Jason Kander is a young, articulate, thoughtful, progressive Democrat and, yes, he might be presidential in 2020.
Kander, who’s 35, has been on a high-profile roll in recent days.
Missouri’s former secretary of state — who came within 79,000 votes of upsetting entrenched Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt on Nov. 8 — has become a face of the resistance to bumbling President Donald Trump.
— On Tuesday, Kander appeared with Jake Tapper on CNN to eviscerate Trump’s claims about rampant voter fraud last year.
— Eric Bradner (@ericbradner) January 24, 2017
The takeaway exchange:
Tapper: “What kind of conspiracy would be necessary for three to five million people to illegally cast votes? Hundreds of people, including governors, secretaries of state? What would need to happen?”
Kander: “It would be easier to fake a Mars landing than to do that.”
— On Wednesday, Kander showed he can be aggressive on Twitter, a go-to talent in this day and age, like it or not.
— Jason Kander (@JasonKander) January 26, 2017
When he got on with host Lawrence O’Donnell, Kander didn’t mince words in an interview (click on right-hand link, titled: “Voter fraud: ‘This is a lie he told himself'”). Kander talks just after the 8:15-minute mark.
“The only responsible response to this is, the president is lying,” Kander said. “This is something that the president made up and a lie that he told himself, that he needed to hear about his loss of the popular vote.”
— Earlier this month, Kander used his swan song speech before the GOP-dominated Missouri General Assembly to rip their decision to endorse unneeded voter ID laws.
“You can protect the integrity of elections without stopping anyone from voting,” Kander said, adding that if Republicans tried to pass even stricter laws, “I guess we’ll see you in court.”
Beyond getting media love and butting heads with Republicans, Kander also has made a positive impression on others with his resolve after losing to Blunt in November.
In an eloquent and forceful Nov. 10 posting titled “Why you won’t get a pass from me,” Kander spoke to the younger generation of Americans in promoting a way forward for Democrats in the era of Trump and total GOP control of Congress.
In part: “In a ‘red’ state that Donald Trump won by 19%, we came within 3% of turning the Senate seat blue. And we didn’t do it by hugging the middle and pretending to be moderate Republicans.
“We fought for smart environmental policies, for unions, for LGBT equality, for commonsense gun safety, and a host of other important causes. I’m proud that we didn’t back down and that we demonstrated that the most important thing Democrats can do is make their argument.
“Staying engaged has become more important than ever…. A new generation is stepping forward in America. Don’t let anyone tell you that this generation is selfish. This is a generation that cares more about ideas than ideology and measures patriotism not by a politician’s eagerness to go to war but by their willingness to do what’s right no matter the political cost.”
In a piece for Huffington Post in December — titled “What being a progressive in a red state taught me” — Kander challenged Democrats to stop being lazy and taking people for granted. He argued, “Voters are smart. They know the difference between a Democratic Party that wants their vote and a Democratic Party that believes in making their life better.”
The staid political crowd will say it’s far too early to start considering a race against Trump and Co. years from now. Ah, but check out this brilliant line of thought:
someone should just start running for president like immediately. trump wouldn’t be able to resist campaigning again. agenda would stall
— jake (@jakebeckman) January 26, 2017
So could Kander be a presidential candidate in 2020 (of course, the campaign will really start in 2019) despite his youth and his narrow 2016 U.S. Senate loss?
In his post-election post to the public, Kander wrote, “I don’t know what I’m going to do next or even whether I’ll ever place my name on a ballot again.”
I’ll be glad to lean toward saying he absolutely should consider running for elected office again.
Politics has been upended in the last few years on the Republican side of the aisle.
It’s time for the struggling Democratic Party to promote youth and enthusiasm at the top of the ticket, not be tied to the same tired faces and policies.
Jason Kander for president in 2020? Ready, set, go.