At this moment we are just over a year away from the Iowa Democratic Caucus, the first electoral battleground to see who will be the main opponent to Donald Trump in the 2020 election. If recent polls are to be believed then Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Beto O’Rourke are the frontrunners with other candidates such as Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, and Sherrod Brown showing some potential. This is in large part because they have a significant level of name recognition or have had a recent moment in the spotlight. While each of these candidates are significant political figures, many of which have been in the national spotlight for quite some time or have other significant baggage.
In a political landscape that has been upended by the election of Donald Trump, dozens of potential candidates are trying to see if they can mount a viable campaign. In a crowded field of candidates, a breakthrough moment is more than likely to occur. In that instance, on January 21st 2021, it’s probable that a new President will be sworn into office who no one will have heard of until the start of this campaign. It’s easy to go back to Presidents such as Abraham Lincoln, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, all candidates who burst into the national stage at a time when the United States was calling for change.
Recent data shows Democratic voters and Americans across the board are looking for a newcomer to the national stage to lead the country. A poll of Democratic voters showed that the highest level of enthusiasm for a candidate was an unnamed candidate who was new to that voter. That isn’t to say voters are looking for a candidate who is more flash than substance. Despite the significant electoral problems Democrats faced in off-year elections during the 2009 to 2016 period, that weakened the field of potential national candidates for Democrats.
There are a significant number of Democratic Governors who were elected in swing states. Very few have heard of Governor’s such as Steve Bullock of Montana, John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Jay Inslee of Washington, or Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island but all are considering bids for the White House. Each has governing experience but with the potential to jolt onto the national scene with the ability to claim success and an outsiders status. It is also a distinct possibility that a mayor of a large city, such as Eric Garcetti of California or Julian Castro of San Antonio, could argue their record governing these cities (both larger than many states) qualifies them for the Presidency.
Nearly everyone who enters this race has a fighting chance to be the winner. If a candidate is bold and lucky enough to match the moment, they are on the path to be President.
The 2020 election has already started, just more than two years before Inauguration Day. It will likely be amongst the most divisive campaigns in American Political history. At the end of it all, Donald Trump could still be standing, or someone none of us has ever heard of could become the most powerful person in the world. My advice, expect the unexpected. Oh, and if you’re interested my top bets for the Democratic nomination are:
- Beto O’ Rourke
- Kamala Harris
- Joe Biden
- Elizabeth Warren
- Bernie Sanders
My personal favourites are:
- Beto O’ Rourke
- Eric Garcetti
- Julian Castro
- Elizabeth Warren
- Steve Bullock
Jonah Van Driesum is a third year Politics student and the VP Programming of Acadia Politics Students’ Association