Two years and two months, is a long time from now, expect when you’re talking about presidential politics. If the Iowa caucus — the kickoff of the presidential voting season — is held on the same date it was in 2016 (Feb. 1), we are only 18 months from the first vote. And, considering the amount of money it takes to mount a successful national political campaign, you better believe, anyone who is thinking about running is already at it, albeit some in a little more low key way than others.

What Americans cans expect is for the run for president to kick-off publicly after this November’s elections. In the meantime, the candidates are jogging for position, and in the process there are three African Americans out there testing the waters and getting so much attention it led us to question, is there another Barack Obama heading America’s way?

Of course, by an “another Barack Obama,” we mean an intelligent, African American with the political pedigree, charisma, and fortitude to make a serious run for the presidency. To that, we answer yes. But if our questions is actually, is there another African American out there who can run and win the presidency, we’re not as confident in our response.

CORY BOOKER

Even though Cory Booker is only 49 years old, there’s been talk about his political future for almost two decades. He was elected to the Senate in 2013, but before that, served as the Mayor of Newark NJ, where he made great strides. During his first term affordable housing under development doubled and the city budget deficit was cut from $180 million to $73 million.

He certainly has an Obama-like educational pedigree. He attended Stanford for undergraduate school and was a Rhodes Scholar before attending Yale Law School. So what’s not to like about the guy.

Booker has been a rising star, and he’s ready to jump on it, and see just how far it can take him. He’s already off and running, and doing just the right things to position himself as an early “top-tier” candidate.

In an era where bombast is seen as “electable,” Booker’s viral lashing toward Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is being seen as a good thing with Democrats. Booker became the first U.S. senator to testify against the nomination of a colleague when he told the Senate Judiciary Committee in January 2017 that U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., should not be confirmed as U.S. attorney general.

The party wants a leader that will not back down from Trump throughout a campaign, and in a debate, and Booker possesses many qualities that would leave one to believe he’s capable.

He’s certainly making an appeal to progressive Democrat’s. Booker was one of the earliest supporters of efforts to remove the federal prohibition against marijuana, introducing his Marijuana Justice Act last August that would reverse decades of national policy. He also teamed up with Cong. Bernie Sanders to introduce a drug importation bill that included a safety provision, as a way to hold down prices. He also supporters of a single-payer health plan

Booker has definitely been out there on the campaign trail. He campaigned for Doug Jones, the Democrat who scored an upset win in Alabama’s U.S. Senate election. He’s been to Arizona to support Senate nominee Kyrsten Sinema in an open-seat race, and in several states that went for Trump in 2016 and where Senate Democrats are seeking re-election this year, including Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Bill Nelson of Florida and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.

While all that traveling may have been in support of the good old Democratic Party, they certainly did a lot to help heighten his profile in each of those areas, and all on someone else’s dime.

KAMALA HARRIS

Despite being mentioned as the next Obama, as far back as Obama’s first term, and strategically taking the rights steps to keep moving his brand forward, Booker star isn’t shining quite as bright as Sen. Kamala Harris. On the Washington Post’s early pole of Democratic hopeful, Booker moved up recently to fifth place, but Harris comes in at number four.

Harris, 53, has only been in the United States Senate since January 2017. She was elected to replace long serving California Sen. Barbara Boxer, who decided not to seek reelection. From 2011-2017 she served as Attorney General of California and before that was San Francisco District Attorney.

Her education pedigree isn’t as impressive as Booker’s or Obama’s. She received her undergraduate degree from Howard University (that’s Black Ivy League) and her law degree from the University of California Hastings. Obama-like, Harris is of mixed-race heritage. Her mother is from India and her father is Jamaica. Both of them were immigrants, and the “birthers” already questioning her legal ability to serve as president of the United States.

When Harris moved from Sacramento, where she served as California’s attorney general, to Washington, few of her old allies expected her to make such a leap into the national conversation. Now, though, most Democratic leaders see her as a likely, if not certain, presidential contender.

“She has become the progressive voice, or certainly one of the two or three progressive voices in the country,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg (D), who served as California’s Senate president when Harris was attorney general. “She is a politician who is willing to seize the opportunity.”

In a next few weeks, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, she has a potential to shine nationally during the hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanagh. The hearings won’t exactly be a coming-out party for Harris, she has already used her perch to insert herself into the debate over major national issues like President Trump’s decision to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Away from Washington, Harris is beginning to lay the groundwork necessary to take advantage of her newfound stardom. She has spent months on the campaign trail, for both incumbent colleagues and first-time contenders alike, raising more than $5 million for Democratic candidates and groups this year.

In the process, she has built an email list that would rival all but a very small handful of her potential rivals, a reservoir of potential supporters who could form the backbone of a presidential campaign.

But while some potential 2020 candidates are offering their support to only a handful of party-backed candidates, Harris is trying something different. She has inserted herself into several contested primaries around the country, endorsing and raising money for candidates – mostly those of color – who do not always have support from their home state political leaders.

It is a risky strategy, one that could potentially anger the very Democrats a future presidential campaign would need to court for volunteer and financial support. But friends and advisors say Harris’s involvement is an effort to use her political capital, at a time when that capital is growing.

ERIC HOLDER

Both Booker and Harris are considered top-tier potential candidates for 2020, Former Attorney General Eric Holder, 67, finds himself having to place his name into the conversation. Although he hasn’t committed to run, when asked, he’s clear he’s considering it.

Holder was the first African-American to serves as U.S. Attorney General and previously served as a judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and as United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. A close friend of Obama’s, he’s definitely Obama-like, and has the educational pedigree with both his Bachelor’s and Law Degrees from Columbia

University.

In decades past, Mr. Holder had looked at a run for mayor in the

District, but with a major national profile and no voting member from

Washington serving in Congress, his electoral opportunities would appear

to lie more at the presidential level now.

Holder is currently fundraising and flexing his political muscles as

head of former President Barack Obama’s chief political operation,

the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, to try to put their

party in better shape ahead of the redrawing of political maps after the

2020 census.

Pundits say Holder’s June 1 appearance at the annual “Politics and

Eggs Breakfast” in New Hampshire could signal Holder’s intention to

run for the White House in a bid to become America’s second African-

American president.

New Hampshire is a small but very important state for presidential

politics. Past speakers at the New Hampshire breakfast include President

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

OPRAH WINFREY

Despite appeals to run, Oprah Winfrey, or should we just say

Oprah, is still saying politics isn’t for her.

However, if Donald Trump can win the presidency, why couldn’t

Oprah Winfrey?

The idea of a television talk show host, even one as popular as

Winfrey, making a viable run for the White House would have struck

many as absurd not long ago.

Not so in the era of Trump. Her wealth would be an enormous

asset, just as Trump’s was.

Winfrey’s net worth is $2.8 billion, according to Forbes.

But much of the Oprah 2020 chatter ignores the hard realities of

running for president, even for one of the nation’s best-known celebrities.

Winfrey, who supported Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for president,

has shot down past speculation that she might run.

“There will be no running for office of any kind for me,” she told her

best friend, Gayle King, in October on “CBS This Morning.

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Bonita Gooch

Since 1996, Bonita has served as as Editor-in-Chief of The Community Voice newspaper. As the owner, she has guided the Wichita-based publication’s growth in reach across the state of Kansas and into...

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