If the Democratic Party wants things to go their way in 2020, they must do things a little differently than in 2016. It’s no secret that college aged voters weren’t fond of Hillary Clinton. Though her general election plan was virtually the same as Bernie Sanders, young Dems simply didn’t feel the same way about her as they did the Vermont senator.
There were many reasons for this, those who felt lukewarm voting for the former Secretary of State would likely gladly welcome her leadership right about now. To many, Bernie represented the working class. Thousands of people packed arenas just to hear the man speak. His background in activism and social justice certainly spoke to a younger generation fed up with the way things are.
It’s great to pack the house at your speeches across the country. It’s certainly a tough feat to take a grassroots campaign as far as he did. But all that truly matters in the end is the number of votes cast. Bernie may have inspired many, but he still lost the primary. His voters remained overly bitter about this fair and square election and there’s no doubt it spilled over into the general election. This problem didn’t cost Clinton the election, but it certainly did little to help her defeat Donald Trump.
However, instead of focusing on past arguments, it’s best to use bits and pieces of what went well for the party and build off of that. It’d be foolish to say that Dems completely failed in 2016. After all, they won the popular vote by over three million votes. While Hillary was an inspiration to millions (including myself), it’s clear the 2020 candidate must excite more to go out and vote.
Former president Barack Obama quite simply changed the game in 2008. He wasn’t widely known prior to his candidacy for president, but his message and candor were inspiring. His community organizing roots shone through, as he was able to bring together millions who believed in something better and bigger than themselves. This, to a certain degree, is exactly what we need in 2020. Therefore, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden- though both worthy of respect for their many accomplishments- are not the answer.
The battlefield for the ultimate nomination will be crowded and contentious. It may not be quite as large as the GOP’s field in 2016, but there certainly are going to be more candidates than Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders and, of course, Hillary Clinton.
Bernie Sanders, much like Donald Trump, united his supporters through anger. Though to be clear, the anger Sanders ran on wasn’t the racist, bigoted, ignorant ideology that the current president used to win the election. Sanders was angry at the system and rightfully so. There’s no doubt in my mind that Hillary was also angry, but the double standard against her also steered her away from expressing that rage in the way that Bernie and Trump did.
Therefore finding a nominee that can channel their frustration into a message of hope and change is key. But keep in mind, it’s not enough to get people to tweet about how much they like you. You must get the people to the polls and tell them to bring a friend. This is best done sending the message that we can do better and inspiring others through that belief. Anger can only get you so far, and channeling it into a deeper, more accessible message will allow for more to come on board.
There are many potential candidates for the Democratic nomination in 2020, but a few have been setting themselves apart from the pack before the race has even started.
Kamala Harris, a senator from California, gained greater national attention for her role in the various Congressional hearings on the investigation into the Trump administration’s dealings with Russia. She made Attorney General Jeff Session “nervous”. Harris also served as California’s Attorney General prior or being elected as a senator in 2016. She is unquestionably one of the strongest voices to come out in dissent of the current occupants of the executive branch. Whether it’s healthcare or criminal justice reform, Harris has stood up against Trump repeatedly. Many believe Harris is likely to run in 2020 and for good reason.
Another great choice for 2020 is Kirsten Gillibrand. The senator from New York has had a quietly great career in the Senate. Though she isn’t extremely well known, her fiery speeches are wonderful and her activism in helping women run for office and get involved in politics is inspiring. Her book, Off the Sidelines, gives a glimpse into her upbringing and there’s no doubt that she could get a lot of traction should she launch a campaign for the presidency.
Both Harris or Gillibrand would make extremely strong candidates to take on Donald Trump. It’s time that the glass ceiling gets shattered and these two are some of the worthiest of accomplishing that feat.
Chris Murphy, a senator from Connecticut, has also been particularly compelling on the floor of the Senate this year. He’s been one of the loudest voices against Trump and could easily take him on in debates should he become the nominee. Murphy also has a interesting take on our current foreign policy. He’s called for a more progressive approach to this issue. This plan is a breath of fresh air and is more than worthy of consideration by whomever the next Democratic president ends up being.
Cory Booker is yet another name on the long list of senators that have gained traction in this trying time for liberal values. Booker is more well-known than some of the other potential candidates, and his voting history and passionate speeches makes him worthy of consideration for the nominee.
It may seem as if 2020 is far away, but the reality is we must begin to plan now. Democrats have the right ideas, but the way in which they execute their plans will be key to their hopes of retaking the Oval Office.