November 3rd, 2020 seems like a lifetime away but several prominent Democrats are already eyeing up the next U.S. election and getting themselves ready to run against Republican President Trump. One big-name Democrat has already thrown her hat into the ring but news outlets in the United States are suggesting that up to three dozen Democratic candidates will take up the challenge of becoming Donald Trump’s opposition. Here are five of the top contenders.
The only big-name Democrat who, as of publication, has officially begun to explore running for President having announced the formation of an ‘exploratory committee’. Warren is a well-loved figure on the left wing of the Democratic Party and made national news when her Native-American heritage was called into question by the President. In terms of achievements, Warren was first elected to the Senate in 2010. Since then, she has commanded large majorities every time she has been re-elected. Her political experience lies in the economy, having started out as a Professor in financial bankruptcy law, lobbied against Wall Street, and been chair of the Congressional panel that oversaw financial assistance given to banks after the 2008 financial crisis. However, some Democrats worry that her public feud with Trump over her heritage is toxic and her potential policies are too radical for the centre-wing of the party to support.
Arguably one of the biggest names the Democrats have in their arsenal, rumours surrounding Vice-President Biden challenging for the nomination have gained traction with the New York Times reporting that a formal announcement could come ‘within weeks’. Biden remains immensely popular with large parts of the Democratic Party, skilfully garnering support from young and old voters alike. His time as Vice-President came after 36 years of serving the state of Delaware in the Senate. For Democrats who believe an experienced Washington insider holds the key to removing Donald Trump from the White House, Biden is their dream candidate. However, he has a past of supporting Republican initiatives and his mishandling and dismissal of sexual assault allegations by Anita Hill against Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas in 1991 might not go down well with some Democrats. He has also run twice for the Presidency and failed. Not to mention any ties with the Obama administration will likely be an instant turn-off to Trump voters, practically guaranteeing that Biden will not persuade many disaffected Trump supporters to vote Democrat. Questions over Biden’s age will undoubtedly be raised too with the Vice President celebrating his 78th birthday in November 2020.
A familiar name to anyone who followed the 2016 election, Bernie Sanders rocked the Democratic Party last time around by championing a left-wing campaign funded entirely by donations from the general public. There is a chance that buoyed by what many would call a successful campaign, Sanders will decide to run again. Swathes of the Democratic Party, particularly younger voters, still adore Bernie. With Democratic momentum beginning to kick in nationally and one loss to learn from, Sanders might feel that he can perfect his campaign second time around. However, like Biden, Sanders also does not have age on his side – he will be 79 by the time 2020 rolls around. That being said, President Trump, who will almost definitely be the Republican nominee, will be 74 in 2020. A recent loss is also fuel for the supporters of the President to say that Sanders doesn’t have the credentials to be President, particularly when that loss came against one of the least popular candidates in Democratic history, Hillary Clinton.
To many outside of his former congressional district, Beto O’Rourke used to be an unfamiliar name. That was until O’Rourke took on the seemingly impossible task of dethroning Republican Senator Ted Cruz for the midterm elections. Many did not give O’Rourke a chance, especially given that Cruz is popular in Texas, and the state has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1984. In the end, Cruz did retain his seat but only by 3% of the vote. Although a loss, O’Rourke pushed Cruz hard and almost immediately after the result of the election came in, there were calls for O’Rourke to run for President in 2020. As a Texan Democrat, O’Rourke would be popular in a region where his party has not fared well since the 1960s – the Deep South. However, his inexperience in government could be a major hindrance, and O’Rourke has repeatedly denied that he will run for President.
My final suggestion to run for President in 2020 is the young female African-American Senator from California, Kamala Harris. A Senator for perhaps the most reliably Democratic state in the country, Harris is well-known for her vocal opposition to Donald Trump, particularly on the topic of the proposed border wall that would run across California’s border with Mexico. Being young, female and Black, Harris is everything that President Trump isn’t. This majorly favours her in the eyes of almost all Democrats. Not to mention that a female has never been elected President. A formal announcement is imminent, one way or another as Politico this morning reported Harris has closed down her state campaign committee. Originally for a potential run for California Governor, this action suggests that she has national aspirations in mind. Questions do linger, however, as to whether she can beat Trump. Whether or not Harris could persuade undecided voters that she can offer the country more than President Trump can remains to be seen.
Out of all the choices to throw my backing behind, Joe Biden seems the most logical. His experience in government is unrivaled within the current Democratic Party. I believe what is needed now more than ever is a stable leader who knows how to get things done without political or legal drama. Joe Biden fits this bill perfectly.