Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton announced a run for president on Monday, joining the ever-expanding cadre of mostly-unknown white dudes scrapping it out at the bottom of the crowded pack of 2020 Democratic candidates.
So why is Seth Moulton doing this? It’s hard to say for sure. In his announcement video, the congressman leaned hard on his “service”—in his church, in the Marine Corps, in a “war he disagreed with”—and featured testimonials from his immediate family, like his wife saying he is a “tank.”
Here it is if you’re into that sort of thing:
But Moulton may have a completely different election to worry about: Democrats in his district, Massachusetts’ Sixth, are pissed off about his upstart challenge to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and his willingness to work with Republicans, enough so that they’re planning to run a primary challenger against him in 2020. Entering an already-crowded presidential race this late as a relatively no-name candidate is an utter shot in the dark, but it’s possible Moulton plans to give up on Congress entirely and use the image-bump of a presidential campaign to run for governor at the end of Charlie Baker’s second term in 2022. (There’s no term limits on governor in Massachusetts, so he’d likely face Baker again.)
All we’ve got so far is Moulton’s announcement video and his entrenched record of running on a foreign policy platform from 2004, plus a few embarrassing self-owns along the way. His launch video also hits all of the broadly accepted Democratic policy cornerstones—gun control, labor rights, “green” jobs—without seeming particularly interested or passionate about any of them. Moulton now faces the task of convincing people who aren’t his immediate family to support him publicly, which, by the looks of his first video, isn’t going too great so far.