By Jon Keller


BOSTON (CBS) – Seth Moulton is exploring the idea of running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, a source close to the Massachusetts congressman told WBZ-TV Wednesday.

Of course he is. At this point, what living Democrat isn’t?

All kidding aside, a Moulton candidacy isn’t as far-fetched as you might think.

At age 40, the third-term congressman from Salem would be among the youngest candidates in the ever-expanding field, well-positioned to continue making the case he made in his unsuccessful attempt to deny Rep. Nancy Pelosi a second turn as House Speaker – that it’s time for aging Democratic leaders to step aside and let a new generation take over.

And while his stellar service in the Marines may not mean much to military-averse liberals, it might be just the thing to appeal to the swing voters who abandoned the Democrats in 2016.

Or, it might not be.

Aggressive avoidance of military service didn’t deter Bill Clinton and Donald Trump from becoming president. Former Sen. John Kerry’s voluntary service in Vietnam was actually used against him in his 2004 loss to George W. Bush.

And while a Moulton candidacy would continue to press the generational-change issues he raised in the anti-Pelosi campaign, the failure of that effort – in which Moulton declined to offer himself as a candidate for speaker, failed to identify another one, and boasted publicly of support he ultimately didn’t have locked down – wasn’t exactly a clinic in political leadership.

Still, it would be foolish to laugh off a Moulton run. He is articulate, attractive, and turns the stereotype of a Massachusetts liberal Democrat (perhaps the biggest burden on the nascent campaign of Sen. Elizabeth Warren) on its head in important ways.

Too green?

Barack Obama was just 46 when he announced his candidacy for president, and had just three terms in the Illinois state senate and a couple of years as a U.S. Senator under his belt.

If he dives in, expect Moulton to run against the status quo, in Congress and the White House. And given the way things are going, that’s not a bad platform for a young insurgent on the make.

Jon Keller

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