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It has been about two months since I last touched up on this subject, and I can definitely say its been worth the wait now that there are a total of 16 major candidiates who've pretty much announced that they are running in the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. As with the previous post, I'll be listing them below by linking a corresponding video and providing a single paragraph of my thoughts on each campaign. This time around, I've arranged them by last name (just to be fair) so that its easier to follow and read. Here we go!
01) CORY BOOKER from New Jersey
Cory Booker had one of the loudest, if not attention-grabbing, entrances into the race primarily due to its simplicty and ingenuity. The decision to launch his campaign on the first day of Black History Month is sure to tap into a powerful demographic of the party, and only time will tell whether he can muster enough strength from across the board to make it all the way to the finish line. In hindsight, Booker may not have the polls in his favor but the campaign is pretty high in energy sodefinitely quite a bit to look forward to.
02) PETE BUTTIGIEG from Indiana
One of the quieter, yet strategic, candidiates looking to play the long game for the 2020 race is Pete Buttigieg. His name might not have a lot of recognition, but he knows how to communicate issues in an effective way that all generations can not only understand but also comprehend and appreciate. In the long shot possibility that he does win, he would end up shattering several records such as the youngest president, first Millenial preseident, first Maltese-American president, first openly gay president, first president who is an Afghan War veteran, and first mayor to become president without having previously served as a Governor or a U.S. Senator.
03) JULIAN CASTRO from Texas
The former U.S. Secretary Housing and Urban Development under Barack Obama knows pretty well how to channel his old boss's charisma when it comes to speechmaking, but doesn't have much else to back it up. Julian Castro's approach to issues is as outdated the economic incrementalism being touted by the Democratic party's moderate wing.
04) JOHN DELANEY from Maryland
I honestly don't know why we have to talk about him but since he technically announced over 2 years ago, it seems only fair to give him a slot. His policies are about as exciting as Martin O'Malley's cute little 2016 candidacy, if you even remember who the latter was at all. Delaney's main advantage is that he knows how to get allies from more than one place, and thats about it.
05) TULSI GABBARD from Hawaii
Though I initially had my doubts (which were partially assuaged when she made that LGBT apology video) about her, Tulsi Gabbard has proven to be quite dilligent and dedicated in her focus on the issues. She is no stranger to controversy, and has been known to defy party protocol when it comes to her views on the abstract (yet still realistic) concepts that we know to be war and peace. As the only female congresswoman who is in the running, she's got quite the capitol hill to climb if she wants to win against some of her more senior Senate rivals.
06) KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND from New York
When people say you have to "practice what you preach" at any time, the first thing Kirsten Gillibrand does with her official campaign launch is rephrase it as a question of encouragement and hope. Though initially one of the most conservative members in the House, her quick jump to the Senate enabled her to take huge rish that earned dividends for both her state and the party at large with progressive victories in issues concerning universal health care, redfining patriotism, empowering women, and fighting back sexual assault in the military. Though considered by the media as a low tier candidate in terms of polling data, she is not someone who will back down so easily.
07) KAMALA HARRIS from California
Kamala Harris is not the frontrunner, but her campaign packs alot more firepower than it actually lets on. Her focus on key issues (criminal justice, financial reform, marriage equality, health care, and urban development) enables her a level of support like almost no other candidate, not to mention that her home state is set to provide a lot of back up in the coming year. While she may not be the most experienced (in terms of years spent in public service) person in this race, she can certainly claim to have the widest breadth in terms of social outreach and demographic represenation. Harris's career spans a few decades of law enforcement that handily segueways into federal legislation, but always with a focus both on faith, family, freedom, and the flag:
U.S. Senator from California (2017 to present)
Attorney General of California (2011 to 2017)
District Attorney of San Fransico (2004 to 2011)
Chief of the Community and Neighborhood Division under the City Attorney of San Fransico (2000 to 2004)
Managing Attorney of the Career Criminal Unit under the District Attorney of San Francisco (1998 to 2000)
Deputy District Attorney of Alameda (1990 to 1998)
08) JOHN HICKENLOOPER from Colorado
Hickenlooper has a good fanbase, and given his track record in Colorado its safe to say that it is pretty well earned. However, the positions he's taken don't necessarily allow him to rise above the fray expect when attempting to share the progressive mantle with just about everybody else in this list is doing (or trying) the same thing. If Sanders weren't in the running then he might be getting more attention, but that just isn't the case.
09) JAY INSLEE from Washington
Inslee's biggest claim to fame in this field is that he's the climate change guy. While running as a single issue candidate does have its downsides, I don't think this takes anything away from him since he's been at the forefront of this issue throughout his career. While his ultimate fate in the race remains uncertain, other candidates will be hard pressed to match their records on environmental protection with that of his.
10) AMY KLOBUCHAR from Minnesota
Klobuchar's biggest strength is her sincerity on pretty much every issue you throw at her while her biggest weakness is that her method of answering questions involves an egregious ton of policy wonk. She would be the closest incarnation to 2008 Hillary Clinton in this 2020 race, given how she feels that being openly moderate on the issues is nothing to be ashamed of. Her presence on the field might not be as powerful as some of the other high profile names, but Klobuchar is at least proud of being pretty tough while also being incredibly boring.
11) WAYNE MESSAM from Florida
The newest contender in this the 2020 race is a lot like Pete Buttigieg, a small town mayor who worked hard to get where he is and hopes to use his executive platform as a launchpad into the White House. What differentiates Wayne Messam from the rest is his tenacity to enact a vision for America that takes a hard look at social and fiscal issues with respect to race and class. Time will tell whether his candidacy will take off like that of Buttigieg.
12) BETO O'ROURKE from Texas
Just to keep it simple, this guy is super popular because everyone says he's the "white Obama" who can draw huge crowds the former president did back in the day. O'Rourke's rhetoric is largely composed of progressive platitiudes that inspire action but his legislative record takes a drastic right-wing turn as evidenced by his super close relationship with the oil and gas industry. Still, his interpersonal relationships with the moderates of the party are nothing to laugh at given how much star power he has both with the mainstream media and with voters who haven't seen what the likes of Warren or Harris can do. O'Rourke's main strength lies in his ability to reach into that previously untapped wellspring of undecided voters that can erupt into a powerful force at the voting booth.
13) BERNIE SANDERS from Vermont
Everbody's favorite democratic socialist is back for a second chance to win the position on top brass. Bernie Sanders is certainly the most experienced candidate (not to mention oldest) in this year's crop, and as such has both the policy chops to virtually cut down almost every arguement that opponents could make while at the same time consistently uphold left-wing values through the decades without breaking a sweat. His career began in executive power before eventually pivoting into legislative overdrive, and has seen him rise above the crop to become a true champion of the people:
* U.S. Senator from Vermont (2007 to present) * U.S. Represenative of Vermont's Lone District (1991 to 2007) * Mayor of Burlington (1981 to 1989)
14) ELIZABETH WARREN from Massaschusetts
The most determined fighter in this entire election, Elizabeth Warren is no stranger to seemingly impossible David VS Goliath battles and yet somehow she always keeps pushing on. From waging Bankruptcy Wars against the biggest financial institutions to going after credit companies that cheat middle class homes of their money, she has not relented in her quest of true economic justice for everyone. Warren is the ultimate definition of a tried and true fair market capitalist who believes in the capability of a robust economy that is powered by competition and innovation.
15) MARIANNE WILLIAMSON from California
This poetic and well versed New Age novelist has decided to take her spritual approach to life and literature by running for president in an effort to take United States in a similar direction. Williamson's greatest asset is her ability to give social speeches a solid backing through a combination of historical analyses and economic references. I'd say she is the one candidate in this race who gets first place on running by preaching (better than Gillibrand or Sanders) and platitudes (as effectively as Harris or O'Rourke) for the general audience.
16) ANDREW YANG from New York
A similar problem to Delaney in that Yang announced way too early, but more than makes up for it with his smart plays on the political stage. Unlike most of the other candidiates, he's not afraid to verbally browse his business credentials as a means of winning votes. His idea for a Universal Basic Income is about the most solid thing you can expect from almost any candidate, but there's definitely more than meets the eye for this man, especially considering the positive coverage he's been getting as of late.
On a side note, I didn't include Joe Biden because while it seems like he's pretty much gonna run, there isn't anything official yet from staff members or official accounts. Same thing goes for the likes of Eric Swalwell, Stacey Abrams, Wayne Messam, John Bennet, among others. I chose these videos in particular because until we have a final list of everyone who is actually running and has made a formal announcement at a rally, my focus will be more on their digital presence. I can also confirm any suspicions you might have about my biases on certain candidates (just to be clear so that you know why I wrote all fo this) but nonetheless figured it would still be good to put them all together so that everyone can formulate their own opinion.
EDIT: I removed Andrew Gillum from the list after he announced that he wasn't running for president, but made it clear that he was going to focus on registering over 1 million new Flordians to vote at the polls in the hopes of beating Donald Trump in 2020. I swapped him with Wayne Messam after the latter made his announcement official a few days ago.