In 2016, the Democratic party had two serious candidates—Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. As we lead up to the 2020 Democratic primaries, there are 20 potential candidates scrapping and clawing for the nomination. This is by far the most diverse field of candidates that either political party has ever put forth for a primary, and we could potentially see the first female or openly gay president depending on how the chips fall.
The long list of candidates has both big-names, like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, as well as up-and-coming stars like Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg. Some are campaigning on free college tuition, others are campaigning against President Trump, and some have failed to establish a true and personal message.
The candidate no one saw coming is “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg, age 37, from South Bend, Indiana. Just a few months ago he was practically unknown. Now, he is surging in the polls. The small town, openly gay, married mayor and military veteran from South Bend is making a major push towards the general election. Buttigieg has a great heart and will be a force in the primary, but many have said that he lacks the detail policy proposals that we have seen from others like Elizabeth Warren.
Bernie Sanders, age 77, has also thrown his hat in the ring for the upcoming primaries. Many Democrats are attempting to stay away from the independent senator from Vermont after his name was associated with Russian election interference in 2016. He has also been under the gun for his finances as well as his wife’s finances.
Don’t be fooled though. Sanders still has a massive support system and millions of everyday donors. He supports “Medicare for all,” free college tuition, and has proposed stricter gun control laws. His age has been a point of interest for critics, as it is with Joe Biden, but Biden has the benefit of being more centrist, which makes a big difference in how a candidate is perceived.
Kamala Harris, age 54, is another new and diverse candidate. She is a senator from California and a former prosecutor. Because of her past as a prosecutor, she has taken heat for her past positions on legislation surrounding criminal justice reform. However, many think the young senator will be a heavyweight in 2020.
She is a great communicator, an intense presence, and a genuine individual which is hard to come by in politics. She supports higher education reform, stricter gun control, and more inclusive policies for the LGBTQ community.
Like Harris, Senator Corey Booker, age 49, is also making his first run at the Oval Office. Booker was the first African American senator elected in New Jersey and he made a name for himself during the Brett Kavanaugh hearing. Prior to his Senate win, Booker was the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, an executive position which gives him a leg up on those who have never been in that role. He is a great public speaker, and many have said that Booker would dominate a debate stage with Donald Trump, which makes him appealing to many on the left.
Of all the candidates in the race at this point, former vice president Joe Biden, age 76, is the most recognizable name and seems to be polling much higher than most despite entering the race in late April, many weeks after most of the other candidates. Biden has also been in the hot seat for an incident in which he touched a woman’s shoulders during a rally, an act which she said made her feel violated, and his handling of the Anita Hill hearings in 1991.
It should be noted that despite the issues surrounding the Anita Hill hearing, Biden did not vote to confirm Clarence Thomas. Furthermore, Biden has a history of being policy savvy, people-oriented, and a diplomat for peace.
Elizabeth Warren is also a heavy hitter coming into the race. She has detailed policies already drafted on everything from free college to free healthcare and has plans to pay for it all. She has proposed a 2% wealth tax on anyone making over $50,000,000 a year. This, she says, will pay for all of her proposals and ensure a brighter future for America.
She came under fire recently for implying she was a Native American—when the DNA results came in, it showed only 1:64-1:1024 native American DNA(CNN), which on the high end is far less than the average Native American. She is a proven leader and a motivational figure, but many have questions about why she would continue to push the heritage issue when she could have simply let it die.
And then there is Beto O’Rourke. The newly discovered phenomenon from the 2018 mid-terms is also making his bid for the White House. In the 2018 mid-terms, O’Rourke spoke eloquently, stayed motivated, raised money, and skateboarded to a near win against Ted Cruz. In a district where he should have been badly beaten, the end margin was a mere 2.7%, which in Texas, is unheard of.
While he lacks executive experience, he has an abundance of motivation, compassion, intelligence, and that “it factor” that many say in necessary to win a presidential election. Having said that he, like Buttigieg, has put forth almost no actual policy to inspect.
The current odds are, one of these seven candidates is going to be the nominee for the Democratic party. They are all qualified and carry good reputations but only one can come out on top.
As an armed forces veteran, I believe it is every American’s duty to be knowledgeable and active in our political system. Men and women weren’t wounded and killed so that their countryman and women could sit idly by and not participate in the process they died for.
As of April 25, 2019, the following people are in the running for the 2020 Presidential Democratic candidate:
- Joe Biden
- Cory Booker
- Pete Buttigieg
- Julián Castro
- John Delaney
- Tulsi Gabbard
- Kirsten Gillibrand
- Kamala Harris
- John Hickenlooper
- Jay Inslee
- Amy Klobuchar
- Wayne Messam
- Seth Moulton
- Beto O’Rourke
- Tim Ryan
- Bernie Sanders
- Eric Swalwell
- Elizabeth Warren
- Marianne Williamson
- Andrew Yang
The only Republicans in the running are Donald Trump and William Weld.