Checkpoint: Which Democrats will run for President in 2020?

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In today’s tumultuous political world, led by a Republican president, it is no surprise that the Democratic Party is already gearing up for the 2020 presidential election. There has been much speculation about who will run in 2020 as many high profile politicians begin making early campaign moves, and celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Dwyane "The Rock" Johnson excite the public discourse. 

A recent poll conducted by NBC News revealed that among Republicans, 43 percent said they will definitely vote for Trump while another 40 percent said they “probably will.” Among Democrats, a resounding 73 percent said they will definitely vote against Trump. The support from Democrats and potential existence of discord amongst Republican voters reveals high potential for the Democratic Party to convert a significant number of Republican voters. For Democratic candidates to do well in the 2020 election, they need name recognition and wide-spread influence, demonstration of supporting polices that align with the public agenda and support from the Democratic Party establishment. 

With one year left until the unofficial start of the 2020 presidential election, I have assembled the top four individuals – in no particular order – that I believe will run in 2020.

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1. Senator Bernie SandersThe first person I envision running for office in 2020 is Bernie Sanders. After his loss in the 2016 presidential election, the Vermont senator has been working to address his weaknesses and expand his influence within the Democratic Party.

At a quick glance, Sanders has name recognition amongst the general population from his presidential campaign in 2016; the staff and connections needed to run for President; and improved his political shortcomings. In fact, his senior adviser, Ari Rabin-Havt, said that Sanders is “now in a very different position than he’s ever been in before.” Since the 2016 election, Sanders has been working closely with organizations that have deep ties to the Democratic Party such as the American Teachers Federation, and has been meeting regularly with international affairs experts. I view these acts as steps to expand his influence within the Democratic Party and get ahead where he fell short in the 2016 election – such as his knowledge of foreign policy. Even now in his position as outreach chairman for Senate Democrats, Sanders still advocates for an economy that works for all, not just the top 1 percent.

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2. Joe Biden: Next on the list is former Vice President Joe Biden. Since Trump’s election to the White House, Biden has been looking for a strategy for the Democratic Party to win back blue-collar workers who defected to support Trump in 2016. Having served in the Obama administration for two terms, Biden possesses extremely strong name recognition and influence amongst Democrats.

Former U.S. Rep. Steve Israel described Biden as “the perfect antidote to Trump.” Although Biden has flirted with the idea of a 2020 bid, I believe he is tilting in favor of running. Biden’s appeal as and influence as a Democratic leader grows as he continues to advocate for preventing Trump from seeing a second term. Some of the ways Biden protects the progressive Democratic agenda is through support to make higher education more affordable for millennials, the advancement of innovation and expansion of access to affordable health care. Biden has the experience and influence needed to connect with Democrats to receive the funding and connections needed to run a successful campaign.

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3. Senator Elizabeth Warren: A U.S. senator for Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren is enormously admired within the Democratic base. Furthermore, she has been consistently mentioned by numerous strategists and political observers as a top contender for 2020.

Over the past year the senator has groomed her political connections and accumulated $12.8 million in campaign funding. She has also met with former presidents, private sector executives and other figures on Capitol Hill in efforts to build her network. Through her service as senator, Warren has worked to support working class families and collaborated with others to endorse legislation such as improving access to hearing aids and opioid funding.

Warren has received praise from not only the more liberal democrats, but also from her conservative colleagues. I consider Warren as a force to be reckoned with if she decides to campaign for president in the coming election.

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4. Senator Kamala Harris: A recently elected senator from California, Kamala Harris is another individual I see as a contender in the 2020 election. Although she is not as well known as Sanders or Biden, Harris has been labeled by Hillary Clinton as one of her “favorite Democrats” and by The Black Women’s Agenda as “the unsilenced, the uncensored, the unstoppable.” 

The senator is building up her national network and increasing her visibility in in places like Florida, Ohio and Virginia. Harris believes in keeping banks in check, same-sex marriage and reducing recidivism among drug offenders. Harris is a life-long advocate for criminal justice reform, she is well liked and known within the Democratic Party, and holds strong name-recognition in her home state.

While this is the pool of candidates that I foresee running and doing well in the 2020 election, the potential number of candidates is limitless. Trump's election to the White House proves experience in politics is no longer a needed pre-requisite to be president. As the Democratic Party prepares for 2020, the words of Congressman Tim Ryan best explain the battle to come in the forthcoming election: “We’re going to have a fight. There’s no question about it.”