Democratic field takes shape for 2020 race

By Jakob S. Miller
Times-News correspondent 

   With the first presidential primary debate for the Democratic party scheduled in June, the field of candidates seems to be mostly set.
The biggest wild card now is whether former Vice President Joe Biden will enter the race, especially after recent allegations of crossing personal boundaries by women who have said he made them feel uncomfortable through physical contact. However, Biden has polled at the top of the field and his allies tout him as being the most electable potential candidate against President Trump.
Also polling at the top of the field is junior Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who since his failed but strong campaign in 2016 has built up credentials as the leader of the progressive wing of the party with proposals such as Medicare for All and his signature demand for a $15 hourly minimum wage.
   Besides Biden and Sanders, the rest of the candidates have never run for president before. The most notable include Senators Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Cory Booker of New Jersey; and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.
Of these, Harris has been praised for having an excellent campaign rollout, and has seen her polling numbers rise since declaring her candidacy on Martin Luther King Jr. Day of this year. As one of the front runners, she has carved out a progressive agenda but has faced criticism for her actions during stints as Attorney General of California and District Attorney of San Francisco. Her first and only major proposal so far has been a plan to increase teacher pay.
Warren was the first major candidate to announce intentions to run, and although being well known she has struggled in polls and fundraising as well as controversy over her identifying herself as Native American on legal documents in the past. To her credit, Warren has by far put forward the most policy proposals since entering the race, including universal child care and a wealth tax.
Harris, Booker and Gillibrand have been pegged as similar on most issues, while Warren and Sanders are considered the most progressive in the field. Klobuchar, however, has portrayed herself as more practical and centrist, and having a history of working with Republicans.
Other candidates include former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas who boasts the highest fundraising amount during the 24 hours after declaring his candidacy, and who has one of the most impressive small donor lists along with Sanders.
Governor Jay Inslee of Washington is running with addressing climate change as his central plank, while former Colorado Governor has touted his pragmatism in his long career as a public executive, serving as Mayor of Denver prior to eight years as governor. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg has also made waves following a breakout moment during a CNN Town Hall where he referred to Vice President Mike Pence, also from Indiana, as the “cheerleader of the porn star presidency.”

For the foreseeable future, the race to the the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee in 2020 is still anyone’s game.

Jakob S. Miller is a senior at Southern Alamance High School and a Teens & 20s writer.

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