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Jonathan Bernstein

How to Pick a 2020 Candidate

Forget demographics, campaign skills and everything else. Just pick someone who would make a good president.

Don’t overthink it.

Don’t overthink it.

Photographer: Caitlin O'Hara/Bloomberg

Democrats: Looking for a presidential candidate? You’re going to see a lot of articles like this one by Peter Hamby, who says, “The choice in the Democratic primary ultimately is about only one thing: who is best prepared to beat Trump at a time when Trump owns the culture?” In other words, they’re going to tell you to support the candidate with the best chance to win, and more often than not they’re going to conclude that it takes a certain style or demographic niche or something like that.

My suggestion? Ignore all of that. Support the candidate you think will be the best president. Actually, I’d modify that a little: If you have some clear reason for believing that the person who would make the best president would be a particularly bad general-election candidate, then stop and think about it a little more. Otherwise, just pick the one who’d do the job best, for two reasons.