2016 brought a state of shock to American politics and a major defeat to Democrats. Since then, democrats have been trying to rally up presidential candidates to take back the white house in 2020.
Former vice president Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders have been the candidates most heard in the public ear, yet neither one has declared a campaign for presidency. Sanders is a very popular candidate that appeals to many young voters, a very important characteristic democrats are looking for.
However, Sander’s loss to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primaries may haunt his chances of winning the 2020 primary, democratic voters must look for someone electable, and losing to a losing candidate in past years is not a promising sign.
Biden is another candidate who has the ability to attract young voters and democratic voters that may have sat at home in 2016. Although Biden’s politics do not resonate as much within the current day democratic party, he has proven to been electable and has defeated Trump in many 2020 polls. If the party is looking to nominate someone due to their electability over their actual politics, Biden is certainly the right choice if he chooses to run.
One drawback for both Biden and Sanders may be their age, thankfully for them, a number of younger democrats are in the mix.
Beto O’Rourke is a democrat who has strongly increased his platform after narrowly losing to republican incumbent senator Ted Cruz in the 2018 Texas senate election. A democrat who can possibly flip Texas, a republican stronghold and state with 38 electoral votes, is certainly a top contender for the 2020 democratic nomination.
Like Biden and Sanders, O’Rourke can bring in many new and young voters. He has past experience in congress, and although he lost his senate election, he proved that he can challenge popular candidates in even the most conservative states. O’Rourke has not yet announced his decision on whether he will run for president but is expected to soon.
As for candidates who have declared their presidential bid, many are important figures among liberals, yet the majority of them are pretty unheard of to the average voter.
Hawaiian representative Tulsi Gabbard was one of the first congressional democrats to declare her candidacy for president, running her campaign on the ‘aloha’ spirit. Gabbard, a former army medic, is a very young and progressive candidate; however, she lacks experience and name recognition, and also has a past of strongly advocating for anti-LGBT laws.
While the Hawaiian representatives states her views have changed, that is definitely not something a democrat in a crowded field is going to want to have in their history. Gabbard may be a contender for democrats in the future, but certainty is not the best choice to take on Trump in 2020.
One candidate who has certainly spread their name is California Senator Kamala Harris. Harris, the former attorney general of the state, made national headlines after announcing her decision. She is another upcoming democrat that has caught the attention of millennials and those who may be voting for the first time in 2020. She also might be able to ignite the Obama voters in crucial midwestern states that felt uninspired in the 2016 election.
While the California senator may seem like a perfect fit for the increasingly progressive party, her history as the state attorney general has created controversy. Under her rule, California’s incarceration rate increased, as well as legislation that negatively impacted families. Harris’s name may be spreading out into the public, but her name comes with her record, possibly leaving a bad taste for many voters.
Another candidate that has a possibility of exciting the Obama base, is New Jersey senator Cory Booker. Booker has the ability to engage with new voting demographics, but probably not as much as Harris and contenders like Biden, Sanders and O’Rourke.
Although the garden state senator may not have a past with many problems to hide, he is not seen as the biggest proponent for affordable prescription drugs and health care, something democrats seem to value more and more each election. For a young candidate, Booker has a big future ahead and he nor democrats should waste that on such a big upcoming election.
Right next door in New York is senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Gillibrand replaced Clinton’s senate spot in 2009 after she was appointed to Secretary of State by President Obama. This fact already creates problems for Gillibrand. Democrats want to forget the embarrassment of 2016, and electing a candidate that can be easily comparable to Clinton is not going to help them.
Gillibrand, a centrist liberal has grown more progressive in recent years. She was the first candidate to call on Minnesota Senator Al Franken to resign after sexual assault allegations, and has consistently voted for non-discriminatory legislation.
Despite her recent liberal stances, she has a pretty conservative past for a democrat. She received an A rating from the NRA when first elected, and also has a record of anti-immigration beliefs. If democrats want to move on to a relatively controversy free future, Gillibrand is certainly not the right choice.
Staying on the East coast, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren drew mixed feelings from the country when she announced her run for the white house. Warren has been attacked countless times by President Trump and by tribal groups after she inaccurately claiming she has Native American Ancestry.
Aside from this controversy, Warren is a candidate with many positive ideas and one that can lead the democratic party. Unfortunately for her, she is from Massachusetts, a very democratic state that is not a make or break for the presidency. As a result of this, Warren would struggle in winning back rust belt and swing states democrats lost in 2016. Although a good candidate, the Massachusetts senator is not the wisest decision for nomination if democrats want a fighting chance.
One last candidate democrats have to consider is Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar. Clinton barely won Minnesota in 2016 by a point. In the most recent senate election, Klobuchar won Minnesota by 24 points, a very promising sign for the party if they want to win back midwestern states. The Minnesota senator is more of a centrist, yet has many aspects the base can support such as helping the environment, net neutrality, health care and winning elections. Klobuchar may not be as popular right now, especially with allegations of the negative way she has treated staff.
If Klobuchar can muddle through these allegations and escalate her name and platform, she can be a big player in the democratic primaries.
While the Iowa caucus, the first big test for presidential candidates one year away, it is once again time for democrats to think about who can take on Trump, and they certainly have plenty of options.