The Democrats Of The Future | Who Are The Most Likely Candidates For 2024

The Democrats Of The Future | Who Are The Most Likely Candidates For 2024

Following the defeat of Trump, the Democrats now have to decide their future. With Joe Biden most likely being a one-term President, at 78 years old, the battle for the next leading figure in the Democrat Party seems to be based on new rising stars. There are few well-established ‘Joe’s’ out there who would run for President and it seems likely that the next Democrat candidate will come from a new and younger generation.

With the lack of a seasoned veterans, it appears that the next candidate for the Democrats will be Kamala Harris. However, we still have a long way to go to see if this becomes a reality and there could be a number of significant challengers to the current Vice President in the months and years ahead.

The following list will rank a set of Democrats that I believe have a chance to both run for and potentially win the nomination for the Democratic Party in 2024. How accurate this will be moving forward, remains to be seen. However, I’m confident that we will being hearing a lot more from these individuals as we draw closer to the election.  

Democrat Candidate - Kamala Harris
Illustrated by Rebekka Katajisto

Kamala Harris

  • Age in 2024: 60 Years Old
  • State: California
  • Position: Vice President of the United States.
  • Core Voters: Women, Black People, Left-Leaning Moderates, and College Voters.
  • Congress Committees: N/A

Key Issues: racial social reform, health care, immigration, tech companies, and consumer protection

Political Career:

Kamala Harris started as the Attorney General of San Francisco (2004-11) and would subsequently become the Attorney General of California (2011-2016). During this period, she gained a reputation for taking a hard stance on cops, leading to Harris being referred to as ‘Top Cop’ throughout law enforcement.

Kamala Harris joined the Senate in 2016 but was accused of being overly cautious and scripted throughout her campaign. While this practice arguably continued during her run for the Presidency in 2020, which led to her monumental take down by Tulsi Gabbard (see below), she would ultimately reach the pinnacle of her career by becoming the 49th Vice-President of the United States.  

Tulsi Gabbard’s Takedown of Kamala Harris

The reasoning behind her appointment was largely due to her appealability to portions of the left-wing through her being a ‘record-breaking’ candidate for the Vice Presidency with Kamala Harris being the first woman, black and Indian Vice-President. Another important reason for her selection can be attributed to the hope the Democrat party had that she would increase the black turnout for Joe Biden as this was one of the key reasons for Hilary Clinton’s loss in 2016.

2024 Democrat Candidacy Odds: 9/10

Harris has positioned herself as a front-runner. Joe Biden, who is currently 78 years of age and will be 82 by 2024, is highly unlikely to run again. As Joe’s second in command, Vice President Kamala Harris, will have the highest profile and role on offer, which will indefinitely highlight her suitability to become the next President. 

These next four years will be vital for Harris if she wants to try and gain the backing of the party as a whole. While many see the Vice Presidency as a lame-duck role, the exposure one can gain from being situated in this position provides potential candidates with the opportunity to assert their own platform and receive continuous media coverage.

Unlike previous years, there is currently only one other 2020 candidate, Pete Buttigieg, sitting in office. This provides Kamala with a unique opportunity to take hold of the spotlight while others must bring it on themselves to get the traction they will so desperately need as we move closer to 2024.

With the right media coverage and policy positions, Kamala Harris might have her run for the Presidency in the bag. With 14 out of the 45 Vice Presidents­ taking over this lead role throughout history, the dice are certainly in her favour.

It is hard to see her dropping the ball on this one and if someone can beat her it would either take a poorly managed campaign on her behalf or a very brilliant one by others.

Pete Buttigieg
Illustration by Rebekka Katajisto

Pete Buttigieg

  • Age in 2024: 42
  • State: Indiana
  • Position: Secretary of Transportation
  • Core Voters: Liberals, LGBTQ, White, Working Class, and College Educated.
  • Congress Comittees: N/A

Key Issues: Political Reform, LGTQ Rights, and College Loans 

Political History:

Before 2020, Pete Buttigieg had only held one political position. Prior to becoming the Mayor of South Bend Indiana, Buttigieg ran for Indiana’s Treasurer, which he lost to the Republican Mourdock in 2010. However, two years later in the South Bend Indiana election, he would finally enter office with 62% of the vote; he would subsequently be re-elected as Mayor in 2015.

Buttigieg rapidly rose to fame in 2019 after becoming a major challenger in the Democrat Primary after winning Iowa, coming second in New Hampshire, and third in Nevada. However, Buttigieg’s success in the primaries would drop off nearly as quickly as it came; he would end his presidential run in 4th with just 15 Delegates.

His problem. Non-White voters. Buttigieg completely collapsed after a disappointing result in North Carolina where he did worse than expected due to his poor connection to non-white voters, being described in the Guardian as a candidate ‘like Joe Biden without the black friends’.

However, there’s no need to feel too sorry for poor old Pete, as Biden would give him the position of Transport Secretary in his cabinet. This has provided him with a fantastic opportunity to patch up his political CV and gain invaluable experience in running a Washington position; something which he sorely lacked.

Pete Buttigieg Becomes Transport Secretary

2024 Democrat Candidacy Odds: 7/10

This prediction is very optimistic to say the least. However, Buttigieg could certainly be a successful presidential bid for the Democrats so long as he succeeds in the following areas.

The Success of the Biden Administration: Now, as a member of the Washington establishment, Buttigieg’s public image will be tied to and affected by how well Biden performs in office. As a spokesperson for the administration, who is one of the few proven people to speak in front of the camera, Buttigieg’s future success will depend on the stability of the government he is part of. If successful, he will undoubtedly reap the rewards and come out on top as a person who could be seen as a viable candidate for the next president. However, any promise which Buttigieg has shown so far could quite easily be stripped away if the public is left with a bad taste in their mouth after four years.  

Personal Success: He needs to excel in the position of transportation secretary. With Biden’s‘Build Back Better’ pledge, transportation will receive greater policy changes than ever before. If Buttigieg can manage to successfully execute many of the elements promised within this campaign, then he will undoubtedly use this to bolster his position in a future presidential run. A lack of experience was something which Buttigieg was heavily attacked for in 2020, something which one can imagine he hopes to avoid during his next campaign.

Biden Bites Back

The other factor Buttigieg must work on is his appeal to non-white voters, he has a poor record due to his problems during his time at South Bend, where he was even told by one woman

“You’re running for President and you want black people to vote for you? That’s not going to happen”

Overall Buttigieg could certainly do well if he is boosted by the success of the Biden Administration, performs well in his role as transport secretary, and via the additional press coverage he receives. However, if things go badly for Biden and his administration, then Buttigieg too might go down with the ship.

Democrats - Elizabeth Warren
Illustrated by Rebekka Katajisto

Elizabeth Warren

  • Age in 2024: 75
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Position: Senate
  • Core Voters: Left, Liberals, Progressives, Women Voters, White Voters, Middle-Aged Voters, and College Voters.
  • Congress Committees: Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs, Health, Education, Labour & Pensions, Special Committee on Aging and Armed Services

Key Issues: wealth tax, healthcare, abortion rights, criminalising corporation negligence

Political Career:

Elizabeth Warren first become a Senator in 2012 in which she beat Republican Scott Brow; her speech at a guest house was arguably the defining moment of her campaign. Since then, she has focused on sponsoring bills largely on Health (29%), the Armed Forces and National Security (23%), and Finance and Financial Sector (13%), while bills in Taxation (5%) and Labour and Employment (6%) have not received the same level of attention.

Warren has been the primary sponsor of 11 passed bills over the course of her 9 years in office; which is ¾ as productive as the average senator.  

2024 Democrat Candidacy Odds: 7/10

Elizabeth Warren came third in the 2020 Democratic Primaries, but she did not win any contests. She provided a strong performance in most of the debates, and particularly shined during her attacks on Bloomberg. Warren’s strongest moment in the primary would come in late 2019 where she rose rapidly in the polls and even lead for a short period of time in October 2019, however, her polling would drop continuously here after. This can be put down to the first debate, in which from the very beginning of the primaries she seemed unable to maintain a congruent position. Ultimately, Warren wouldn’t be seen as an ideal candidate for either side of the party: for the left Warren didn’t go far enough in her policy positions, while for those holding more moderate positions she still appeared as fringe and more radical choice.

For progressives, Bernie Sanders would overshadow her with his radical values, while Biden (as the most senior ‘moderate’ candidate) would leave little wiggle-room for Warren to capture the attention of this voter-base. To learn more about why Elizabeth Warren’s candidacy failed to capture the attention of Democrat voters then head to ‘The Atlantic’.

Is Elizabeth Warren Really Native American?

To have a chance of becoming the President in 2024 Warren will need to solidify her identity. Is she a progressive, a moderate, or something in-between? If Warren wishes to market herself as the latter, a candidate that wishes to bridge the two sides of the party, then this should be discussed in more detail within run up to the next election.

However, with Sanders almost certainly not running in 2024, there appears to be a vacuum within the progressive wing of the party. While many within this group may not see Elizabeth Warren as their preferred choice, as one of the most experienced Democrat Senators in office, she may offer a path forward to the presidency that other progressives may be able to provide.  

Overall, while Elizabeth Warren certainly has identity issues (in maybe more ways than her political appearance) and has some work to do in regard to her appeal to black voters (which was highlighted through her 4th place finish in North Carolina and coming in 5th in South Carolina). However, with Sanders or Biden out of the running, Warren will inevitably be pitted as one of the most senior candidates that the Democrat party have to offer in their bid to retain the presidency; whether this works in her favour ultimately remains to be seen but a contender she will nevertheless remain.

Democrats - Alexandria Ocasio Cortez
Illustration by Rebekka Katajisto

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez

  • Age in 2024: 35
  • State: New York
  • Position: House Representative
  • Core Voters: Latino’s, Younger Voters, and Progressives.
  • Congreess Committees: Oversight and Reform and Financial Services

Key issues: Criminal Justice reform, economic inequality, education, gun control, healthcare, housing, immigration, LGBTQ rights, reproductive justice, and Puerto Rico

Political Career:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez burst into the political scene in 2018. She beat 10-term incumbent Rep. Joseph Crowley 57% to 42%. Crowley held the important position of chairman of the House Democratic Caucus at this time. She gained more prominence when she was one of four Democrat Representatives to ‘go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places which they came’.

This pushed both Cortez and the rest of the ‘Squad’ into the national spotlight just a week after they had conflicted with Nancy Pelosi after they accused her of being disrespectful to the squad due to their race, in which the:

“persistent singling out… it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful… the explicit singling out of newly elected women of colour.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Building into the 2020 election Ocasio-Cortez backed her fellow outspoken progressive Bernie Sanders in late 2019 after previously working on his 2016 campaign. Cortez is seen by many as the successor to Bernie Sanders, she has a large amount of grassroot Democrat support and is viewed by many as the ‘leader’ of a new political movement within the party.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Reaction to Trump Losing The Election

2024 Democrat Candidacy Odds: 5/10

While Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does certainly have an enthusiastic base of young supporters within the progressive wing of the party, at this stage it seems unlikely that she will be able to receive enough voters to successfully become Democrat candidate.

Although Bernie Sanders managed to do well in both 2016 and 2020 as a progressive candidate, he fell short in his ability to offer a set of positions that were palatable for your average and more moderate Democrat voter. Cortez will almost certainly face the same set of issues that Sanders did back in 2016/2020 and be unable to breach the ceiling that will be required to be seen as a viable candidate for 2024.

However, before Cortez even begins to consider running as a candidate, she will have to overcome the hurdle of her age. To run for the position of President of the United States, you must be over 35, have lived in the US for more than 14 years, and be a natural-born citizen of America.

By October 2024, Cortez will be 35 years old, reaching the legal minimum required age for a presidential bid. However, since her is in October, she may not have reached the required age when nominations are being made.

Whether Cortez is allowed to run or not remains to be seen, however, even if she can both her limited base of supporters and lack of experience will undoubtedly prove to be a difficult hurdle for her to overcome if she wishes to become the nominee of the Democrat party in 2024.

Democrats - Andrew Yang
Illustrated by Rebekka Katajisto

Andrew Yang

  • Age in 2024: 50
  • State: New York
  • Position: Businessman
  • Core Voters: Centrists, Moderates, Asian Americans, and Business People.
  • Congress Committees: N/A.

Key Issues: Universal basic income, social media, economic reform

Political Career:

He was a shock candidate in 2020. The only candidate on this list who has promised to run in 2024, who looked at his 2020 as a way of building up to something better. The ‘Yang-Gang’ has attracted disillusioned Republicans and Democrats alike with his main policy of Universal Basic Income and the focus on automation and poverty.

The Yang Gang

Yang has run multiple businesses including Venture for America which won him a Champion of Change Award and he is worth around $2,200,000. When he ran in 2020, he did not get much support but gained national attention for the policy of universal basic income. He gained praise from many figures, both Democrat and Republican alike.

He is currently in contention to run as mayor of New York in 2021 and if he wins his position would run until 2025.

Andrew Yang For Mayor of New York

2024 Democrat Candidacy Odds: 5/10

If Yang does win the race to become Mayor of New York it would help him build the political record which he so desperately needs if he wishes to successfully run a campaign for office in 2024.

However, Yang will need to work on his gaining liberal Democrats in order to win the primary. When Business Insider polled people on how liberal they were in relation to if they would support Yang, he would perform best among those who considered themselves to be slightly liberal or moderates but would struggle with those who were very or moderate liberals… certainly surprising when the person in question is the only advocate for Universal Income.   

Although support for his ideas surrounding automation and universal income are certainly increasing; in Iowa alone support UBI increased from 17% to 60% in just January 2020.

Regardless of this he will need to win votes. In 2020, Yang did not win a state or even a single delegate. He would be placed in 6th position in most states and be shy of approximately 10,000 to 60,000 votes from receiving a delegate… A lot more will be needed to be done by his campaign team if he wishes to even have a chance of winning the nomination in 2024. 

While Yang’s debate performance was certainly lacking during the first primary debate, he would slowly hone his approach and would at least see some financial success after the second debate, which would lead to him gaining $9.9 million towards his campaign.

Although Yang certainly has a strong base of supporters that will rally around him during the next election, this group of voters still remains too small if he truly wishes to contend for the Democrat nomination in 2020. While it will undoubtedly grow, particularly if he manages to be nominated as New York’s Mayor, he still has a long way to go. The key policy positions he has been vocal on, will almost certainly become more popular if the U.S. economy declines and automation continues to chip away at blue collar jobs… However, Yang will have to position himself as a candidate that isn’t solely focused on a small handful of issues.

Democrats - Gretchen Whitmer

Gretchen Whitmer

  • Age in 2024: 53
  • State: Michigan
  • Position: Governor of Michigan
  • Core Voters: White, Middle Class, Working Class, Moderates.
  • Congressional Committees: N/A

Key Issues: Healthcare, infrastructure, water, environment

Political Career:

Gretchen Whitmer has served in the State legislature in Michigan since 2001-2015, both in the state’s House of Representatives and the Senate; In 2015 she would serve as the Senate’s Democrat Party Leader.

In the Democrat Primary for the Governer of Michigan, she beat El-Sayed who had endorsements from Sanders and Ocassio Cortez and would go on to win all 83 counties.

In 2018, Whitmer would go on to win the gubernatorial election with 53% of the voter, which many have put down to her being ‘unapologetically authentic’ and through her dedication of visiting all 83 counties in her state.

Whitmer has recently become a prominent figure within the Democrat party after rapidly placing Michigan in lockdown.

“Stay at home if you’re not absolutely needed to be outside of your home” and “If you do go outside, keep a six-foot distance from others”

Gretchen Whitmer

She would lock horns with President Trump in April 2020 after criticising the national strategy on the pandemic, in which hereafter, she would be labelled as ‘That Woman From Michigan’ by the President.

Her response the pandemic would incur widespread protests, in which some would even try to storm the state’s capitol. This situation would get so out of hand that 13 men (involved with the militia group Wolverine Watch or associates of it) would kidnap the Governor from her vacation home.

2024 Democrat Candidacy Odds: 4/10

With Whitmer’s rise to national attention, some viewed her as a potential Vice President due to her spate with the President and even had a meeting with Biden in August 2020, in which Lt Gov. Gilchrist said,

Again, I don’t have any inside information on the process of the vice president’s looking but I do know he’s been explicit, that Gov. Whitmer is absolutely still on his list of people he is considering for his partner…

Lt Gov. Gilchrist

With a clear potential for her to be part of the White House within this meeting and with the next Michigan Governor election in 2022, it would be a perfect opportunity to not run and set herself up going into 2023.

In a 2019 Axios survey of 1,760 Democrats, 3% selected Whitmer as a candidate they might vote for. Whitmer was also put as 40-1 for 2024 by

Overall, Gretchen could do well in her potential bid to become president in 2024, but the likelihood of her winning still remain low. However, she would most likely be a good choice as a Vice Presidential candidate if she plays her cards right.

Democrat Candidate - Gavin Newsom
Illustrated by Rebekka Katajisto

Gavin Newsom

  • Age in 2024: 57
  • State: California
  • Position: Governor of California
  • Core Voters: Moderates, Upper Class, White Voters, and Liberals.
  • Congressional Committees: N/A

Key Issues: homelessness, criminal justice reform, inequality

Political Career:

Gavin Newsom started on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, 1997-2004, where he was appointed and then elected three times. He would then become the Mayor of San Fransico, 2004-2011, winning 53% of the vote in 2003. Newsom then became Lieutenant governor of California from 2011-2019 before becoming Governor of California beating John Cox in 2018 with 61.9%.

His rise has been argued to have been assisted by the ‘elites’ with Wille Brown stating in 2018 that,

He came from their world, and that’s why they embraced him without hesitancy and over and above everybody else they didn’t need to interview him. They knew what he stood for.

Willie Brown

Eight of San Francisco’s best-known families including Gettys and Fisher which gave him $61.5 million.

CNN | Newsom Responds To The Recall Effort Against Him

As governor Gavin Newsom has enacted an executive order to deal with Climate Change which looks to conserve 30% of the state’s land and coastal water by 2030, in which he would state that: 

California’s beautiful natural and working lands are an important tool to help slow and avert catastrophic climate change, and today’s executive order provides important new tools to take on this existential threat

Gavin Newsom

Newsom has also had to deal with the Coronavirus situation, which although started positively for him would quickly turn against his favour. This has led to an attempt to recall him as Governor of California, in which over 600,000 verified signature of the 2 million needed have been signed.

2024 Democrat Candidacy Odds: 2/10

One thing Newsom won’t struggle with is donations, as his wealthy backers will be able to deal with the financial burdens of running for office. As a California Governor he too would have the advantage of the California voting bloc most likely voting in his favour (so long as he can keep a lid on the recall situation) with more than 20% of the delegates needed for the nomination

While this will give him an immense advantage in the Democratic race, both he and Kamala Harris are allies and have agreed to running on different positions in the past (having the same political strategist, Ace Smith). While this relationship may turn sour if the Newsom believes he has a real chance of become the President in 2024, he may pass on the opportunity to give Harris a clearer shot in the primaries.

Overall, Newsom would probably be one of the candidates further down the pile, doing well on the East Coast but struggling elsewhere unless he can gain momentum in the earlier debates and keep it.

Democrats - Stacey Abrams
Illustrated by Rebekka Katajisto

Stacey Abrams

  • Age in 2024: 51
  • State: Georgia
  • Core Voters: Black Voters.
  • Position: Chair of Fair Fight Action and Political Strategist.
  • Congress Committees: N/A

Key Issues: Black rights, voter rights, voter suppression

Political Career:

She was elected without any opposition in the 84th District of Georgia in the House of Representatives in 2007 and was re-elected again in 2012, 2014, and 2016 unopposed. She then chose to run for Governor in 2018 rather than re-run for her House of Representatives seat. In this 2018 election she lost to Republican Brian Kemp by just over 50,000 votes but she got her metaphorical revenge through sweeping up the Georgian Senate seats for the Democrats in a fashion which has not left Kemp in a good position with him facing pressure from Trump to overturn the election. 

PBS | Stacey Abrams on Biden’s Leadership

This crucial win has secured the state for the Democrats and a majority in the Senate using the Vice President as the deciding vote. Abram’s role was crucial in this victory through her promotion of black voting launching groups such as Fair Fight Action and the New Georgia Project (launched just before her election for Governor).

2024 Democrat Candidacy Odds: 2/10

The main reason Abrams has such low odds for 2024 is lack of name recognition and popularity across the board. Despite having national attention recently, she is mainly well known in Georgia and her support can only really be found in black voters. 

She would have to spend the next four years building up her national profile so that she could even consider running for the Presidency. However, it seems that Abram’s current ambition is to be the first Black Governor in 2022 with her planning to challenge Kemp once again, to set up for a presidential run in 2028. Consequently, the odds of her running in 2024 are low but depend on the success of her attempt at being Governor.

The Democrats do not have a long line of veterans to look upon as we draw closer to the next election, however, they do have potential candidates with a wealth of experience, charisma, and national attention. Whichever candidate manages to be nominated for the Democrat party, they will likely face some tough challenges ahead, both from the Republicans and the issues that they will have to focus on in order to lead their party to victory in 2024. Only time will tell who will be the most likely candidate or whether the Democrats will even stand a chance of recapturing America’s attention…

Cover image by Sanni Pyhänniska.

Illustrations by Rebekka Katajisto.

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About The Author

Lloyd Watts

I am from Portsmouth in Hampshire and I am currently studying International Relations at the University of Warwick. My main areas of interest in writing are in politics, history and sport. In terms of other hobbies I enjoy playing sports, mainly rugby and I love to game and read.

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