Mark Brown, Chicago Sun-Times, November 28, 2017
Rep. Luis Gutierrez is planning to lay the groundwork for a run for president in 2020.
Gutierrez never came right out and said that Tuesday during a 53-minute press conference explaining his surprise decision to leave Congress at the end of this term and anoint Jesus “Chuy” Garcia to replace him.
But what Gutierrez seemed to be mapping out was the type of campaign that could be used to hold the Democratic Party accountable for its commitments to the nation’s immigrant and Latino communities, instead of what he sees as a party that abandons them when it becomes inconvenient.
It wouldn’t be the kind of campaign where he’s trying to win the nomination so much as a campaign to collect delegates and carry the cause of the immigrant community to the convention.
What Gutierrez did say Tuesday is that rather than retire he’s going to travel the country meeting with immigration groups to build a “party infrastructure that’s going to make sure we’re ready to win in 2020.”
“There are enough people we could make citizens in the state of Wisconsin that we could turn that state around. We could do the same thing in Michigan,” Gutierrez said.
“I suspect there will be 250,000 more Puerto Ricans in the state of Florida come the next elections,” he noted. “I can assure you we are going to spend some time in Florida.”
But Gutierrez could cause a lot of trouble for the Democratic Party between now and then if they don’t take seriously the voters who consider him a champion of their cause.
All of this presumes Congress doesn’t pass comprehensive immigration reform, which seems an increasingly safe bet during a Donald Trump presidency.
Notably, some of Gutierrez’s harshest remarks Tuesday were aimed not at Trump, his usual target, but at his party’s leaders in Congress, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, for selling out young immigrants in a misguided deal with Trump.