Democratic Party facing data challenges going into 2020: ‘We better get on the same page’

Democrats are on a high after winning back the House last month, but they have a looming problem they know they need to address: data. Specifically, getting all their voter data under one proverbial roof. Heading into 2018, Democrats made a concerted effort to build a voter database that could compete with President Trump’s campaign operation … Continue reading “Democratic Party facing data challenges going into 2020: ‘We better get on the same page’”

Democrats are on a high after winning back the House last month, but they have a looming problem they know they need to address: data. Specifically, getting all their voter data under one proverbial roof.

Heading into 2018, Democrats made a concerted effort to build a voter database that could compete with President Trump’s campaign operation and the sophisticated data-sharing program they have with the Republican National Committee. But, the Democratic National Committee is looking to take that a step further by unifying its data under one for-profit operation – but it's prompted pushback among state party leaders, according to Politico. The state party leaders reportedly fear losing ownership rights of this data to a large, national operation, while the DNC says bringing the data from outside groups together with state parties would create a more powerful tool looking ahead to 2020.

The problem for Democrats is not necessarily a lack of data.

DNC officials moved to ramp up their voter engagement program, IWillVote, ahead of the 2018 races. The program reached over 60 million people in the 2018 midterms. They did so by connecting with voters at events like March for Our Lives – though the DNC is not directly affiliated with it – to encourage people to fill out voter commitment cards. Through those cards, the DNC was able to collect personal information.

Anyone who committed to vote was then part of a digital “chase” program that used text and email methods to send people personalized information on their polling places — the first fully digital commit-to-vote and chase program of its time, according to one official.

"From Women's Marches to rallies in Congress, the DNC has organized around large grassroots gatherings to engage voters and harness the enthusiasm on the ground to translate to votes at the ballot box,” DNC spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said.


The party also purchased over 110 million cell phone numbers to add to its voter file, collecting every available number for registered voters across the country. The DNC used these numbers to get out the vote in key races, contacting and encouraging less-frequent voters to turn out.

"Throughout the year, the DNC used this data to send more than 15 million state-specific peer-to-peer text messages through DNC-funded programs to engage voters to turn out in the midterm election,” Singh said.

According to Democratic strategists, however, the problem going forward is a lack of unity.

“If Democrats want any chance of winning in 2020 then we better get on the same page,” said a senior Democratic strategist and former state party official.

Much of the data on the Democratic side has come from marches and other political movements that turned their issue-based outreach into operations to get out the vote in the 2018 midterms. The Women’s March created the Power to the Polls effort to mobilize and register voters. The group also hosted “Call Your Sister” phone-banking events across the country that encouraged women to contact other women.

But, these are not run by the party.


When compared with the RNC’s massive voter operation — which works in unison with the Trump campaign and the state party officials — this could put the Democrats at a disadvantage looking toward 2020 because they wouldn’t have as much compiled data for the eventual nominee.


The former state party official who spoke with Fox News said the last time the DNC was truly unified in its data operation was under former chairman Howard Dean, when the party had a 50-state strategy. Dean left his post in 2009.

Doug Schoen, a Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor, agreed that the party would be better off if the data was under one operation — but he acknowledged that would be unlikely.

"Given the divisions in the party, and the mutual mistrust that exists between state and local parties, I doubt that this will ever, in fact, happen," he said.


Strategists have disagreed about whether Democrats are under pressure to compete with Trump’s operation and rally events.

The former state leader said that digital guru Brad Parscale’s new role as head of the 2020 Trump campaign should make Democrats nervous, while another said the recent midterms showed Democrats can compete in their own way.

“I think we did a pretty great job of that in the midterms and will be spending even more in a presidential cycle,” said Jessica Tarlov, a Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor. “We don't need to fight him with rallies of the same size. They're really only good for the crowd that's there and they're his die-hard supporters.”

She added that since the president is running for re-election, the rallies will mean less in terms of attracting support and predicted that they will also not be televised as much, which would mean less exposure.

“I think with Trump as a known quantity after four years in office, the rallies matter a lot less. He's not being introduced to any new audiences,” Tarlov said.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy contributed to this report.

Sally Persons is White House producer for Fox News Channel. Follow her on Twitter @sapersons.

Biden, Sanders viewed as top 2020 contenders among Iowa’s Democratic voters: poll

Former Vice President Joe Biden and 2016 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders are the preferred choices of Iowa's Democratic voters going into the 2020 election, a recent poll revealed.

The poll, conducted by the Des Moines Register, Mediacom and CNN, revealed that 49 percent of Iowa’s likely Democratic caucusgoers believe a “seasoned political hand” would stand the best chance of defeating President Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Biden, who has floated the idea of running his own campaign, came in as the front-runner with 32 percent of respondents picking him for their first choice. Sanders, who ran for president in 2016 but lost the party's nomination to Hillary Clinton, came in second with 19 percent.

J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., the firm that conducted the poll, told the Des Moines Register that seasoned politicians seem to be the direction Democratic voters are leaning toward despite being open to fresh faces.


"This is obviously a warm welcome to some people who are really familiar to caucusgoers in the state," he said. "But there’s also some welcoming of newcomers who are only now starting to come to the state and get to know the people who could shape their future."

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat who drew a national spotlight despite an unsuccessful bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is the upstart candidate Iowans would be most likely to support, with 11 percent of participants choosing him as their first choice.

The only other Democrat with a significant amount of support in Iowa was U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with 8 percent.

Other notable contenders included Sen. Cory Cooker, D-N.J., and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The poll consisted of 455 likely Democratic caucusgoers, questioned Dec. 10-13.

Paulina Dedaj is a writer/ reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @PaulinaDedaj.

Biden advisers float Beto O’Rourke as possible 2020 running mate: report

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s advisers, with an eye on the 2020 presidential campaign, have reportedly floated Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, as a potential running mate — apparently to alleviate concerns about Biden’s age.

Biden, who served as President Barack Obama’s vice president for both terms, has long been mentioned as a potential 2020 candidate after he considered a presidential run in 2016.

The Associated Press reports that past and current advisers to Biden, 76, have expressed some “concerns about age” and have raised the possibility of O’Rourke, 47, as a possible running mate.

Last month, O’Rourke (whose birth name is Robert Francis) lost his bid to unseat Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, but nonetheless became a national Democratic figure who managed to pull in more than $80 million in donations — and was the subject of multiple media profiles that zeroed in on his skateboarding and punk rock background.

O’Rourke himself has zoomed to the top of initial 2020 polls as a possible presidential candidate, leapfrogging prospective (but still-unannounced) candidates including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

But on Friday, O'Rourke again demurred on a possible run: “No decision, no decision on that,” he said during a town hall meeting in Austin, Texas.

Even so, he offered the audience his thoughts on what the Democrats’ candidate will need in 2020.

"This is the mother of all tests for this democracy and whether we can run a campaign, have candidates at all levels from school board to the White House who are willing to focus on issues, on our potential, on our promise, on the future instead of our fears, instead of attacking one another personally, instead of going for the most base impulse and instincts among us,” he said.


Should Biden capture the presidency, he'll be the oldest person ever to win the White House. President Ronald Reagan was 73 when he won re-election, while President Trump was 70 in 2016.


Age could therefore prove to be a vulnerability for Biden, and is why he is reportedly considering O’Rourke as a running mate. It may also be why he is emphasizing his experience and decades as a public servant as selling points.

“I think I’m the most qualified person in the country to be president. The issues that we face as a country today are the issues that I’ve worked on my whole life,” Biden, who was a senator for 36 years, told a crowd in Montana this month, according to The Missoula Current.

According to AP, Biden intends to spend the coming weeks deliberating with family over his next steps and is expected to make a decision in January or February.

Trump has welcomed the idea of a Biden run, having frequently feuded with the former vice president, and said running against Biden would be a “dream” during an interview with CBS News earlier this year.

“Look, Joe Biden ran three times. He never got more than 1 percent, and President Obama took him out of the garbage heap, and everybody was shocked that he did,” Trump said at the time. “I’d love to have it be Biden.”

Fox News’ Kaitlyn Schallhorn and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.

Elizabeth Warren admits she’s not ‘a person of color’ during commencement speech

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Friday said she is "not a person of color," during a commencement speech at a historically black college.

“As a country, we need to stop pretending that the same doors open for everyone, because they don’t,” she said during a commencement speech at Morgan State University in Baltimore, according to the Washington Post.

“I’m not a person of color,” she continued. “And I haven’t lived your life or experienced anything like the subtle prejudice, or more overt harm, that you may have experienced just because of the color of your skin.”

"I’m not a person of color. And I haven’t lived your life or experienced anything like the subtle prejudice, or more overt harm, that you may have experienced just because of the color of your skin."

— Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren

The acknowledgment from the Democrat, who’s been making concrete steps to prepare for her 2020 presidential run, came after a months-long agony of trying to refute criticism that she falsely claimed Native American heritage.

Warren insists she never used Native American heritage to gain advantage, though she listed herself as a “minority” before the University of Pennsylvania offered her a job, according to the Boston Globe. She later asked the university to change her listed identity as “Native American.”

In October, she released her DNA analysis results that showed “strong evidence” that she has a Native American ancestor dating back six to 10 generations.

The analysis claims that if Warren’s great-great-great-grandmother were Native American, Warren would be considered 1/64 Native American. Should Warren’s ancestor date back 10 generations, the senator would be only 1/1,024 Native American.



But the DNA analysis results only emboldened Warren’s critics, who say President Trump and the nickname he gave to the senator – “Pocahontas” – was apt because the results didn’t prove Warren was really a Native American.

“To put that in perspective, Warren might even be less Native American than the average European American,” Republican National Committee Deputy Communications Director Mike Reed told Fox News in October, while saying this would “not give you the right to claim minority status.”

The Cherokee Nation also criticized Warren.

"A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong."

— Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr

“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., said. “Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong.”

The DNA results rollout reportedly irked Warren who now may be regretting the move as rather than closing the matter, it only invited more attacks against her, according to the New York Times.


Warren reportedly expressed concerns that the stunt only ruined her relationship with the Native American community. Outside advisers also told the newspaper that the issue won’t go away and she will have to tackle it again on the campaign trail.


Yet Warren’s chances of having a viable path to presidency in 2020 appear to be dwindling after the Boston Globe’s editorial board said the Democrat is too divisive to run for president.

“While Warren is an effective and impactful senator with an important voice nationally, she has become a divisive figure,” the editorial stated. “A unifying voice is what the country needs now after the polarizing politics of Donald Trump.”

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

Kamala Harris’ DOJ received misconduct claim involving aide months before she left: report

Sen. Kamala Harris insisted earlier this month that she was “unaware” of the harassment allegations against her top aide during her time as California’s Attorney General, but the agency that she oversaw: California's Department of Justice was informed about the complaint three months before she exited in early 2017, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Larry Wallace, the longtime aide who went to Washington with Harris, resigned earlier this month after the newspaper asked about the 2017 settlement with Danielle Hartley, a woman who made the accusations. Harris’ senate office said the senator had no knowledge of the alleged harassment.

"We were unaware of this issue and take accusations of harassment extremely seriously. This evening, Mr. Wallace offered his resignation to the senator, and she accepted it."

— Sen. Kamala Harris spokeswoman Lily Adams

“We were unaware of this issue and take accusations of harassment extremely seriously,” Harris spokeswoman Lily Adams said. “This evening, Mr. Wallace offered his resignation to the senator, and she accepted it.”


On Friday, Harris – who’s mulling her 2020 presidential run – told the newspaper that she took “full responsibility for what happened in my office.”

She went on to reiterate that she wasn’t aware of the allegations against Wallace and said she was “frustrated” by the “breakdown” in the system.

“That’s what makes me upset about this. There’s no question I should have been informed about this. There’s no question. And there were ample opportunities when I could have been informed,” she added.

"That’s what makes me upset about this. There’s no question I should have been informed about this. There’s no question. And there were ample opportunities when I could have been informed."

— Sen. Kamala Harris

But some expressed skepticism that Harris had no idea of the harassment caused by Wallace. GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel wrote in a tweet that the senator was either “lying or grossly incompetent.”

“No one is buying Kamala Harris’s claim she didn’t know her top aide of 14 yrs was accused of sexual harassment, resulting in a $400K settlement,” she wrote.

According to the report, an intake form from the Equal Employment Rights and Resolution Office, which administers the issues concerning discrimination at the state DOJ, reveals that the department was alerted on Oct. 3, 2016 that Hartley will pursue legal action.

Hartley had also already requested the right to sue from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Bee reported. Her complaint, filed a month earlier, detailed the allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation – naming Wallace and “those who worked for him” as the culprit.


The lawsuit filed by the woman alleged that Wallace demeaned her based on her gender while she worked for him as his assistant.

She said Wallace placed his computer printer under his desk and often asked her to crawl under and refill it with paper as he sat and watched, sometimes with other men in the room. Wallace refused to move the printer to another location when Hartley asked him to do so, according to the suit.

The lawsuit also claims Wallace instructed Hartley to run his personal errands such as booking flights for his children and washing and performing maintenance on his car. When she would return from the assigned tasks, the lawsuit states, “co-workers would make hostile comments to her including, ‘Are you walking the walk of shame?’”

Hartley claims she tried to solve the matter internally, reporting the harassment allegations in 2011, but this only prompted retaliations against her. She was involuntarily transferred to another office at the state Department of Justice at the end of 2014, the suit said.

The lawsuit was settled for $400,000 in May 2017, just two months after Wallace went to work for Harris as her senior adviser.

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

Potential 2020 hopeful Swalwell declares Trump’s days of ‘presidential immunity’ are over

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — Congressman and likely presidential candidate Eric Swalwell predicts that when the Democrats take over the majority in the House of Representatives next month, President Donald Trump “will be held accountable.”

And in a conversation with Fox News and local New Hampshire news organizations, the California Democrat highlighted that he’s “seriously looking at running for president” and added that his potential White House bid would not be “some vanity project.”

Discussing Trump, Swalwell said, “we now have more evidence than ever that he – the president – was associated with a criminal campaign and a criminal transition and presides today over a criminal presidency.”

Swalwell's comments came after a very difficult week for the president, with a growing number of investigations into the White House and federal prosecutors arguing that Trump orchestrated the paying off of two alleged former mistresses to buy their silence during the 2016 campaign.

Trump, in his first interview since Michael Cohen was sentenced to prison, told Fox News on Thursday that he never directed his former longtime attorney and fixer to do anything wrong.

Pointing to the current GOP controlled House and Senate, Swalwell said Trump “has enjoyed for two years presidential immunity. So those days are over. He will be held accountable and in many ways regardless of what happens with impeachment, we can intervene, we can stop his worst instincts from materializing, where they would hurt the American people.”

The congressman cautioned that the incoming Democratic majority in the House shouldn’t rush to impeach the president. But he added that Trump “might be impeached.”

“If that’s the case it will be because an airtight case will have been presented, bipartisan buy-in will have occurred and the American people will understand why what he has done crossed red lines. But we’re not there yet and we don’t want to be as reckless with the truth as the president has been,” he added.

Swalwell, a frequent guest on MSNBC and CNN who sits on the high profile House Intelligence Committee, was re-elected last month to a fourth term representing California’s 15th Congressional District, which covers most of eastern Alameda County and parts of central Contra Costa County.

Asked about a timeline to decide on a White House bid, Swalwell said: “I’m continuing to talk to folks and I expect a decision after the first of the year or the first quarter.”

“I’m encouraged by what I have seen across the country – in New Hampshire, in Iowa, I’ll be in South Carolina next week – which is this appetite to go bold, do big, and do good. And they want candidates that are going to bring new energy and ideas and leadership, and I think I can offer that,” he added.

Swalwell was interviewed at the Red Arrow Diner in downtown Manchester. The iconic eatery is a must-stop for White House hopefuls. Swalwell was making his second trip in fewer than two months to New Hampshire, the state that for a century’s held the first primary in the race for president.

If he launches what would be considered a longshot bid for the Democratic nomination, Swalwell said he’s confident he could compete with rivals with bigger names and bigger wallets.

Spotlighting his working-class roots, he said, “I’m connected to the American people and the American experience. I was the first in my family to go to college. I have a young family, two kids under two. I still have student loan debts. I understand that American struggle of want and grit.”

“Day by day I’m going to keep coming to New Hampshire, I’m going to listen, I’m going to learn, and they’re (voters) going to see someone who wants to not only be for them but is one of them,” he emphasized.

Swalwell also touted his years as deputy district attorney in Alameda County, and his years in Congress, saying “my experience, I would say, puts me at the top of the field in national security experience, if you look at the Democratic candidates – going on three terms on the House Intelligence Committee and also a term on the Homeland Security Committee. I know the threats our country faces.”

Swalwell met with Democratic lawmakers and activists during his quick trip to the Granite State. And he closed out his visit with a stop at the New Hampshire Young Democrats annual holiday party.

At 38, Swalwell would be one of the youngest candidates in a field that could eventually include up to 20 contenders. But Swalwell, who’s 39 years younger than Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, said his age is a calling card.

“We can’t count on the same old leaders to solve the same old problems,” Swalwell offered. “I think if we want to get out of this rut, out of this gridlock, we’re going to need to rely on the next generation of leaders.”

Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire.

Trump says he hopes John Kasich runs against him; Kasich adviser warns, ‘Be careful’

An adviser for Ohio Gov. John Kasich reportedly cautioned President Trump Thursday after the president said he'd welcome a 2020 challenge from his former political adversary.

“Be careful what you wish for,” John Weaver, a chief political strategist, told CNBC after the president said he’d welcome a run by either Kasich or outgoing GOP Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake.

Trump's comments came during an exclusive interview with Fox News’ Harris Faulkner on Thursday.


“So you mentioned Ohio, so I'm going to bring up John Kasich and I'm going to bring up Arizona Senator Jeff Flake. Because they say they may run against you in 2020,” Faulkner said.

“I hope so,” Trump replied.

Barbour: Mistake to assume there won’t be GOP 2020 primary

Kasich is “open-minded” about potentially campaigning as an Independent versus within the GOP, Weaver also told CNBC, before noting that Kasich “is a Republican.”


Representatives for Kasich did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment.

The Ohio governor has recently discussed a possible White House run, telling ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos" earlier this month that “we’re seriously thinking about it.”

“We're seriously talking about it with family and friends and political allies who have come to me about this,” Kasich said.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

Julian Castro suggests new guard of Dems has 2020 edge, as he takes big step toward bid

Julian Castro isn’t writing off some of the older potential Democratic presidential contenders, like former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

But the 44-year old former San Antonio, Texas, mayor and Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Obama clearly likes to highlight that Americans are hungering for “a new generation of leadership.”

Castro on Wednesday took a major step toward running for the White House by announcing – through a video on his website – the launch of a presidential exploratory committee.

Julian Castro at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics last February. (Fox News)

Asked about potential candidates in their 70s or late 60s, such as Biden, Sanders and Warren, Castro said they “bring a lot to the table” and are “very talented, very accomplished, very important voices in the party. I hope they run.”

“I would never say somebody shouldn’t be in a position just because they’ve been around for 'x' number of years,” Castro explained in an interview with Fox News and a couple of local New Hampshire news outlets.

But, he emphasized: “I think you always need a mix of folks who have a lot of experience and then also folks who are bringing a fresh perspective. And I’m going to try and bring a fresh perspective.”

Castro grabbed headlines with his announcement – which he said would be followed by an official decision on Jan. 12.

Julian Castro during a visit to Nashua, N.H. (Fox News)

But the news came as fellow Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s been enjoying plenty of buzz and lots of national media attention in recent weeks. The outgoing congressman who came close to defeating Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in last month’s midterm elections has excited activists and donors across the country as he mulls his own presidential bid.

“I’ve always assumed that this is going to be a crowded field,” Castro acknowledged.

“I think you have a lot of talented people who are thinking about it, including Beto,” he added diplomatically.

O’Rourke returned the compliment, telling Fox News: “Secretary Castro is an amazing person, did an amazing job as mayor of San Antonio as secretary of HUD in the Obama administration, I think he’s going to be a great candidate.”


O’Rourke added that Castro’s move “doesn’t change anything that I’m doing because we just haven’t made a decision about anything.”

He explained he’s been focused on finishing his remaining weeks in Congress during the lame-duck session before spending “time with family and hopefully it becomes obvious to us what’s in the best interest of our family and country and pursue it.”

In his interview, Castro clearly took aim at President Donald Trump even without naming him, highlighting that Americans are “ready for leadership in Washington that is trying to unite us instead of divide us, that insists on opportunity for everybody instead of just opportunity for some people, that has integrity and character instead of what we’ve seen recently.”

Castro’s announcement – which allows him to raise money legally for a presidential bid – did not come as a surprise.

He’s been signaling that a White House run has been in the cards, telling reporters in recent weeks he was likely to launch a campaign. His trips this year to the early voting states in the presidential primary and caucus calendar – including three stops in New Hampshire – also were a calling card regarding his 2020 intentions.

Castro’s move puts him ahead of most potential rivals for the nomination. Only outgoing three-term Rep. John Delaney of Maryland – who announced his run for president in July of last year – has tossed his hat officially into the ring.

Many others are expected to follow soon.


Looking ahead to the possibility of a field of up to 20 candidates or more, Castro said: “That’s going to be fantastic for Democrats because you’re going to get to hear from any number of people with different perspectives and everybody’s going to have their voice heard and I think that’s going to be cathartic in fact for the party, after some of the bitterness of 2016.”

But, he said his move wasn’t an attempt to beat other White House hopefuls to the punch.

“For me, I’m going on my own timeline,” he explained. “I’m going to get out there and talk to folks in New Hampshire and across the country regardless of what other people are doing.”

Before heading out on the campaign trail, Castro and his twin brother, Rep. Joaquín Castro of Texas, will be in New York on Thursday evening, for some national exposure. Both Castors are scheduled to sit down with Stephen Colbert on "The Late Show" on CBS.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy contributed to this report.

Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire.

Trump critic Tulsi Gabbard is latest Dem to be ‘seriously considering’ 2020 run: reports

The list of Democrats eyeing the White House may be getting longer: U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, is said to be "seriously considering" a 2020 presidential bid, according to reports.

Gabbard, the first Hindu-American elected to Congress, paid a visit to New Hampshire last week, a state that has held the nation's first presidential primary every four years, the Hawaii Civil Beat reported.

“As I have throughout my life in making the different decisions that I’ve made, I am thinking about how I can best be of service to the people of this country,” Gabbard said, according to the paper.

Gabbard, who was recently re-elected to a fourth term representing the Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District, said she did not have any timetable for deciding on a White House bid, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.


She was a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard and served two tours of duty in the Middle East.

Gabbard, 37, strongly supports the House of Representatives' "Medicare for all" bill and getting big money out of politics, the Star-Advertiser reported.

Last month, Gabbard made headlines for referring to President Trump as "Saudi Arabia's b—-," after the president argued for the importance of a strong U.S-Saudi relationship amid calls for him to take a tougher stance on the kingdom in response to the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi.

But Gabbard has herself faced criticism for meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2017 in Damascus.

Gabbard also faced criticism during her re-election campaign for shying away from debating her primary opponent, continuing a pattern that has developed since she was first elected to Congress.

Ironically, Gabbard resigned from her position with the Democratic National Committee in 2016 because she believed the party hadn't scheduled enough debates among its presidential candidates that year.

Also said to be considering a 2020 presidential run is Texas Democrat Julian Castro, former President Obama's housing chief.

Castro, 44, launched a 2020 presidential exploratory committee this week.

“Americans are ready to climb out of this darkness. We’re ready to keep our promises. And we’re not going to wait. We’re going to work,” Castro, 44, said in a video. “That’s why I’m exploring a candidacy for president of the United States in 2020.”

An exploratory committee usually is a formality before a candidate launches a presidential campaign. It legally allows potential candidates to begin raising money.

The former San Antonio mayor said his official decision will be announced on Jan. 12. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, along with former Vice President Joe Biden and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, are also potential presidential candidates.


Another well-funded set, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Bloomberg and Steyer, believe they can afford to wait slightly longer to announce their intentions given their fundraising prowess.

Previously mulling a 2020 presidential bid was firebrand attorney Michael Avenatti, politically famous for representing porn star Stormy Daniels.

He announced early this month that he will not run for the White House in 2020, citing family concerns for his decision.

“After consultation with my family and at their request, I have decided not to seek the Presidency of the United States in 2020. I do not make this decision lightly—I make it out of respect for my family. But for their concerns, I would run,” Avenatti said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick also bowed out of the 2020 presidential contest last week, citing the "cruelty of our elections process" and the effect it would have on his loved ones.

"After a lot of conversation, reflection and prayer, I've decided that a 2020 campaign for president is not for me," Patrick, 62, posted on his Facebook page.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Amy Lieu is a news editor and reporter for Fox News.

Fantasy land: Trump’s not resigning and Beto is still a long shot

There's a whole lot of wishful thinking going on these days.

Too many people, perhaps living in their own bubbles, have convinced themselves of the outcomes they want to see. And the phenomenon cuts across political and cultural lines.

Their instinct is that they must be right because it just seems so obvious to all thinking persons.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, the celebrated historian, writes terrific books about past presidents. But Goodwin, who was close to LBJ, went off on Donald Trump yesterday in a rather odd way.

On "Morning Joe," Goodwin said the situation in America "hasn't been this bad since the 1850s, and that didn't end up too well, with a Civil War that 600,000 people died in."

Okay, that's quite a comparison.

She did have a reasonable point in talking about "the miserableness of these people — there's no joy in that White House." Many have had to lawyer up, and there's been a record level of turnover, with some being trashed after their departure. And, said Goodwin, "the top guy doesn't have any joy."

Then came the wish-upon-a-star: "I think at some point he might resign. If this thing gets so bad."

Anyone who believes that Donald Trump is going to voluntarily give up the job that almost nobody thought he could win simply doesn't understand the man.

Then there are some of the Democrats who see an involuntary exit for Trump. I wrote yesterday about how some of them are now talking up indictment, rather than impeachment, as the media shift their focus from Russia to paying off alleged paramours. But some senior Democratic lawmakers are still talking up impeachment.

The Federalist puts it bluntly: "Why Democrats Would Be Insane to Impeach Donald Trump." Writer David Marcus notes that after Bill Clinton was acquitted by the Senate, his approval rating hit 73 percent:

"The thrice-married Trump, who has been known to boast about adultery like a suburban dad who won the best lawn in the neighborhood award, apparently had sex with a porn star and a Playboy playmate. That seems about par for his course. But wait! He lied about it! Well, yeah, also pretty much behavior we knew about and expected. But there's more! He might have violated campaign finance law! Okay, but so do a lot of campaigns. Usually they pay a fine and we all move along."

The piece argues that House Democrats, knowing there was no chance of a Republican Senate convicting Trump, "would presumably bring up articles of impeachment to hurt the president politically." But, he says, "Counterpunching Trump would like nothing more than to tell crowd after crowd at rally after rally that the angry Democrats on the elitist coasts and their friends in the deep state are attempting a coup."

Unless more evidence emerges in the Mueller probe, it remains a liberal fantasy.

Another object of fantasy is Beto O'Rourke. The media are so in love with this guy that they provide breathless updates about his 2020 prospects: He met with Al Sharpton! He spoke to Elizabeth Warren's former campaign manager. He "appears to have frozen the Dem field," says NBC.

The New York Times the other day pronounced him the "wild card" of the presidential campaign, "rousing activists" in early-voting states and drawing the interest of former Obama aides.

Now I get that O'Rourke raised record-shattering amounts of money in his 3-point loss to Ted Cruz. But he still lost — not exactly the usual launching pad for a White House bid. But some of his media boosters were talking him up during the campaign as a strong contender even if he lost the Senate race — because, well, he's Beto.

The Times does point out the downside:

"Mr. O’Rourke would surely have vulnerabilities in a primary, including an absence of signature policy feats or a centerpiece issue to date. In his Senate race, he was often disinclined to go negative, frustrating some Democrats who believe he wasted a chance to defeat Mr. Cruz, and he struggled at times in some traditional formats like televised debates. He is, by admission and design, not the political brawler some Democrats might crave against a president they loathe. And his candidacy would not be history-making like Mr. Obama's nor many of his likely peers' in the field, in an election when many activists may want a female or nonwhite nominee."

O'Rourke could always catch fire and win the nomination, I suppose. But for now, it's wishful thinking.

Finally, it pains me to write this because I'm a huge admirer of Steph Curry, the Golden State Warriors star who has a fabulous work ethic and whose three-point shooting transformed the game.

I don't expect athletes to be well informed on anything other than the mechanics of their sport. But Curry is buying into the fantasy that the American moon landings were faked.

This, a half-century since Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, apparently remains a popular conspiracy theory.

And when two hosts on a podcast said the landings never happened, Curry responded: "I don't think so either."

"You don't think so?" he was asked.

"Nuh uh," Curry replied. One of the hosts then brought up the theory that the government hired Stanley Kubrick to produce the phony show.

NASA has now invited Curry to visit its lunar lab at the Johnson Space Center and examine the lunar rocks brought back by Apollo 11.

Maybe Curry will be too busy nailing threes to go. Wishful thinking can be much more fun.

Howard Kurtz is a Fox News analyst and the host of “MediaBuzz” (Sundays 11 a.m.). He is the author “Media Madness: Donald Trump, The Press and the War Over the Truth.” Follow him at @HowardKurtz. Click here for more information on Howard Kurtz.