Democratic candidates 2020: who’s in the lead?

      Published on Thursday, 1 August , 2019      655 Views     
Democratic candidates 2020: who’s in the lead?

  • World

Ten Democratic hopefuls have clashed over healthcare and immigration in a televised US debate that revealed the depth of party divisions on tactics for the 2020 presidential election.

In the first of two nights of debate between candidates in Detroit, progressive front-runners Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were challenged by moderate candidates who argued that the party was lurching too “far left”.

The Guardian says Warren and Sanders gave their rivals “the Bonnie and Clyde treatment” by forming a “left-wing tag team against the forces of moderation”.

But writing for CNN, former White House press secretary Joe Lockhart argues that the debate “should be called the revenge of the moderates”, and claims the “big winner” was Joe Biden, who was not present.

BBC North America reporter Anthony Zurcher agrees that Biden “may be the ultimate beneficiary of Tuesday evening’s proceedings”.

Fox News claims the “surprise star” was Marianne Williamson, thanks to her attacks on “dark psychic forces”. The Los Angeles Times agrees that the celebrity spiritual adviser was “often a much more skilled communicator than most of the other politicians on the stage”.

Ten different Democratic candidates, including Biden and Kamala Harris, will debate on Wednesday. To qualify for the TV debates, candidates had to reach 1% in at least three polls or receive campaign contributions from at least 65,000 unique donors, including 200 donors in at least 20 states.

The winner of the Democratic presidential nomination will be announced next July.

Here’s a look at the candidates vying to take on President Donald Trump and their current odds:

The favourites:

Joe Biden, 76

Biden started his bid sitting at the top of the polls, but his campaign quickly faced tests.

“Everything from his style (it’s been pointed out that he has made women uncomfortable) to his substance (committed to bipartisanship, at a time when some on the left demand purity) scans as old-fashioned at a time of political transformation”, says BuzzFeed News.

On the face of it, Biden “is knowledgeable, likeable, right-minded, hugely experienced and polished in the way of an old-style variety show host”, says The Economist. But “he is also garrulous, gaffe-prone and not obviously au fait with modern America”, the magazine adds.

Indeed, a core question for his campaign “will be whether he runs as a consensus candidate or as a factional candidate, relying on the older and more moderate part of the Democratic Party”, says news site FiveThirtyEight..

If successful, the 76-year-old politician would become the oldest person to be elected president in US history. But “allegations from several women that they were left feeling uncomfortable by their physical interactions with Biden has created some uncertainty over his prospects”, says The Guardian.

Current odds: 4/1

Elizabeth Warren, 70

A favourite to run in 2016, the Massachusetts senator rebuffed the clamouring of progressives, to much disappointment. But since her entrance into the contest this time around, Warren “has helped shape the primary debate”, targeting billionaires and proposing a wealth tax that would impose a 2% levy on Americans with assets above $50m and 3% on those with more than $1bn, reports The Daily Beast.

With a progressive platform likely to win over many young Americans, she has soared to the front of the race and is now neck-and-neck with Biden.

Current odds: 4/1

Kamala Harris, 54

Viewed as another of the favourables for 2020, the career prosecutor-turned-California senator enjoyed a decent start. Harris “executed a campaign launch that is the envy of her peers, the talk of political operatives and now the standard for those waiting in the wings”, says US News. “The feat was part logistical, but largely personal performance. And the seamless marriage of those two halves is what made it a smashing success,” the site adds.

Whether Harris continues to lead from the front remains to be seen, but she has won praise from an unlikely source. She has had “the best opening so far”, Trump told The New York Times. “I would say in terms of the opening act, I would say, would be her. A better crowd – better crowd, better enthusiasm.”

Current odds: 11/4

Bernie Sanders, 77

The veteran left-wing firebrand narrowly lost out to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primaries. But since then, the rise of unapologetic progressives such as New York Senator Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has convinced many party members that the US electorate is finally ready for socialism.

When he announced his second run at the White House, Sanders certainly did not appear to be striking a more centrist tone, vowing to “complete the revolution”.

The Vermont senator is now a front runner in the contest – “a remarkable turn for the democratic socialist who, three years ago, was viewed as a protest candidate from the political fringe”, says CNN.

However, his age may prove as much of a stumbling block as his ambitious vision for free college tuition and nationalised healthcare. At 77, if Sanders were elected in 2020, he would be the oldest incoming president in US history by nine years.

Current odds: 10/1

Pete Buttigieg, 37

The millennial mayor of South Bend in Indiana was one of a handful of Democrats cited by then-president Barack Obama as the future of the Democratic Party in a New Yorker article in 2016. Despite that ringing endorsement, 2020 may just be a little too soon for the 37-year-old. Either way, “Pete’s going to be a force in the Democratic Party”, David Axelrod, the political strategist credited with helping propel Obama to the nation’s highest office, told Politico. “The question is just whether that’s as a candidate for president, or something else.”

Current odds: 10/1

Worth a punt

Andrew Yang, 44

The American entrepreneur is one of the more interesting of the candidates from outside the political establishment. The would-be president “warns the automation of labour places a third of all American jobs under threat, his first campaign video opening on a bleak vision of post-industrial decline, and believes the answer is universal basic income”, says The Independent. Initially not seen as a serious contender, the odds on Yang subsequently shortened as he continued to build his political profile.

Current odds: 25/1

Beto O’Rourke, 46

Virtually unknown outside Texas until last year, O’Rourke now has a national fan base thanks to his plucky campaign against US senator Ted Cruz. Towards the end of last year, O’Rourke had “seen himself rapidly become the Democratic establishment’s dream candidate for president”, says Rolling Stone. “He’s Barack Obama, but white,” one big donor told Politico at a town hall meeting in El Paso.

But since the turn of the year, O’Rourke has seen his voting record – more conservative than many Democrats – and “bipartisan” rhetoric “undergo a level of harsh scrutiny he hadn’t experienced while running in Texas”, says Rolling Stone.

An outsider with a wildcard chance of the nomination, O’Rourke might not be quite the progressive candidate the Democrats are looking for in 2020.

Current odds: 40/1

Cory Booker, 50

The New Jersey senator first attained national fame as mayor of Newark. As a senator, he won acclaim from some Democrats for his vocal role on the Senate Judiciary Committee, particularly during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. A moderate, Booker “has some work to do to differentiate himself in a crowded field, but he is better-known among Democrats than many of the others running”, says the National Public Radio (NPR) news site.

Current odds: 40/1

Tulsi Gabbard, 38

A supporter of Bernie Sanders in 2016, the Hawaiian congresswoman has decided to give it a shot herself this time. But as Politico reported back in January, her campaign suffered a serious hit before it had a chance to get going, with the departure of “campaign manager Rania Batrice and Gabbard’s consulting firm Revolution Messaging”. Seen as an outsider, Gabbard has come under fire for past comments describing LGBTQ rights advocates as “homosexual extremists”.

Current odds: 50/1

Tom Steyer, 62

Steyer is a billionaire hedge fund manager and liberal activist from New York. He has pledged to spent up to $100m on his presidential bid and claims to have the “only climate action plan to effectively address the climate crisis with the urgency that it demands”, reports Green Tech Media.

Current odds: 80/1

Amy Klobuchar, 59

Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar straddles the ideological divide emerging within the party.

She backs universal healthcare and action on climate change. However, on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ambitious Green New Deal proposal – a litmus test separating centrist Democrats from their socialist-leaning colleagues – Klobuchar remains tentative, calling the plan “aspirational”.

Now on her third Senate term, the 59-year-old “is widely popular in her state”, says People – a not-inconsiderable advantage in the 2020 race, “as Democrats lost the presidency in 2016 by razor-thin margins in a few Midwestern states”.

Current odds: 100/1

John Hickenlooper, 67

The former Colorado governor is pitching himself as a canny negotiator who successfully led a purple state – one with an even mix of Republican and Democrat voters – and can bring those bipartisan skills to the White House.

“His aw-shucks pragmatism plays well with pundits, but he doesn’t have much of a national profile at this point,” notes The Atlantic.

Current odds: 100/1

Julian Castro, 44

The youngest member of Barack Obama’s cabinet made his presidential announcement from San Antonio in both English and Spanish. Clearly hoping to tap into the Latino vote, Castro still “has a lot of work to do to get people to know him better, as he has had a limited time on the national stage”, says NPR.

Current odds: 100/1

Bill de Blasio, 58

Although the New York mayor has a progressive track record, CNN predicted that he might face a tough time from his home state’s “famously aggressive press corps, which is expected to follow him on the trail”. De Blasio was also mocked on social media when he announced he would run for the White House.

Current odds: 100/1

Mike Gravel, 89

US senator for Alaska from 1969 to 1981, Grevel is the oldest contender running. He has previously said his goal is not to win, but to bring “a critique of American imperialism to the Democratic debate stage”.

Current odds: 100/1

The long shots

Kirsten Gillibrand, 52

The New York senator’s focus on issues aimed at advancing women in the workplace and combating sexual violence earned her the nickname “#MeToo Senator”, and she’s not about to disavow them in her presidential campaign. An outspoken critic of the current administration, Gillibrand has cultivated the most anti-Trump voting record of any Democrat in the Senate. Although she faces an uphill battle to draw mainstream support, “there’s a tenacity to her”, according to Brian Fallon, who served as Hillary Clinton’s national press secretary in the 2016 campaign. “She’s willing to ruffle feathers and throw elbows,” Fallon told The Guardian.

Current odds: 125/1

Michael Bennet, 54

The senator was forced to hold off on entering the race after a prostate cancer diagnosis in April. He had positioned himself as a pragmatic lawmaker with a progressive voting record. He voted against both of Trump’s Supreme Court nominees and supports allowing states to legalise marijuana.

Current odds: 125/1

Steve Bullock, 53

Bullock, the governor of Montana, has worked to expand Medicaid, supported gay marriage and tried to ban “dark money” from the state’s politics. He told Elizabeth Warren that her plans to decriminalise migrant border crossings were “playing into Donald Trump’s hands”.

Current odds: 125/1

Jay Inslee, 68

The current governor of Washington state, Inslee has made his green credentials the central plank of his bid to become the Democratic nominee in 2020.

Announcing his presidential bid in a video, Inlee called climate change “the most urgent challenge of our time”. Among his ideas for a greener US are more clean energy jobs, a carbon tax and promoting low or no emissions vehicles. However, his quasi-single-issue platform is a “gamble”, says The New York Times.

Current odds: 125/1

Tim Ryan, 46

Ohio congressman Ryan “has positioned himself as a voice for blue-collar voters in the Midwest”, says The New York Times. The 46-year-old outsider has previously accused the Democrat leadership of being too removed from their working-class base, and will focus his platform on protecting US workers and reversing the decline in the Rust Belt’s former manufacturing towns.

Current odds: 125/1

Wayne Messam, 45

The current mayor of Florida’s Miramar city and the owner of a construction company, Messam launched his campaign saying he was running on a platform of curbing gun violence, fighting climate change, and “restoring the promise of America”.

He said: “I do not believe that the best ideas come from Washington.”

Although his policy offering is popular, he will face criticism from those “who think a president should have experience as a Congress member or governor first”, says Quartz.

Current odds: 125/1

Marianne Williamson, 67

The bestselling New Age author and Oprah Winfrey’s spiritual adviser ran for a congressional seat in California as an independent in 2014 but came fourth. She said in November: “We had a miracle in this country in 1776, and we need another one.” Which just about sums up her chances.

Current odds: 200/1

John Delaney, 56

The former Maryland congressman was one of the first Democrats to declare for 2020. In contrast to some of the other candidates, Delaney plans to put price tags on all his policy proposals. “Every time I say I’m going to do something, I tell people exactly how I’m going to pay for it,” he told Yahoo! Finance. Despite this bold claim, his relative anonymity is likely to count against him.

Current odds: 125/1

Seth Moulton, 40

If successful, Moulton would be the youngest president in US history. A retired Marine Corps officer, he is expected to focus heavily on veterans’ issues and national security.

Current odds: 125/1

Joe Sestak, 67

Sestak is a former congressman and retired three-star navy admiral. Launching his campaign, he drew heavily on his foreign policy experience, having served in the military from 1974 to 2005, and was Bill Clinton’s director of defence policy on the National Security Council. He says he welcome transgender service members and believes the US should re-join the Iran nuclear deal.

Current odds: n/a

Category World | 2019/08/01 latest update at 11:45 AM
Source : The Week | Photocredit : Google
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