Election 2020

And Then There Were 22: Sen. Michael Bennet Enters the Presidential Race

The Colorado Democrat opposes Medicare for All and universal free college.


Sen. Michael Bennet (D–Colo.) announced today he'll seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. Bennet is one of 22 Democrats running, so he could have trouble setting himself apart.

"I think this country faces two enormous challenges," Bennet tells CBS This Morning. "One is a lack of economic mobility and opportunity for most Americans and the other is the need to restore integrity to our government."

Bennet has been a U.S. senator since 2009. Prior to that, he was the superintendent of Denver's public school system. The 54-year-old announced last month that he'd been diagnosed with prostate cancer; he has since undergone surgery to have it removed.

To say that Bennet faces an uphill climb if he really wants to be president would be a massive understatement. He's one of the seven incumbent U.S. senators seeking the nomination, meaning that nearly 15 percent of the Democratic-caucusing senators are running. And candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), Kamala Harris (D–Calif.), Cory Booker (D–N.J.), and Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) undoubtedly have significantly more national name recognition than Bennet. Even lower-profile candidates, such as Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D–N.Y.), have an advantage over Bennet by virtue of having announced their runs more than a month ago.

And that's not even considering former Vice President Joe Biden, who announced he was running last week and leads in most national polls. Bennet is not even the only Coloradoan running—former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who used to employ Bennet as his chief of staff, has also thrown his hat in the race. A list of the Democrats running—with the exception of Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam—is below. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock will reportedly announce his own presidential bid in the coming weeks as well.

Bennet realizes he doesn't have the name recognition of some of the other candidates. "You probably don't know me because I don't go on cable news every night," he says in a campaign announcement video. How does he feel about the sheer number of Democrats running? "This is the opportunity for us to show what we stand for, for us to have a competition of ideas," he tells CBS. "I think it's phenomenal that we've got as diverse an array of candidates as we have, in all respects, and that we've got the number that we have."

So what does Bennet stand for? He's something of a moderate—by 2019 standards, anyway—since he opposes Medicare for All and universal free college. "I don't think 180 million Americans want to give up the insurance they already have through their work or their union," he says in his announcement video. Bennet and Sen. Tim Kaine (D–Va.) previously introduced "Medicare X," a plan that "would create a new public option for health insurance—an idea that was originally part of Obamacare but was jettisoned for being seen, at the time, as too progressive," Politico reported in March.

Bennet wants to focus on "investing in education, from pre-school through college," as well as in job training. "But I'm not going to pretend free college is the answer. I'm not going to say there's a simple solution to a problem if I don't believe there is one," he says.

Other platform planks include reforming the campaign finance system, ending gerrymandering, and prohibiting members of Congress from becoming lobbyists after they leave office.

While Bennet is not one of the better-known 2020 presidential candidates, he has made headlines several times in recent months. In January, while parts of the federal government were shut down, he accused Sen. Ted Cruz of shedding "crocodile tears" after the Texas Republican said it was Democrats' fault that federal employees weren't being paid. In March, he slammed President Donald Trump's enthusiasm for using eminent domain to build a wall on the U.S. Mexico border. Trump's past remarks on eminent domain were "the kind of language you'd expect out of some autocrat someplace, not in a democracy," Bennet said.

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  1. I just wanted to be the first to post a lame Catch 22 joke.

    1. when are you going to do that?

      1. Never. It’s too lame.

    2. Yossarian 2020! Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.

  2. How many will there be ? Any bets?

    1. I’m hoping it gets to 64 so we can do a November Madness bracket challenge.

      1. Nice.
        Though I’m not sure they can get to four regions. Let’s see, #1 seeds:
        East – Biden
        Midwest – Buttigieg or Bernie
        West – Harris
        South – …Beto?

        1. Ok, we can do this.
          1. Biden
          4. Swalwell
          5. Moulton
          3. Gillibrand
          2. Booker

          1. Harris
          4. Castro
          5. Yang
          3. Hickenlooper
          6. Williamson
          2. Warren

          1. Bernie
          4. Inslee
          5. Gravel
          3. Ryan
          2. Buttigieg

          1. Beto
          4. Gabbard
          5. Delaney
          3. Klobuchar
          6. Messam
          2. Warren

          1. First round:
            4 vs 5
            3 vs 6

            Second round:
            1 vs 4/5
            2 vs 3
            2 vs 3/6

            Bernie gets a 1 seed, but screwed in toughest region

            1. Wait – I have Warren twice.
              Ok, correction:

              1. Biden
              4. Swalwell
              5. Moulton
              3. Castro
              2. Booker

              1. Harris
              4. Yang
              5. Williamson
              3. Hickenlooper
              6. Bennett
              2. Gillibrand

              1. Bernie
              4. Inslee
              5. Gravel
              3. Ryan
              2. Buttigieg

              1. Beto
              4. Gabbard
              5. Delaney
              3. Klobuchar
              6. Messam
              2. Warren

              1. If Stacey Abrams gets in, she (somehow, I don’t get it) knocks Ryan or Hickenlooper out of a 3 seed. Maybe even pushes Gillibrand or Booker from a 2.

              2. Well, in all fairness Warren does have some multiple possible paths to her current incarnation.

              3. Beto’s not making it out of the South.

                1. In the first round, I’ll take Swalwell over Mouton, Williamson over Yang (bc vagina > Asian intersectional), Hickenlooper over Bennett, Inslee over Gravel, Gabbard over Delaney, and Klobuchar over Messam.
                  2nd round gets interesting.
                  (1)Biden tires quickly and (4)Swalwell pulls the upset based on his full court “nuke Americans” press, which progressives are all in for.
                  (2)Booker tries to choke, but (3)Castro is too incompetent to get the W.
                  (1)Harris and (2)Gillibrand advance over (5)Williamson and (3)Hickenlooper.
                  (1)Bernie stomps (4)Inslee and (2)Buttigieg survives a scare from slightly less bland midwesterner (3)Ryan.
                  (1)Beto steamrolls (4)Gabbard through a combination of “but Putin” and strong homophobia accusations, effectively applying spaz hands throughout.
                  (3)Klobuchar upsets (2)Warren by managing to be even more obnoxious than the senator from MA, who trips up on her nasty feet and not quite enough native DNA.

                  1. So our “elite” 8 comes down to
                    (4)Swalwell vs (2)Booker
                    (1)Harris vs (2)Gillibrand
                    (1)Bernie vs (2)Buttigieg
                    (1)Beto vs (3)Klobuchar

                    I’m taking Swalwell (nuke Americans game still hot), Harris (screws Gillibrand, gets her to drop out), Buttigieg (the fix is in, again), and Klobuchar (after she calls forth the harpies to tear Beto limb from limb).

                    Final 4:

                    1. love it.

                    2. (1)Harris finally takes down (4)Swalwell, with an even more draconian gun grabbing scheme than “nuke Americans” (which she points out would be bad for climate change).
                      (2)Buttigieg vs (3)Klobuchar is a toss up, as the battle for progressive hearts between gay and obnoxious bitch comes down to the wire.

                      Either way, the winner of Buttigieg/Klobuchar beats Harris, as he’s not into vag and she’s too repulsive for even Harris to overcome.

  3. >>>since he opposes Medicare for All and universal free college.

    does he know he’s running as (D)?

    1. He had to set himself apart somehow. He’s going for “sane,”

      1. If he can hold out long enough, it’s a decent strategy. Most Democrats don’t want the free-shit socialism crap from the far left, but unfortunately it’s the fringe that drives the primaries. Just like the fringe does on the right.

        1. “Most Democrats don’t want the free-shit socialism crap from the far left”

          Citation missing

  4. With so many great diverse candidates like Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren already running, a white male with no name recognition will have to do something dramatic to stand out. For Bennett to have any chance of getting into my top tier of 2020 hopefuls, he’ll need to endorse #AbolishICE, expanding the Supreme Court, overturning Heller, reparations for slavery, Barr’s resignation, and impeaching Putin’s Puppet.

    (Bennett is already better than Tulsi Gabbard of course.)

    1. I hear he’s a secret racial-fluid tranny that has suppressed the fact even from himself because of the white male patriarchy, so he’s got that going for him.

  5. How sad is it that Joe Biden is probably their best candidate out of 22. Fun, but not as much fun as 2024 will be.

    1. “but not as much fun as 2024 will be”

      2024 likely will not be very interesting. Republicans will have lost so much demographic ground with the electorate that it will be difficult to remain viable in a national election by then, although I suppose many Republicans won’t understand that until the 2024 results become apparent. Plus, the sensible Republicans will still be busy putting the heads of Trump supporters on pikes — although I guess that will constitute fun for some people.

      1. (Lord help us) Pence will pull a 41 and win one term only

      2. You are boring, and an asshole.

      3. Despite the fact that the two party’s platforms are unrecognizable from their previous platforms over any meaningful timespans, the electorate still partitions itself into 40/40/20.

        No party is ever going to lose demographic ground. The electorate keeps choosing a pivot point that keeps the ratios the same.

  6. Interesting how diverse the democrat primary field can be when they know they fix is not in for a particular person.

  7. “the need to RESTORE (emphasis added) integrity to our government.”


    In the immortal words of John McEnroe: You can’t be serious!

  8. There-I’ve just announced my candidacy as a DEM for 2020. So that makes 23. What is my platform, you ask? Don’t think I need one. Oh Ok-free shit for life for everyone!

  9. I’d vote for Hickenlooper just to force people to say “President Hickenlooper” for four years.

    1. Hickenlooper-Buttigieg. Don’t think anyone could keep a straight face for that one

      1. I’m holding out for Biggus Dickus.

    2. Four more years of Douchebag!

  10. Enter a crowded field with no name recognition is an interesting strategy. No one will see him coming, because nobody knows who he is.

  11. Call me when Joe Walsh decides to run again.

    1. James Gang 2020!

  12. So what does Bennet stand for?


  13. So how about a Constitutional ammendment that requires anyone declaring for a federal office to resign their current office first?

    1. Including incumbents? Interesting loop there.

  14. At least the republican clown car has only one clown in it.
    The democratic clown car now has 22 in it.
    But then, it wouldn’t be a circus without the clowns.

  15. It doesn’t matter how many enter the race, when the “anointed” Queen Hillary enters, the rest are out, the DNC has already spoken.

  16. Bennet seems too honest about Medicare-for-all compared to many of the other Dems. One thing occurs to me about those large “union” health care plans – as well as many other large employer health care plans: they are self-funded, and insurance companies just administer the plans for them. If giant company “A” for example, has millions of dollars in its self-funded health plan today, does Bernie Sanders expect company “A” to just turn that money over to the federal government? I have yet to see credible details on how the transition away from employer provided insurance – including those large union and other self-funded employer plans, would work

  17. Is Walmart offering a 15% discount for Presidential candidates or something? Or are the Dems trying to make the GOP “undercard/main event” debates from the Summer of 2015 look sensible by comparison?

  18. Twenty-two or a hundred and twenty-two, these shrill, limp-wristed, socialist, faux-Indian, Obama butt-boy never-Trumpers will never, ever supersede our Orange Slag Heap in the hearts and minds and Big-Macs-with-fries of the 39%. USA! USA!

  19. “We’re gonna need a bigger clown car!”

  20. All right, Alex Bennet! About time he finally…what? Why you looking at me funny?

  21. Jeez. At this point I might as well just throw my hat into the ring! Ah shit, I just remembered I’m not quite old enough yet… I guess I’ll have to throw my hat into the ring when AOC is running in a few years.

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