The Guilfordian

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Democratic 2020 candidates underwhelm

It seems like each presidential election ‘starts’ earlier and earlier each time. In recent weeks, and even in the past months, a spring of Democrats have formally announced their run for the 2020 Democratic candidacy. Names include senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California. These two in particular have received fierce criticism since their announcements from people across the country, including myself.

The election of 2016 was a catastrophe in its security, outcome and candidates. While Donald Trump was in his own ways bad enough, I know that many Democratic voters like me were forced to vote for Hillary Clinton out of necessity.

Clinton was wildly unpopular on both sides of the ballot, and for good reason. In fact, I would argue that had the Democratic Party not clung onto her, they might have beat Trump. This same scenario may very well play out if the party garners support for Warren or Harris.

The current political climate across the United States is as divided as it can be, even within our two major parties. A household under one set of beliefs may still fight over who they think is best to run and who is unqualified. This is in large part because current politicians have embraced the popularity contest aspects of the election and, perhaps worse, have stooped down to Trump’s level.

When it comes to the Democratic Party’s candidates for net year, I do not believe a candidate who has used so-called Native American ancestry as a tool to advance her gains is worthy of running. Nor do I believe someone who had an active roles in keeping California’s prisons corrupt and cruel can rise above Trump in the polls.

Candidates like Warren and Harris may be qualified to work as the president, but my fears are that they just won’t be popular enough within their own party to overtake Trump next year. The election in 2016 certainly proved that popularity gets a politician farther than experience, and I don’t know that most current candidates in the Democratic ballot have that.

The Democratic Party also shoots itself in the foot with its powerful superdelegates. The 2016 election saw widespread distaste for these powerful voters in the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and ultimately brought the party to its knees when superdelegates tipped the scale in Clinton’s favor. Assuming the DNC can be trusted, they have at least limited the power of the superdelegate, but we’ll have to see how that works out next year.

Should the DNC fight tooth and nail for its preferred candidate once again, I really think the country will see a repeat of 2016. The people tried to get their way with Bernie Sanders early on, and when he was outed by the party’s leaders, the race quickly went downhill. The possibility of Democratic voters losing faith in the party for such actions is extremely likely.

My hope is that the DNC will groom someone else, someone without the controversy of Warren or unpopularity of Clinton. Someone who will fight the system like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (who is too young to run) or who is wildly popular among the party’s voters, like Joe Biden. These are just two examples of people qualified not only in political experience, but also in the current popularity-focused climates of our government.

The possibility of such a candidate entering the race seems unlikely as of now. Some of the people I would qualify as prime candidates (such as Joe Biden or Beto O’Rourke) have either suffered recent defeats or shied away from the spotlight. To try and best Trump in a reelection would take tremendous effort that I’m afraid most democratic leaders won’t be willing to take.

Regardless, the Democratic Party has almost 300 members in Congress right now and plenty more in state-level positions to choose from. If we Democrats want to win the presidential office in 2020, we need to back the right person. Otherwise we face another four years of chaos, destabilization and despair.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Democratic 2020 candidates underwhelm”

  1. Walter on February 22nd, 2019 9:56 am

    “My hope is that the DNC will groom someone else…”

    You’re (rightly) upset the DNC sabotaged Bernie by grooming Hillary in 2016. But then you turn around and wish for them to do it AGAIN, only for someone you like?

    “current politicians have embraced the popularity contest aspects of the election and, perhaps worse, have stooped down to Trump’s level.”

    “Someone who will fight the system like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (who is too young to run) or who is wildly popular among the party’s voters, like Joe Biden. These are just two examples of people qualified not only in political experience, but also in the current popularity-focused climates of our government.”

    You complain about politicians embracing the “popularity contest aspects” of the election (whatever that means), yet give AOC points for doing just that. Oh, and also for her wanting to “fight the system.” I assume you mean the economic system (since you didn’t specify) due to her recent involvement in pushing Amazon HQ2 out of New York, ruining the state’s chances for 10s of thousands of additional jobs and billions in tax revenue, because she misunderstood the nature of “tax incentives” thinking it was physical money that could be invested elsewhere. At least Warren understands basic economics!

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