Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

We’re still five months away from the 2018 midterms and already knee-deep in 2020 speculation, about all of the usual suspects and a bunch of billionaires cosplaying as Ross Perot. It’s on that premise that we got this bad CNBC story on Friday about Virginia Senator Mark Warner, a conservative Democrat who’s been such a good #resister that he’s voted to confirm some of Trump’s worst cabinet nominees and to help him gut Dodd-Frank.

According to CNBC, “some of the Democratic Party’s biggest financiers” are pushing Warner to run as a counter to more progressive candidates, like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. CNBC says that donors “are looking at his ability to stand up to the Trump administration as a potential platform for him to run on in 2020 on top of his moderate economic views.” Considering there are at least 40 other Democratic senators who have been doing more “standing up to the Trump administration,” let’s go with the latter.


It’s not like the Democratic Party’s moderate, business-cozy wing is in dire need of 2020 candidates. Joe Biden, former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, former attorney general Eric Holder, and Colorado governor John Hickenlooper have all expressed interest in running, and that’s not even counting the plethora of potential candidates who haven’t.

What’s more, CNBC reports, is that Warner doesn’t actually want to run for president, quoting one anonymous source that Warner doesn’t have the “fire in his belly to run at this point.” What CNBC didn’t do? Name any of these mystery donors who want Warner to run for president. This is a 2020 story in June 2018; why, exactly, are these people—who are reportedly already trying to tip the scales of the next presidential primary—getting the benefit of anonymity?

It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if the Democratic Party’s moneyed donors want their own Jeb Bush 2016 campaign, in which Bush spent $130 million to run explicitly as the “establishment” choice and proceeded to completely shit the bed in three primaries before dropping out. But until these donors—or someone else—are willing to publicly name themselves, this kind of speculation only serves their interests. And in this case, it seems pretty damn useless.

News editor, Splinter

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