There are a lot of Democrats running for president—16 of them at present. But on most days, the focus is on just a few people: Bernie, Beto, Kamala, Elizabeth, and maybe one or two others if something causes media eyes to turn their direction.
So if you've never heard of John Hickenlooper (along with, like, ten other Democratic contenders) you're probably not alone. Today, let's check out who this Hickenlooper guy is and why he thinks he can replace Trump.
Politically speaking, Hickenlooper is a successful purple state Democrat. That means he survived two terms as Governor of Colorado despite Colorado having a lot of Republicans. Some of those Republicans even controlled part of the Colorado legislature during Hickenlooper's tenure (2011 - 2019) and yet he got a lot done. Successful moderate from the interior of America! Just what the Democratic Party wants!
Or maybe not, since Hickenlooper is currently polling between 0 and 1 percent amid the huge field of liberal contenders.
Could that be because Hickenlooper's not a potentially history-making moderate from the interior of America, like South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who turned around the fortunes of his small town and now wants to become this country's first gay president?
Or perhaps it has something to do with the weird things Hickenlooper has revealed in an effort to be an open-book everyman, like how he once took his mom to see Deep Throat because he was ignorant of what the X rating meant.
Or maybe Hickenlooper just needs the platform of a Democratic debate stage and his message of steady, accomplished, bipartisan leadership will begin to break through.
The thumb-nail bio certainly sounds like a guy Americans might want to elect. As a younger man Hickenlooper, now 67, ditched a faltering career in geology to open a craft brewery with some friends in Denver. The brewery took off, helping to improve the fortunes of an entire neighborhood and setting Hickenlooper on a path to become Denver's mayor and, later, Colorado's governor.
Also, he plays the banjo and hates negative political ads so much he needs to shower fully clothed after watching them!
Though a lot of politicians probably wouldn't admit this, Hickenlooper is open about his belief that he has face blindness, a condition that makes it difficult for him to identify people by sight. If his self-diagnosis is correct, it's both a challenge for a high-level candidate and an indication of his ability to overcome challenges. "I think the way I have overcompensated was to treat everyone who comes towards me as a friend, just to assume that I know them," Hickenlooper told CNN.
As governor, Hickenlooper steered his state during historic floods, expanded Medicaid coverage, and, in response to a mass shooting in a Colorado movie theater, signed legislation creating universal background checks and banning high-capacity magazines.
But Hickenlooper also refused to back Colorado's push to legalize marijuana, coming around to the idea only after he saw all the jobs and tax revenue the change was creating. He's also been helpful to oil and fracking interests.
All in all, Hickenlooper has so many reddish-shade-of-purple aspects that he's been talked about as a candidate for a possible "unity ticket" run with Republican John Kasich. In a year when a lot of Democrats are looking for an uncompromising, unabashed liberal to take on Trump, maybe that discernible red tint is, ultimately, the biggest reason for his low poll numbers.