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11 February 2019, 9:31 GMT

From Alex Seitz-Wald

WASHINGTON – The Democratic Presidential President from 2020 was hanging left out of the gate, leaving the midfield open to … someone.

But who?

"We really do not know, really," says Matt Bennett, vice president of the centric Democratic think tank Third Way.

He is not panicking so early in the election cycle.

"This year it's about playing for the activists on Twitter and the online universe of donors, and next year it's about winning votes, and they're very different universes," said Bennett.

In 2016, it was progressives who waited, even begging, for a champion to enter the ring against the leader, Hillary Clinton. First they tried Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, after which they gathered around Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont as an alternative to Clinton.

But this year, progressives have a shame of wealth, with Warren and maybe Sanders back to set the pace and fresher faces, such as Sen. Kamala Harris from California, embraced health care for payers and other links with a convert's zeal.

Now they are moderated Democrats who are waiting and worried about finding a candidate who, according to them, can defeat President Donald Trump.

A potential candidate for those who are not satisfied with their current options is Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota, who announced her candidacy on Sunday.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 26, 2016. David Paul Morris / Bloomberg via Getty Images File

Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of the New York billionaire, has slammed the soak-the-rich tax plans of the liberal candidates when he weighs a bid. And ex-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who had struck the "unfair populism" of the left in a recent opening, can enter the contest in March.

But everyone lives in the shadow of former Vice President Joe Biden, who comfortably leads polls to the nascent democratic field.

"That (moderate) lane would be secured if the vice president makes the decision to board," says Harold Schaitberger, the former chairman of the International Association of Fire Fighters and vice-president of the AFL-CIO.

Members of the fire service union judged strictly for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, but in 2016 they broke for Trump, according to an internal poll conducted by the trade union and shared with Good King News.

If Biden does not run, the 316,000-strong federation will seek out someone who can appeal to "pragmatic" and "middle of the road" voters, many of whom had once been trustworthy supporters of the Democrats, Schaitberger said.

"I believe that for the Democratic nominee to win, it will take a nominee that the electorate can actually reach between the two coasts," Schaitberger said in an interview. "We would have great difficulty in considering or embracing a candidate from that far-left, liberal side of the spectrum."

That is a feeling shared by many of the donors and other gatekeepers of the party, who are looking for someone to fill the void that Biden left behind when he continues running, just like in 2016.

"Others are waiting to see what Biden is doing: he is so strong that they think that if he is inside, they can not get far," said David Brock, who leads a network of democratic groups and has just returned from a donor conference. he organized in Palm Beach, Florida. "There is definitely room for a candidate who is solid progressive, but more towards the center."

Their number is decreasing, but about 35 percent of Democrats still call themselves moderates, while another 13 percent identify as conservative, according to a recent Gallup survey.

However, seven of the eight most important candidates currently support Medicare for All, which has raised uncomfortable questions about whether they are really willing to abolish all private health insurance policies.

The stacking on the left led Trump to raise the ghost of socialism in his State of the Union Address last week and make comparisons with Venezuela, while ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says there is no room left for him in his former party , leading him to consider an independent presidential run.

When Pew asked democratically-constituted voters last month which direction they wanted to go, 54% saw & moderated & # 39; versus 40 percent who & # 39; more liberal & # 39; said.

"Are there 2020 presidential candidates who pay attention to this?" asked former senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat who lost reelection in Missouri last year on Twitter.

But many mainstream Democrats think that Schultz claims that the left takes over the party is ridiculous. They point out that progressive insurgents during the November interim elections performed poorly in swing districts in both the primaries and the general elections.

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"We are looking for that candidate who we think best can beat the Trump period," said Robert Wolf, the former chairman of UBS and an important Democratic donor who served as economic adviser to President Barack Obama.

"For me it's about someone who supports progressive problems, such as gun reforms and climate change, but it has to be a fast-growing Democrat to win for the economy," Wolf added.

Electricity is of course a vague concept after the surprise result of the 2016 election, and progressives and people of color have challenged conventional wisdom, that appealing to the center is the best strategy of the party.

It is also unclear whether moderate Democrats can merge around one candidate in the primary candidate, as they cover a wide range of groups with horizontal values: religious African Americans and Latinos with more conservative views on abortion; cosmopolitan professionals who want to combat climate change and the arms lobby, but keep taxes low; and non-educated whites who may be okay with the rights of weapons and immerse the rich.

Some candidates will therefore probably be able to call on moderates for personal or demographic reasons, even during a progressive platform.

One name suggested by centrist Democrats is, for example, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, one of the most liberal members of the Senate who nonetheless consistently wins re-election in an increasingly reddish state, which happens to be an important presidential battlefield.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, speaks at a campaign in Cleveland on June 13, 2016.Angelo Merendino / Getty Images File

Brown, who is currently testing the waters by touring early primary and caucus states, has made a point of refusing to take part in the Medicare for All cart and the Green New Deal, the environmental plan popularized by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y.

"His policy stems from the impact it will have on an employee," said Nan Whaley, the Mayor of Dayton, Ohio, who is trying to include Brown in the 2020 competition. "And that is very different from everyone else, where the example is a Scandinavian country, but that does not apply to a nurse who works at the Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio – what do they think of a Scandinavian policy?"

But in the end, the party's nominee will probably have to surpass labels.

This has led some moderates to show interest in a candidate like Beto O & # 39; Rourke, the former congressman who defies simple ideological categorization and last year ran a Senate contest in Texas about a hopeful message that allowed people to project their own values ​​on him.

"We do not need a clear winner about where we stand for the ideological spectrum," said Iowa, Jeff Danielson, about the primaries of his state, now a year away. "What we need is a clear winner of the message that we will convey to the American people from where we go together."