2019 was a year of ups and downs for the Democratic party. Several figures rose to the top, and several had a disappointing year in 2019. We’re going to highlight the biggest rising and falling stars for the party last year, but we’re going to start with those that lost steam or suffered damage to their political careers.
First, the falling stars of the Democratic Party:
3) Cory Booker
Booker gained a lot of media attention during the Kavanaugh hearings in 2018, and used that to launch his bid for the presidency in the early part of 2019. His campaign hasn’t really taken off. With so many candidates in the race, and some less-than-memorable policy proposals, Senator Booker didn’t really live up to the hype that he tried to generate leading into the campaign. He was seen as someone to keep an eye on, but has since fallen by the wayside as someone who “also ran” for president.
2) Bernie Sanders
Sanders ran a very tough campaign in 2016 and brought the Democratic party further to the left than any other candidate in recent history. The contemporary progressive wing of the party is in existence largely due to his efforts in that presidential campaign and his work with progressive organizations since. However, his second run for the presidency has not met expectations. As with Cory Booker, Sanders’ campaign was crippled by so many other candidates in the field. In particular, Elizabeth Warren’s rise as the new torch-bearer of the progressive wing of the party certainly hurt Senator Sanders’ position as a the leader of the progressive left. With his rising age and falling poll numbers, 2019 was Sanders’ last effort to advance his political career, and he’s poised to fall short in 2020.
1) Beto O’Rourke
After coming off of a close Senate race against Ted Cruz that garnered national attention, Beto floundered in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. His fundraising numbers were just a fraction of what he brought in the 2018 Senate race, and he polled just outside of the margin of error in most polls. After an unsuccessful campaign “restart,” O’Rourke took positions further to the left than he had in 2018, losing him a fair amount of support among his moderate base. His sparring with Pete Buttigieg and his firearm buy back plan didn’t sit too well with voters, and he severely damaged his political standing in 2019. Overall, Beto takes the cake as 2019’s biggest falling star in the Democratic party.