Three cheers for Democratic candidates

A detailed preview of the 2020 presidential election

Megan Ramsey, Staff Writer

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I haven’t decided who I will vote for in the Democratic primaries because there are quite a few candidates that look promising. If Trump is going to be booted from office, voters need to know their options. 2020 will be a high tension year. Many presidential candidates are women, people of color or LGBTQ+, which seems to be symbolic of the progress many people are desperate for. In this editorial, I will review the possible 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.

Beto O’Rourke! I helped campaign for him and supported him in the first election I was able to vote in. O’Rourke cares about his family and wouldn’t have run if they hadn’t supported the decision. Not many male candidates can say the same. He is understanding and listens to different perspectives at rallies and on the campaign trail. He’s smart and charismatic, and has many of the same ideas as other candidates on issues such as climate change, marijuana legalization, gun control and health care. He has also been considered more conservative for a Democrat, which could help bring in Republican votes.

Senator Kamala Harris is as qualified as the other candidates, but I like the prospect of her becoming president more than Warren or the many older white men candidates. She received criticism for her harsh positions on criminal justice and her involvement in a crime lab scandal where she dismissed around 1000 drug-related cases, but she is still a strong candidate. I am ready for the first woman president and one that is a minority, but I’m not sure that America is ready. Harris has addressed climate change and the necessity of clean energy job growth. She has also introduced a bill to reform the money bail system, because some people can’t afford bail, and introduced the Maternal CARE (Care Access and Reducing Emergencies) Act as part of her goal to lower maternal death rates, especially among black women.

Pete Buttigieg (buddha-judge), mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is the openly gay hopeful of the race. I’m happy to see this progress, but I’m not sure he can realistically win with so many homophobes in America. Buttigieg is a veteran and graduate of Harvard and the University of Oxford. He believes that we have to repair the United States’ democracy by getting rid of the Electoral College, an idea that gained popularity following the 2016 election. While Buttigieg lacks some experience, he is an ambitious and intelligent candidate. In 2017, Obama said Buttigieg was one of the Democrats he thought would lead the party. While it’s not official, Obama’s endorsement is a good sign for Buttigieg.

Julián Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Obama, considers himself the “antithesis of Donald Trump.” He has similar progressive ideas to Bernie Sanders, but he’s a fresher face with less baggage. Castro said his first actions as president would be re-entering the Paris Climate Agreement and passing Universal Health Insurance. He supports the same basic policy other Democrats do. The only things I would be wary of in his campaign are that he has faced criticism for not being hard enough on Wall Street. Also, while he would be a qualified president (with degrees from Stanford and Harvard), I’m not sure he’s a candidate that could realistically get Republican swing votes, which needs to happen.

Senator Cory Booker is a fit candidate for president. He gained the title “Super Mayor” of Newark when he helped transform the city. Booker wants to raise minimum wage to $15 and implement Medicare-For-All, and was the original co-sponsor of the First Step Act. He seems to enjoy the spotlight and he’s very passionate, but I’ll wait to form my opinion on him officially until the debates between all of the candidates.

Bernie Sanders will definitely be one of the Democrats targeted by Republicans, and I think he’d be better as a vice president. While I like his ideas, such as Medicare-For-All and eliminating private prisons, the war on drugs and exorbitant bail, there are other candidates who have similar ideas. He shouldn’t win, because he leans so far left that he splits apart the Democratic party in an already divided country in desperate need of unity.

Elizabeth Warren is tainted by her claims to be Native American on her State Bar of Texas registration card and then at University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University. This falsehood has damaged her character. She apparently had nothing to gain by the assertion, which trivializes the hardships of minorities. Warren is practically the Hillary of this election—she is old, white and has lied— and I can’t overlook this. She is qualified and popular, which worries me, but I won’t be voting for her in the primaries.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand doesn’t have as much name recognition as other candidates. Gillibrand has been an advocate for gun reform, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, rights for people of color and the prevention of sexual harassment and assault in the military and government. She received backlash after she called for Al Franken’s resignation from the Senate after sexual misconduct allegations before there was proof. This could cost her votes and donors who had supported Franken, but she has stood by her actions. While she has good intentions and has supported and created progressive acts, I’m not sure that she has done enough to set herself apart from the rest as the best candidate for the Democratic nomination.

Senator Amy Klobuchar came a little further into the spotlight when a report came out that she had gotten mad at a staffer for not bringing her a fork with her salad for a plane ride and used a comb instead, which she promptly made the staffer clean. She later defended herself, saying that she just has high expectations for everyone, including herself and the country as a whole. She is from the midwest, is more moderate and supports bipartisanship and working with Republicans, which could serve as an advantage to gain potential Republican voters. Klobuchar supports taking action on climate change, getting undocumented immigrants citizenship and expanding Medicare, although she doesn’t think Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) should be abolished.

Andrew Yang wants to implement Universal Basic Income (UBI), giving every American $1,000 every month after they turn 18. Yang is the only prominent Asian hopeful and says he will try to prevent new technologies from destroying millions more jobs, which is why he believes UBI is crucial. While he graduated from both Brown and Columbia, he is not a politician, and after Trump I don’t think I want someone in office that doesn’t have the same qualifications as other politicians do. Yang’s platform includes a long list of issues including Medicare-For-All, combating climate change, common-sense gun control, legalizing marijuana, access to birth control, safe and affordable abortions for every American and much more. Although this all looks good, I would rather not support someone who doesn’t have the same experience as the seasoned politicians running.

While Marianne Williamson was once an immigration lawyer, she is now the type of candidate I would classify as appealing to the “hip” white soccer mom types that name their kids after countries (which she actually did — her daughter is named India). She advised Oprah, but that doesn’t make her qualified for president. After reading just the first few paragraphs on her website, she reminds me of some dystopian spiritual leader that leads the country astray. Williamson thinks she will be a political visionary for the country, and she is thorough with her policy, but there are better candidates. She is not as qualified as actively political candidates.

Tulsi Gabbard was the first American Samoan and Hindu member of Congress. Democrats thought she would become their progressive champion until some concerning beliefs were revealed, such as her support of the xenophobic term “radical Islam.” After elected to the Hawaii Legislature, Gabbard said she would pass an amendment against same-sex marriage. While she supposedly supports LGBTQ rights now, her previous sentiments ran deep; her father founded the organization Stop Promoting Homosexuality. I’m not sure if I can trust such a flip in ideology. However, Gabbard has similar stances on economic and social issues to Sanders, which makes her look a bit better. As a veteran, her main issue is war and peace, though it scares me to think someone who wants to bomb enemies would have the power to start a war. She is not near the top of my list.

And the white men in their 60s, the J’s: John Delaney, John Hickenlooper and Jay Inslee. I don’t care much about them. We’ve had white men like them forever, and I would rather not have another. John Delaney is basically a Democratic Trump— he is a millionaire businessman. Jay Inslee is probably a good guy. His priority is fighting climate change, but that’s not enough. John Hickenlooper was mayor of Denver and then governor of Colorado. He sells himself as a nice former nerd who believes he can beat Trump and unite the U.S. While he seems like he has good intentions, he has not been hard on fracking or oil and gas companies.

There’s also Wayne Messam, mayor of Miramar. I doubt most people know who he is, so that means he doesn’t have much of a chance.

When the time comes in the general elections, everyone has to vote for the person who will be the better leader and the best chance against Trump. The U.S. can be better, and that will only happen when we unite for a common goal.