The field continues to balloon to upwards of 20 candidates
By: Courtney Bergsieker
The 2020 presidential race is heating up fast, and it seems like every democrat is looking to throw their hat in the ring, but just how many hats can one proverbial ring take?
So far in the early stages of the 2020 presidential race, sixteen democratic candidates have officially announced their campaigns. According to the New York Times Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA), Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), ex-San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (D-TX), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), former Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), Florida Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL), author Marianne Williamson (D-CA), former tech executive Andrew Yang (D-NY), and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN) are competing for nomination by the Democratic National Convention.
Other Democrats that are expected to announce their campaigns include former Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE), Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT), and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA).
In the Republican Party, solely former Gov. William Weld (R-MA) has announced his campaign, stating that he intends to run against President Trump (R-NY) for the Republican nomination. However, there are some indications that Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD), Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), and Sen. Robert Corker (R-TN) may also join the race. Their participation in the primary will be likely contingent on the state of the economy over the next few months, with a worsening economy likely portending further challenges to Trump.
Although he has not yet announced his official candidacy, recent polling data from RealClearPolitics puts former VP Joe Biden (D-DE) in the lead with 30% followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) close behind with 25%, followed by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) with 10% and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) with 8%. The rest of the Democratic candidates each share comparable numbers with Gillibrand (D-NY) and Inslee (D-WA) trailing the pack.
Responding to recent events, polling centers and political analysts have already begun weighing the possible influence of the Mueller Report on the Democratic Primary. A recent staff interview by FiveThirtyEight projected that the Democrats will begin a political fight until the full report (not just Attorney General Barr’s summary) is released for review. Perry Bacon Jr., a writer for FiveThirtyEight, argues that Democrats should fight for the full report to be released due to likely evidence of the Trump campaign/administration’s attempted obstruction of justice. He states, “I think the Democrats can only gain from the Mueller report’s release. I’m not saying that it will change anyone’s vote in 2020 necessarily, but it will be useful for the Democrats to have the details out there.”
Perry also predicts that Republicans will respond to the Mueller Report in their trademark fashion of attacking the media. He argues, “[The] instinct to attack the media and the group of people who started the Russia investigation will be reinforced by this report … I think a big part of Trump’s 2020 campaign will be an anti-institutional argument. Which he was making in 2016 too, I suppose, but the anti-media, anti-“deep state” part will be even more aggressive.”
Beyond professional analysts, many regular citizens who support the Democratic Party are making it clear that they desperately want a candidate who can take down Trump. At a rally for candidate Elizabeth Warren, NPR’s Asma Khalid interviewed Marilynn Leggio, an Iowa Democrat and supporter of Elizabeth Warren. While she is confident that Warren would be an excellent President, Leggio stated, “I think there’s a lot of men out there that would never vote for a woman.” Leggio continued that removing Trump from office is ultimately the most important thing. “I want somebody to get Trump out of there,” she said. “Big time.”
The concern is obviously warranted for this upcoming election with Democrats not presenting a united front against a seemingly united Republican front. In Congress, Democrats have been struggling to find a consistent message besides “impeach Trump”, the issues have not been as much in focus, with notable exceptions in Elizabeth Warren’s recent political speeches and town hall on CNN. As it grows closer to the election, Democrats hope to come together on major issues to combat the strong opposition presented by the party of Trump. Only time can tell what will happen because at this point it’s anyone’s game.