News & Politics

Some Guy Named John Is Running for President

Rep. John Delaney, D-Md (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

An obscure, nondescript Maryland congressman apparently wasn’t getting enough attention as, well, an obscure, nondescript Maryland Congressman and has made the momentous decision to raise his profile a bit.

Rep. John Delaney announced in a Washington Post op-ed that he will seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.

Delaney has absolutely nothing to recommend him for the presidency. He is an odorless, colorless, balding little man with no significant national legislation to his name, nothing that would make him stand out in a crowd.

And, oh my, what a crowd of Democrats there will be. If you thought the 2016 Republican field was crowded, wait until all Democrats have announced. There will be a gaggle of them – congressmen, senators, governors, celebrities; they will have to rent out the Superdome for the first debate.

CNN helpfully points out that Delaney has a “moderate record.” No doubt there won’t be a Democrat in the field who CNN thinks isn’t a “moderate” of one stripe or another. Joseph Stalin could run and CNN would identify his politics as left of center.

He enters the race an extreme longshot — with no national profile among Democrats and a moderate record that appears out of sync with the party’s progressive primary electorate.

Delaney is a self-made businessman who has launched two companies and could pour millions of dollars of his own money into the campaign.

In Congress, his positions have put him at odds with many Democratic primary voters, including his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. He previously pushed minimum wage hikes, but for amounts short of the $15 an hour that progressives have sought (and Delaney now says he backs). He has proposed allowing businesses to repatriate money earned overseas without paying taxes in exchange for buying infrastructure bonds.

By beating other candidates into the race by as much as two years, Delaney could hope to surpass the small roles played by former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb in the 2016 Democratic race.

“Our government is hamstrung by excessive partisanship. We are letting critical opportunities to improve the country pass us by. And we are not even talking about the most important thing: the future,” Delaney wrote Friday.

“The victims of this leadership failure are the good people we are sworn to serve, and we are leaving our country ill-prepared for dramatic changes ahead. The current administration is making us less prosperous and less secure. I’m running because I have an original approach to governing and economic policy that can put us on a different course.”

Now you might think it’s a touch early to start talking about the 2020 election. And you’d be right. But Delaney (did I mention he was an obscure, nondescript congressman from Maryland?) figures there’s no time like the present. Perhaps he believes first in, last out? Or maybe he’s actually running as the “moderate” alternative to whatever rabid faux socialist who will eventually emerge as the Democratic frontrunner.

My guess is he’s running for vice president — the perfect spot for an obscure, nondescript congressman from Maryland.