Rep. Joe Kennedy III says he isn’t looking ahead to 2020, and neither should his fellow Democrats.
“I don’t share the same anxiety at this point that there’s no clear front runner for the Democratic nomination,” Kennedy said in a wide-ranging interview published Friday by Nantucket Magazine.
“There shouldn’t be,” he added.
The Massachusetts Democrat said his party should be more focused on rebuilding their “credibility” with working-class voters, rather than prematurely appointing a preferred candidate to take on President Donald Trump.
“The worst mistake I think Democrats could do at the moment is have some perceived set of a king or queen-makers — of which there are none — and say these are going to be the five people who we want for whatever position,” Kennedy said.
Despite being the subject of some speculation that he could follow in the footsteps of his great-uncle and grandfather, the 37-year-old said that launching a presidential campaign is “not on my horizon.” Then again, he doesn’t think it should be on any Democrat’s horizon.
With polls showing that more voters trust Republicans on economic issues, Kennedy said that Democrats interested in the Oval Office need to prove first that they actually understand their constituents and the challenges they’re facing.
“If you believe that the greatest challenge you’ve got is credibil ity, then the way you get that is you earn it, right?” he said. “That’s not something that any set of policy makers can bestow. That’s something that somebody’s going to have to go out there, rolling up their sleeves and proving that they can understand the communities they seek to represent and actually bring the country together.”
Kennedy said he’s honored that there are people that include his name in the group of potential 2020 contenders. But the third-term congressman reiterated he’s in no rush to leave this current job (though he has said in the past he’d be potentially interested “if a Senate seat were to open”).
“I’m in this bizarre job that the moment you have it everybody wants to know when you’re trying to find another one,” he said.