Thursday, April 25, 2019

Assignment #10 Wild Card

Reviewing the Democratic Presidential Candidates for 2020

I decided to analyze each of the candidates running for election on the Democratic ticket (Donald Trump is the main Republican candidate, so they're running against him). The former governor of Massuchusetts, William Weld, is the lone Republican running against Trump. Howard Schultz, former Starbucks CEO, may run as an Independent. Sadly, there are no female Republican candidates this time around.

I'm not going to discuss politics, or even the issues. I'm going to evaluate each candidate, what their ideas are, what experience they have, what chance I think they have, which have specific policy plans, etc.

20 different people are running this year in the Democratic primary; or as CNN calls it, "20 for 2020." It's a nice round number, but it's certainly possible that others may throw their proverbial hats in the ring. VIDEO: CNN's Ranking of the 20

Here is the list: Former Vice President Joe Biden; South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton; California Rep. Eric Swalwell; Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; former Rep. Beto O’Rourke; former Gov. John Hickenlooper; Gov. Jay Inslee; Sen. Bernie Sanders; Sen. Amy Klobuchar; Sen. Elizabeth Warren; Sen. Cory Booker; Sen. Kamala Harris; ex-San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; former Rep. John Delaney; Miramar, FL Mayor Wayne Messam; author Marianne Williamson; and former tech executive Andrew Yang.

Who Democrats vote for in the primary may depend on whether they want the country to go back to the way things were before President Trump, or whether great change (being much more progressive) is the desired outcome. It's clear that the candidates are not just attacking Donald Trump. They also want to address issues such as climate change, gun control, and the country's "crumbling infrastructure," as well as racial inequality, health care, and how the government might be re-structured. Some have more solid proposals than others. Some get more media attention than others, too. I've listed them here roughly in order of how likely they are to get the nomination.

Former VP Joe Biden was the last Democrat to declare that he's running. He has support from former President Obama. Younger voters may think that the US really doesn't need any more "old white men" in the "old white house" for a while.  They might also think that he has too many other negatives, such as the fact that he likes to touch people and often makes inappropriate comments. Nevertheless, the latest polls put Biden and Sanders ahead of everyone else. It's still too early, though. At this same point in the last election, Republicans Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio were ahead of the rest.  There's another whole year and change left before the end of this primary season, and many things can happen. Biden has raised a lot of money already. His main strength is his vast experience, spending 40 years in the Senate and then being VP for 8 years. Some Democrats think he represents the old guard, rather than a more progressive future.

Senator Bernie Sanders is running again. Many have observed that he's not really a Democrat -- he's a socialist (or independent) who just pretends to be a Democrat during election years. He's popular with the young, with the extreme left, and with people in Vermont and New York. Critics may say that he's another "old white guy." Many people love what he has to say, even if his ideas may be unrealistic or may be too expensiveThis blogger counters many of the negative views about Sanders. Like Biden, Sanders has a long history of working hard for "the little guy" with his senate record. He has specific ideas about how to create medicare for all. Sanders has always put forth the idea of free college tuition. He would raise taxes on the rich to pay for his plans. He recently agreed that felons should be able to vote while in jail (Vermont already allows this). Finally, he has a proposal that would break up the big banks, the way that Wall Street was reigned in after the recession.

Massachusetts native Elizabeth Warren is running. She has been in the Senate for 6 years and has accomplished a lot.  Before that, she was a Rutgers law professor.  I believe she might be the best  female candidate on the list, due to her high visibility and detailed plans. Here's a list of her accomplishments and her views on the issues. Warren took Sanders' ideas about student debt and free college, and then made a specific plan for that, as well as one for providing free healthcare to working parents. She has a plan to raise taxes on the rich in order to pay for her ideas. She would also like to get rid of the Electoral College and the filibuster in the Senate, and break up big tech corporations like Amazon and Facebook.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker has been running for a while. Besides being a senator, he was also the mayor of Newark. He has a reputation as a centrist.  He calls for unity instead of divisiveness, which may make him popular with those in the middle of the political spectrum. On the other hand, he's appeared more progressive in recent years. Here are the issues that he focuses on and where he stands. He has specific plans for the idea that every child should have a nest egg. He thinks government should look into guaranteeing federal jobs and making reparations to descendants of former slaves. Booker worked with Trump on overhauling prison and sentencing laws; he would like to go further.

Kamala Harris is a first-term senator from California, running since January. She might need more experience.  She's a former prosecutor from San Francisco. Some say she's not progressive enough. She or Gillibrand would probably be my second choice among the females on the list who might have a chance to win.  Here's where she stands on the issues. Like Booker, she thinks the government should study whether reparations should be given out to descendants of slaves. They've both come up with ideas to help lower-income Americans of all types.

Kirsten Gillibrand is the Senator from New York; she followed in Hillary Clinton's shoes (and into her Senate seat).  Voters who loved Hillary might love Kirsten, who doesn't have nearly as much baggage. Her last name may be problematic (it's certainly not the most difficult to pronounce on the list).  Here is where she stands on the issues and her voting record.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is also running. She's another one with a hard-to-pronounce name.  She was accused by some of her staffers of being mean to them and yelling at them. Voters may or may not think that's a big deal. Personally, I would like to have a woman president for a change. I don't think she's the one that will win this time, though. Here is an article about her stances on the issues, such as cybersecurity and climate change.

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is very popular with gay voters.  He's also a former Rhodes scholar and war vet. The following factors might outweigh the previous ones:  he's only 37, has never been a national figure, has a name that's difficult to spell or pronounce, and he's gay (that might be a negative to some voters, sad to say).  The Atlantic suggests that the media focuses too much on Buttigieg being gay. Here's more about his opinions on the issues. He would like to expand the Supreme Court to 15 justices.

Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who ran against Ted Cruz in 2016 and lost, is also running. He has slightly more experience than the mayors and state officials who are running.  At least, like former President Obama, he did serve in Congress.  He's very popular with some Democrats, but he's also only 46. He was very popular on social media, but since the 2018 loss, he doesn't seem nearly as popular in general. Read here about his take on gun control, climate change, immigration and more.

Mass. Rep. Seth Moulton, a former marine Iraqi war vet (who won the Bronze Star), unseated an incumbent Democrat in 2014.  He has spoken out against Nancy Pelosi.  Voters might think he doesn't have much experience. You can read here about his stance on the issues, such as military spending, healthcare, climate change, etc.

California Rep. Eric Swalwell represents a rich, mostly-white part of Northern California, South of Oakland and near San Jose. Voters might think he lacks experience as well. His focus is on the economy and jobs.

Congressman Tim Ryan represents Ohio and once tried to replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. He claims to be fighting for working people and says he's progressive. It's really too early to tell about some of these candidates - whether they will stay in the race or not. Then again, I doubt many people had heard of Bill Clinton outside of Arkansas the first time he ran for President, either. The New York Times says that he's a "left-leaning populist."

Miramar, Florida mayor Wayne Messam is also running... In my opinion, mayors really don't have the experience to be in a high office such as president (Of course, a reality show "star" is our current president).  Messam is the first African-American mayor for that city. He risks splitting the black vote with Harris and Booker.  He's the only Southerner, but they have more national recognition. He thinks that people will vote for him because "mayors get things done." Gun control and student debt are important issues to him. He doesn't have much fund-raising experience, nor does he spend many funds when he campaigns.

Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is running. He's worked with both Democrats and Republicans to get progressive ideas done in his state. Voters may be skeptical of any of the candidates who have long or hard-to-pronounce names.  He calls himself an "extreme moderate." See where he stands on the issues.

Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State, has a long track record of doing well in his job. Climate change is his first priority. Learn more about his stance on the issues here.

Julian Castro was the secretary of HUD under Obama (the youngest member of that cabinet), and the former mayor of San Antonio. He may get some of the Latino vote.  Immigration is one of his most important issues. Here's what he believes on all of the issues.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, another Iraqui war vet who's running, has quite a bit of political baggage. She offended many gay voters with her comments. She's offended some with her more conservative positions about Islam and foreign wars. Read about her stance on the issues. She has very strong opinions about the U.S. getting involved in changing regimes and wars.

Andrew Yang is a venture capital startup businessman, among other things. He wants us to have a Universal Basic Income and medicare for all. He's probably too unknown and too left-wing to get many votes.  He appears to have some very solid ideas, though. Here's how he stands on the issues.

John Delaney is a wealthy former businessman and congressman in Maryland. He thinks that he can win because he's against partisan politics and has experience in both the private and public sectors. Politico thinks he's a long shot. He sounds like he might be more conservative than the rest of the candidates. He has a specific plan for improving health care. Yang and Delaney have both raised concerns about automation taking away jobs.

The least-qualified candidate is Marianne Williamson of California, who writes spiritual books. She's also a self-proclaimed liberal activist who has done a lot to help the poor and sick. She ran for Congress in California and lost. She thinks that the government should spend billions of dollars on reparations to descendents of former slaves.

All of the candidates have pledged not to accept money from special interest groups: Super PACs, corporate PACs, and lobbyists.  However, they have accepted it, anyway...

Even though there are so many candidates, most of the media will likely focus their attention on the top candidates (the ones they think will be most likely to win), like Biden, Sanders, Warren, Harris, Booker, and maybe a few others.

Of the 20 people running, there are at least 8 I'd never heard of before.  It's an unusually large group of candidates, and it'll be very interesting to see how it all plays out. Here's a good comparison from Rolling Stone.   No matter whom you choose, make sure you go out and VOTE in 2020!

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