SOUTH BEND –  Democrats should nominate an avocado for president, if it offered the best chance to defeat President Trump. Campaign slogan: “Make America Guac Again.”

Thus writes New York Times columnist Frank Bruni. A facetious suggestion, of course. Where would one find a viable avocado meeting the constitutional requirement that a president be at least 35 years old?

The point Bruni is stressing is that it’s not a certainty that Trump will be defeated if he seeks reelection in 2020. So, Democrats better seek a nominee with the best chance to win, not necessarily the one with the best presidential qualifications on paper or longest admirable service to party and nation.

He praised Joe Biden highly informed, affable, real and superbly qualified. And, urged Biden not to run. Because … well, how did Hillary Clinton’s “impeccable credentials” work out last time?

Other political analysts also theorize that Democrats could lose again to Trump if they nominate someone beloved by sections of their party but with a lot of baggage accumulated over many years and lacking broad appeal beyond the Democratic East Coast and West Coast. They cite dangers in nominating someone like Biden, 76; Bernie Sanders, 77; or Elizabeth Warren, 69. Not just because of age, but also because of how vulnerable each could be to negative attacks, distorted or not, over statements and actions of the past.

For example, would key Midwestern states that Clinton lost in part because she was painted as swerving too far left really embrace Sanders, a proclaimed socialist? Wouldn’t somebody new, younger, without so much baggage and emerging quickly and impressively as Barack Obama did, have a better chance to win? Maybe, but that’s not a sure thing.

Would a new, younger candidate who has never faced the rigors and roughness of a presidential campaign hold up? Or crumble? Is there another Obama ready to emerge quickly and impressively? And if there is, what are the chances of winning the nomination in the long selection process of caucuses, primaries, debates, fundraising and organizing?

Predicting what presidential primary voters will do is like forecasting where lake-effect snow will hit off Lake Michigan. Lot of flakes. Who would have predicted two years before the last presidential election that Republican primary voters would pick Donald Trump? Or that the nation would then elect him?

While a dynamic young nominee with widespread national appeal would be the best choice of Democrats to challenge Trump, is there one who can convince millions of voters in the wild scramble of presidential primaries to give him or her the chance? Maybe, but that’s not a sure thing.

So, perhaps it’s too soon to rule out Biden. Of the “old-timers,” Biden could be the best prospect to win and be an effective president.

Effective president? Yes, that should be a consideration, too. Bruni certainly wants an effective president. He argues, however, that the most important result is getting Trump out of the White House, saving democracy and the nation. So, if an avocado had the best chance to do it … ?

Defeating Trump, though investigations are getting close, very close, is not a sure thing. As Trump famously said, he could shoot somebody on 5th Avenue in New York City and not lose his base.

Wouldn’t Trump believers say he was justified in gunning down some dangerous Democrat, a threat to his presidency, who likely opposed building a wall and would welcome marauding caravans?

Democrats, who thought Trump never would be elected in 2016, should understand now that not just anybody could beat Trump ln 2020. They also should seek more than just replacing a lemon with an avocado. 

Colwell has been covering politics over five decades for the is a South Bend Tribune columnist.