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Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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JULY 24, 2018

     Dems have no candidate that can beat Trump. The dozens of Democrats considering running for president in 2020 are pondering how, and when, to formally declare their candidacies, a seminal event that allows a campaign a moment of national media attention and buzz among donors, activists and volunteers crucial to long-term success. Interviews with half a dozen strategists advising potential candidates say the decision about how and when to launch a campaign has evolved rapidly in a changing media and political environment.

     Once the polls close on November’s midterm elections, the announcements are likely to come quickly. Half a century ago, candidates like Robert Kennedy waited until primaries were already underway to enter the race.  Rules changes meant to take the nominating process out of smoke-filled rooms at conventions mean candidates now must compete in every contest.

     Bill Clinton was able to wait until October 1991, just months before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, to enter the race. But now, the demands of fundraising and building a national organization mean candidates enter much earlier. Howard Dean, the politically unknown former governor of tiny Vermont, formed an exploratory committee well before the 2002 midterm elections and slowly built his opposition to the war in Iraq into an insurgent campaign that nearly captured the Democratic nomination.

     John Kerry  announced his own exploratory committee in an appearance on "Meet The Press" in December 2002, shortly after the midterms, and still more than a year before the first caucuses were held.

     Barack Obama  hinted he was considering a run on the same show just weeks before the 2006 midterms, then formally declared his candidacy in February 2007.

     Hillary Clinton announced her two runs in videos posted online and sent to supporters, in January 2007 and in April 2015.

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