As the 2018 midterm elections are winding down, focus now turns to the 2020 presidential election. There are 21 months until the primaries and 25 months until the actual election. Over the course of the next few months we will see the beginning of many official bids for the presidency. Donald Trump has already announced his reelection bid which means that he will be the sole candidate of the Republican party. Trump’s campaign will most likely run very much like his 2016 campaign, as well as his strategy for the 2018 midterms. That means lots of rallies to fire up his audiences, utilization of fear tactics, and focusing the news cycles to avoid focus on issues like employment and health care. This method of avoidance prevents him from needing to provide solutions to these problems, ones that the Republican party have not, with certainty, provided. This means that the ball is in the Democratic court; they can pick anyone to pin their hopes to. Unlike in 2016 the party does not need to spend as much time focused on the other side’s ever-changing front line, but rather can take their time putting forward a variety of options and weighing the public opinion of their constituents. But the question is: will they? Already there are Democrats declaring their intentions to run and others indicating that they are considering it. This year there are public figures, business people, mayors, governors, senators, and house or state representatives in the pool.
There are also some potential candidates who the public would like to see running, although it’s doubtful they will. For example Elizabeth Warren, although many would love to see her run, has expressed quite explicitly that her intentions are for the governorship not the presidency. Also, of course, Bernie Sanders is a favorite, but I really don’t see him running in the Democratic party again. They betrayed him once and refused to support his run. Finally there is Hillary Clinton, and although I would love to see her presidency, I think that she ran her race. We had our chance with Clinton and we missed it.
Here is my take on some of the key players to keep an eye on thus far:
Cory Booker has been a New Jersey Senator since 2013 and before that the mayor of Newark. I really love this guy because he is so hands on and involved. On November 6th (Election Day) he was out in the rain stopping cars in Newark reminding everyone to go vote. He is always on camera, often the mouthpiece for the Democratic party. He also leads the black caucus in congress. One of the things about him that always draws me back in is that he lived in the public housing projects in his city all during the mayorship, a really commendable thing. However, being a longtime politician and such a public figure, he does come into the race with a lot of political baggage which the Republican party will most certainly try to use against him.
Joe Biden a career politician and well know family man as well as advocate for just about everyone. Unlike many in his position, he is anything but jaded about politics, on the contrary is is fired up about getting young voters involved and making a difference in the world. His age and association with Obama, however, might isolate some of the more moderate voters.He also is still grieving for his son which is why he didn’t push for a candidacy in 2018, and I worry that he doesn’t have it in him to run against Trump. We need someone young who with energy and character and is still a bit of blank slate so that they can more broadly appeal to any voter, no matter party association.
Kamela Harris from my home state of California, is the second black woman to be elected to the senate. In her short time in congress she has already (been noticed as) one to reach across the aisle and make big moves for the benefit of her constituents. She is still young compared to other candidates (she’s 54) so I think that the party may decide to keep her in congress for a few more terms to get more experience and notariety. California is a pretty secure seat as we have seen with Barbara Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, and Barbara Lee so her reflection is not much of a concern. We will certainly be seeing more of Harris in the years to come.
My current favorite is Joseph Kennedy III. I first noticed him earlier this year when he gave the Democratic response to the State of the Union address.Well, what I actually noticed was that he had some smeared chapstick on his face and looked a little silly, but also that he was a Kennedy. A young, eloquent, and smart Kennedy who it seemed the Democratic party had enough faith in to thrust him into the national spot light. Honestly, I really like the guy. He seems to be an actually decent human being who, despite his name, has worked really hard to earn his position in his own right. He could definitely garner a lot of attention (not to mention funding) on his name alone, not to mention his extreme youth (38 yrs old), as well as his humanitarian background (he was in the Peace Corp). I was also impressed by the statement he made against speaker of the house Paul Ryan, which drew quite a lot of powerful attention his way. “With all due respect to our speaker, he and I must have read different scripture,” Kennedy said about the fellow Irish Catholic. “The one I read calls on us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, and to comfort the sick. It reminds us that we are judged not by how we treat the powerful but by how we care for the least among us.” Despite his strong convictions and eloquence, he has only been in politics for a short while, so I think the party may hold him in their cards until 2024 or later. Either way, I am pumped to see another Kennedy courting a presidential campaign.
Of course we cannot be kidding ourselves here, these midterms have resulted in the most diverse Congress in history but the Democrats have lost two senate seats, seats they could not afford to lose. The majority that Democrats did gain in the house was hard fought and came by the edge of their teeth. The 2020 presidential election will be hard. There is no guarantee that the Democratic party will be able to pull itself back together in time to present a unified front with one strong candidate to face the wave that is Trump-ian Republicans. They show up, in droves, to vote for their man; Democrats just don’t have that one lightning rod of a person. Not to mention the fact that the strain of a two-party system is pulling the Democrats into a million factions. It’s no wonder such a political system is practically extinct.
So, what? Here’s what.The midterm elections mean everyone in the political machine is switching gears and everything is going into these campaigns, so get ready. Join a campaign, run yourself, but be extra vigilant of the media. Every story is told by someone.