Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Perhaps it’s not too late for a Republican challenger to enter the race against Donald Trump for the presidential nomination.

A viable one, sure—it’s too late for that. But Mark Sanford, the former governor of South Carolina and U.S. representative, tells the Charleston Post and Courier that he’s considering a run for the GOP nomination, viable or not.

“Sometimes in life you’ve got to say what you’ve got to say, whether there’s an audience or not for that message,” Sanford said. “I feel convicted.”

This could have the makings of a fun race. Sanford is highly quotable, fond of talking with the media, and often an insightful political analyst. He has a score to settle with Trump, too: The president’s intervention helped Sanford lose a GOP primary last fall, only to see the Democrat Joe Cunningham snatch the seat away from the Trump-endorsed Republican Katie Arrington.

Sanford also has lots of experience campaigning for office, but there’s also one glaring case where his time on the trail went wrong. Or rather, the problem was that he wasn’t on the trail: Despite claiming to be hiking the Appalachian Trail when he mysteriously disappeared from Columbia in June 2009, it turned out then-Governor Sanford was in Argentina, conducting an extramarital affair.

That sordid farce makes for lots of easy jokes about Sanford’s presidential, um, flirtation. “The last time Mark Sanford had an idea this dumb, it killed his Governorship. This makes about as much sense as that trip up the Appalachian trail,” the chair of the South Carolina Republican Party said in a statement.

But here’s a take hotter than Mark Sanford dancing the tango: The reason his candidacy would remain mired in the low-lying pampas rather than ascending to the buenos aires at the top of the polls isn’t his personal life, but his politics.

Personal scandals just aren’t the problem they used to be. Consider Sanford, who refused to resign the governorship, survived an impeachment attempt, and then persuaded South Carolina voters to send him back to his old seat in the U.S. House in 2012. Or, of course, consider Donald Trump, who was caught on tape boasting about sexually assaulting women just a month before the 2016 election—one of many personal scandals that might have disqualified another candidate in another age.

Sanford’s politics are, however, another matter. Trump’s other GOP challenger, William Weld, has long been well outside the party’s mainstream—a species of liberal New England Republican that no longer exists in the wild. He quit his post as Massachusetts governor to serve as ambassador in a Democratic administration (and saw that job nixed by Republicans); in 2016, he ran for vice president on the Libertarian ticket.

Around the same time that Weld’s ambassadorial nomination was being deep-sixed, Sanford was making waves as part of a band of young, fiercely fiscally conservative members of the House who had been elected in 1994. Sanford did things like sleep in his office to prove his frugality. But over time, Sanford’s wing of the party became the party’s center. The Tea Partiers who slept in their offices after the 2010 election were just paying homage to him. As this strain of GOP thought ascended, Sanford began to look like a likely presidential candidate. There were rumors that he might run in the 2008 election or, until June 2009, the 2012 race.

Now that kind of conservatism is scattered to the winds. Paul Ryan is retired. Sanford is out of office. Newt Gingrich has become a zealous Trumpite. Trump has no interest in principled social conservatism or fiscal conservatism, preferring—as this week has demonstrated—a ethnically based approach to politics. He’s happy to cut taxes, as they were, but just to save his class a buck, not out of any particular aversion to big government. It’s his party now.

We don’t need Mark Sanford to run to see how the Donald Trump campaign would bulldoze that now-outmoded vision of the Republican. We already watched Trump do it to Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, and a bunch of other guys you can’t even remember anymore. Just because the outcome isn’t in doubt doesn’t mean the journey wouldn’t be entertaining, though.

As the presidential primaries progress, this cheat sheet will be updated regularly.

* * *

The Democrats


(Matthew Putney / Reuters)

TOM STEYER

Who is he?
A retired California hedge-funder, Steyer has poured his fortune into political advocacy on climate change and flirted with running for office.

Is he running?
No. He announced on January 9 that he would sit the race out. Lol jk! Steyer is now telling friends and allies he’s going to get into the race, my colleague Edward-Isaac Dovere reports.

Why does he want to run?
Impeachment, baby.

Who wants him to run?
There must be some #Resistance faction out there that does.

Can he win the nomination?
Nope.


(matt rourke / ap)

JOE SESTAK

Who is he?
A former vice admiral and two-term member of Congress from Pennsylvania, he twice ran for U.S. Senate.

Is he running?
Yes. He announced on June 23.

Why does he want to run?
Sestak’s announcement focuses on his long career in the military and the importance of American foreign policy. It’s a little evocative of retired General Wesley Clark’s 2004 campaign.

Who wants him to run?
It’s a mystery. Sestak says he delayed a campaign launch while his daughter was treated for cancer, which is praiseworthy, but there wasn’t even a murmur about him running before his announcement. Sestak is best known these days for losing Senate races in 2010 (in the general election) and 2016 (in the Democratic primary).

Can he win the nomination?
No.

What else do we know?
This logo, boy, I dunno.


(Mike Segar / Reuters)

BILL DE BLASIO

Who is he?
The mayor of New York City.

Is he running?
Yes. He announced on May 16.

Why does he want to run?
De Blasio was the harbinger of the Democratic Party’s leftward shift on economic issues, and they’d be at the center of his campaign, though the movement seems to have left him behind.

Who wants him to run?
That’s precisely the problem. De Blasio’s term as mayor has been a little bumpy, and even his friends and allies have spoken out against a run, publicly and privately.

Can he win the nomination?
No.

What else do we know?
De Blasio is the tallest candidate since Bill Bradley, in 2000. Both men are 6 foot 5.


(Matthew Brown / AP)

STEVE BULLOCK

Who is he?
Bullock is the governor of Montana, where he won reelection in 2016 even as Donald Trump won the state.

Is he running?
Yes. Bullock launched his campaign on May 14.

Why does he want to run?
Bullock portrays himself as a candidate who can win in Trump country and get things done across the aisle. He’s also been an outspoken advocate of campaign-finance reform.

Who wants him to run?
Unclear. The Great Plains and Mountain West aren’t traditional bases for national Democrats.

Can he win the nomination?
Probably not—and missing the cut for the first primary debate doesn’t help.


(Samantha Sais / Reuters)

MICHAEL BENNET

Who is he?
The Coloradan was appointed to the Senate in 2009 and has since won reelection twice.

Is he running?
Yes. Bennet announced his campaign on May 2.

Why does he want to run?
Like his fellow Rocky Mountain State Democrat John Hickenlooper, Bennet presents himself as someone with experience in business and management who knows how to work with Republicans.

Who wants him to run?
Probably some of the same people who want Hickenlooper to run. Bennet gained new fans with a viral video of his impassioned rant about Ted Cruz during the January government shutdown.

Can he win?
No.


(Jeff Roberson / AP)

JOE BIDEN

Who is he?
Don’t play coy. You know the former vice president, senator from Delaware, and recurring Onion character.

Is he running?
Yes. After a long series of hesitations, Biden announced his campaign on April 25.

Why does he want to run?
Biden has wanted to be president since roughly forever, and he thinks he might be the best bet to win back blue-collar voters and defeat President Trump in 2020. (Trump reportedly agrees.) But Biden seems reluctant to end his career with a primary loss, knows he’s old (he’ll turn 78 right after Election Day 2020), and is possibly out of step with the new Democratic Party.

Who wants him to run?
Biden has established a strong lead in the Democratic primary, but his shaky performance in the first debate showed he’s not invincible.

Can he win the nomination?
Yes. Being Barack Obama’s vice president gave Biden a fresh glow, but his past policy stands and his tendency toward handsiness remain a challenge. We’ve also seen him run for president twice before, and not very effectively.


(Brian Snyder / Reuters)

SETH MOULTON

Who is he?
A third-term congressman from Massachusetts, Moulton graduated from Harvard, then served in the Marines in Iraq.

Is he running?
Yes. He announced his campaign on April 22.

Why does he want to run?
In an interview with BuzzFeed, he said he felt the Democratic Party needs younger leaders and, alluding to his military career, “someone … for whom standing up to a bully like Donald Trump isn’t the biggest challenge he or she has ever faced in life.”

Who wants him to run?
That’s not clear. With his sparkling résumé and movie-star looks, Moulton has grabbed a lot of attention, but he doesn’t have an obviously strong constituency, and a rebellion against Nancy Pelosi’s leadership after the 2018 election fizzled.

Can he win?
No.


(Alex Wong / Getty)

MIKE GRAVEL

Who is he?
Gravel, 88, represented Alaska for two terms in the Senate, during which he read the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record and fought against the Vietnam War. These days he’s probably better known for his 2008 presidential campaign.

Is he running?
Yes—his campaign launched on April 8—but he says he is close to leaving the race.

Why does he want to run?
Gravel is running to bring attention to his pet issues: direct democracy, nuclear nonproliferation, and a noninterventionist foreign policy.

Who wants him to run?
This is where it gets weird. The committee is the brainchild of three students in college and high school who have basically created a Draft Gravel movement. But Gravel decided he liked the idea and went along with it.

Can he win the nomination?
He initially said he didn’t even want to, though his campaign now says he’s running for real. Either way, he won’t win.

What else do we know?
Gravel produced the greatest presidential spot this side of the “Daisy” ad—and then he remade it this cycle.


(Jonathan Bachman / Reuters)

TIM RYAN

Who is he?
The Ohioan is a member of the House, representing Youngstown and America’s greatest city, Akron.

Is he running?
Yes. Ryan announced his plan to run on The View on April 4.

Why does he want to run?
Ryan is a classic Rust Belt Democrat and friend of labor, and he’s concerned about the fate of manufacturing. He is also an outspoken critic of Democratic leadership, mounting a quixotic challenge to Nancy Pelosi in 2017.

Who wants him to run?
Ryan comes from a part of Ohio that traditionally votes Democratic but swung to Trump, and he’d have supporters there.

Can he win the nomination?
Deeply unlikely. Ryan had a very shaky night at the first debate.

What else do we know?
He’s big on meditation.


(mary Altaffer / AP)

KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND

Who is she?
Gillibrand has been a senator from New York since 2009, replacing Hillary Clinton. Before that, she served in the U.S. House.

Is she running?
Yes. She launched her campaign officially on March 17.

Why does she want to run?
Gillibrand has emphasized women’s issues, ranging from sexual harassment in the military and more recent #MeToo stories to equal pay, and her role as a mom is central in her announcement video. Once a fairly conservative Democrat, she has moved left in recent years.

Who wants her to run?
Gillibrand could have fairly broad appeal among mainstream Democratic voters, and she hopes that her time representing upstate New York gives her an advantage with nonurban voters. She has, however, earned the enmity of the Clinton world for her criticisms of Bill.

Can she win the nomination?
Probably not. Her campaign hasn’t managed to gain much traction thus far.

What else do we know?
Just like you, she hated the Game of Thrones finale and is mad online about it.


(Kathy Willens / AP)

BETO O’ROURKE

Who is he?
The man, the myth, the legend, the former U.S. representative from El Paso and Democratic candidate for Senate in Texas.

Is he running?
Yes. O’Rourke announced his run on March 14.

Why does he want to run?
O’Rourke has been trying to figure that out. He’s young, hip, and inspirational, like Obama; like Obama, his reputation is perhaps more liberal than his voting record.

Who wants him to run?
A lot of live-stream watchers and thirsty tweeters, a coterie of ex–Obama aides, and a bunch of operatives running the Draft Beto campaign.

Can he win the nomination?
It seems increasingly impossible. O’Rourke has never regained the momentum of his announcement, and was mediocre in the first debate.

What else do we know?
This video is very important.


(Department of Labor)

JOHN HICKENLOOPER

Who is he?
Hickenlooper was the governor of Colorado until January, and previously held the most Colorado trifecta of jobs imaginable: mayor of Denver, geologist, and brewery owner.

Is he running?
Yes. Hickenlooper launched his campaign on March 4.

Why does he want to run?
Hickenlooper brands himself as an effective manager and deal maker who has governed effectively in a purple state while still staying progressive. He’s said he thinks the Democratic field could be too focused on grievance and not enough on policy.

Who wants him to run?
Hard to say. Hickenlooper’s aw-shucks pragmatism plays well with pundits, but he doesn’t have much of a national profile at this point.

Can he win the nomination?
No. Hickenlooper fired top staffers right after the first debate, but is nowhere in the polls and reportedly broke.


(Mary Schwalm / AP)

JAY INSLEE

Who is he?
Inslee is a second-term governor of Washington, and was previously in the U.S. House.

Is he running?
Yes. Inslee kicked off his campaign on March 1.

Why does he want to run?
Climate change. That’s been Inslee’s big issue as governor, and it will be at the center of his campaign for president, too.

Who wants him to run?
His campaign will presumably attract environmentalist support, and he hopes that his time as chair of the Democratic Governors Association will help, though he’s already hit some turbulence in New Hampshire.

Can he win the nomination?
No.


(Yuri Gripas / Reuters)

BERNIE SANDERS

Who is he?
If you didn’t know the Vermont senator and self-described democratic socialist before his runner-up finish in the 2016 Democratic primary, you do now.

Is he running?
Yes. Sanders announced plans to run on February 19.

Why does he want to run?
For the same reasons he wanted to run in 2016, and the same reasons he’s always run for office: Sanders is passionate about redistributing wealth, fighting inequality, and creating a bigger social-safety net.

Who wants him to run?
Many of the same people who supported him last time, plus a few converts, minus those who are supporting Sanders-adjacent candidates like Elizabeth Warren or Tulsi Gabbard.

Can he win the nomination?
He could, but right now he hasn’t figured out how to get past Warren and Harris and past Biden.


(Aaron P. Bernstein / REUTERS)

AMY KLOBUCHAR

Who is she?
She has been a senator from Minnesota since 2007.

Is she running?
She announced plans to run in Minneapolis on February 9.

Why does she want to run?
Klobuchar represents a kind of heartland Democrat—progressive, but not aggressively so—who might have widespread appeal both in the Midwest and elsewhere. She’s tended to talk vaguely about middle-class issues.

Who wants her to run?
She’d probably build a constituency among mainstream Democrats. Her exchange with Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing won her a lot of fans.

Can she win the nomination?
The odds look longer by the day.

What else do we know?
Sadly, she is not using this fly logo.

(Jonathan Bachman / Reuters)

ELIZABETH WARREN

Who is she?
A senator from Massachusetts since 2013, Warren was previously a professor at Harvard Law School, helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and wrote a book on middle-class incomes.

Is she running?
Yes. She kicked off her campaign on February 9.

Why does she want to run?
Warren’s campaign is tightly focused on inequality, her signature issue since before entering politics. She has proposed an “ultra-millionaire tax” on people worth more than $50 million and a major overhaul of housing policies.

Who wants her to run?
People who backed Senator Bernie Sanders in 2016; people who were Bernie-curious but worried he was too irascible; people who didn’t like Bernie but are left-curious; Donald Trump.

Can she win the nomination?
Perhaps. After hovering in the second tier, early summer has been a breakout time for Warren, and she performed well in the first debate.

What else do we know?
She’s got a good doggo.


(Dimitrios Kambouris)

KAMALA HARRIS

Who is she?
Harris, a first-term senator from California, was elected in 2016. She was previously the state’s attorney general.

Is she running?
Yes. She declared her candidacy on January 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Why does she want to run?
Harris seems to think that a woman of color who is an ex-prosecutor will check a range of boxes for Democratic voters. She has so far staked out a broad platform, trying to appeal to a wide swath of the party.

Who wants her to run?
Mainstream Democrats. She put up immediately impressive fundraising numbers, and she’s enlisted a number of former Hillary Clinton aides.

Can she win the nomination?
Sure, maybe. Harris’s strong performance in the first debate has finally placed her in the top tier, as long expected.


(City of South Bend, IN)

PETE BUTTIGIEG

Who is he?
The 37-year-old openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Afghan War veteran has gone from near-anonymity to buzzy-candidate status in his first couple of months in the race.

Is he running?
Yes. He officially launched his campaign on April 14.

Why does he want to run?
Buttigieg’s sell is all about generation. He’s a Millennial and thinks his cohort faces new and unusual pressures and dilemmas that he is singularly equipped to resolve. Plus, it’s a useful way to differentiate himself from the blue-haired bigwigs in the blue party.

Who wants him to run?
Buttigieg has slowly climbed in the polls, grabbing attention for crisp answers and an almost Obamaesque demeanor; he has the support of some Obama alumni. He hopes to reach midwestern voters who deserted the Democrats in 2016.

Can he win the nomination?
It’s a long but not impossible shot. No mayor has been nominated since New York’s DeWitt Clinton in 1812.

What else do we know?
It’s “BOOT-edge-edge,” and it’s Maltese for “lord of the poultry.”


(DEPartment of Housing & Urban Development)

JULIÁN CASTRO

Who is he?
Castro was the mayor of San Antonio, Texas, before serving as secretary of housing and urban development under Barack Obama from 2014 to 2017.

Is he running?
Yes. He announced his bid on January 12 in San Antonio.

Why does he want to run?
Castro has long been saddled with the dreaded “rising star” tag, and with Texas still red, he’s got few options below the national stage. He’s emphasized his Hispanic-immigrant roots in early campaign rhetoric.

Who wants him to run?
It’s not yet clear. He’d like to take the Obama mantle and coalition, but that doesn’t mean he can.

Can he win the nomination?
Probably not. Four years ago, he seemed like the future of the party; now the stage is crowded with rivals, including fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke. “I am not a front-runner in this race, but I have not been a front-runner at any time in my life,” Castro said during his announcement.

What else do we know?
Castro’s twin brother, Joaquin, who serves in the U.S. House, once subbed in for his brother in a parade during Julián’s mayoral campaign, so if you go to a campaign event, ask for proof that it’s really him.


(KC McGinnis / Reuters)

JOHN DELANEY

Who is he?
A former four-term congressman from Maryland, he might be even less known than Pete Buttigieg, who at least has a memorable name.

Is he running?
Is he ever! Delaney announced way back in June 2017, hoping that a head start could make up for his lack of name recognition.

Why does he want to run?
Delaney, a successful businessman, is pitching himself as a centrist problem-solver.

Who wants him to run?
Unclear. He’s all but moved to Iowa in hopes of locking up the first caucus state, but even there his name ID isn’t great.

Can he win the nomination?
Nah.


(Marco Garcia / AP)

TULSI GABBARD

Who is she?
Gabbard, 37, has represented Hawaii in the U.S. House since 2013. She previously served in Iraq.

Is she running?
Yes. She officially announced on February 2 in Honolulu.

Why does she want to run?
Gabbard says her central issue is “war and peace,” which basically means a noninterventionist foreign policy.

Who wants her to run?
Gabbard is likely to draw support from Sanders backers. She supported Bernie in 2016, resigning from a post as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee to do so, and she’s modeled herself largely on him.

Can she win the nomination?
No.

What else do we know?
If elected, she would be the first Hindu president.


(JOSHUA LOTT / AFP / Getty)

ANDREW YANG

Who is he?
Yang is a tech entrepreneur who created the test-preparation company Manhattan Prep and then Venture for America, which tries to incubate start-ups outside New York and the Bay Area, and which is based in New York.

Is he running?
Yes. He filed to run on November 6, 2017.

Why does he want to run?
Yang is a 360-degree sprinkler of policy proposals, but his best-known idea is a $1,000 per month universal basic income for every American adult.

Who wants him to run?
A motley internet movement, including many fans of Joe Rogan’s podcast.

Can he win the nomination?
Highly unlikely.


(Amy Harris / Invision / AP)

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON

Who is she?
If you don’t know the inspirational author and speaker, you know her aphorisms (e.g., “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”).

Is she running?
Yes. She announced her candidacy on January 28.

Why does she want to run?
It’s a little tough to say. She writes on her website, “My campaign for the presidency is dedicated to this search for higher wisdom.” She criticized Hillary Clinton for coziness with corporate interests in 2016, and she ran for the U.S. House in 2014.

Who wants her to run?
Williamson has a lot of fans, but whether they really want her as president is another question.

Can she win the nomination?
Stranger things have happened, but no.


(Joshua Roberts / Reuters)

CORY BOOKER

Who is he?
A senator from New Jersey, he was previously the social-media-savvy mayor of Newark.

Is he running?
Yes. He launched his campaign on February 1.

Why does he want to run?
In the Senate, Booker has been big on criminal-justice reform, including marijuana liberalization. He has recently embraced progressive ideas including Medicare for All and some sort of universal nest egg for children.

Who wants him to run?
He’ll aim for Obama-style uplift and inspiration to attract voters. Booker has previously been close to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and to Wall Street, both of which could be a liability in a Democratic primary.

Can he win the nomination?
Possibly.


(City of Miramar, FLorida)

WAYNE MESSAM

Who is he?
Look, many people thought a young black mayor from Florida would run in 2020. They just thought it would be Tallahassee’s Andrew Gillum, not Miramar’s Wayne Messam, who was elected in 2015.

Is he running?
Yes. Messam announced his candidacy on March 28.

Why does he want to run?
He’s got a lot of standard rhetoric about the fading American dream. “The promise of America belongs to all of us,” Messam says in his announcement video. “That’s why I’m going to be running for president. To be your champion.”

Who wants him to run?
People who know him seem to like him, but Miramar has barely more than 100,000 residents.

Can he win?
Sure, Messam won a national championship as a wide receiver for the 1993 Florida State Seminoles. Can he win the presidency? Um, no.


(Lawrence Bryant / REuters)

STACEY ABRAMS

Who is she?
Abrams ran unsuccessfully for governor of Georgia in 2018 and was previously the Democratic leader in the state House.

Is she running?
Not at the moment, but she has not ruled it out. On The View on March 27, she dismissed suggestions that she would be a strong addition to a Joe Biden ticket, saying, “You don’t run for second place … If I’m going to enter a primary, then I’m going to enter a primary.”

Why does she want to run?
Throughout her career, Abrams has focused on bread-and-butter issues such as criminal-justice reform and education, and since losing a 2018 election stained by problems with ballot access, she’s made voting rights a special focus.

Who wants her to run?
Abrams has drawn excitement from young Democrats, the liberal wing of the party, and African Americans. Her rebuttal to President Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address won her new fans, and the former Obama aide Dan Pfeiffer says she should run.

Can she win?
Maybe.


(J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

ERIC SWALWELL

Who is he?
Swalwell, who is 38, is a U.S. representative from California’s Bay Area.

Is he running?
No. Swalwell left the race on July 8, exactly three months after he announced his candidacy on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

Why did he want to run?
Swalwell was running on a gun-control platform. He also says the Democratic Party needs fresh blood. “We can’t count on the same old leaders to solve the same old problems,” he told The Mercury News. “It’s going to take new energy and new ideas and a new confidence to do that.”

Who wanted him to run?
Not nearly enough people. Swalwell never busted through the 1 percent threshold.

Can he have won the nomination?
Clearly not.


(Phil Long / Reuters)

SHERROD BROWN

Who is he?
By statute, I am required to mention the senator from Ohio’s tousled hair, rumpled appearance, and gravelly voice.

Is he running?
No. Brown told the Youngstown Vindicator on March 7 that he will not run.

Why did he want to run?
Brown’s campaign would have focused on workers and inequality. He’s somewhat akin to Bernie Sanders, but his progressivism is of the midwestern, organized-labor variety.

Who wanted him to run?
Leftist Democrats who though Sanders is too old and Elizabeth Warren too weak a candidate; lots of dudes in union halls in Northeast Ohio.

Could he have won the nomination?
Possibly.

What else do we know?
Like Warren, Brown has a very good dog.


(Mark Tenally / AP)

TERRY MCAULIFFE

Who is he?
Once known primarily as a close friend of Bill Clinton’s and a Democratic fundraising prodigy, McAuliffe reinvented himself as the governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018.

Is he running?
No. McAuliffe said April 17 he wouldn’t compete.

Why did he want to run?
McAuliffe holds up his governorship as proof that he can be a problem solver and deal maker across the aisle, and his Clintonesque politics would have contrasted him with many of the candidates in the field.

Who wanted him to run?
McAuliffe himself concluded he just didn’t have a big enough constituency in the wide Democratic field.

Could he have won the nomination?
Probably not.


(Simon Dawson / Reuters)

MIKE BLOOMBERG

Who is he?
The billionaire former mayor of New York, Bloomberg is a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat-again.

Is he running?
No. Bloomberg announced on March 5 (in Bloomberg, natch) that he would not run.

Why did he want to run?
For starters, he was convinced that he’d be better and more competent at the job than anyone else. A Bloomberg bid would likely have centered on his pet issues of gun control, climate change, and fighting the more fiscally liberal wing of the Democratic Party tooth and silver-plated nail.

Who wanted him to run?
What, was his considerable ego not enough? Though his tenure as mayor is generally well regarded, it’s unclear what Bloomberg’s Democratic constituency was beyond other wealthy, socially liberal and fiscally conservative types, and it’s not as if he needed their money to run.

Could he have won the nomination?
Probably not. Bloomberg has also previously toyed with an independent run, but says that would only help Trump in 2020.


(Yuri Gripas / Reuters)

ERIC HOLDER

Who is he?
Holder was the U.S. attorney general from 2009 to 2015, and he’s currently leading a Democratic redistricting initiative with help from some retiree named Barack Obama.

Is he running?
No. After toying with the idea, he wrote in The Washington Post on March 7 that he would not run.

Why did he want to run?
Holder has three big areas of interest: redistricting, civil rights, and beating Donald Trump by all means necessary.

Who wanted him to run?
Tough to say. Obamaworld isn’t really lining up behind him, and he’s never held elected office, despite a successful Washington career.

Could he have won the nomination?
Probably not.


(Faith Ninivaggi / Reuters)

MITCH LANDRIEU

Who is he?
Landrieu served as the mayor of New Orleans from 2010 to 2018. He was previously Louisiana’s lieutenant governor.

Is he running?
It seems unlikely. “Probably not, but if I change my mind, you’re going to be the first to know,” he told the New York Times editor Dean Baquet in December.

Why did he want to run?
Like the other mayors contemplating a run, Landrieu considers himself a problem-solver. He’s also become a campaigner for racial reconciliation, taking down Confederate monuments in New Orleans, and staking a claim for progressivism in the Deep South.

Who wanted him to run?
Not clear.

Could he have won the nomination?
Probably not.


(Jeenah Moon / Reuters)

ANDREW CUOMO

Who is he?
Cuomo is the governor of New York. He was formerly the secretary of housing and urban development under Bill Clinton.

Is he running?
No. Though he's long toyed with the idea, Cuomo said in November 2018, "I am ruling it out." Then again, his father was indecisive about running for president, too.

Why did he want to run?
One can adopt a Freudian analysis related to his father's unfinished business, or one can note that Cuomo thinks he's got more management experience and success, including working with Republicans, than any Democratic candidate.

Who wanted him to run?
Practically no one. Cuomo's defenders bristle that he doesn't get enough credit, but his work with Republicans has infuriated Empire State Democrats without winning any real GOP friends.

Could he have won the nomination?
No.


(Yuri Gripas / Reuters)

ERIC GARCETTI

Who is he?
Garcetti is the mayor of Los Angeles.

Is he running?
No. Garcetti flirted with the idea, visiting South Carolina and naming a hypothetical Cabinet full of mayors, but said on January 29 that he would not run.

Why did he want to run?
Garcetti’s pitch was that mayors actually get things done and that his lack of experience in Washington was a positive.

Who wanted him to run?
Garcetti was reelected in a landslide in 2017, but he had no apparent national constituency.

Could he have won the nomination?
Doubtful.


(Andrew Harnik / AP)

HILLARY CLINTON

Who is she?
Come on.

Is she running?
No, she announced on March 4 that she won’t. But until she issues a Shermanesque denial signed in blood—or the filing deadline passes—the rumors probably won’t die.

Why does she want to run?
She doesn’t.

Who wants her to run?
Pundits, mostly.

Can she win the nomination?
See above.


(Mike Blake / Reuters)

MICHAEL AVENATTI

Who is he?
Formerly Stormy Daniels’s lawyer, he’s now facing a dizzying array of federal charges.

Is he running?
Nope nope nope nope.

Why did he want to run?
Attention, power, self-aggrandizement

Who wanted him to run?
Some very loud, very devoted fans.

Could he have won the nomination?
No, and his comment to Time that the nominee “better be a white male” was the final straw.



REPUBLICANS


(Leah Millis / Reuters)

DONALD TRUMP

Who is he?
Really?

Fine. Is he running?
Yes. He filed for reelection the day of his inauguration, though some speculate that he might decide not to follow through.

Why does he want to run?
Build the wall, Keep America Great, etc.

Who wants him to run?
Consistently about 35 to 40 percent of the country; a small majority consistently says he should not.

Can he win the nomination?
Yes. While his low approval ratings overall have stoked talk of a primary challenge, Trump remains very popular among Republican voters, and as president has broad power to muscle the GOP process to protect himself.

What else do we know?
There is nothing else new and interesting to know about Trump. You’ve made your mind up already, one way or another.


(Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

MARK SANFORD

Who is he?
Sanford was governor of South Carolina from 2003 to 2011 and a U.S. representative from 1995 to 2001 and 2013 to 2019.

Is he running?
No, but he told the Charleston Post and Courier he’d decide over the next month.

Why is he running?
Sanford has been an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, whom he views as crude and fiscally undisciplined. Trump helped defeat him in a 2018 primary, giving some extra motivation.

Who wants him to run?
Lots of reporters who are eager to make bad Appalachian Trail jokes. There must be some never-Trump fiscal conservatives who don’t want Trump but wouldn’t vote for Weld. Not many, though.

Can he win the nomination?
No.


(Stephan Savoia / AP)

WILLIAM WELD

Who is he?
Weld, a former Justice Department official, was the governor of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997 and was the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential nominee in 2016.

Is he running?
Yes. Weld officially launched his campaign April 15.

Why is he running?
Calling President Trump “unstable,” Weld has said, “I think our country is in grave peril and I cannot sit any longer quietly on the sidelines.”

Who wants him to run?
Weld always inspired respect from certain quarters, and the 2016 Libertarian ticket did well by the party’s standards, but Weld’s unorthodox politics and hot-and-cold relationship with the GOP probably don’t help his support.

Can he win the nomination?
No.

What else do we know?
This logo is so cool.


(Elizabeth Frantz / Reuters)

JOHN KASICH

Who is he?
Kasich recently finished up two terms as governor of Ohio, previously served in the U.S. House, and ran in the 2016 GOP primary.

Is he running?
No, and it seems he won't. “There is no path right now for me. I don't see a way to get there,” he said May 30. “I've never gotten involved in a political race where I didn't think I could win.”

Why did he want to run?
Kasich has long wanted to be president—he ran, quixotically, in 2000. But Kasich has styled himself as a vocal Trump critic, and sees himself as an alternative to the president who is both truer to conservative principles and more reliable and moral.

Who wanted him to run?
Maybe some dead-end never-Trump conservatives. It’s tough to say.

Could he have won the nomination?
Even he doesn’t think so. Kasich previously ruled out an independent or third-party run, but has since reopened that door.

What else do we know?
John Kasich bought a Roots CD and hated it so much, he threw it out his car window. John Kasich hated the Coen brothers’ classic Fargo so much, he tried to get his local Blockbuster to quit renting it. George Will laughed at him. John Kasich is the Bill Brasky of philistinism, but John Kasich probably hated that skit, too.


(Patrick Semansky / AP)

LARRY HOGAN

Who is he?
In November, Hogan became the first Republican to be reelected as governor of Maryland since 1954.

Is he running?
No. After some flirtation, he ruled out a run on June 1.

Why did he want to run?
Hogan is a pragmatic, moderate Republican who has won widespread acclaim in a solidly Democratic state—in other words, everything Trump is not.

Who wanted him to run?
Never-Trump conservatives; whatever the Republican equivalent of a “good government” type is.

Could he have won the nomination?
As long as Trump was running, no.


(Official Senate PhotO)

JEFF FLAKE

Who is he?
The Arizonan, a former U.S. House member, decided not to run for reelection to the Senate in 2019.

Is he running?
No. When he took a contributor role with CBS on January 23, he said he was not running.

Why did he want to run?
Starting in 2016, Flake was perhaps Trump’s most outspoken critic among elected Republicans, lambasting the president as immoral, unserious, and unconservative.

Who wanted him to run?
Liberal pundits.

Could he have won the nomination?
No. Flake retired because he didn’t even think he could win the Republican Senate nomination.


THIRD PARTIES AND INDEPENDENTS


(OFFICE OF JUSTIN AMASH)

JUSTIN AMASH

Who is he?
Amash has represented a Grand Rapids, Michigan-area seat in the U.S. House since 2011.

Is he running?
Not yet, but Libertarian Party members are lobbying him to get in, and he says he’s thinking about it.

Why does he want to run?
Amash has cut a path as a strong libertarian in the House, especially in recent months as a critic of President Trump. On July 4, he announced he was leaving the Republican Party, feeding presidential speculation.

Who wants him to run?
Libertarians, duh. “There’s a lot of people who consider Amash to be the best congressman from the perspective of a Libertarian," Libertarian Party Chairman Nicholas Sarwark told MLive. “They think he’s the best congressman for our goals since Ron Paul.”

Can he win the nomination?
Yes.


(JASON REDMOND / Reuters)

HOWARD SCHULTZ

Who is he?
That guy who used to sell you over-roasted coffee. Schultz stepped down as CEO of Starbucks in 2018.

Is he running?
It seems increasingly unlikely. After some travel through the spring, Schultz announced he would take the summer off, citing health problems, and laid off most of his staff.

Why does he want to run?
Personal pique over Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s support for a 70 percent marginal tax rate. No, seriously. Schultz has offered some vague platitudes about centrist ideas and bringing the country together, but most of it aligns with standard Democratic positions.

Who wants him to run?
Donald Trump.

Can he win the nomination?
The great thing about being a billionaire self-funder as an independent is that you don’t have to win a nomination. The downside is that you still have to win votes eventually.


(Darrin Zammit Lupi / Reuters)

JOHN MCAFEE

Who is he?
He's the guy who made your antivirus program-turned-international fugitive-turned-unsuccessful 2016 Libertarian presidential candidate. A typical politician, basically.

Is he running?
He says he's going to either vie for the Libertarian nomination again or run as an independent, though it's probably worth regarding what he says with some skepticism.

Why does he want to run?
To promote cryptocurrency, brah. “See, I don’t want to be president,” he told a crypto trade publication in November 2018. “I couldn’t be ... no one’s going to elect me president, please God. However, I’ve got the right to run.”

Who wants him to run?
Rubberneckers, disaster enthusiasts.

Can he win the nomination?
“No one’s going to elect me president, please God.”

What else do we know?
You want to see what it's like as the opposite sex for three hours? What being kissed by God feels like? You want the infinite experience of freedom? Knowledge of yourself? Eroticism that incinerates you? A simple good time? Forgetfulness? He's your man.

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