchildren, their jobs.

“But that’s not enough. Perhaps that’s what, more than anything else, will end up pushing us in.”

From the Buzzfeed piece, I learned that Brown’s slogan is “the dignity of work,” a phrase I’ve always found obnoxious because I’ve only heard it mouthed by useless tits like Marco Rubio, who has never done a hard day’s work in his life. But the article explains it’s a phrase MLK used in a speech:

When I asked Schultz how it had emerged as a slogan for them, she asked if Brown had told me about the book “that Kamala gave him” — Kamala being California Sen. Kamala Harris, another potential Democratic primary rival in 2020. She then retrieved one of their several copies of All Labor Has Dignity, a collection of MLK speeches that Harris gave Brown last year, their first as Senate colleagues. Schultz lit up as she talked about the gift, which her husband appreciated and which she allowed might have “helped him clarify that message a bit.”

Schultz, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, is the focus of a piece published in Politico earlier this week — another media availability that signals seriousness about a 2020 run for Brown. Schultz describes revulsion at Trump as a primary motivator and is concerned — but unafraid — about the effect a run might have on her family:

“I just want to be clear on this,” Schultz said. “Anybody who attempts to go after our family, it is going to be double-barrel. I mean, you don’t go after children, you don’t go after our kids. There’s no such thing as the ‘acceptable’ family—especially after we’ve put up with the Trump family. Nobody’s going to tell us what it means to be our family.

Yep. I admire Schultz and think it would be something to have a first lady with her attitude, not least because the “blech” attributed to Schultz above indicates she’d chafe under the title. I love Schultz’s utter contempt for Trump:

As a journalist, she’s alarmed. “I worry about my fellow journalists,” she said. “I worry that they’re going to die.”

As a Christian, she’s appalled. “I don’t know how they look at Donald Trump—I guess they figure, well, he’s straight, he’s not gay, so that’s not a problem. He’s fooling around like crazy, he hates women, but he’s not gay. I don’t know how they justify it.”

As a mother, she’s repulsed. “This is the guy we warned our daughters not to date. Our straight daughters. Stay away from that guy.”

As a citizen, she’s dismayed. “Any of us who came from any history of domestic violence—we know the signs of that. We get fearful. You’re edgy. Now the entire country knows what it’s like to go through abuse.”

I asked her whether she wanted Brown to run. “I don’t know,” she said. She wasn’t trying to be evasive or coy, she said, and I believed her.

“I know this,” she said. “If he survives the primary, he will beat Trump. And that’s certainly what fuels my thinking on this right now—but I don’t know yet.”

In a sense, the prospect of a Brown candidacy feels like fighting misperceptions of the last war: a genuine economic populist to counter a fake one. “Economic anxiety” didn’t give us Trump; sexism, racism, xenophobia and stupidity did. To the extent economic anxiety figured at all, it was a garnish, not the main course.

But Brown and Schultz have a Rust Belt point of view on that question. In the Politico piece, Schultz sympathetically describes laid-off factory workers as being conned by Trump. She thinks they’d listen to a guy like Brown, and he won Ohio comfortably while other Democrats lost, so maybe she’s right.

Another factor: Brown is a 60-something white man who would be running in an era where millions of women feel cheated and disrespected by the Trump admin and in a party where much of the energy comes from a younger, more diverse base. I don’t think being an older white dude is an impossible barrier for Brown, but it’ll likely be a factor.

It’s too early to say what message people will want to hear in 2020. I still think “Come with me if you want to live” has a lot of potential in the Trump era — personally, it resonates with me more than “dignity of work.”

But Brown is a solid Democrat who is right about most issues. He’s got plenty of experience, and IMO, he passes the crucial “running to do something rather than be someone” test. What do y’all think of a Sherrod Brown candidacy?

123 replies
  1. 1

    Schulz sounds like a better prospect than the T tariff supporting Brown. Most of those WWC who voted for T are not going to vote D, even if Ds run Brown. He is not my first choice.

  2. 2
    Henry says:

    When you title said “Brown” my heart jumped to Jerry Brown, from here in CA. He surely did this state a bunch of good and I for one would be proud to have him as my President.
    I do understand his optics my not be the greatest but then look at the ‘resident’ in the office now for soured optics.

  3. 3
    West of the Rockies says:

    This is crazy-petty, but I hate his voice. I keep clearing my throat when he’s speaking (even on TV) and wishing he would do the same.

  4. 4
    Rob in CT says:

    One significant problem is that if Sherrod Brown becomes POTUS, we’re automatically -1 in the Senate, because Ohio has mostly lost its shit, and its GOP governor would appoint the replacement.

  5. 5
    Schlemazel says:

    Agreed. I like him as a Senator but he is not inspirational as POTUS

  6. 6
    trollhattan says:

    He’s a blank slate outside the upper Midwest (“Shepard who?”) so gaining national recognition will be a tall mountain to climb. I want good people running so join in if you’re up to the challenge and massive strain it will exact on your life.

  7. 7
    Ajabu says:

    I’m hoping for Kamala Harris. A no nonsense Black woman. Do the right thing just because it’s the right thing. Reminds me of my wife…

  8. 8

    Earlier this year, Brown applauded President Trump for signing new steel tariffs to crack down on foreign trade cheats who have flooded the U.S. market with cheap steel and cost Ohio jobs. Brown has been calling on President Trump to take action to protect steel jobs since before Trump took office.

    More at Brown’s senate website

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today welcomed comments made by President Donald Trump that he will act next week to crack down on unfair steel imports that have hurt the U.S. steel sector. Trump’s comments came today in a meeting with steel company executives. The expected action is the result of the Administration’s “232” investigation into the impact of steel imports on national security, and follows months of Brown’s repeated calls to Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to provide relief for the U.S. steel industry. Last month, Brown joined Trump and Ross at a meeting at the White House on steel, and urged action in the case.

    More here

    I am not in favor of 21st century Senator Smoot for President.

  9. 9
    Raven says:

    @Schlemazel: Told you the Gophers would crush those bugs.

  10. 10
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I’m having trouble getting excited for better or worse about anybody. I heard Brown on the O’Bros podcast and he seemed to be trying to jam his “dignity of work” catchphrase into every sentence, which doesn’t help on the “authenticity” thing. I think he has ideas on trade and industry– specifically coal– that are as retro as his rumpled persona. But if there’s one thing 2016 taught us, it’s how many people vote on “persona”

  11. 11
    germy says:

    Brown might be a fine VP for Kamala Harris.

  12. 12
    Yutsano says:

    Eh. Not sold yet. Need to know what the African American population of Ohio thinks of him. I’m shutting up and following their lead.

  13. 13
    germy says:

    Meanwhile, Pompeo has no business being anywhere NEAR government:

    One of the "battles" Pompeo is going to fight until the Rapture: opposing marriage equality. He's talking about the Obergefell decision, this is from 6-28-2015— Tommy MMXIXtopher (@tommyxtopher) December 27, 2018

  14. 14
    raven says:

    @schrodingers_cat: “I will get a number of Trump voters because I fought for the things that Trump campaigned on, long before he did,’’ said Brown, who has long opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade deals. “My position on trade is the mainstream position for the country.’’

  15. 15
    germy says:

    And this video of Pompeo

    And here's Pompeo endorsing a prayer that called multiculturalism and homosexuality "evil." "We'd endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle."— Tommy MMXIXtopher (@tommyxtopher) December 27, 2018

  16. 16
    hells littlest angel says:

    I like Brown. Also, I think he could win. I don’t like making “electability” a factor, but it matters. If he picked a woman of color as VP, I’d enthusiastically knock on doors for him in my reddish district

  17. 17
    Betty Cracker says:

    @West of the Rockies: I like Brown’s gravelly Cookie Monster voice — Schultz does a very funny and spot-on imitation of it too.

  18. 18

    @raven: Yeah I know his views and I disagree with Senator Brown.

    Whether he will get T voters. I don’t think he will unless he is willing to toss all the D groups under the bus, which the T base despises.

  19. 19
    Ajabu says:

    And a Black Woman is just the right antidote to the fucking imbecile we are currently dealing with

  20. 20
    randy khan says:

    I am friends with Brown’s sister-in-law, and have been donating to him since his first campaign for Senate. At fundraisers, I’ve heard him speak at length in response to questions for tough, informed DC-area Dems, and he clearly has given a lot of thought to his positions. (His position on tariffs – which is much more nuanced than I can get into a sentence – more or less is that tariffs are part of the toolbox, but you need to use them in a much more targeted, careful way than Trump. It sounds to me like something a guy who needs to win Ohio voters would say, but it’s not that far from my opinion, either.) He also does a fairly hilarious recitation of Casey at the Bat.

    With that preamble, I’d be very happy to vote for him if he were the nominee, certainly happier than I’d be about some of the other people who may be running. (More or less, I’d put him at the top of the white guy primary.) But I’d probably prefer another candidate if I had my druthers.

  21. 21
    Amir Khalid says:

    His legislative voting record aside, does Sherrod Brown have a deep knowledge of policy? How good is his executive skill set? Does he have the political/diplomatic chops to work with people (or around them, if need be) to get things done? What do his Senate colleagues and his voters think of him? Is he a particularly charismatic politician who can build a base beyond his state? Could he survive the scrutiny of a likely hostile mainstream media?

  22. 22
    kindness says:

    With all due respect to Ohio politicians, I don’t trust Ohio politicians. The state is so much a jumble that the Democratic party in Ohio is in the same place as the Democratic party in Missouri. Kinda always fighting the last war which mouth breathers/knuckle draggers won.

  23. 23
    Gvg says:

    We will need a repair person and Brown is wrong on trade and tarriffs. Prefer someone smarter.

  24. 24
    John S. says:

    Many of the voters in Ohio will have to grapple with their “economic anxiety” now that the man they voted for failed to deliver – yet again – and GM is screwing them all.

    I wonder if Brown will get any credit for trying to help these people, or if they will simply do what Fox News tells them.

  25. 25
    tobie says:

    I’m glad he’s in the Senate but I’m not sure about POTUS. We desperately need a government that stands up for working people–that’s Brown’s big plus. But we also need a government that is honest about what the jobs of the future will be and I don’t sense that in him at all. This is totally superficial but Mr. tobie complains about Brown’s perpetual frog in throat and I have to confess it is kind of bothersome. All that said, if he’s the nominee I’ll work my heart out for him. The initial debates will be interesting: I’m genuinely undecided and would like to hear what the candidates have to say.

  26. 26
    West of the Rockies says:

    Kamala Harris is my senator. I think she is laser-bright and tough. I wonder if she and Beto could pull off a wonder-twins thing and catch fire.

    Pairing either with Uncle Joe also is intriguing. Joe has drawbacks, to be sure, but he checks a whole lotta boxes, too.

  27. 27
    Creigh Gordon says:

    Economic anxiety? Call it status anxiety if you want, but it definitely gave us Trump.

  28. 28
    Marcopolo says:

    At this point in the cycle I am pretty much open minded to anyone who wants to throw their hat in the ring who is under 65. Race, gender, sexual orientation, etc… do not matter. Candidates older than that, well, I will listen to them but be predisposed to look elsewhere. The only folks I am going to rule out of hand are the candidates who (either personally or through surrogates) decide to try to kneecap their D opponents instead of concentrating on promoting their own vision. There will be plenty of folks trying to tear down whoever the eventual D nominee is–I don’t need that to start with intra-party (or intra-candidate since BS is no D) purity policing & mud fighting.

  29. 29
    tobie says:

    @John S.: Many of the layoffs are the result of Trump’s trade tariffs on aluminum and steel and the lifting of the CAFE standards that Obama had signed off on. The plants closing are the ones that manufacture smaller vehicles. Brown was totally gung-ho about Trump’s trade tariffs. That’s a big mark against him in my book.

    By the way: Volvo is also closing plants in South Carolina where the company manufactured SUVs for foreign markets, especially China. Why? Because the tariffs have made it too expensive to do the work here. It’s cheaper to do it in Mexico and ship from there to Asia.

  30. 30
    Gex says:

    I prefer him to Sanders, Biden, and Beto. But that still leaves him pretty low on my list.

  31. 31
    jeffreyw says:

    Brown is a good fit for Ohio, not sure he would be my first or even second choice for President.

  32. 32
    Yutsano says:

    Another factor to consider: the current governor of Ohio is a Republican. DeWine would appoint his replacement. Anything that would make the Senate harder for Democrats to take in 2020 is a no go for me.

  33. 33
    Ferdinand says:

    Good post Betty. My only addition is on the “racism/sexism/xenophobia/stupidity” vs “economic anxiety” point, with a trite “why not both?” I’d venture that fear of poverty and economic uncertainty is more like the hunger than the garnish. The fear is more like “will a (racist/misogynist/xenophobe/stupid person) like me be forced into poverty by social changes I don’t like?”

  34. 34
    dww44 says:

    @germy: I much prefer it the other way round. He has the relevant experience and I’ve always liked his no-nonsense interviews on TV. He may have a gravelly voice, but he doesn’t equivocate and he seems to be a genuine person. I also get his position on trade, given who he represents in Congress.

  35. 35
    tobie says:


    The only folks I am going to rule out of hand are the candidates who (either personally or through surrogates) decide to try to kneecap their D opponents instead of concentrating on promoting their own vision.

    Good criterion.

  36. 36
    trollhattan says:

    Now that you mention it, he’s off his rocker on tariffs so not on any A list I’d subscribe to.

  37. 37
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Marcopolo: @tobie: Hear, hear. Let’s make the 11th Commandment (Thou shalt not speak ill of thine own fucking side) the only litmus test

  38. 38
    BC in Illinois says:


    Brown might be a fine VP for Kamala Harris.

    I have been thinking along these lines. And it seems that they fit well together as a team. A leadership team of Democrats ready to govern.

    Then my dream is that they are surrounded on the campaign trail with a constant, hard-working, omnipresent team of surrogates. Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Stacey Abrams, Beto O’Rourke, John Kerry, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Gun-sense speakers, Moms Demand speakers. Environmental speakers. BLM speakers. Voting rights speakers. Jason Kander. Adam Schiff, Elijah Cummings, Maxine Walters. John Lewis, Tammy Duckworth. Oprah Winfrey, even.

    Not every one of these would be every one’s top choice, but we should just flood the airwaves with all of them. All over the country. All of August, September, October, and the first week of November. Run as a party ready to do damage control. There is just so much to un-do. Run as a party.

  39. 39
    germy says:

    @BC in Illinois: A show of unity.

  40. 40
    Brachiator says:

    What do y’all think of a Sherrod Brown candidacy?

    Don’t really know much about him. Reading some of the comments here to glean some info.

    Another factor: Brown is a 60-something white man who would be running in an era where millions of women feel cheated and disrespected by the Trump admin

    Understood. But no point in taking this out on other Democrats.

  41. 41
    Sab says:

    @trollhattan: Ohio ain’t the “upper midwest”. It borders Kentucky. The lower half of the state speaks with southern accents.

  42. 42
    Ohio Mom says:

    I love my Senator. But I have a hard time seeing him as a presidential candidate. For lack of a better word, he is too intellectual. He set out to be an expert on trade and manufacturing issues, and he is.

    The result is, sound bites do not come naturally to him. He is a hard worker, but he is not glamorous or charismatic, and I am sorry, but to make it to the White House, you need that star quality.

    He would make a great Secretary of Commerce or Labor, but like others have commented above, I really, really, really do not want to see what our new Governor, Mike DeWine, would pull out of the sewer to fill Brown’s seat.

  43. 43
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I’m having trouble getting excited for better or worse about anybody.

    Same! But it’s early. From a policy standpoint, the person who has offered the most impressive vision I’ve seen so far is Elizabeth Warren (Accountable Capitalism Act, Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act), but I don’t know if she could win.

    @Creigh Gordon: IMO, economic and status anxiety are two entirely different things. Most of the truly economically anxious (i.e., poor people) didn’t vote for Trump.

  44. 44
    Miss Bianca says:

    And the coordinated Twitter/FB/Guardian “Bernie Forever, Ringo/Beto/Sherrod Never!” campaign to begin in 3,2,1…

  45. 45
    trollhattan says:

    Any state that abuts a Great Lake is going to be considered upper Midwest to anybody who doesn’t live nearby.

    “Cleveland, city of lights
    city of magic”

    –R. Newman

  46. 46
    tobie says:

    @Betty Cracker: I saw this quote from Warren on Ragnarok Lobster’s twitter feed that, I think, you’ll like:

    @SenWarren: “Our first job is to defend the Affordable Care Act. Our second is to improve it and make changes, for example to families’ vulnerability to the impact of high-priced drugs. And the third is to find a system of Medicare available to all.”

  47. 47
    NotMax says:


    Buffalo is on Lake Erie. Doesn’t make New York the upper Midwest.


  48. 48
    beckya57 says:

    I’ve been a Brown fan for awhile. I’m scared to death that the Dems are going to nominate another woman, which will give us another 4 years of Trump and a probable death of America as a liberal democracy. Sure, a woman can win the popular vote, but we need someone who can win the Electoral College, which is far more favorable to someone like Brown than to Kamala Harris. Brown has shown he can be successful with the white working class, which is wildly over- represented in the EC. I am concerned that him winning would lose the Dems a Senate seat, however—that’s a big minus.

  49. 49
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Betty Cracker: @tobie: as Yutsano said above about Brown, and as people have said about Beto and Hickenlooper and many others, the Senate is no small thing.

    Anyone in GA know if Abrams has talked about a Senate run?

  50. 50
    trollhattan says:

    90% sure New York would hand it over if there were any takers.

  51. 51
    rikyrah says:


    And a Black Woman is just the right antidote to the fucking imbecile we are currently dealing with

    I feel you.

  52. 52

    My two cents on this has been, there is an abundance of qualified female candidates. How about we give them a shot? I am honestly not at all interested in another senior white male as president. I’m not even on team Beto and I really, really like him. As a woman, I would like to see my gender represented for once.

  53. 53

    What do y’all think of a Sherrod Brown candidacy?

    I don’t. He’s a great Senator, and just won re-election in a set of contests where Ohio showed how schizophrenic the electorate has become. I prefer he keep it here it home.

    Should he decide to go for it, he’s one of the good guys. Being from a blue-turning-ratfuck state where the unions have been all but decimated, the Purity Patrol will naturally tar and feather him as wholly inadequate because of the protectionist stance he took. Pretty much anything else he’s had a hand in has been unabashedly progressive Democrat; Senator Warren campaigned and fund-raised with him, and that was pretty cool – they were naturally engaging and fun together, and she obviously respects him.

  54. 54
    Betty Cracker says:

    @tobie: I think that puts Warren where most Democrats are right now on healthcare, and the way she expressed it strikes a nice balance between pragmatism and vision.

  55. 55
    rikyrah says:

    My problem with Brown is that, in 2018, he had no coattails. Nobody benefited but him. I have a problem with that. And, I am ready to not put any effort into Ohio in 2020. We can find alternatives to 270 without Ohio in 2020.

  56. 56
  57. 57
    Emma says:

    @Yutsano: Yep. Same here.

  58. 58
    tobie says:

    @beckya57: I’ve been wondering a lot if America is ready for a woman President. It’s painful even to have to think this way. Fierce, liberal women scare the bejeezus out of a lot of people. I’m pretty sure that the media would relish taking down Warren as they took down HRC. I don’t have as much of a sense of how the mainstream media would treat Kamala Harris. It’s a foregone conclusion that the rightwing media would smear her endlessly. Amy Klobuchar seems to be the one woman who could convince midwesterners and suburbanites to vote for her. She’s accomplished but above all she seems warm and humble. It stinks to high heaven that in the 21st century humility is a requirement for female politicians in the US.

  59. 59
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:


    I’m scared to death that the Dems are going to nominate another woman, which will give us another 4 years of Trump

    You seem awfully certain that ANY female candidate will lose. Are you simply basing that on the single data point we have (2016)? Because if you are, there are a number of factors that were in play that year that will be fundamentally different next time. For one thing, there’s no presumed-nominee on the Dem side for Fox News and the FTFNYT to beat up on for the 2-3 years leading up to the election…

    I hope we nominate another female candidate for President. But she’s going to have to be competitive in the midwest (Penn, Michigan, Wisconsin – but f Ohio, they’re a lost cause).

  60. 60
    Ocotillo says:

    With the amount of people that supposedly considering making a run it will be easy to slip into a “Dems in disarray” position. Look at this thread. Brown is a helluva good Senator and there is plenty of sniping at him in this safe place.

    I am from San Antonio and am scratching my head about Julian Castro making a run. Good guy, ok Mayor. San Antonio has a City Manager government so the Mayor is more like the chairman of the city council and more title than what it sounds like.

    I wanted him to make a run against Cruz like Beto did or Greg Abbott. I am disappointed he took the safe route and did not make the run.

    With the plethora of candidates I do worry about hurt feelings from people who’s candidate does not make the cut. These candidates are going to have to distinguish themselves from the rest of the field and that can be tricky.

  61. 61
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Ajabu: Whether we have a black woman candidate or not, I vow and declare that whoever black women are voting for? – I’ll have what they’re having.

  62. 62
  63. 63
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Yeah, no. We can do better.

  64. 64

    @TaMara (HFG): This, please. It would be an honor to bring this to fruition, and it would make my mom happy.

  65. 65
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Brown represents a constituency within the Dem Party, as such, I welcome his potential candidacy. I am not writing anyone off at this point unless they are s racist or a homophobe

  66. 66
    eclare says:

    @Miss Bianca: My thoughts exactly.

  67. 67
    Ruckus says:

    Did the black population of OH vote for him as the least objectable? I haven’t lived there for 13+ years so I have no idea. I could ask my friend who was a precinct captain for President Obama.

  68. 68
    germy says:

    meanwhile, back in trumpworld:

    According to the dossier, Michael Cohen met with Russian agents in Prague to discuss election help. No one could verify this claim. Now, cell phone signals put Cohen in Prague around the time the alleged meeting took place. Plot = thicker— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) December 27, 2018

  69. 69
    Betty Cracker says:

    @tobie: I like Klobuchar a lot.

  70. 70
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    Speaking of the Electoral College, here’s the map we should be aiming for in 2020.

    We don’t need to win Florida (tho that’d be nice). We’ve got a better shot at NC, AZ, and Texas than at Ohio.

    We DO need to win Pennsylvania and Michigan.

  71. 71
    Ruckus says:

    Really, Brown isn’t all that good or bad. He’s a Midwest senator in a red/purple state. He’s not going to be that and be a flaming liberal.
    Does that make him horrible? Or just perhaps not the right person now.

  72. 72
    Betty Cracker says:

    @germy: Saw that on Twitter a short while ago. Very interesting.

  73. 73

    @BC in Illinois: Thanks, I feel like I need a cigarette and a shower after reading that. Well said!

  74. 74
    J R in WV says:

    I don’t know Sherrod Brown much, but his brother Charlie Brown was in politics here in WV.

    Charlie Brown was elected AG here, and while I no longer remember the details of his career, he wound up running away….

    A internet search turns this up from an archive at the Orlando Sentinel:

    February 11, 1986 | By United Press International

    CHARLESTON, W.VA. — Attorney General Charlie Brown was indicted Monday on misdemeanor charges of soliciting campaign contributions from his staff.

    The charges arose from a $100-a-ticket fund-raiser Brown held Nov. 20 to help retire his $40,000 campaign debt. His staff contributed $2,975.

    Oops. Anyone think that wouldn’t come up in a Presidential run?

    I know beating up on someone for what their relatives do is cheap and unfair, so almost certain in politics~!!~ My brother has an NRA life membership sticker on his truck, and votes straight Republican, no doubt including a vote for Drumpf… please, Jackals, do not hold this against me!

  75. 75

    I’d vote for his wife.

  76. 76
    West of the Rockies says:


    It borders the Great Lakes. Hard to not think of that as upper Midwest (though I get your point).

  77. 77
  78. 78
    Emma says:

    @Miss Bianca: Joining you in that vow. AA women seem ignore surface for substance.

  79. 79
    Yarrow says:

    I’m meh on everyone right now. It’s still 2018 for a few days. I’ll take a look at everyone in the new year.

    That being said, Brown strikes me as someone who’s good in Ohio and won’t play well nationally.

  80. 80
    cliosfanboy says:

    @Sab: just a tad….

    And yes, its midwest, but the old Northwest Territory midwest is different from the Great Plains midwest.

  81. 81
    Mike in DC says:

    Proof of active communication and coordination in furthering the conspiracy to interfere in the election is the holy grail. Attain it and watch Trumpworld and the GOP utterly and suddenly implode.

  82. 82
    Yarrow says:

    @Miss Bianca: Same. It’s like an easy shortcut to figure out who the best candidates are.

  83. 83
    Suzanne says:

    Brown is OK, and I will certainly vote for him if he’s the nominee. But I could use a lot less “dignity of work” bullshit, because it always seems to surround working-class white people in dying industries, and never, say, immigrants who went to college and are now over half of the MDs in American hospitals, or hotel maids, or landscapers, or fast food workers, or anybody in the professional class with student loan debt, or academics. I am sick of the bleating from that cohort about maintaning “their way of life”, when none of us are entitled to the jobs our parents held or to live anywhere we want. I would love to provide financial support in the form of relocation and rent assistance to move people to thriving areas of the country, and to help them get higher educations or advanced trade school training. I could live a hundred more years and still never again need to hear about the dignity of (white dudes’) work.

    I like Harris and O’Rourke as her VP right now.

  84. 84
    germy says:

    @Mike in DC:

    Proof of active communication and coordination in furthering the conspiracy to interfere in the election is the holy grail. Attain it and watch Trumpworld and the GOP utterly and suddenly implode.

    My question is: Did Cohen admit this to Mueller, or is he still denying he traveled there?

    Mueller’s team isn’t saying, from what I understand.

  85. 85
    donnah says:

    Lifelong Ohio resident and a big fan of Sherrod Brown. He’s not perfect because nobody isnperfect, but he’s solid, smart, savvy and takes no crap from people. He was on Meet the Press and Chuck tried to “bothsides” him and get him to soften his language and Brown said politely to forget it.

    If he isn’t the nominee for President, I would see him as a VP or other leader in a new administration. But he’s a good man with good common sense and a lot of experience in government.

  86. 86
    cliosfanboy says:

    My concern with brown is the same that others have already expressed: that it will give the republicans another Senate seat.

  87. 87
    MoCA Ace says:

    @John S.:

    I wonder if Brown will get any credit for trying to help these people, or if they will simply do what Fox News tells them.


  88. 88
    Suzanne says:


    But we also need a government that is honest about what the jobs of the future will be and I don’t sense that in him at all.

    Very much this.

    Also….no more old guys. If we are the party of the future of this country, we need to look like it. This is also why I am meh on Biden, Sanders, etc.

  89. 89
    J R in WV says:


    Mueller’s team is as silent as the tomb, as they should be. They make their announcements by filing indictments and guilty pleas, as it should be for a special prosecutor.

    The Starr Court* and Whitewater prosecutors were political goombahs who were worse than the people they were investigating. The Watergate prosecutors fed their data to the House impeachment runners, who did what they should have done with it. But since them, Mueller’s team is the best we have had.

    * Reminder that Ken Starr was most recently fired as President of Baylor University, a Texas Baptist school, for failing to handle sexual assaults properly!!! In my book that’s way worse than having consensual sex with an adult who comes on to you.

  90. 90
    Percysowner says:

    I generally like Brown, he’s my Senator and has voted the way I like most of the time. If Cordray had pulled out a win for Governor I’d be fine with a Brown candidacy, but DeWine (I will sign the stupid heartbeat bill) won, so he would get to appoint Brown’s successor if Brown won, and we need every vote in the Senate that we can get. So sorry Sherrod, I’m a no on this one, as I told you when you sent me the “should I run”survey.

  91. 91
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @germy: At least publicly, Cohen has always denied it. And back when the story first came out, or shortly afterward, he showed BuzzFeed his passport. They took pictures and posted them on-line, except for the pages with personal info like passport number, and they showed him in Italy in July but no Schengen-area travel in August or September. So unless he has a second passport, something is off. But if he does have a second passport, that’s something Mueller’s team would know.

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  93. 93

    The current resident of the WH has made war against immigrants his signature issue. I would like our nominee to take his rhetoric head on and stand up for immigrants (and I include everyone from naturalized citizens, their American born progeny, long term visa holders who have applied for permanent residency and asylum seekers on the border) and their rights.
    As we argue about the hypothetical 2020 candidate, children are being kept in freezing cells at the border. Two have died and many more are at risk.
    ETA: So far I have only seen Beto do this to some extent.

  94. 94
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    IMO, economic and status anxiety are two entirely different things.

    Bangalore! The economic history of the US (& likely the rest of the Foist World as well) is rife with categories of employment where poor financial compensation is (in part or full) offset by a relatively high social status. Teachers in pre-union days used to enjoy that in neighborhoods like the one where I grew up: Most of our parents were semi-skilled workers who understood that the best chance for their kids to escape the steel mill or assembly line was a good education, They would support the teachers against their own children if it came to that. (One of my former teachers told me how often at PTA meetings he’d heard parents say, If s/he gives you any trouble you just let us know & we’ll take care of it.)

    It’s all about status. As LBJ once said (according to Bill Moyers),

    I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it. If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.

    Adjust as necessary for “the lowest white man” versus anyone who don’t look like him, talk like him, act like him, live like him, love like him, worship like him…etc etc ad nauseum. That’s where 60+ million of our “fellow Americans” are, damnittohell.

  95. 95
    Mnemosyne says:


    Yeah, I’m more with you. Let Brown try to run and see how he does. People though Martin O’Malley was going to be the Next Big Thing and he flamed out early because he didn’t do well outside of the East Coast. 🤷‍♀️

  96. 96
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    Oh, it’s already begun, and it’s stupider than you could ever imagine. You see, it turns out that, of the over 200,000 people who contributed to Beto’s Senate campaign, 30 of them said they were executives at oil companies. Yes, 30. Out of over 200,000 donors. That’s a disqualifying scandal for Berniebros. 🙄

    Oh, and “oil & gas” was 1 of the 36 industries that were #1 givers to Beto. So, you know, SCANDAL.

  97. 97
    Suzanne says:

    @Uncle Cosmo:

    Most of our parents were semi-skilled workers who understood that the best chance for their kids to escape the steel mill or assembly line was a good education

    And now we have a sizable cohort of people who want their kids to stay in the steel mill or the assembly line, else they get “too big for their britches” and/or move somewhere else. I theorize that this is because people who are essentially unhappy with their lives find their personal failings thrown into sharp relief when someone they know makes different choices and succeeds…..but WTF do I know, I could be wrong.

    These people exist, but they need to be treated as if they do not matter, electorally (and culturally) speaking. We should be a country of strivers, not resentful loafs.

  98. 98
    Mnemosyne says:


    Beto has also been publicizing the fact that CPB dumped hundreds of people out of detention on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with nowhere to go. Annunciation House in El Paso has been accepting donations to help them and it was a big scramble to try and find shelter and food for them all.

    So in terms of actual legwork, I would say that Beto has been the best one so far for immigration/refugee issues since he’s been able to show up in person.

  99. 99
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I’m having trouble getting excited for better or worse about anybody.

    I agree 100%. Too many of the “up and comer’s” being floated to run in 2020 are beautiful-looking politically, definitely represent the future of the Democratic party and, frankly, the country. But I really worry they won’t be substantive enough against a Pre-Impeached Trump*.

    Something I’ve reflected on for quite a while is that Obama, as much as I really admired and supported him as President, was too young and too inexperienced and yes, a bit naive when he was elected. When I look back at every single one of his missteps it was his lack of experience, lack of having developed a more wizened perspective on the reality of things, being too idealistic that tripped him up. Had he been a Senator or a Cabinet member for even 5 more years before becoming President, would he have been better at turning Mitch McConnell’s dirty political games right back on him? I think so.

    Almost all of the fancy faces being touted have barely done anything politically. They need to put in more time and hard work as leaders before they take the top seat in the land. And the ones outside elected office have no business running on the Democratic ticket—People are now understanding just how bad an idea it was to hand the fricking wheel over to someone who has absolutely no experience making government work.

    Bottom line is that the best candidates we have to beat him are going to be ones people feel have the combination of solid, lifetime career experience, personal character and appeal necessary to get the country back on track. They will likely be seen as a temporary placeholder right now, not the future of the entire party. Unfortunately, they’re “old”. So without a reverse-aging spell, we’re not going to get the best, most prepared and capable candidate to fight Trump and his dark Under Lords who–Hello of course they will–plan on doing 2016 2.0.

    Too many Democrats will hold the fact that they’re over the age of, say, 65 against the very people we need to steer the ship back to safety right now. And I’m not talking about Bernie. (Fuck him and do not ever allow him on our ticket unless he changes party to Democrat which won’t happen so fuck him and make him run as the Independent loser he choses to be.)

    We’re gonna need the substantive equivalent of Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi to be elected President. It’s why Biden is polling #1 right now. Yes, it’s part name recognition but it’s also the zeitgeist–we need to listen to what the Universe is trying to tell us this time, no matter how exciting a Kamala or a Beto is. (I’d take Nancy in a heartbeat, but I’m guessing she wants to stay where she is for the next few years ). I’m guessing some of the up and comers would be acceptable for ticket-sharing as VP’s but not as headliners. No, the country wants sanity and steady leadership to take back over and start fixing things.

    Also, can I add that we don’t have the vanity of “I’d like to see a female/person of color/LGBTQ candidate for a change” if they cannot be elected. It’s life or death of the Republic time. We need the person who can not only carry our values but win the Goddamn election. I hate to say it but a John Tester is more electable right now nationally than Kamala Harris. But if he is what it takes then fucking nominate him.

    *Of course were we to actually get a Trump impeachment and indictment so he’s completely out of the running, we have more options. But right now, as events stand, nobody besides people “everyone” thinks are too elderly to run is gonna cut the mustard. Which is stupid.

  100. 100

    To me, Brown is the past.

    ETA: If I have to settle for a white man, I prefer Adam Schiff.

  101. 101
    scottinnj says:

    I think he’d be an excellent VP in the mode of say Biden or Gore i.e. brings good degree of Washington knowledge for a relative newcomer like, say, Kamala or Beto.

    The loss of a Senate seat, though, is a real problem. The best possible outcome for the Dems in 2020 is to win CO and AZ (plausible) and ME (plausible if we hang Kavanaugh around Collins neck) and GA (Stacy Abrams). The Dems will certainly lose Jones’ seat in Alabama. In that case you get a 50/50 Senate so a Dem VP is the tie breaker. If Brown is on the ticket and wins, his replacement is GOP and you have a 51/49 GOP senate. The 2022 map of course is better (no real Dem seats, and plausible pick ups in PA and WI as well as GA/FL/AK).

  102. 102
    scottinnj says:

    @Ella in New Mexico: Good analysis . I think the biggest issue is more likely to be foreign affairs where Trump is making a total hash of things. And that is where the President matters.

    As it relates to domestic affairs, to steal a phrase that I think Grover Norquist used for the GOP, all we need is a Democratic President with a pulse that will sign the most progressive legislation Pelosi and Schumer can get passed. Any of the names bantered around can do that. I’m exagerating a bit here of course, but not that much.

    However we do need an experienced hand for foreign affairs. Which, frankly, none of O’Roarke/Harris/Booker/Koblucher/Sanders/Brown have.

    To me the answer for that is not Joe Biden, but John Kerry.

  103. 103
    J R in WV says:


    So, lots of Texans work in the Oil and Gas bidness, it’s available work in the wilderness that is central and west Texas. Some of these Texans support a Democratic candidate for Senate, running against a scummy Rafale Eduardo “Ted” Cruz.

    And we’re supposed to reject Beto because he appeals to Texans of every kind?

    Horseshit~!!~ These folks need to get a real job and quit pulling our legs!!

  104. 104
    Miss Bianca says:

    @scottinnj: John Kerry? Nahgonna happen.

    Of course, if there any justice in the world, the *other* immensely-qualified ex-Senator and SOS who was *also* unmercifully smeared by the RW noise machine and the MSM (but I repeat myself) would be up for consideration as well. The one who actually won the 2016 election. But that’s nahgonna happen, either.

  105. 105
    J R in WV says:


    I would vote for Secretary Kerry in a heart beat. Real military hero, but anti-war, the best of both worlds.

    Unfortunately he was already lied and libeled by the fascist press, to the point where people made fun of his very real combat injuries and purple heart awards. Then he lost an important election to a damm fool.

    So maybe not the best candidate, if he even wants to run again, which I doubt he will.

  106. 106

    @Ella in New Mexico: If you don’t mind my asking what made you change your mind about the Independent senator from Vt.

  107. 107
    Juju says:

    @West of the Rockies: Joe Biden would be close 80 by the time he’d take office. That is way too old to be president. Wilmer is older than Biden, not that I’d ever consider supporting him, but the age issue is one of many issues for me not to support Wilmer.

    I like Senator Brown, but I don’t think I’d vote for him in a presidential primary. I would vote for him if he was the Democrtatic candidate for president, but I think he’s more useful as a senator. I like his wife.

  108. 108
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @Miss Bianca: Yes. Re-runs who were permanently “Swift-boated” won’t make it. Low Information Swingers don’t go much beyond the most common denominator of word association when it comes to candidates. Kerry’s will be too easy thanks to his being the Patient Zero in the original Swift-boat Brainwashing Virus outbreak. He’s never managed to wipe that from Average Joe’s mind, either, regardless of his great performance as SOS. It’s why even though, again, she’s the most qualified candidate for President to ever run, we can never put Hillary back on the ticket.

    Sometimes I really hate about 50% of my fellow Americans.

  109. 109
    scottinnj says:

    @Miss Bianca: Oh, I know it’s not likely. It’s just that rebuilding our national defence and international relations will be the top job for the next Dem Prez (if elected). FWIW I do think Kerry wins in 2012…if the election had been just a few months later post Iraq. I’d also totally be cool if Beto or Kamala picked him as SecState again.

  110. 110
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @West of the Rockies: Please explain how New York is in the upper Midwest.

  111. 111
    Ella in New Mexico says:


    If you don’t mind my asking what made you change your mind about the Independent senator from Vt.

    Not at all.

    When he first ran, I was glad his message was there, and in general although I didn’t see much daylight substantively between him and Hillary Clinton, I was glad we had a Progressive candidate up there.

    I loved the way he resonated with particularly the less-politically active young people in the country. I saw kids who had never voted go out and work for his campaign that year, and talk about issues they cared about. (That actually has persisted by the way, because onece bitten, the majority still care about politics, as evidenced by turnout in voters below say 35 this fall) They clearly liked his policies, believed he was a decent guy, and in an interesting way, they didn’t care about his age. If anything they had heard so much about Hillary Clinton being corrupt and carrying the “old ideas” of the Party that they saw him as a better representation of our future. Young people also like an underdog, and the despicable behavior of the Wasserman-Schulz run DNC was against his campaign was an own-goal with this voting block we didn’t need.

    But when it became clear he was out, I gladly supported Hillary. And by June, when he had clearly lost the Primary, he wouldn’t stop trashing our Party’s candidate and handing Trump talking points. Which pissed me off. I wrote him an email and to that effect.

    Since then I’ve decided that he had his 15 minute opportunity during that Primary election, and it passed. Had we nominated him I think the Russians were already planning ways to undercut him, too, so I’ve no illusions he (instead of Hillary) would have beat Trump. Had he managed to win, I think we all would be better off today than we are now. But he lost, and he had his shot. It was time for him to move on.

    Something else that I think is important is the dynamic nature of things, and how a person reacts to and changes over time after a particular event. Bernie of 2016 as a potential President is not the Bernie of post 2016. He’s not a good loser. Since then, he’s pretty much been a disappointing “Ralph Nader: 2000-2018. The Spoiler Years” in his uselessness. I wish he’d just retire except we need his body for caucusing purposes too much right now.

    In other words, I’m a person who tends to lean towards the big picture when it comes to politics, can take in information and change my thinking on a situation as new information develops.

  112. 112
    Sab says:

    @Ruckus: Actually Brown is a flaming liberal.

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  114. 114
    Ruckus says:

    I’m not doubting he’s liberal. But I lived in OH for 11yrs and while some of my friends were liberal to very liberal, I’m a CA guy. Liberal can mean different things in these two states.
    Don’t take it that I’m not saying he’s good, just not quite my choice. I like K. Harris a lot , and better than SB.

  115. 115
    rikyrah says:


    The current resident of the WH has made war against immigrants his signature issue. I would like our nominee to take his rhetoric head on and stand up for immigrants (and I include everyone from naturalized citizens, their American born progeny, long term visa holders who have applied for permanent residency and asylum seekers on the border) and their rights.
    As we argue about the hypothetical 2020 candidate, children are being kept in freezing cells at the border. Two have died and many more are at risk.


  116. 116
    Sab says:

    @Ruckus: I am OK with that. I used to live in the Bay area and he is liberal even by their standards. He is my senator so I don’t want him to run. He is fantastic on constituent service.

  117. 117
    Brachiator says:

    @Ella in New Mexico: Great post! It gives me much to think about, and a number of angles on politics that I had not thought of before, and certainly not with as much depth or clarity.

    But there is one item that really puzzled me and which does not really seem reasonable.

    Also, can I add that we don’t have the vanity of “I’d like to see a female/person of color/LGBTQ candidate for a change” if they cannot be elected. It’s life or death of the Republic time. We need the person who can not only carry our values but win the Goddamn election. I hate to say it but a John Tester is more electable right now nationally than Kamala Harris. But if he is what it takes then fucking nominate him.

    Obama got elected president. And he got re-elected by a very comfortable margin. More Americans voted for Clinton than voted for Trump.

    And I think that a nation goes through a group psychological rite of passage when they consider a candidate who previously did not seem to fit the mold. Once that threshold has been passed, for most people it becomes a non-issue. And so, I don’t think that Democrats see a wise white man, or even a wise older woman like Pelosi, as the ideal or preferred or standard candidate.

    Nor do I think that anyone has a firm hold of any notion of who can or cannot be elected.

    And this is before we consider that Trump may have ushered in the era of democratically elected autocrats, corrupt, incompetent, foolish candidates who are elected because they neatly match the worst fears and bigotry of a core of the electorate.

    I remember a radio talk show host who I thought was a moderate, look at Obama contending for the Democratic Party nomination, and make the weighty judgment that America was not ready for a black president. Obviously, what he really meant was that he was not ready for a black president, and this was confirmed by his move to full on right wing kissing up to the GOP. But he also saw a “natural order of succession,” that we would first see a Jewish (male) president, maybe a woman president, and then after a few more decades a black president.

    It is not vanity to recognize that America ain’t just white, it ain’t just heterosexual, it ain’t just old. It ain’t just male. The newly elected Democratic members of the House are much more diverse than their GOP counterparts because more people looked around and decided that they needed to run for office. We need to continue to capitalize on this energy, this optimism, this dissatisfaction with the way things have been or are supposed to be.

    We do not need to be cautious or circumspect. Fortune still favors the bold, and there is a lot of work to be done to clean up Trump’s mess and to move forward.

  118. 118
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Ella in New Mexico: Nicely put.

  119. 119
    Suzanne says:

    @Brachiator: To add to what you are saying, I think it is also worth noting that of the last three successful Dems to win the presidency, they were all the younger candidate in the general election. Of course, this has not always borne out—-it’s not like every time we put up a younger candidate that we win. But I do think that we at this here top-10,000 blog are more interested in policy and specifics than most, and thusly I think we underestimate how important an image of energy, excitement, and passion really matters to people. The ability to connect with the American public in an authentic and passionate way is probably one of the five most important qualities in a successful president. Maybe the most important.

  120. 120
    Mary in Ohio says:

    I think Brown would be an excellent candidate and am hoping to see some combination of Harris, Brown and Klobuchar. I also think many of you are writing off Ohio too quickly. Ohio has been gerrymandered as impressively as many other states so it looks way more Republican than it actually is. After all the votes were counted Republicans won 52% to 48% that is not an insurmountable difference. Brown could be key in winning over Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio. That said I’d prefer him as a VP to Harris.

  121. 121
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @Brachiator: Thanks for the feedback! As for Obama, I just think it was a different world then. We’ve changed so much as a country. The playing field is totally different I really believe that Obama couldn’t get elected nationally now. That’s why I don’t want us to pretend that we have the luxury of being the party of idealism we are at heart right now.

  122. 122
    EM says:

    People always talk about how President Obama was too naive in terms of consistently reaching out to Republicans. However, one could very easily make the case that it worked for him. If Obama had come into office constantly screeching how all Republicans are evil some of his most major accomplishments never would have happened.

    Obama needed three Republican votes for the stimulus Bill and he got them.
    Obama needed something like 10 or more Republican votes to repeal don’t ask don’t tell and he got them. Obama needed a similar number of Republicans to pass the new start treaty and he got them. And it was Joe Biden who thanks to reaching out to Arlen Specter actually got him to become a Democrat which gave Obama the votes he needed to pass the Affordable Care Act.

    And this doesn’t even bring up the fact that most Americans gave Obama the benefit of the doubt during the shutdown,where overwhelmingly they blamed the Republicans.

    So maybe Obama did occasionally reach out to Republicans too often but one can’t deny that some of his most epic accomplishments never would have happened without doing it.

  123. 123
    Donna Hurst says:

    @Rob in CT:
    We moved here two years ago from Texas, and I can’t tell you how depressing I find the Ohio political situation. I chose the wrong damned state and now we’re stuck here. Losing Brown in the senate would hurt. I can only guess who DeWine would pick.

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