The Race to 2020

In the wake of the polarizing elections of 2016 and the highest midterm voter turnout since 1914 last fall, the upcoming 2020 election cycle is sure to be momentous. The presidential primaries will be of particular note, with 17 candidates—15 Democrats and 2 Republicans—having already declared their bids. Here’s a brief rundown of the contenders so far (and sorry to disappoint, but Oprah has officially declared she’s not running).

The Democrats:

Cory Booker, 49, Senator from New Jersey and former Mayor of Newark, NJ

  • Things of note: Robust donor base; strong oratory skills; introduced the Marijuana Justice Act in August 2017; frequent Tweeter.

  • Key issue(s): Criminal justice reform; country unification.

  • Fun fact: If Booker is elected, he’d be the first unmarried president since James Buchanan, though his newly public relationship with actress Rosario Dawson may affect his potential Bachelor President title.

Pete Buttigieg, 37, Mayor of South Bend, IN and military veteran

  • Things of note: First openly gay Democratic candidate for the U.S. presidency; emphasizes generational identity; last name is pronounced “Boot-edge-edge.”

  • Key issue(s): Climate change; economic opportunity.

  • Fun fact: Buttigieg once intervened in an overdose situation while leaving an MLK Day church service and prevented three teenagers foaming at the mouth from asphyxiating.

Julián Castro, 44, Former HUD secretary and former mayor of San Antonio, TX

  • Things of note: Youngest member of President Obama’s cabinet; would be the first Hispanic and Latino American president if elected.

  • Key issue(s): Immigration reform; universal pre-kindergarten; Medicare-for-all.

  • Fun fact: Julián has an identical twin brother, Joaquín, who’s also a politician. Sadly for Julián, Joaquín is referred to as “the good-looking one.”

John Delaney, 55, Former congressman from Maryland and businessman

  • Things of note: Self-described “pragmatic idealist;” has visited every county in Iowa since declaring his presidential candidacy back in 2017.

  • Key issue(s): Universal health care; bipartisan problem-solving.

  • Fun fact: Delaney once calculated a supporter’s annual compounded healthcare increase in his head at the Iowa state fair, where he also enthusiastically went down the Great Slide on a rug with one of his daughters.

Tulsi Gabbard, 37, Congresswoman from HI and Army National Guard veteran

  • Things of note: Resigned from the DNC to endorse Bernie Sanders in 2016; criticized for meeting with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad; youngest woman elected to a U.S. state legislature; history of homophobic rhetoric.

  • Key issue(s): Opposition to U.S. overseas military intervention.

  • Fun fact: Gabbard is a lifelong surfer and vegetarian

Kirsten Gillibrand, 52, Senator from NY, former representative and attorney

  • Things of note: Former moderate; current progressive leader; frequent critic of President Trump.

  • Key issue(s): Women’s rights; economic issues.

  • Fun fact: In 2013, Gillibrand held the first Senate hearing on sexual assault in the military in almost a decade.

Kamala Harris, 54, Senator from CA, former attorney general of CA, former district attorney of San Francisco

  • Things of note: Co-sponsored the Marijuana Justice Act with Cory Booker; targeted during the October 2018 mail bombing attempts; first Jamaican or Indian senator

  • Key issue(s): Middle-class tax cuts; liberal civil rights.

  • Fun fact: In an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Harris was asked, “If you had to be stuck in an elevator with either President Trump, Mike Pence, or Jeff Sessions, who would it be?” to which she replied, “Does one of us have to come out alive?”

John Hickenlooper, 67, Former governor of CO and former mayor of Denver, CO

  • Things of note: Political moderate; will likely brand himself as a consensus-builder.

  • Key issue(s): Medicare expansion; gay rights; gun control.

  • Fun fact: A former geologist, Hickenlooper co-founded the popular Wynkoop Brewing Company brewpub in Denver and titled his autobiography The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics.

Jay Inslee, 68, Governor of Washington State and former congressman

  • Things of note: Sued President Trump for his “Muslim ban” in Washington v. Trump, asserting that the ban was unconstitutional.

  • Key issue(s): Climate change, with an emphasis on renewable energy.

  • Fun fact: An avid basketball fan, Inslee participates in the annual congressional basketball game and is a member of “Hoopaholics,” a charity which raises money for abused children.

Amy Klobuchar, 58, Senator from MN and former Hennepin County, MN attorney

  • Things of note: Gained Democratic support for her austere questioning of Brett Kavanaugh; passed more legislation in the 114th Congress than any other Senator, though has the highest staff turnover rate in the Senate.

  • Key issue(s): Opioid crisis; critic of big pharmaceutical companies.

  • Fun fact: Klobuchar raised $17,000 from ex-boyfriends during her 2006 Senate run. Talk about taking “we can still be friends” to the next level.

Beto O’Rourke, 46, Former congressman from Texas

  • Things of note: Has a young supporter base; strong social media presence; liberal hottie

  • Key issue(s): Marijuana legalization; immigration reform; rural hospital access; red-state liberalism

  • Fun fact: O’Rourke has been arrested twice, including once for jumping over a fence. Potential candidate for The Bachelor Season 24?

Bernie Sanders, 77, Senator from Vermont, former congressman, and former presidential candidate

  • Things of note: Self-described democratic socialist; runner-up in 2016 Democratic presidential primary; currently serves as an Independent

  • Key issue(s): Medicare-for-all; free college tuition

  • Fun fact: Sanders’ 2006 senatorial re-election campaign released “Bernie-Arcade,” a video game featuring Sanders flying a plane for players to steer and avoid floating sacks of cash (“big money special interest”), felines in top hats (“fat cats”) and other obstacles.

Elizabeth Warren, 69, Senator from Massachusetts and former Harvard Law professor

  • Things of note: Former Republican for economic issues; frequent critic of President Trump.

  • Key issue(s): Income inequality; political corruption.

  • Fun fact: Of partial Native American heritage, Warren has repeatedly been mocked as “Pocahontas” by President Trump, leading to her releasing the results of a DNA test, not unlike President Obama’s releasing of his birth certificate in response to Trump’s “birther” conspiracy theory.

Marianne Williamson, 66, Self-help author and new age lecturer

  • Things of note: Self-proclaimed “bitch for God,” author of 13 self-help and spirituality books; unsuccessfully ran for Congress as an Independent in 2014.

  • Key issue(s): Reparations for slavery; rights of gay men with AIDS.

  • Fun fact: Williamson is Oprah’s spiritual adviser. Maybe Oprah will reconsider her candidacy and run as WIlliamson’s Vice President?

Andrew Yang, 44, Former tech executive; founder of an economic development nonprofit

  • Things of note: Has proposed measures to defend against mass unemployment caused by technological automation and artificial intelligence.

  • Key issue(s): Advocating a universal base income of $1,000/month for all Americans.

  • Fun fact: Yang recently Tweeted—seemingly unprompted—that he is anti-circumcision and says he would incorporate this view into public policy if elected.

 

The Republicans:

Donald Trump, 72, Incumbent U.S. president, real estate developer, and reality television star

  • Things of note: Has primarily focused on undoing Obama administration policies; currently under investigation by special counsel; owns several hotels and golf resorts.

  • Key issue(s): Tax cuts for the wealthy; immigration restriction; renegotiating or canceling international trade, climate change, and arms control deals.

  • Fun fact: Trump once sued Bill Maher for $5,000,000 for insinuating that Trump’s father was an orangutan based on the color of his hair.

William Weld, 73, Former Governor of Massachusetts

  • Things of note: Ran for Vice President on the Libertarian ticket in 2016; will target mainstream conservatives and alienated moderates.

  • Key issue(s): Fiscal restraint; free trade; moderate immigration reform.

  • Fun fact: Weld is a descendant of a signer of the Declaration of Independence and several Mayflower passengers.

 

Sources cited

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/23/us/politics/pete-buttigieg-mayor-south-bend-president.html?action=click&module=Latest&pgtype=Homepage

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/us/politics/2020-presidential-candidates.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Buttigieg

https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/entertainthis/2019/03/20/cory-booker-dating-rosario-dawson-amid-election-people-watching/3221378002/

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/10/us/politics/john-delaney-2020-iowa.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Klobuchar

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Castro

https://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/about

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulsi_Gabbard

https://wynkoop.com/our-story/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Weld

http://old.seattletimes.com/html/highschoolsports/2003867146_flashback04.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marianne_Williamson

https://www.thedailybeast.com/andrew-yang-the-upstart-democratic-presidential-candidate-comes-out-against-circumcision

https://www.good.is/articles/feel-the-bern-bernie-sanders-facts

https://www.indianapolismonthly.com/arts-culture/ask-anything-pete-buttigieg/

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2016/06/29/13things-might-notknow-julin-castro-texan-twin-potentialclinton-vp-candidate

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/01/kamala-harris-life-career-california-senator/