John Delaney is a congressman from Maryland. He’s a Democrat. For the past nine months, he’s been running for president of the United States. He has already visited Iowa, the first state to vote in 2020 primaries, more than 100 times. He has a campaign office there, and has spent $1 million on TV ads. And virtually no one outside Maryland and Iowa knows who he is.
Delaney’s anonymity illustrates the obscurity in which most Democrats continue to find themselves. President Trump, the media obsession with his every utterance, and Republican control of Congress have kept Democrats in the shadows since Trump won the White House. As midterms approach, Democrats will edge their way back on stage. When they’re over, the party will have big questions to answer:
- Who is the leader of the Democratic Party?
- What does the party stand for?
- If Democrats retake control of the House of Representatives, who will be Speaker?
- Should they try to impeach the president?
- Will presidential candidates face litmus test policy questions that divide the party on issues like a single payer health care system?
- Who will lead Democrats against Donald Trump in 2020?
The focus remains on Trump for now, but Democrats will soon themselves back in the spotlight. Will they be ready?