Knowing Your Democratic Candidates

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Knowing Your Democratic Candidates

Adam Aleksic, Editor-in-Chief

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We’re a year and a half away from the 2020 Democratic National Convention, and the presidential primaries are already heating up. Reeling from Clinton’s defeat in 2016, the left is looking for a strong candidate to rally behind, and everything indicates that this will be a long, bitter fight from a large field of politicians. Some hopefuls have already declared, some have formed exploratory commissions (a first step to declaring), and some are experiencing wide speculation. But who’s who, and how good of a chance do they have? Putting aside my own beliefs, I’ve created a list of fifteen major candidates, ranked by how likely I think they are to win and with a short nonpartisan description.

  1. Julian Castro (declared)

Possibly a dark horse in this campaign season, but more likely insignificant in the long run, former Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro has been said to be a rising star in the Democratic party. He certainly seems to be doing well, but well enough to make this leap? Castro probably doesn’t have enough influence or backing to pull it off.

  1. Sherrod Brown (undeclared)

This US senator from Ohio has a record of being very involved in passing liberal policies in the senate, but has some ties to the Clintons which might make him radioactive (he was almost tapped for the VP nomination). Brown might not have enough presence on the national stage to be successful, and we really don’t even know if he’s interested, anyway.

  1. Michael Bloomberg (undeclared)

Perennial possibility and former ten-year mayor of New York City, Bloomberg might join the primary as a centrist alternative. He definitely has a litany of problems, though: people might not want another billionaire running the country, he’s flip-flopped several times between parties, and he might be too moderate,

  1. Terry McAuliffe (undeclared)

He’s been saying he was interested since 2017 and has decent backing, so former Virginia governor McAuliffe is definitely a possible entrant. He has a good liberal track record, but has heavy ties to the establishment and the Clinton family, which might alienate some of the more disenfranchised voters.

  1. Jay Inslee (exploratory)

This Washington state governor has been in the national spotlight several times recently for his attacks on Donald Trump and his passionate fight against climate change and for social reform. He’s been touted by many as a possible candidate, and recent fundraising could be significant. His only problem is that he’s relatively unknown outside of Washington.

  1. Jeff Merkley (undeclared)

The only senator to endorse Bernie Sanders in 2016, Merkley (D-OR) is beloved on the West Coast for his progressive policies. He’s been outspoken about his liberal ideas and pulled several publicity stunts, so it seems like he might be angling toward a seat. He’d face some tough competition if he does, though.

  1. Amy Klobuchar (undeclared)

After her 24-point reelection win for her senate seat, Minnesotan Klobuchar has had electoral success in some rust belt districts, which could be a great help to Democrats struggling to connect to the industrialized working-class purple states. However, she might be too far center for modern liberal tastes.

  1. Tulsi Gabbard (declared)

This representative from Hawaii might stand a pretty good chance if the Democratic Party wants to move leftward. A former Bernie Sanders supporter, Gabbard has made a name for herself by espousing his brand of democratic socialism and economic protectionism, but former conservative views might come back to haunt her.

  1. Bernie Sanders (undeclared)

Bernie’s most likely not going to run this year, and many have started to worry that he’d be too old for the office, but he’s still strong in the polls, behind former VP Biden. He’s strongly stood behind his democratic socialist ideas for decades, is a favorite of many on the far left, and has that certain charm only he can pull off. Who knows?

  1. Cory Booker (undeclared)

NJ senator Booker has definitely positioned himself as an anti-Trump figure. He’s loved by the left for his work promoting social liberalism, including same sex marriage and healthcare reform, but might be too moderate for the direction the party’s headed. He’s been suspiciously ambiguous when discussing the possibility of a run, so watch out.

  1. Beto O’Rourke (undeclared)

There’s been a lot of buzz about O’Rourke since his failed bid for Ted Cruz’s senate seat, and he certainly seems to excite Dems around the country. He has a center-left voting record, but that doesn’t matter nearly as much as his charisma, which has impassioned many. If he declares, he would definitely be formidable.

  1. Elizabeth Warren (exploratory)

A darling of the far left for her rants against large corporations and liberal ideas, MA senator Warren would especially be formidable if Sanders doesn’t decide to run, as many of his former voters also support her wholeheartedly. Warren has had some struggles with relatability, from the cringy Instagram streams to the genetics test, but has some powerful forces behind her and stands a good chance.

  1. Joe Biden (undeclared)

Some claim that former Vice President Biden is too old to run, but whether or not that is true, the fact of the matter is that this possible candidate has a double-digit lead in the polls, without having even declared. If he does decide to enter the race, we will certainly see him offer some stiff competition and perhaps finally win the nomination this time.

  1. Kirsten Gillibrand (exploratory)

Our New York State senator is seen by many as a younger, more relatable version of Hillary Clinton. Left-center on the issues, but without all the baggage, Gillibrand has all the potential to be a motivator for disenfranchised voters around the country.

  1. Kamala Harris (declared)

Definitely an early front-runner. In the first day of her campaign, she raised $1.5 million in small donations, tying a record set previously by Bernie Sanders. The first Indian-American to be elected to the Senate, Harris has a liberal track record and seems to have the most momentum at this point in time. Perhaps she could be the leader the Democrats so desperately need right now.