2020 Presidential Candidates

The United States will have its 4-year presidential election next year. Here are my thoughts on the candidates running for the position.

On the Republican side, there is Donald Trump. I do not see any way that anybody else gets the nomination. Unseating a sitting president is unheard of1, and the republican base seems fairly happy with Trump's performance, so we can assume that Trump will get the nomination. There are some aspects of Trump's administration that I like (like the nomination of Gorsuch to the supreme court), and he has not done as many bad things as his opponents claimed he would do when he was elected, so although he has a way of making every subject a source of drama I would not be horribly disappointed to see him win another four year term.

The Democrats seem to be using the strategy of throwing everything they can at the electorate and seeing if anything sticks. There is Obama's VP Joe Biden for the people who pine for the good old days days of the Obama administration before the racists took over our country. There are Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand2 for people who really liked Hillary Clinton and like to point out by how much she won the popular vote. There are old candidates (Gravel is 89, apparently still alive and sort of running3 ) and young candidates (Gabbard is only 38). There are good looking candidates (Tulsi Gabbard might be the first presidential candidate anyone would want to see in a bikini) and ugly candidates (ahem, most of them, but I'm thinking of Kamala Harris here). And there are candidates from a variety of races (White, Hispanic, Black, Asian, Samoan, Indian, etc). There is even a mix of people with lots of political experience, like Bernie Sanders who has been in the Senate longer than I have been alive, down to people like Yang who have never been elected to a political office before. And the candidates are proposing free stuff in just as much diversity: free college, free healthcare, free $1000 per month to everybody, free housing, and probably more that I have forgotten.

The big problem is that the field is just too big. Democrats are struggling to get behind a candidate because there are too many of them running. And that problem is exacerbated by the media who seem to think each of these people have a chance at winning the nomination. While I like a couple proposals (which I will go into below) from some of these dark horses, at some point you just have to be honest and only list the people who have a serious chance. Looking back on recent history (post WWII), people who get elected president, or even nominated, have been one of four things: vice president from a previous administration4, governor of a state5, US senator6, or already have nation-wide name recognition7. Even using these criteria, there are still Biden (VP), Bullock8, Inslee9, Hickenlooper10, Patrick11 (governors), and Bennet, Booker12, Gillibrand, Gravel, Harris,13 Klobuchar, Sanders, Warren (senators), that's still twelve eleven nine eight nine seven six people, which should be plenty to pick between.

Speaking of a couple of the long-shot candidates, I like Gabbard's stance on reigning in the US military and cutting back on military spending. And I like Castro's stance on loosening immigration laws. I see immigration as a good thing. While both of these are only polling in the low single digits, they would make good vice-presidential candidates to offset an older presidential candidate.

  1. The last time a sitting president was not re-nominated by their party was Grover Cleveland in 1896 []
  2. Update 2019-08-29: Gillibrand just dropped out. []
  3. Update: Looks like Gravel just dropped out. []
  4. VP's: Truman, Johnson, Nixon, Humphery, Ford, Mondale, Bush I []
  5. Governors: Dewey, Stevenson, Carter, Reagan, Dukakis, B Clinton, Bush II, Romney []
  6. Senators: Kennedy, Goldwater, Dole, Kerry, McCain, Obama, H Clinton []
  7. Had name recognition: Eisenhower - General in WWII and helped start NATO, Perot - billionaire oil tycoon, Trump - millionaire and TV personality []
  8. Update: Bullock dropped out. []
  9. Update: Inslee dropped out. []
  10. Update: Hickenlooper dropped out. []
  11. Update: Deval Patrick joined the race. []
  12. Update 2020-01-13: Booker Dropped out []
  13. Update: Harris drops out. []


7 Responses to “2020 Presidential Candidates”

  1. BingoBoingo says:

    Tulsi is definitely the biggest thorn in the pantsuit. Some interesting lulz may emerge, especially as the Epstein thing opens up more.

  2. Will says:

    All aboard the Yang train. If the US is to be socialist, why not embrace it fully with UBI?

  3. peterl says:

    BingoBoingo: I have not really been following the Epstein thing, but I don't see how it could make things worse for them? Unless there are more people who are going to get indicated as not following the pantsuit ideals, which I guess could make some people uncomfortable.

    Will: I think there are some details in how the UBI is going to be implemented that have not yet been answered, and how they do it could open a door for a variety of fraud as people game the system (or not, if they are smart). It will promote more inflation, although there is so much pressure toward inflation at this point that we might not even notice this aspect of it. The other question is, and I have not seen anybody address this, why not just use the current infrastructure of the income tax returns to do this, just give everybody a 12k refundable tax credit and be done? I think that Yang is overselling the impact that this UBI policy would have. Poor people will be poor no matter what you do, because poor/rich is not so much about what you have as what you do with it.

  4. peterl says:

    Updated, Inslee and Hickenlooper dropped out.

  5. peterl says:

    Based on current polling, my guess is that the Democrats will either nominate Biden, Sanders, or Warren. Sanders and Warren are both too far left to beat Trump in the general election. If Democrats want to win the election they would all get behind a Biden-Gabbard ticket, but I don't think they are smart enough to do that, so they are going to lose in the general election.

  6. peterl says:

    Updated, I added Deval Patrick to the list of candidates. Michael Bloomberg also just announced that he is seeking the nomination, but since he does not qualify based on the listed criteria I will just ignore him for the purposes of this post.

  7. peterl says:

    Recently Castro, Williamson, and Booker dropped out. The number of candidates is finally getting down to a manageable number.

    I suspect Bennet will drop out soon too, he has not made any advancement in the polls and has never been included in the media conversation.

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