Opinion: Why I am looking forward to this 2020 Democratic primary
All of us Democrats remember precisely how we felt on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, and how we knew that at that moment, we needed to do everything possible to make sure that President Donald Trump would not get re-elected in 2020.
Now we are here, over two years later, as the 2020 election cycle is just getting started.
The already declared candidates are Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); Reps. John Delaney (D-Md.) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii); Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind.; and former secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro.
Along with them, we are waiting on likely announcements from former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.). We have also seen figures like Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) express varying degrees of interest in a possible run at the nomination.
Out of that list of 16 names, Booker, Harris, Warren, Sanders, Biden and O’Rourke — assuming the last three decide to throw their hats in the ring — have been generally regarded as front-runners. From that list of six, two of them are women, two are people of color and one — Harris — is a woman of color; separately, Buttigieg, though not a front-runner, is openly gay.
That list of six names should excite every single Democratic voter in the country. They cover the vast majority politically, and far more voters than ever can look at that list and see someone who looks like them, which, prior to President Barack Obama, is something that a whole lot of people were never able to do.
This is the first open Democratic primary without an heir apparent since 2004. Though she won the nomination once, Hillary Clinton occupied that role in 2008 and 2016. For context, on Convention Day in 2004, I was 5 years old. It has been a long time since Democratic voters were able to emerge from a midterm year with such an open field, and this cycle’s group is far more diverse, in many ways, than it has ever been.
By the time that the nominee takes the convention stage in over a year, we will have all gone through what will likely be a grueling primary season, and many will be upset that their nominee was unsuccessful, which is a natural product of the system. Yet, that’s the result of being inspired by and feeling connected to one of the candidates, which is ideal. However, we all need to throw all of our support behind whoever emerges from this primary with enough of the vote.
It will have been over three years since Trump’s inauguration, and that means three years of xenophobia, “nationalism” (in his own words), nepotism and corruption — with a helping of incompetence. We will have seen climate change disregarded, children separated from their parents, transgender Americans forced out of the military, a journalist’s murder completely ignored, money thrown at the richest people in the country at the expense of the poorest and the cozying up to despots like Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin. We need to keep our eyes on the prize: restoring faith and confidence in the presidency of the United States.
There are some candidates from that big list of Democrats that I would very much prefer over others, but honestly, I do not have a single favorite at this time. There is no doubt in my mind that any of the six front-runners — and some of the non-front-runners, like Brown, Gillibrand and Klobuchar — would actually spend their time doing all that they can to make this country a better place to live, instead of watching cable news and phoning up friendly political commentators for hours at a time during his or her “executive time.”
At the end, whatever differences we may have pale in comparison to what might happen to all of us in the event of Trump’s re-election. For that reason, regardless of who wins this nomination, all Democrats should support whoever goes on to face Trump in the general election. Until then, find a candidate that appeals to you, inspires you and makes you believe in a better tomorrow and do all that you can to get that person to the magic number of delegates.
Jacob Wasserman is a sophomore political science student at the university. He is the president of the College Democrats of Delaware, and also a senior reporter at The Review. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.