Drowning in 2020 blue: Something old, something new, something Buttigieg too?

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Drowning in 2020 blue: Something old, something new, something Buttigieg too?

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Hey, do you smell that? No? Take another sniff. Yes, it’s the sweet smell of corn and freshly cut grass. Look, over there! It’s Kirsten Gillibrand wading through a muddy field wearing rain boots. And what’s that I hear? Yes, it’s the glorious sound of Kamala Harris explaining her healthcare plan in a town hall televised on CNN! Mom, I’m finally home! I missed my dear Iowa so much.

That’s right, it’s primary season for the 2020 presidential race. I must say, I’m impressed with how each candidate has found their own unique way to express disdain for Donald Trump. Bonus points if they distance themselves from Nancy Pelosi! With 21 candidates running for president, I find it difficult to separate one Iowa explorer from the next. What is the perfect blend of experience, personality, and policy a candidate must encapsulate to slay the beast on November 3? Who most closely embodies the American people’s vision of “electability?”

First off, Andrew Yang can be described in three words: universal basic income (UBI). This means that every adult in America would receive a check for $1,000 each month. Why? Yang’s website claims that UBI will encourage work; increase bargaining power, entrepreneurship, nonprofit work, and caring for loved ones; and improve health, national productivity, decision-making, and relationships. So essentially, Yang is saying that UBI is the magic pill that will make America into a perfect utopia. Sign me up! Although, when looking closer into the specifics of UBI, it seems to be a little too universal. Yang’s website boasts, “Everyone from a hedge fund billionaire in New York to an impoverished single mom in West Virginia would receive a monthly check of $1,000.” This is a waste of money. Instead of giving a billionaire that cash, why not just double it for the working class mom? Or why don’t we just pay to implement water slides in every public school? Money is limited, and while it’s satisfying to say that UBI is truly universal, this program must target certain populations and specify its goals to be tangible. Yang’s idealism could be explained by his nonexistent government experience; he ran an education company, and an organization to help entrepreneurs create jobs. While those accomplishments are important, we already have a politically inexperienced president in the White House – we don’t need another.

Next up, Elizabeth Warren, or should I say working class champion? Explaining Warren’s policy is easy: with any issue, her goal is to protect and advance causes for the economically disadvantaged. Even her foreign policy advocates for economic equality by calling for cuts to the military budget. A quick summary of her domestic policy includes: ending lobbying corruption, Citizens United, and racial disparity reforms in the criminal justice system; and increasing workers’ negotiation power; implementing antitrust enforcement, an ultra-millionaire tax, and universal Medicaid. Warren also enjoys a long résumé of political experience: Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, assistant to Barack Obama, special adviser to the Secretary of the Treasury, and Senator of Massachusetts. She sounds like the perfect candidate to any progressive voter… right? Nope! Of course, no high-profile politician could be complete without a debilitating scandal! Warren has faced criticism over her claims of Native American heritage and minority status. At first, it started with a typical Trumpian insult where The Donald racistly named Warren, “Pocahontas.” This was not an issue until Warren took a D.N.A. test and published the results, which funnily enough showed she was not really Native American at all: 1/64th to 1/1024th Native American heritage. That’s it. Voters on the right were already mad she used typical “identity politics,” and those on the left became upset because many view it as racist to claim minority status without dealing with any of the hardships of being recognized as a minority. I wish the best to Warren; perhaps a new crisis management team would help?

Kirsten Gillibrand is the perfect candidate. She boasts a strong history of political experience from working in the Department of Housing and Urban Development to holding office in both houses of Congress (in New York). She wins in “blue, purple, and red districts,” and she has the strongest anti-Trump vote record in the Senate. Unfortunately, Gillibrand will not win this race. Her campaign colors are flamingo hot pink and black… do you see where I’m going? I have become the exact political junkie that I hate. The one that says “You can’t win a campaign if you…” But I want Trump out of the White House, and considering all the sexist statements he made and the fact that still got elected, it’s easy to see Trump voters won’t relate to a message focused on empowering women. I hope I am proved wrong. Gillibrand has strong progressive policies in this race: supporting Medicare for all, the Green New Deal, the Paris Climate Deal, and immigration reform.

On April 22, there were 5 CNN town hall debates – Kamala Harris had the most viewers for hers. Kamala Harris also has $12 million in donations from individual donors, second only to Bernie Sanders. She was Attorney General of California, and currently is a Senator for California. Her campaign slogan is, “Kamala Harris For The People.” It’s general, but that’s exactly what’s needed to relate to the whole of diverse America. She’s also a fresh face – she’s never run for President before, and we all know Democrats love a fresh face. With a progressive agenda of combating climate change, free tuition at public colleges, banning assault weapons, Medicare for all, and supporting DACA, she has everything that a Democrat could ever want. Not even a major scandal. I won’t say if I’m voting for Kamala, but I’ll say that her website is kamalaharris.org. Give it a look. Buy a t-shirt. I can assure you they’re very stylish.

Budegeeugh. Butigig. Butigeyg. I’ll give you a hand. It’s pronounced Pete Boot-edge-edge. And it’s spelled Buttigieg. Buttigieg has several traits that define his message and the people he’s campaigning to. He’s the youngest in the race (at 37, he’s also the only millennial running), he’s gay, he’s a veteran, and he is the mayor of beloved South Bend, Indiana where Pete claims, “They call me Mayor Pete.” A fun little quirk about Pete is that no one knows his ideological standing or policies! Buttigieg bases his whole campaign on rhetoric and his millennial status, claiming he understands the problems of the future better than any other candidate. Which is true, in a way. He understands the fear of school shootings, the devastating climate change that could destroy lives, and the crippling student debt many prospective college students face. Buttigieg’s policy of not talking about policy may be the way to go. He’s doing much better in the race than many would’ve thought a Midwestern mayor would be doing – Buttigieg has already raised $7 million from individual donors, more than mainstream candidates like Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Beto O’Rourke. Will Pete’s Midwestern street cred help him earn crucial swing states, or will his Harvard and Oxford education get in the way?

Cory Booker is charismatic, experienced, and has a strong message. Reminiscent of Obama’s 2008 campaign, Booker says, “Where there is unity, there is strength.” Booker first started out as a tenant organizer in Newark, “fighting slumlords,” then progressed to city councilman and mayor. He has gone on to be a Senator of New Jersey. His humble beginnings, personality, and political background seem to make him the most likable politician on Earth – just watch his campaign video. Yet, he is not leading in donations or the polls. It is a mystery what key element Booker does not have that voters desire. Perhaps his policy is too moderate; as mayor of Newark, Booker’s police department was accused of brutality and the Justice Department launched an investigation. He also has taken millions from pharmaceutical companies in his campaigns as senator, and supports charter schools. Otherwise, Booker is a progressive. He supports the Green New Deal, universal health care, criminal justice reform, and legalizing marijuana.

Amy Klobuchar, Senator of Minnesota, introduced 54 bills in 2017; that’s the second best out of Senate Democrats. Klobuchar enjoys high popularity in the Midwest; she’s gained renown among Democrats after her cool handling of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s incessant questions about her drinking habits during a Senate hearing. Klobuchar’s policies are relatively moderate: expanding Medicare and Medicaid, as a path to universal healthcare, instead of completely overhauling the health care system; passing legislation to strengthen election security online; and protecting farmers. Sounds like Klobuchar is electable to both Democrats and Republicans; she’s got a great shot at the presidency! Wait… what’s that? She was known to throw objects at her aides? And… oh no. You’ve got to be kidding me. In one anecdote reported by the New York Times, Klobuchar ate a salad with a comb due to the absence of a fork and made her staff wash it. We had something so good! Well, let’s backtrack. This information could be viewed as biased against women, as staffers may not have been used to a strong and easily upset female boss. But when aides were asked that, it was denied. Klobuchar mistreated her staff, woman or not. Others disagreed and denied accusations of Klobuchar’s behavior being abusive. But whenever I hear Klobuchar, my mind mysteriously drifts to an image of a comb drenched in balsamic vinaigrette.

If you don’t know Bernie Sanders’ policies, may I ask – have you been living under a rock? Instead of explaining them, I’m going to tell you about why you should not vote for Bernie Sanders. First, Bernie Sanders would be 87 by the end of his presidency if he served for two terms. Now, I do agree that elderly folks should remain empowered and do their best to keep up a productive life, but that doesn’t mean an 87-year-old should be the POTUS. Second, he already lost once. Do we really need to keep up with this Bernie or Bust nonsense? He has trouble containing his feral supporters, some of which voted for Trump over Hillary in 2016 just to prove a point. Third, he had a sexual harassment epidemic on his 2016 campaign. “But that’s not fair to Bernie!” they say. “Keeping track of a presidential campaign is hard!” they whine. Well, keeping track of a country is even harder. It’s no excuse.

Beto O’Rourke is another loser that everyone likes. He couldn’t even beat Ted Cruz – and everyone hates Ted Cruz. I would speak about O’Rourke’s experience, but he doesn’t have any. As a Texas representative, he passed one bill. It was renaming a courthouse. He looks and acts electable, but when it comes down to it, does he have the policy experience to be successful once elected into the White House? O’Rourke’s policy (that I seriously doubt he could implement) includes: campaign finance reform, a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, ending gerrymandering, and mitigating climate change.

And last, but not least Joe Biden. Biden is already leading the pack of Democrats in polls by large margins, and he has the best experience and name recognition than any of the other candidates. Biden was a senator for 37 years and vice president for 8 years under Obama. I can’t help but feel Biden has a sense of entitlement in the race. He entered on April 25, 2018, months after big name candidates did. He also is running as a moderate – something that isn’t popular this time around. Moreover, Biden has to deal with baggage; he has recently been criticized for his harsh role in the Anita Hill hearings, as well as his accusations by women claiming his physical actions make them uncomfortable. Biden is also another elderly person running; he’s a year younger than Bernie Sanders. At this time, it seems like more signs point to no than yes for Biden.

In terms of Republicans, you’ve got two options: The Donald, or moderate Bill Weld. Weld, a former governor of Massachusetts, is the last Republican centrist standing, trying his very best to keep the Republican party from being taken over by Trump. Well, Weld, I’m afraid you’re too little too late. Weld does hold fiscally conservative views, but when it comes to climate change, same-sex marriage, and abortions, he’s like any liberal running for president. Weld’s breed has gone extinct – there are hardly any voters for him to appeal to.

As tempting as it may be to focus on this new world of competing Democrats and forget about Trump, it’s important to remember that they’re all underdogs against one main opponent. Don’t get too caught up in inner-party politics to forget the main goal in this election.