2020 may still seem far off, but the US presidential campaign is already well underway.
A few dozen Democrats have either confirmed or are considering a run for the top job to oust Donald Trump.
Whoever wins the primaries will likely face off with the President, who has already raised more than $US100 million for re-election to a second term.
Mr Trump has touted his second run for an unusually long time. He’s been holding campaign-like rallies since February 2017 — just a month after he was inaugurated.
He’s repeatedly confirmed his intention to run in several speeches, and as of last November, he confirmed that Mike Pence would be his vice presidential running mate in 2020.
But who will he most likely be up against? Here’s a breakdown of some of the most high-profile contenders:
ELIZABETH WARREN (CONFIRMED)
Elizabeth Warren announced her intention to run for President last December.
The Massachusetts Senator has been a scathing critic of Mr Trump, which has helped boost her profile. Just over the past weekend, she suggested he could be in prison by next year.
“By the time we get to 2020, Donald Trump may not even be President,” she told voters in Iowa. “In fact, he may not even be a free person.”
Ms Warren’s main focus is middle-class economics. “America’s middle class is under attack,” she says. “How did we get here? Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie, and they enlisted politicians to cut them a fatter slice.”
But last week, Ms Warren made headlines for all the wrong reasons, after The Washington Post published a document revealing her handwritten assertion that she was an “American Indian” on a 1986 registration card she filled out for the State Bar of Texas.
In October, she released DNA test results showing she had a distant Native American ancestor — a move slammed by Cherokee leaders who noted that tribal groups set their own criteria for lineage.
She has since apologised for the claim, and been mocked globally — most notably by Mr Trump:
Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President. Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore? See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2019
Still, she remains one of the most high-profile figures to run for the Democratic primaries, and a clear frontrunner.
KAMALA HARRIS (CONFIRMED)
Last month, first-time senator and former California Attorney-General Kamala Harris confirmed she would enter the presidential race.
The 54-year-old would be the first woman to hold the presidency and the second African-American if she was to succeed.
“I’m running for president because I love my country,” she declared in January, on Martin Luther King Day. “I’m running to be president of the people, by the people, and for all people.”
Ms Harris’ main policy is the LIFT the Middle Class Act, which would give $US500 per month to working-class families, to be funded by ending generous giveaways to big corporations and the top one per cent.
Her platform will also feature progressive policies including debt-free college and “Medicare for all” — allowing Americans to opt into government-run health coverage. She has previously vowed to fight for the “largest middle class tax cut in a generation”.
CORY BOOKER (CONFIRMED)
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker declared his bid for the top job last month, in an emotional video that took aim at Mr Trump.
“I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind; where parents can put food on the table; where there are good-paying jobs with good benefits in every neighbourhood; where our criminal justice system keeps us safe, instead of shuffling more children into cages and coffins; where we see the faces of our leaders on television and feel pride, not shame,” the 49-year-old said in the video.
He’s vowed to campaign “in a different way”, emphasising that he wants to “unite Americans” rather than “beat Republicans”.
Such a tactic has sparked condescension, most notably with counsellor Kellyanne Conway likening his rhetoric to “a Hallmark card”.
Among his key policies are a plan to give newborn babies savings accounts worth tens of thousands of dollars for when they turn 18, criminal justice reforms and action on climate change.
BERNIE SANDERS (UNDECLARED)
Bernie Sanders has not announced a run for 2020, but his name is being thrown around a lot.
This is hardly surprising — a veteran politician, polls have found the 77-year-old independent to be the most popular member of the US Senate, particularly among young voters.
Among his priorities were raising the minimum wage to $US15/hour, free education and universal healthcare.
But whether his star power of the previous election can be matched is another question.
A New York Times analysis notes that Mr Sanders is “no longer a singular figure among Democrats” on the far left, with rising stars like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Beto O’Rourke making his once-distinctive proposals less exceptional.
(Ms Ocasio-Cortez is too young to run for president; by 2020, she will be 31, which is four years shy of the minimum age to qualify.)
BETO O’ROURKE (UNDECLARED)
Beto O’Rourke is a popular Democratic figure, who gained much media attention for his campaign to attempt to oust Republican Ted Cruz in Texas.
Even his narrow loss was a big deal, given the state hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate in 30 years.
The El Paso-born pollie has not confirmed a run for president, but pressed by Oprah earlier this month, he said: “I have been thinking about running for president … I’m so excited at the prospect of being able to play that role.”
Mr O’Rourke has drawn comparisons to popular former presidents Barack Obama and John F Kennedy, and is a favourite among Hollywood celebrities.
Among his key campaigns include the legalisation of marijuana, curbing the influence of corporate money in Washington and opposing Mr Trump’s harsh immigration policy.
He’s also shone a spotlight on racism, becoming a viral phenomenon after he defended NFL players who knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality against African-Americans.
“I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up, or take a knee, for your rights, any time, anywhere, in any place,” he said.
Mr O’Rourke said he’ll make a final call on the bid by the end of the month.
JOE BIDEN (UNDECLARED)
According to polling, former vice president Joe Biden could prove successful in the election.
He boosted his profile working alongside Mr Obama, and has previously claimed he is “the most qualified person in the country to the president”.
According to Politico, he has spoken with former congressional colleagues in recent weeks about how he sees his chances for a 2020 run, and what it would take for him to succeed.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy described him as “one of the most beloved figures in the party”, while others noted he has a wealth of experience and is politically centred enough to appeal to a broad range of Democrats.
But whether he could win over young voters is another question. Viral Obama memes aside, he made headlines last year after stating that he has “no empathy” for millennials.
“The younger generation now tells me how tough things are. Give me a break. No, no, I have no empathy for it. Give me a break,” he told the LA Times, citing his own generation’s achievements.
Late last month, Mr Biden told Politico he was “a lot closer” to making a decision and would announce his plans “soon”.
HILLARY CLINTON (UNDECLARED)
With so many conflicting reports, it’s difficult to even speculate on whether Mr Trump’s former political rival will launch another run for the top job.
Some news outlets boldly called it in the months following Ms Clinton’s 2016 loss. Others said there’s no way in hell she’d give it another go.
What we do know is there are reports she hasn’t ruled it out. “Clinton is telling people that she’s not closing the doors to the idea of running in 2020,” CNN reported last month. “I’m told by three people that as recently as this week, she was telling people that, given all this news from the indictments, particularly the Roger Stone indictment, she talked to several people, saying ‘Look, I’m not closing the doors to this.’”
He was careful to clarify that this did not mean there was a plan in motion — but merely meant she was considering it.
Conversely, her campaign chairman John Podesta last month dismissed the media speculation. “She says she’s not running for president,” he said. “I think this is media catnip.”
Still, if there’s one important takeaway from the last election, it’s this: never say never.