The 2020 Presidential campaign has commenced with a flourishing start. With a vulnerable President whose broad appeal has been generally contained to his core base, the Democratic Field is chomping at the bit to replace him. Several have announced their candidacy with plenty of time for those still considering to strategically announce their own. The first of twelve debates is scheduled for June 2019.
In the lead-up, Qrewcial is ranking the current top six candidates in the race to be the 46th U.S. President. These rankings are based on each individual’s chance of being elected at this point in time, their strengths, and the challenges they must overcome.
#1. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Momentum: Sanders, the self-described “democratic socialist”, was the 2016 Democratic runner up. He has the largest grassroots base of any candidate and has been the face of the party’s trend toward the left. With popular stances on free college tuition, the Green New Deal, and Medicare for All, Sen. Sanders has been the most clear-cut candidate on the policies he will be running on.
Obstacles: Among the Democratic Party trend to the left, there have been calls for a more diverse new field of candidates. There is no denying that “socialist” is still considered a dirty word among many. Sanders, at 77 years old and the oldest candidate, can’t physically claim to be part of a new generation of policymakers. Reports of sexual misconduct among staff from the failed 2016 campaign have marred an otherwise uniquely altruistic politician.
#2. President Donald Trump
Momentum: History doesn’t lie—Americans tend to give their President another four years. Trump has already raised more than $100 million for reelection. While President, he’s passed a tax bill that lowered taxes for about 80% of Americans, nominated two conservative judges that were confirmed to the Supreme Court and has seen the unemployment rate remain low.
#3. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Momentum: The former attorney general of California, Harris is currently part of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee. She drew quick attention for her tough questioning in the infamous Brett Cavanaugh hearings as well as other Trump cabinet nominees. She has endorsed the Medicare for All bill, popular middle-class tax cut legislation last fall and a liberal civil rights agenda.
Obstacles: With criminal justice reform a major point of contention, this absolutely does not work in favor of Harris. As we’ve pointed out before, her record includes several contradictions to her image as a reformer, including fighting to keep people in prison who were proven innocent and defending the California death penalty.
#4. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Momentum: Warren is slightly less progressive than Sanders, typically claiming to want to fix capitalism as opposed to replacing it, which many will prefer. She is an adamant defender of the middle class and income inequality, wanting to tax large corporations and extreme wealth.
Obstacles: Unwise and largely awkward, Warren’s play into defending herself from Trump’s taunts of “Pocahontas” by taking a DNA test to prove her Native American roots has taken an unfortunate amount of space in the spotlight. This has not boded well for her nor her debate-ably unfair label of being less likable than other candidates.
#5. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Momentum: Booker has a similar gift for uplifting speeches, much like Barack Obama. His calls for reuniting the nation and his staunch defenses of inequality have endeared him to many voters. He regularly backs bills aimed at alleviating poverty, expanding access to healthcare, and raising the minimum wage.
Obstacles: Though it has helped raise him a great deal of funding for his campaign, there is a perception that Booker is too close to Wall Street and his independence is compromised by accepting from corporate donors. This is coming at a time where there are vast calls to end the role corporate buyouts play in politics, especially from the exact base Booker would appeal to most.
#6. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Momentum: Gillibrand has situated herself as a leading voice in the Democratic progressive movement. Including backing Medicare for All, she has supported universal paid family leave. She has long placed women’s equality at the center of her policy agenda and her presentation of herself as a strong young mom will absolutely work in her favor at a time that leadership is needed more than ever.
Obstacles: In the past, Gillibrand was well known for her Centrist-Democratic stances. She received an A-rating from the NRA and opposed any sort of amnesty for undocumented immigrants. This will upset her target base who will be looking for support of both gun control and an end to the border crisis. She also just held a fundraiser at the home of Pfizer executive and head of Pfizer PAC Sally Susman, which as you can imagine did not go over well with some.
As the year continues, we’ll keep giving you more updates on all the aforementioned candidates and any new candidates who throw their hat into the ring.