The Denome’s Advocate: The Dangers of Running for President

On this day, August 3, 2017, we are 1185 days from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of 2020. In Layman’s terms, Election Day.

Needless to say, that’s a long ways off. A baby born today will be able to talk, maybe even read by the time we go to the polls in the next decade. And despite that, we already have a couple candidates vying to be on the ballot for the office of President of the United States.

One, you might not be surprised to hear, is Donald Trump. The current president already has a reelection campaign going, is accepting donations and even occasionally holds rallies in the same style as the ones that took place during his successful bid for the presidency last year.

Trump’s only counterpart of any notability is Congressman John Delaney of Maryland’s 6th District.  A Democrat from the eastern part of his state, Delaney is a former banking CEO and otherwise pretty unremarkable. As someone who proudly can remember about a third of the House of the top of his head, I couldn’t even name Delaney’s state when I first heard about him.

Ultimately, Delaney isn’t too important. The likelihood of him winning in what’s sure to be a crowded race is microscopically low. That’s not to say him running isn’t good; Democrats could use a competitive primary to force themselves to come up with the best candidate possible. However, Delaney is part of a group that is likely to have many candidates throwing their hats in the ring; currently serving politicians.

Last year, in the crowded GOP primary, a plurality of potential nominees ran a campaign while also holding elected office. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rand Paul (R-KY) and Governors John Kasich (OH), Chris Christie (NJ) and Bobby Jindal (LA) all fell under that category. Same thing with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on the Democrats. It’s obviously not unheard of for a candidate to also be an officeholder. The question is whether it is good for the country or not.

During the campaign, all five of the previous mentioned senators missed a number of votes so as to make time for campaign stops. By the end of it, Rubio had one of the worst Senate attendance records in recorded history. The same thing happened with the governors. Christie’s dismal approval rating today stems from his neglect of New Jersey while he ran unsuccessfully for office.

However, now we have Trump as president, already running for reelection. Plenty of presidents have been running the country and a campaign at the same time, but Trump is a different animal. As has been pointed out, he already spends an inordinate amount of time golfing and watching TV, rather than governing. If he were to also be running a campaign, something he has said to have enjoyed doing, it would suck up more time from his not-so-busy schedule. It’s one thing when a couple senators out of a hundred aren’t around for procedural motions and minor bills going through the legislature. It’s another thing when the president is neglecting his duty entirely.

And there’s reason to believe that more than a few senators will be gone come next time to run campaigns. There’s speculation already that Cruz and Sanders are thinking about running again. Other Senate Democrats, like Kamala Harris (D-CA), Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are thought to be considering presidential bids. Those are only a few names out of who knows how many.

Delaney’s campaign might be good for the Democratic party. But before other Democrats and Republicans jump into the hard business of campaigning for president, they should ask themselves. Is this good for my constituents? Is this good for me? And most importantly, is this good for the country?

The Denome’s Advocate is a weekly political column with a liberal slant

Follow Thomas Denome on Twitter at @thomas_denome

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