Who Will be the Democratic Presidential Candidate in 2020?


U.S. Senator Kamala Harris

Dylan Shapiro, Writer

We are now in the stage of the presidential election where many candidates are starting to announce their bids. Despite this, not all candidates are created equally. Here is my ranking of the top ten most likely people to be the Democratic nominee for President.

  1. Tulsi Gabbard

Gabbard, currently a representative from Hawaii, is commonly considered to be one of the more liberal members of the House of Representatives. She resigned from the DNC just so that she could endorse Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election. She has a fairly liberal voting record as of late, but this was not always so. Her father ran an anti-gay group in Hawaii, which advocated for electroshock as a “cure” for homosexuality. More recently, she has been more supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, but many Democratic voters will be turned away by her history. As of late, she has also seemed to almost sympathize with Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria.

  1. Pete Buttigieg

Buttigieg is currently the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He is a lieutenant in the US Navy reserve. During his mayoral term, he took a seven-month unpaid leave so that he could fight in Afghanistan. He is also a Harvard graduate and Rhodes Scholar. If elected, Buttigieg would be the first openly gay and also youngest president ever. This all seems like Buttigieg might have the makings of a good candidate. He does have some pitfalls, though. For instance, he has little to no name recognition. He also has never held any national or state elected office, which may lead to critics describing him as unqualified. If he had more name recognition, he would have been higher on this list.

  1. Kirsten Gillibrand

Gillibrand, the junior senator from New York, has a fair bit going for her. She represented a conservative House district in upstate New York prior to serving as Senator, which she may use to seem as though she is electable, and can win votes among more conservative rust belt voters. Despite this, she has veered significantly to the left politically since her election as Senator, leading some to call her a fake progressive. She is also a protégé of sorts of Hillary Clinton, whom many in the Democratic Party see as the worst possible thing a person can be. She is above Buttigieg solely because of her greater legislative experience and name recognition.

  1. Beto O’Rourke

O’Rourke is a former congressman from Texas who ran against Senator Ted Cruz in the 2018 election, making him a media darling. He has commonly been described as “looking like a Kennedy.” O’Rourke has solidly progressive credentials, he is charismatic, and he also speaks fluent Spanish, a fact he is not afraid to flaunt. O’Rourke is also known for his campaign strategy, which is peculiar, to say the least. When he was in the race for Senator, his campaign consisted of O’Rourke driving around Texas in a minivan, live streaming the whole thing. He suffers from the same problem that Buttigieg suffered from: lack of experience. There have been two men in the history of the country who ran for President with only experience in the House of Representatives who won, the most recent of which was Abraham Lincoln. In short, 2020 is likely not Beto’s year. However, I would not rule him out for a future run if he is elected to a Senate seat or governorship.

  1. Cory Booker

Booker, currently a Senator from New Jersey, is another prominent candidate for president. He has also served as the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey. He is another highly charismatic candidate. Often compared to Barack Obama, he has a solid progressive record, though he has not had policies as liberal as some of those pushed by people like Bernie Sanders. Booker is also somewhat known because he released classified documents during the approval hearing for Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Many may see that move as dishonest. He is also widely known to be taking large sums of money from Wall Street donors, something with an extremely negative connotation in this day and age.

  1. Elizabeth Warren

Warren is a Senator from Massachusetts. She is known for frequent collaboration with Bernie Sanders, and also as one of the most liberal sitting Senators. She clearly is very passionate about consumer protection, proposing a new independent federal agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). She was also appointed Assistant to the President under President Obama, tying her to the former President (who remains highly popular among the Democratic Party.) She does have some shortcomings, namely her history with her “Native American ancestry.” In the past, she claimed that she was Native American, despite having very little Native American family and not being a member of or affiliated with any tribe. She attempted to amend this with a campaign in which she took a DNA test, though this backfired, and simply made it look more like she had no Native American blood.

  1. Amy Klobuchar

Klobuchar is a sitting Senator from Minnesota. She has a sort of Midwestern charm about her, which may help to bring back rust belt moderates who voted for Trump because they were dissatisfied with Clinton. Some may object to her being placed so high on this list, but it is completely justified for one simple reason- she has a 58 percent approval rating in Minnesota. If she can have such great appeal to voters there, who’s to say she can’t replicate those numbers in other similar swing states, like Wisconsin or Michigan? She also doesn’t have any prominent scandals which she would have to deal with (outside of reports that she treated her staff members abusively, which have mostly blown over by now), which is rare for someone who has been in Congress since 2006. She does have a big roadblock which she needs to get over: according to the most recent Morning Consult polling, 38 percent of respondents do not know who she is, which can be a killer, especially in an election like this where there are so many prominent candidates.

  1. Bernie Sanders

Sanders is a Senator from Vermont, who is extremely well-known for his liberal ideas, and calling himself a “democratic socialist.” He was a candidate for President in 2016, and was known for his ability to appeal to Millennials. Many pundits say that he is a very likely candidate to win, primarily because of the polling data which is out right now. The problem with this data is that very few candidates actually have nationwide name recognition. The reason Sanders is doing well in the polls right now is that people have heard his name and like him more than Joe Biden. Once other candidates begin to gain more name recognition, I think his poll numbers will take a serious hit. He also has a much more fundamental issue with his campaign, and that is that he is simply too liberal. Despite what he and his progressive colleagues may insinuate, the base of the Democratic Party is comprised of moderates, not Sanders-esque progressives.

  1. Joe Biden

Biden is perhaps the most qualified person who may run for President (he is the only candidate on this list who has not yet officially announced a campaign for President). He served as President Obama’s Vice President. Prior to that he served as a Senator. He has also been a prominent figure in American politics for a very long time. He was first elected to the Senate in 1972 and kept that job until 2009, when he retired to become Vice President. So, were he to run, he seems to be the pick of the establishment of the Democratic Party. He has run for president twice in the past, once in 2008 and once in 1988. Biden seems to be a well-known candidate at this point, but I think he will suffer from a similar problem to Sanders, in that he will lose some support as other candidates become more well-known by most of the national population.

  1. Kamala Harris

Harris is a Senator from California, known for her fierce opposition to the President, and her strong questioning of witnesses during testimony in the Senate. She is also the second African American female Senator in the history of the country. She will be able to appeal to many voters in minority communities in ways that certain other candidates might not be able to. She served as a federal prosecutor and Attorney General of California prior to her election as Senator. This background makes her come off as tough, but also as someone who cares about justice above all else. She will be able to appeal to moderates and progressives, making her a figure who can unite the party better than any other candidates will be able to.