Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America [CC BY-SA 2.0], The White House from Washington, DC [Public domain], United States Senate [Public domain]
With the 2020 presidential elections rapidly approaching, an entire new generation of voters will be given the task of choosing our next commander in chief. This may seem like a daunting task, especially after the polarizing results of the 2016 race. In order to best prepare this new generation of voters for what is literally the fate for the free world, it is important to hit the ground running with researching and supporting our candidates of choice. With the GOP already having Donald Trump in office, it is unlikely the president will face much opposition from his own party as he seeks reelection. On the other hand, the Democratic party has already had 20+ contenders throw their hats into the ring. It is up in the air who will actually end up mattering and who will end up 2020’s “Jeb Bush.” Here’s your guide to some of the biggest names in the race.
Joe Biden: Uncle America
You know him as: Former U.S. Vice-President
The VP to 44th is back with oval office ambitions. Having run twice before in 1988 and 2008, Biden has the experience needed to run a campaign. As a white, centrist, male and a throwback to the Obama-era, Biden has garnered an intergenerational fan base of boomers, millennials, and even the Gen-Z kids who grew up on the Obiden bromance. This however, might also be his downfall, as some say he represents a dated version of the Democratic Party that is a definite turn-off to younger, more progressive voters.
Platform Highlights: Rebuilding the middle class, recommitting to our global allies, protecting voting rights
Bernie Sanders: Grandpa America
You know him as: U.S. Senator, Vt.
Taking the biggest L of 2016, Sanders lost the Democratic presidential nomination in favor of Hillary Clinton. Sanders, like Biden, has intergenerational backing and significant political experience, but is perceived as out of touch by some younger Americans. Policy wise, Sanders identifies as a Democratic Socialist, a title that can sound scary to some. As a Democratic Socialist, Sanders is dedicated to addressing social inequality, advocating for programs like universal health care and free college tuition.
Platform Highlights: Universal healthcare, expansion of social security, Green New Deal
Beto O’Rourke: The Southern Sk8r Boi
You know him as: Former U.S. Representative, Texas, 16th District
From to his objectively weird punk rock days to wooooosh-ing through Whataburger on his skateboard, Beto O’Rourke has left an impression on young voters as a politician they could get along with. His awkward charm and relatability have earned O’Rourke a sizeable fanbase. A grassroots politician, O’Rourke refuses to accept any money from corporate PACs, and has publicly denounced “pay-to-play” politics. Allegedly, he’s also a really good tipper, so make of that what you will.
Platform Highlights: Ethical campaign finance, universal healthcare, strengthening unions
Pete Buttigieg: The Mayor
You know him as: Mayor, Southbend, Ind.
Mayor, Veteran, last name that no two people pronounce the same way, all titles given to one Peter Buttigieg—but should president be the latest addition to his already lofty resume? Buttigieg is certainly an attractive candidate to younger voters, being barely of age to take office himself and standing firm on policies like affordable health care, and combating climate change. His veteran status and experience in local government also gives him some props, but for some, it cannot be looked over that “Mayor Pete” is just that: a mayor of a small town in Indiana. While Buttigieg still has significantly more political experience than our current POTUS, it is still a subject of debate as to whether or not he is currently capable of Commander-in-Chief status. Despite this shortcoming, he is certainly progressive, and not just in the buzzword sense. Buttigieg’s stance of “We cannot find greatness in the past” will be something to think about as we draw ever closer to 2020.
Platform Highlights: “Medicare for All Who Want It,” debt-free college, federal investment in infrastructure
Kamala Harris: The District Attorney
You know her as: U.S. Senator, Calif.
“Speaking truth, demanding justice”: this is how Senator Kamala Harris’s website describes her. Supporting platforms of increased minimum-wage and tax cuts for the middle class, Harris is steadfast in her beliefs. Recently, Harris called out Biden for the 1994 “crime bill” he pushed as generating mass incarceration, showing she is not afraid to critique her opponents. Similar to Buttigieg, critics have cited her inexperience as a major obstacle she will have to overcome, having yet to serve a complete term on the federal level.
Platform Highlights: Combating climate change, free college, assault weapons ban
Elizabeth Warren: The Hometeam
You know her as: U.S. Senator, Mass.
Having served as a Massachusetts senator since 2013, Elizabeth Warren brings yet another flavor in this prospective presidential sundae. Warren has a detailed game plan outlining exactly how she’s going to enact her agenda as president. From collapsing corruption on Capitol Hill, to supporting middle class families, to enstating foreign policy “for all,” her diplomatic attitude and persistence has won many over.
Platform Highlights: Support for Planned Parenthood, Diplomatic Foreign Policy, Anti-Corruption
Andrew Yang: The Wild Card
You know him as: a startup CEO
Andrew Yang is a candidate with some particularly peculiar primary platforms. Yang has focused on automation and universal basic income. He has made some utterly bizarre statements such as “If I’m in the White House, oh boy are we going to have some fun in terms of the cryptocurrency community” and “All you need is self-driving cars to destabilize society.” His aggressive push for universal basic income is a source of great contention, with some arguing that it will support low income families, while others argue that it will devalue the dollar. Regardless, Yang’s long shot campaign will be, if nothing else, fun to watch play out.
Platform Highlights: Universal basic income, Medicare for all, “human-centered capitalism”