Vogue: Who Is the Future of the Democratic Party?

These can feel like dark days for the Democratic Party: With Donald Trump in the White House, and Republicans controlling Congress, the progressive agenda is fully under attack. (In the span of its first week alone, the new administration has taken action to undercut the Affordable Care Act, women’s reproductive rights, climate change, and U.S. aid to refugees, among other issues.) But there’s hope: Though still smarting from November’s crushing loss, Democrats are already looking to the future of the party, and searching their ranks for an inspiring new crop of leaders to usher them into 2020—2018, if you’re counting midterms—and beyond.

And who better to identify the Democrats’ rising political stars than the party’s latest, greatest political star himself, former President Barack Obama, who rocketed from Illinois state senator to leader of the free world in the span of just over a decade? In his final interview earlier this month with the podcast Pod Save America, Obama shared his picks for the new class of Democratic leaders. Meet them here.

Jason Kander Occupation: Currently unemployed. Kander lost his 2016 Senate bid in Missouri but drew impressive numbers for a red state Democrat.

Résumé: Former Missouri secretary of state, former Army National Guard intelligence officer (he volunteered for a tour in Afghanistan after earning his law degree at Georgetown)

Age: 35

Alias: Obama 2.0. Like the former president, Kander has roots in Kansas; campaigns on an energetic, populist message; and brands himself a Washington outsider. Also like Obama, Kander may be testing the presidential waters in Iowa: Over the holidays, Kander went to the key caucus state to deliver a speech at the nonprofit Progress Iowa. “You sound very similar to our former boss when he was getting into this,” former Obama communications strategist Dan Pfeiffer told Kander in a recent interview.

Political m.o.: Millennial-seeker. Kander is a prolific tweeter, and during his recent Senate campaign, he released a video of himself blindfolded, loading an AR-15 rifle, saying he supports background checks in order to keep the weapons out of terrorists’ hands. It went viral. A month later, Senator Elizabeth Warren campaigned on his behalf.

Personal profile: Married to his high school sweetheart, Diana; they have a son, True.
Fun fact: As a high school debater, Kander told classmates he’d be president some day.

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