An Anticipated Race Like No Other: the 2020 Election

Gigi Duncan '20

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From college students, to Hollywood actors, to political figures such as former

president Barack Obama, many found the idea of a Trump presidency to be ludicrous

and expressed no doubt that the former Senator of New York would clinch her greatest

achievement of being Commander in Chief; after all, most news organizations and polls

such as Reuters gave Hillary Clinton odds of between 75 and 99 percent of winning the

election. But in one of the most stunning upsets of the twenty first century, Republican

Donald Trump defeated Clinton in 2016 and became America’s 45th president. With

President Trump’s first term being over halfway through, many have posed the

question: what awaits within the 2020 election, and who will emerge as the top

contenders?

   2016’s election displayed a variety of characters on the political spectrum, including

the businessman Donald Trump, former Senator and First Lady Hillary Clinton, the

Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont, and Conservative Senator

Ted Cruz from Texas. Although several of these names will make a probable run for the

presidency in the future, many other politicians have entered the race and are poised as

threats.    

   Familiar names in the race consist of former Vice President Joe Biden, who has not

officially declared his candidacy but has dropped hints since leaving the White House in

early 2017. Hillary Clinton announced on March 4th that she would not be running due

to her various failed attempts; however, many have speculated this to be untruthful due

to her past of persistent campaigning. 2016’s runner-up in the Democratic party, Bernie

Sanders, announced that he would be running. Appealing to younger generations,

Sanders has passionately discussed his key goals of “redistributing wealth, fighting

inequality, and creating a bigger social safety-net” [1]. Despite his old age of 77 years,

Sanders’s experience from the 2016 election and socialist views will likely garner him

more popularity in 2020. Aidan Wiehe ‘20 asserts that “Sanders is a very strong

candidate based on his support from younger aged-groups and the far Left.” However,

Sanders may be thwarted in his path to the presidency by much younger, fresh-faced

Democrat candidates that have entered the race.

   Certain Democratic candidates such as New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, former

Representative Beto O’Rourke, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and California

Senator Kamala Harris have all officially announced their 2020 campaigns. While most

of these candidates agree on key issues within the Democrat party such as women’s

rights, gun control, climate change, education, and immigration, they have all differed in

their exposure to the spotlight of the political spectrum. Gillibrand and Harris campaign

 

heavily on their physical attributes and the issues associated with them, such as

Gillibrand being a woman and Harris being an African American woman; in fact, Harris

officially entered the race on the holiday of MLK’s birthday, in a nod to her historic run

for the White House [2]. Being infamously called “Pocahontas” by President Trump,

Senator Warren has also garnered a lot of attention for both her handling of her Native-

American heritage DNA test-reveal and her views on inequality and taxing the wealthy;

with her campaign being kicked off in early February, Warren will look to make a deep

run into the 2020 election. Another key name in the race includes Beto O’Rourke, who

narrowly lost to Senator Ted Cruz in Texas in the run for the Senate. O’Rourke found a

huge following among younger people and college students in his state during the

midterm elections, and despite his loss, he has shown certain skills such as having a

significant stage presence and addressing Trump supporters, who according to

O’Rourke, “are every bit of deserving of my attention, of being listened to, of being

fought for, of being served, even if they didn’t vote for me” [3]. With many new and old

faces to politics, this Democratic race will prove to be more diverse and livelier than

those that ran in 2016.

As for the Republicans running, President Donald Trump has announced since

his inauguration in 2017 that he would be running again in 2020. Following his victory in

2016 with wins in major states such as Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin,

Trump has been heavily involved with key issues to his supporters such as working to

improve the American economy and building a border wall between the U.S. and

Mexico. Currently, the President has an approval rating between 35-40 percent, and

many do not question that he will run a strong campaign to secure the Republican

nomination once again [4]. Another Republican that has announced to run in 2020 is

William “Bill” Weld, who ran as the Independent Gary Johnson’s Vice President in the

2016 election. Weld has regularly criticized President Trump, even calling him

“unstable.” A win of the nomination could be possible but seems highly unlikely with his

varying political beliefs and rocky relationship with the GOP. Other Republicans that

have not ruled out running include Maryland Senator Larry Hogan (a generally

Moderate Republican) and John Kasich, who famously ran for the Republican

nomination in 2016 and spoke out against Trump before ultimately losing to him.

Regardless of the outcome of the actual election, many can agree that 2020 will

consist of much younger, more diverse candidates than those that were seen in 2016.

This may in effect cause younger generations that would normally not vote in

presidential elections to come out and support younger candidates. Eliana Lazar ‘21

argues that “people who have seen the effects of this recent presidency will become

more involved and will change their past votes and parties with newer candidates.” With

more candidates entering and contemplating a run in the upcoming year, this 2020

 

election will prove to be very engaging, engrossing and enjoyable with mixture of

hopeful prospects for the presidency.

 

[1]https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/03/2020-candidates-president-

guide/582598/

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/21/us/politics/kamala-harris-2020-president.html

[3]https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/mar/14/beto-orourke-enters-2020-

presidential-race-skills-support-challenges

[4] https://news.gallup.com/poll/203198/presidential-approval-ratings-donald-trump.aspx

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