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Former AG Eric Holder: 'Now is the time to be heard'

Former Attorney General Eric Holder has been very busy lately, in part because he may be running for president in 2020.
Attorney General Eric Holder delivers remarks on March 4, 2015 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty)
Attorney General Eric Holder delivers remarks on March 4, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder has been making a variety of public appearances lately, including delivering a speech to the Virginia Democratic Party last weekend. Before his remarks, Holder spoke with NBC News about a recent trip he took with Barack Obama, and the discussion the two had about redistricting reform.

In fact, Obama asked Holder to lead a new organization, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, "to prepare Democrats for 2020, when states will redraw the boundaries of their legislative and congressional districts for the first time in a decade."

Holder joked, "Part of my job is to make redistricting sexy" for Democrats.

As it turns out, that may not be the only job the former attorney general has in mind. Yahoo News published an interesting piece this morning, noting that Holder is "re-entering the political fray," perhaps with a national campaign in mind.

Seized by a sense of urgency to oppose Trump and restore what he regards as America's best self, Holder is mulling a White House bid of his own, according to three sources who have spoken to him and are familiar with his thinking."Up to now, I have been more behind-the-scenes," Holder told Yahoo News in an exclusive interview about his plans. "But that's about to change. I have a certain status as the former attorney general. A certain familiarity as the first African-American attorney general. There's a justified perception that I'm close to President Obama. So I want to use whatever skills I have, whatever notoriety I have, to be effective in opposing things that are, at the end of the day, just bad for the country."Now is the time to be more visible," Holder added. "Now is the time to be heard."

He made the comments while in California, helping promote a state proposal "designed to prevent the Trump administration from forcing local police departments to assist in the deportation of undocumented immigrants."

The same report added that Holder is also in the early stages of creating a national "PAC-like organization that would develop and coordinate legal resistance strategies among various states and localities that are determined to stymie Trump."

To be sure, Holder didn't say he's planning to run for any public office, and it's entirely possible that he's taking these actions solely out of a sense of public duty, unrelated to any electoral ambitions he may or may not have.

What's more, I tend to think excessive speculation about a presidential election cycle that's several years away is folly, especially in light of the significance of the 2018 midterms next year.

That said, the Yahoo News report about Holder is a reminder that the number of Democrats eyeing the 2020 race is enormous. Remember in 2015, when there were so many Republican presidential candidates, the field couldn't fit on one debate stage at the same time? Networks hosting the events were forced to hold two separate debates?

Don't be surprised if Dems run into similar logistical challenges in 2019.

Postscript: It wouldn't be entirely unprecedented for a former attorney general to launch a White House campaign. Robert Kennedy, you'll recall, did it in 1968.