The Election of 2020: Update

The election of 2020 is coming! There are now 18 months until the primaries and 22 months until the actual election, which means that everyone is gearing up for rallies, fundraisers, advertisements, speeches, and lots of kissing babies. Although the caucuses don’t officially begin until February 3rd 2020, I am fired up and ready to go! This is a new kind of political warfare. Gone are the days of civility and intellect--winning elections is all about being the biggest, loudest, and most outrageous performer on a stage full of other clowns.  


Sadly my main man, Joseph Kennedy III is not running this election cycle. I am instead pinning my hopes on Kamala Harris. The Senator from California has proven to be an exciting addition to the election. Harris is the first senator of Jamaican or Indian ancestry. She supports gun control, marijuana legalization, the DREAM Act, medicare for all, lowering middle and lower classes taxes, and increasing taxes on the top 1%. She also supports the Green New Deal, LGBT+ rights, campaign finance reform, and has been active in the fight for human rights abroad. She certainly seems to lean on the side of the more liberal Democrats, which could very well be the cure to Donald Trump’s extreme conservatism.


Sadly, I highly doubt that Joe Biden will be running. Although, I love the man to pieces; he is not only a spectacular politician who is probably the last vanguard of the civilized politics of yesteryear, but he is also an amazing human being. (Sometimes I watch his Presidential Medal of Honor Ceremony just to cry over the loss of such an amazing Presidential and Vice Presidential pairing). But Biden is no longer a spry young asskicker from Delaware. Especially considering the loss of his son Beau in 2015 and the nasty turn in politics following the 2016 election cycle, I believe the 77-year-old will not be able to go through such a election.


Cory Booker has been the most recent to declare, but no one seems to be paying attention. I have seen little response on the news, social media, or online. Booker is hands-on and has proven himself to be a politician who can produce result for his constituents rather than profit for super PACs. He has, however, been in this game for a while and he has been playing near to the top for most of his career; one can only assume there will likely be some skeletons in his closet (The same goes for any of the other long time politicians: Warren, Sanders, Biden, etc.). I also have some concerns that the party that rallied behind Hillary Clinton will not be so willing to do the same for a man--any man. I think that now that the Democrats have had just a taste of the potential of a female president (not to mention the record number of women in Congress) they will not want to take a step away from that now. He has also garnered a reputation for being corporate-friendly which will not sit too well in a party that is leaning more towards the Socialist policies of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Bernie Sanders.


Although a former Harvard Law professor and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Elizabeth Warren doesn’t excite in the same way that others do, especially with AOC becoming the touchstone of the Democratic Party. Liberal Democrats want a leader like AOC who is young and on their level, fighting and throwing punches like it is nobody's business. The younger side of the party looks at Warren and sees their parents; they don’t want their parents running this country, they want their own generation in office. Outwardly, she is a far more level-headed and reasonable person, especially in comparison to Donald Trump, but reasonable and level-headed are no longer what voters want. American voters are mad, like really mad, and they want someone who hears them, sees their anger and responds with the same sort of energy. They want someone to scream, “Impeach the Motherf*cker” (ala Rep. Tlaib). I worry that Warren will run her campaign in the classical fashion, thus missing out on the major boost of devoted followers that Trump got in 2016 with his own firebrand.


Bernie Sanders announced his run in the Democratic party, and honestly I am disappointed. I love what he stands for and what he is trying to do, but it is only hurting the party. Just like in 2016, he will not be the party’s candidate, but people will still love him, so it will split the vote and Trump will get his second term. In a perfect world, anyone could vote for the best candidate no matter party associations, but this isn’t a perfect world. A presidential election is a numbers game between two parties. You must vote for either the Democratic candidate or the Republican candidate, regardless of  what you actually think or want. This is the exact problem that we ran into with the 2016 election; people voted for Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders because they liked them more than Hillary Clinton. Instead of a Democratic candidate, we ended up with Trump. So just remember, people, toe the line in the 2020 election. Vote with the party. Midterm elections are for expressing your political opinions, but presidential elections are for keeping people like Trump out of office. (*Public Service Announcement concluded)


Other Candidates:

There have been about 15 officially declared candidates and I expect a few more to declare in the coming months. Just a few of the candidates who have caught my eye are as follows:


Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota made her epic announcement in a snowstorm. She could certainly stir up the midwest for the Democrats as she can appeal to moderates and liberals alike, but I don’t think she has enough notoriety to carry out a full fledged presidential campaign.


Senator Kirsten Gillibrand from New York took up Clinton’s New York Senatorial seat in 2009 and therefore will have access to the East Coast Democratic fundraising network. However, there will absolutely be connection made between the Senator and Clinton which could certainly be used against her.


Former Maryland Representative John Delaney announced all the way back in July of 2017. I have never heard of someone running such a long campaign so we shall have to see where this one goes, if it will hold out or if it will run out of steam before the primaries.


Julian Castro the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama is running. I think that he will struggle to separate himself from the Obama administration. Although in the olden days of politics that wouldn’t be such a bad thing, I think in this modern era, Democrats want a candidate who is capable of standing on their own, especially since Trump will use any connection to Obama to attack potential candidates the same way he did with Clinton.


Andrew Yang, a tech entrepreneur, is running on the bold platform of universal income for every American adult. Although I love the idea, I think the Democratic party is not quite ready for such big and bold plans. They were barely able to swallow Respresative Ocasio-Cortez’s highly reasonable Green New Deal.


Important Notes:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is going to play a major role in this presidential election. She is the brightest star in the democratic party. Currently her instagram alone has 2.3 million followers (for comparison Nancy Pelosi has only 200,000). She isn’t just talked about in the news, she makes the news. She is starting conversations about healthcare, taxes, campaign finance, and government corruption. If a Democratic candidate is going to want younger votes, voters of color, and far left voters they will most likely need AOC’s approval first. Until she picks her candidate, everyone is going to be kissing up to her and her base. Candidates will be throwing around ideas about healthcare for all, giving the 1% a 70% tax, and even cutting corporate money out of political campaigns. Whether or not they actually believe any of those things is a bit more convoluted. There is, after all, no such thing as an honest politician.  


The Democratic Party is going to need to finding themselves not just anti-Trump but pro-something. Trump has already built a massive base that is absolutely loyal even when he switches his rhetoric or fails to follow through on his promises. It will not be enough for a candidate to run on a platform of just being better than Trump or smarter than Trump. They need to be their own brand or else they will never have a strong enough following to stand against the MAGA army.


Multiple female candidates might help them all go further. In most other elections there have only been one or two female candidates, meaning that the media and the other candidates have an easier time focusing in on and attacking the female candidates on their gender rather than their politics. However, in this election there are already at least five female candidates. There could possibly be strength in numbers for these candidates, at least where the primaries are concerned.


This election will also be different in relation to the primaries and caucuses in many states, as well as the debate schedule. Firstly, a number of states like California and Texas are changing their primary schedules. They will be holding them much earlier in the year and therefore changing how the candidates conduct their long games. In addition to raising far more money and spending it in big-ticket states like California, they will also need to put in more face time in those states. Those states will play a more active role in forming the 2020 Democratic ticket. Many states will also be getting rid of their caucuses altogether. For years there have been concerns over caucuses being an undemocratic method of selecting candidates. By conducting primary elections instead, people are now able to vote on their own schedules and in privacy, rather than in a room full of people with the pressure of making decisions in the moment. Intimidation was a recurring theme in the 2016 caucuses. Although superdelegates have yet to be eliminated, the Democrats have chosen to remove their voting power from the first ballot of the convention. However, their role as voters on later ballots at the convention could still prove extremely influential if there’s a close nomination fight. The debates will also be run differently, in anticipation of the large number of Democratic candidates. There will be twelve debates starting in June 2019, and they will run in two back-to-back blocks with candidates randomly selected into each block. Hopefully this serves to remove any biases on the part of where each candidate stands in relation to the others.


Final Thoughts:

After all of the research I have done for this article and others, my faith in the Democratic party is dwindling. I fear that they will not be able to put forward a candidate who is strong enough to stand against Donald Trump. The Democratic party is a mess right now, there is no base or clearly defined ideology, and it is being pulled in a million different directions at once. Their cause, however, is not entirely hopeless; Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in 2016, meaning that there are more people in this country who don’t want Donald Trump in office than do. The difference is that we are starting from the bottom, from a lost and broken place with very little hope and absolutely no momentum. Donald Trump on the other had has raised thousand and thousands of dollars for his reelection campaign ever since he won the last one. He has been holding rallies for his devotees, and galas for his major donors. If we want to see a Democratic President then we need to take action, real, tangible action. Do your own research, find a candidate that you believe in, and do what you can do support their campaign. You can volunteer your time, donate your money, you can even apply for a job in their campaign. Whatever you do, do not just sit around and watch another election slip out of our hands--because it will.