Breaking Down the 2020 Race for the White House
By: Nicole Golden
01 May, 2019
Note: this article reflects the Democratic field as of 03 April, 2019. It does not take into account developments that may have taken place since then.
It’s extremely easy to get lost in the enormous pool of Democratic presidential candidates for the 2020 primaries, as there are many new faces in the race, and many familiar. This group of potential nominees continues to be the most diverse group of candidates the party has ever seen as more continue to enter the race. This article will help break down some of these candidates, and highlight the select few who have already shown tremendous success.
Elizabeth Warren is a senator from Massachusetts and former Harvard professor who was the first candidate to officially enter the 2020 race. Warren’s main area of focus surrounds economic inequality in the United States and combating political corruption and large corporations, who she believes are exploiting middle class families. Controversy surrounding Warren and her Native-American heritage became a large topic of discussion after Trump referred to her as “Pocahontas,” questioning her identity in what he believed was a scam.
Gillibrand is a senator and former congresswoman from New York who officially entered the presidential race on January 15. The senator is extremely popular in her home state and has received massive support from women’s movement who view her as a champion for their cause. Gillibrand’s office, however, was recently under fire for sexual harassment claims from a former employee, which put into question Gillibrand’s platform as she is a leading advocate for women’s equality.
Kamala Harris is a relatively new face in the Democratic Party as she only started in the Senate in 2016. Harris, a female African-American, is representative of the diversity that is largely desired in a Democratic presidential candidate. According to recent polls, she will likely be a serious contender in the primaries and has received massive support from her home state of California. She is known in the Senate for her push towards civil rights agendas and her infamous tough questioning of Trump’s nominees for cabinet positions.
Cory Booker is a New Jersey senator who was elected to office in 2013. Booker is known in the Senate for his policies towards criminal justice reform and his push to unify the country through policies that promote equality. Booker is also known for his energy, passion, and his incredible speaking skills that have allowed him to become a prominent national figure. While he is definitely a promising candidate and receives major support from his vast connections to donors, polls show he is unlikely to win against a female candidate or Joe Biden, if he were to enter the race.
Similar to Bernie Sanders presidential run, Beto O’Rourke generated a vast political movement in his Texas senate race against Ted Cruz this past November. Beto ran an extremely successful campaign in Republican-dominated Texas and gained national attention for his charisma and progressive idealism. Despite his lack of diversity as a candidate, Beto is representative of a new era of change our country needs after the destruction that has ensued from the Trump administration. Beto O’Rourke appeals to the younger generation and supports progressive policies such as the legalization of marijuana and immigration reform.
It is still unknown if former Vice President and senator from Delaware will run in 2020, but recent news has suggested he has already met with potential VP candidates, including Stacey Abrams who ran for governor in the state of Georgia. While Joe Biden is arguably the most likely candidate to beat Trump in the electoral college due to his moderate views and likeable personality, many Democrats believe his policy ideas are not progressive enough in an increasingly liberal Democratic Party. His age is also an important factor in his potential candidacy, as he would enter office at 78 years old if he were to win the election.
Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana is the newest face in the 2020 primary, following his official announcement and launch of his presidential campaign on April 14th. Known as “Mayor Pete,” Buttigieg would become the first openly gay Democratic nominee if he were to win in the primaries. Additionally, if he were to win the election he would be the youngest President in the history of the United States. His generational identity is what he highlights most in his campaign in addition to issues such as global warming and economic opportunity.
Bernie Sanders is a former presidential candidate and a senator from the state of Vermont. Bernie challenged Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary and sparked a grassroots progressive movement that has continued to gain ground. His popularity continues to increase amongst young Americans who support policies such as free college and universal healthcare. However, at a time when the main goal of the Democratic Party is to defeat Donald Trump, many members of the Democratic Party believe a younger, more moderate candidate would have a better chance at winning in 2020.