Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet is reportedly considering jumping into the 2020 Democratic presidential primary within a month. That’s his decision, and if he really wants to run, it’s his right. But ... why?
There are lots of reasons a person might run for president, with ambition and ego obviously high on the list. But you hope that a candidate also feels they really truly bring something unique to the race, and Bennet’s political doppelganger is already running.
There are differences between Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, to be sure. Hickenlooper is 67 years old. while Bennet is 54. They are reported to have different personalities.
But the similarities outweigh the differences. They are both white men from Colorado whose careers have repeatedly intertwined—Hickenlooper was mayor of Denver and then governor of Colorado while Bennet was Hickenlooper’s chief of staff in Denver before becoming superintendent of the Denver Public Schools and then a senator from Colorado. Both will doubtless tout their business experience as an important resume line. They both have mushy moderate politics. They even both went to Wesleyan University.
It’s already a big field. Subtract Hickenlooper, and Bennet would still have to decide how to distinguish himself from fellow senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Bernie Sanders. He’d have to distinguish himself from fellow white guys Sanders, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and quite likely Joe Biden. But on top of all that, Bennet is going to get into a race with another former businessman from the same alma mater and the same city for whom he once served as chief of staff and with whom he shares the same general ideological territory? That would be a really odd decision.