We’ll know some time in 2019 whether former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu will run for the Democratic presidential nomination.
This much we already know: If Landrieu takes the plunge, he’ll be spared at least one indignity that plagued the last Louisiana politician who had his eye on the White House.
Former Gov. Bobby Jindal had many strikes against him during his own brief presidential campaign, most of his own making. One challenge that was not at all his fault was the Republican Party’s decision to split the large field into an A Team and B Team in the early debates, relegating candidates who didn’t make a poll-driven cutoff, including Jindal, to what became known as the “kids’ table” forums. These debates generally aired earlier than the main events and drew little attention, in part because the format itself sent the message that the participants weren’t serious contenders, and in part because they didn’t feature Donald Trump.
The Democrats are expecting an even bigger field for 2020, and they announced this week that they’ll handle debates differently. Rather than pre-ordain winners and losers, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said the party would divide the candidates up randomly and host debates on consecutive nights if necessary.
“The critical imperative is making sure everyone feels their candidate got a fair shot,” Perez said.
The rest, should Landrieu decide to become a candidate, is up to him.