The first announcement of the 2020 Presidential campaign season is already underway. Kirsten Gillibrand, freshly re-elected, has teased voters with the idea that she is thinking about running for President. However, Richard Ojeda has gone one step further. Richard Ojeda has gained national attention because of his failed 2018 congressional run in West Virginia.
Ojeda is an interesting figure. According to FiveThirtyEight, he has cross-aisle appeal in West Virginia according to their assiduously collected data. He has cultivated that appeal in his shoot-from-the-hip way of speaking and his unpolished Facebook live chats where he talks about issues important to him and takes questions from anyone watching. His message is clear: he wants to return the democrat party to being a party of the working man.
The democrats could use the help with white, working-class voters. That’s a demographic that democrats have been struggling with since the Bush years. By 2016, it appeared that that group, especially men, were solidly red. Hillary Clinton didn’t even bother focusing on that group in 2016. It’s no surprise that she lost in Wisconsin, a state she did not visit during the general election. Richard Ojeda wants to change all of that.
His appearance isn’t that of a typical politician. He spent most of his life in the Army serving for 24 years. He features photos of him in pop culture military t-shirts and combat gear prominently. He cuts a figure in his pictures and campaign photos. He looks like someone you want to ride a rough river with in his posture and just how he holds himself.
However, he has a problematic clinker. His involvement in politics began in 2012 when he started to live in West Virginia more. When he saw how bad everything was and then saw Donald Trump promising to fix it all, he decided to vote for Trump. That’s not something that many democrat voters are going to find acceptable. However, it might just be the thing that the democrats need: someone who speaks for the Trump voters who abandoned the party in 2016 for Trump.
This writer doesn’t think he has a snowball chance in hell of getting the nomination, however, he might make a fitting Vice Presidential candidate attached to the right top ticket candidate. Maybe even Kirsten Gillibrand.