Hello Sundaze world, did you miss me? It’s been a few years. Since then, I’ve married my wonderful husband, bought a house, and adopted a second puppo. It’s been a lot of change! What hasn’t changed: I’m still a huge nerd for politics.
Which means we’re just over a year out from our next presidential election in 2020! *cue the groans* When I started writing for this blog in 2015, it was the start of a crazy presidential cycle which ultimately put Donald Trump in the White House. I’ll be honest – it’s not who I wanted to see win the dang thing (like many others) but here we are.
Four years later, and we have another similar start to primary season. There are a ton of candidates running for the Democratic ticket, which makes me nervous. If you remember, there were a dozen or so who declared to run for the Republican ticket in 2015, which led to a massive split in party support. With no leading frontrunner, Donald Trump stole the spotlight in every way possible, won the party nomination, and walked away with the presidency.
This time around, we have more than TWENTY Democrats running to beat Trump. Yes, TWENTY. Which is so many that MSNBC decided to split the first debate into two parts on two different days: ten candidates on Day 1, and ten candidates on Day 2. There are 5 additional candidates that did not poll high enough to make the debate stage.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) – really hates mega corporations, and knows our country suffers from income inequality because of it. Supports a millionaire tax. People consider her a far left candidate, but not quite as far left as Bernie Sanders. She’s currently one of the top five candidates in the polls.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) – thinks Donald Trump is “all foam and no beer” – one of my favorites lines from this debate. Is working to combat drug and opioid addiction, improve mental healthcare, and wants to run as a candidate for the everyday American. She is very popular in Minnesota.
Beto O’Rourke (former US Rep – TX) – actually spoke Spanish for a solid 60 seconds in his first response, mad props. When he ran against Sen Ted Cruz and nearly beat him out of his Senate seat in 2018, he became a rising star in the Democratic Party. Has tried to champion unity and immigration reform.
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) – also spoke Spanish for a response to a question. Obviously the goal in this primary is to get the hispanic vote if he’s the second one to do it. People see him as a great public speaker, and draws many comparisons to Barack Obama. One of his main crusades as Senator has been criminal justice reform and common sense gun laws. Also a force for unity.
Julian Castro (former HUD Secretary) – Also from Texas, Castro may have to overcome the Beto hype to win his home state vote. Spent 2 years in Obama’s cabinet, and was vetted as a potential running mate for Hillary Clinton. Universal Pre-K and immigration reform has been his top priorities.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D – HI) – Military veteran and served active duty in Iraq. Opposes international intervention abroad. Has drawn criticism for meeting with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and a brief involvement in an anti-gay organization run by her father. She painted herself as a military voice and LGBTQ champion in this debate.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) – I’m learning about this guy for the first time ever tonight. He was elected to Congress at age 29. Actually ran against Nancy Pelosi for Minority Leader in 2016. Once opposed abortion rights, but flipped his stance in 2015. Is seen as a moderate.
Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) – Two-term governor who has campaigned on climate change and environmental policies. Advocate of green energy and green jobs. Made a weird claim midway through the debate that he was the only candidate on stage to pass any pro-choice legislation… to which the women candidates rolled their eyes.
Bill de Blasio (Mayor of NYC) – In his second term as NYC Mayor, some of his biggest accomplishments include expanding lower and middle class access to free pre-k. Believes in “working people first.”
John Delaney (Former US Rep – MD) – Has been aggressively campaigning and already visited every county in Iowa. When elected to the house in 2012, he was a millionaire businessman & entrepreneur. He served 3 terms as a self proclaimed “pragmatic idealist” before being one of the first to declare he was running for the presidency in 2017. Too early? Too soon to tell. And his voice sounds exactly like Jimmy Kimmel.
Pete Buttigieg (Mayor South Bend, Indiana) – Has drummed up the most curiosity and has tried to become the youthful voice and the future of the Democratic party. Doesn’t believe in relieving student loan debt, but making it more affordable along with creating a more livable wage. He is a military veteran and very well spoken.
Andrew Yang (Tech Exec & Nonprofit Founder) – Has never held public office. Wants to establish a universal basic income funded by the government – $1,000 a month – which is sure to be criticized. Believes in modeling this after more socialist European countries. He also didn’t wear a tie to the debate stage, which looked a bit too casual to me.
John Hickenlooper (former Governor of Colorado) – Has maybe the most interesting background. Former geologist, opened a brewery in Denver, became mayor of Denver, and then onto the Governorship. Has argued himself a moderate from a historically purple state (can lean blue or red).
Marianne Williamson (Author) – She’s never been elected to public office, although she ran for the house as an independent in 2014. She’s currently a self-help author and spirituality speaker. Has suggested a plan to pay billions in reparations for slavery for education and economic projects. She’s also a fan of the Green New Deal (attn: AOC).
Joe Biden (former Vice President) – the person that probably needs the least amount of introduction, provided you didn’t live under a rock for the past 10 years. He’s going to have a hard time coming out of Obama’s shadow, and also overcoming criticism that Grandpa Joe is “out of touch” with the future of the Democratic party.
Senator Bernie Sanders (D – VT) – Also needs little introduction. You know the story – self-proclaimed socialist, an independent moonlighting as a Democrat, lost a long 2016 presidential primary to Hillary. Medicare for all, eliminating student debt, tax Wall Street – all part of his main squeeze.
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) – As a former Attorney General, she has made headlines using her lawyer skills in cross-examining Trump’s cabinet nominees. Wants to repeal the tax bill passed while Paul Ryan was Speaker and give middle class earners a tax credit, claiming the bill favors the rich. Speaks very loudly.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) – Has become another loud liberal voice in the party. Has made women’s equality issues her main focus, including reproductive rights and access to healthcare. Supports a “family bill of rights” to address costs of childcare and parental leave.
Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) – A moderate and part of the “Gang of Eight” – a bipartisan group of Senators that crafted a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013 (which has yet to pass). Funny enough, when Hickenlooper was Mayor of Denver, Bennet was his Chief of Staff. Wants to modernize our economy, go green, and ban members of Congress from becoming lobbyists.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) – An Iowa native and a former prosecutor, he has called for a national ban on all assault weapons. Is trying to be another youthful voice for the party, and has appeared as a guest on many news programs. Interested in no-interest federal student loans as well as introducing debt-free public college.
Hope that was helpful, friends.
Two days of debates is exhausting, so I’m hoping the numbers dwindle by the next debate. Until then, we will watch and wait, and I’ll find out how the heck you pronounce Buttigieg.