A Look to 2020: Presidential Election Updates

Ryan Wolfe Staff Reporter

The 2020 presidential election cycle has started running on all cylinders over the past several weeks. Several high-profile candidates from Massachusetts to California have announced their intentions to run for President of the United States against the incumbent President Donald Trump (R). So far, President Trump will be running for the GOP nomination unchallenged, but several Democrats are running for their respective nomination in hopes of removing President Trump from office. Many candidates are speculated to run in this next election, but the following are the candidates who have announced their intentions to run for the Democratic nomination.

The first candidate to announce his intention to run for the Democratic nomination was John Delaney from the 6th Congressional District of Maryland. He declared in July 2017 and has been focusing heavily on early primary/caucus states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina in order to spread his name and message to compete with high profile Democrats who are also seeking the nomination. Delaney, a 3-term representative in the House, is focusing his campaign on bipartisan cooperation in Washington D.C. and his inability to be categorized into just one ideology. However, he supports many of the Democratic platform’s stances, such as universal healthcare. 

The second candidate and, in some regards, the outsider, in a race full of politicians is Andrew Yang. Yang, son of Taiwanese immigrants, runs the company Venture for America, providing training for start-ups for young people in cities considered “emerging” such as Detroit, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Yang declared his intentions to run for President in November 2018. Yang has made himself stand out in the already crowded Democratic field with his adoption of a three-pronged approach to his campaign Medicare-for-All, acceptance of a human-based capitalism, but mostly focusing on his universal basic income plan. 

Yang’s proposal for a universal basic income would establish an annual income of $12,000 for every United States citizen over the age of 18. He claims that the establishment of this would allow the economy to grow by up to 13.1% by 2025. Yang proposes that, in order to pay for the UBI, a 10% Value-Added Tax for goods and services; he proposes using money that is already in the economy for this instead of printing more money, causing a huge inflation in the US dollar. Programs like this are being run in Oakland, CA, the state of Alaska, Finland, Canada, and other developing countries around the globe. 

On December 31, Elizabeth Warren announced her exploratory committee to run for President of the United States, making her the first woman to enter the field for the 2020 election. Warren, a former law professor at Harvard University, is the senior senator from the state of Massachusetts. Warren has recently released a genealogy test to try to debunk President Trump’s taunts of calling her “Pocahontas” in response to her claims of Native-American ancestry. She has claimed she will act as a repudiation of the current administration and vows to go after “Wall Street corruption,” something she has had experience in as the head of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under President Obama. Recently, Senator Warren announced her intention to propose a wealth-tax of 2% annually on net worth above $50 million to $1 billion and 3% annually on net worth above $1 billion. She has also called for fellow Democrats to not use Political Action Committees nor self-funding to run their campaigns, but rather to run grassroot campaigns in order to allow the people to decide, not the rich and powerful. If elected, Warren would be the first woman to win the presidency. 

Next, the first candidate to announce in the new year, Tulsi Gabbard, Democratic Congresswoman from Hawaii announced her candidacy for the Presidency on January 11. Coming off of the “blue wave” of 2018’s midterm elections, Gabbard, along with the rest of the candidates currently running, show a drastic shift in the Democratic caucus towards diversity of race, religion, and gender from past election cycles. Gabbard exemplifies this by being the first Samoan-American and Hindu representative in the United States Congress and to run for President of the United States; she would also be the youngest person ever elected to the Presidency, currently at age 39, and the first woman elected to the presidency. Gabbard supports Medicare-for-All, the right to choose for women’s reproductive rights, a reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act and the strengthening of financial regulations, and opposes the U.S.’ intervention in North Africa and the Middle East, and decriminalizing marijuana. Previously, Gabbard was opposed to same-sex marriage and civil unions, even working for The Alliance for Traditional Marriage PAC with her father, but since changed her views and apologized for her previous beliefs. She claims her time serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq helped her change her views on same-sex marriage equality.

Julián Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama, announced his candidacy on January 12, the day after Congresswoman Gabbard. If elected, Castro would be the first Latino to win the Presidency. Castro was considered to be a possibility for Secretary Clinton’s running mate in 2016. Castro, like many running in 2020, has declared that he will not be accepting PAC money in his presidential campaign. Castro has supported making the first two years of higher education free, and as mayor of San Antonio instituted free pre-kindergarten for all students and pledged to transfer that nationwide, supports a Green New Deal, and believes in a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently within the U.S. border. 

Next, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that she would be forming an exploratory committee to run for President on January 15. Gillibrand is the junior New York senator who during her time in the Senate helped further the efforts to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the U.S. military and of the #MeToo movement with the removal of her colleague Minnesota Senator Al Franken. Gillibrand has also made waves by calling for the abolishment of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and creating a new replacement program. If elected, Gillibrand would be the first woman president. She also supports ending cash bail in the criminal justice system, reducing sexual harassment in the workplace, universal family leave, Medicare-for-All, and federally funded elections where each donation made will be matched by local/state governments. 

After Gillibrand, Kamala Harris was the next person to announce her candidacy for the Presidency. Harris has served as the junior senator from California since 2017, previously as Attorney General in California and before that Attorney General of San Francisco. Harris announced her bid for the Presidency on January 21. If elected, Harris would be the second African American president, the first president Asian American, and the first female president. While in the Senate, Harris, among other 2020 candidates such as Warren and Gillibrand along with 2020 potentials such as Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders, formed the “Hell-No” caucus to fight against President Trump’s nominees for administration positions. Among most 2020 candidates, Harris supports Medicare-for-All; she also supports a single-payer health program, a $2.8 trillion cut for the middle- and lower-class American households, rent relief in cities in the U.S. to combat huge rent prices, and reforming, not abolishing, cash bail for the criminal justice system. 

Finally, the most recent candidate to announce his intention to run for President, Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announced his exploratory committee for the Presidency. Buttigieg would be the youngest president elected, currently at the age of 37. Buttigieg is the first openly gay candidate for President of the United States, from either the Democratic or Republican parties. Buttigieg served in Afghanistan for 7 months for the Navy Reserve during his first term as mayor of South Bend. Buttigieg is acting as a beacon for millennials who are unhappy with the old guard and the politics of the current administration. Buttigieg aims to help communities like South Bend whose communities suffered post-industrial decline.

However, while these candidates have all announced their candidacies for President, many people are speculated to still announce their bids such as Joe Biden, former Vice-President from 2009 to 2017, Cory Booker, a New Jersey senator, Bernie Sanders, the Progressive head of U.S. politics and Vermont senator, and John Hickenlooper, former governor of Colorado, among others. Some are speculated as making independent runs, such as Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks. Richard Ojeda, West Virginia state senator, has withdrawn from the 2020 Democratic primaries after not receiving enough funding to support his campaign. No Republican candidates have announced their primary bids against President Trump.