Even with a year and a half until the 2020 election, the race to replace Donald Trump as president is ramping up speed and the number of candidates of all parties is multiplying rapidly. One of the central negatives of a field that is estimated to contain dozens of candidates, a majority of whom are Democrat among an occasional Republican or independent challenger, is the spread of influence and a lack of commitment from voters.
Who do we pay attention to? Who will not be in the race only a few months from now? Where will the best candidate to face Donald Trump be found? These are all questions that need to be answered for people in my age bracket. I turned eighteen in January and am, as I hope most people in my age bracket are, excited to vote in the primaries and eventually the general election in 2020. That being said, a generalization of Millenial and Generation Z voters is their disdain for Trump’s politics. That is not to say that I do not know Trump supporters my age; there are plenty in Indiana. However, among some conservative youth and the general sentiment of liberals in Indiana and across America, there is a desire for an alternative. As a progressive independent myself, there is no doubt I want President Trump to be a one-term president.
As Hoosiers, our focus should be on candidates that are able to draw support from a wide variety of people and also candidates who understand how Midwestern states like ours have suffered due to the United States transitioning from an industrial economy to a service-based economy. This, in my opinion, is where four candidates excel: Senator Bernie Sanders, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Senator Amy Klobuchar and South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg. Sanders and Gabbard belong to the progressive class of Democrats who tout Medicare-for-all and have been supporters of the Green New Deal, an encompassing legislative approach to our energy pitfalls and income inequality. A stake in this bill for Indiana would be the possibility to create new job markets out of green energy, after our manufacturing jobs left for overseas plants. Klobuchar and Buttigieg try to appeal to Hoosiers in a different way, by touting their “common sense” values. Klobuchar has also based her campaign appeal on the heartland of America, as she and many Midwesterners believe their voices are not heard on the national level. Buttigieg appeals to Hoosiers as one of their own and uses his executive experience as the mayor of South Bend. Buttigieg is also the youngest candidate and the only openly gay candidate.
Out of these four, the two that stand out as the best choices by policy and by charismatic leadership are Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders. In a political cycle where women have made their mark on politics to remind men of their voting power and voices, Amy Klobuchar is an obvious choice for Midwestern voters. She represents moderate values that thrive in states like Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and her home state of Minnesota. A common critique, towards both the Republican and Democratic National Committees, was the lack of representation from middle America. A Klobuchar presidency kills two birds with one stone. Some may say this would feed into identity politics, but when diverse opinions are needed, we cannot keep looking in the same places for new ideas. Her only flaw, in my opinion, is her dedication to remaining in the good graces of both national Republicans and Democrats. Bipartisanship is an admirable trait, but when the political climate has scorched all paths to bipartisanship, Klobuchar and other moderate Democrats need to embrace the ideas of progressives which are becoming the mainstream in many Americans’ personal ideologies.
The push for progressive ideas is why I still view Sanders as relevant for Hoosiers; his campaign is not a completely new idea from his 2016 campaign, but a continuation of the “political revolution” that he began four years ago. Sanders is including voices that have the biggest stake in his ideas and that is shown by his campaign co-chairs. A little over two months ago, Sanders announced a campaign leadership of four individuals: Carmen Yulin-Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Nina Turner, a former state senator from Ohio who started her career in Cleveland, Ro Khanna, a representative from California and Ben Cohen, the co-founder to Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. Sanders also rose the biggest amount of money, which amounted to six million dollars, in twenty four hours compared to any other candidate in the race. This money was raised by over 223,000 individuals and shows that he should be taken seriously still, even given his previous attempt and age.
Sanders and Klobuchar are fundamentally different, both promoting different solutions and pathways to a better America. However, they both have the potential to face and defeat Donald Trump. Sanders and Klobuchar both have reputations of convincing traditionally Republican voters to buy into their goals, whether that be for their home states or for America as a whole. So, I encourage everyone to look into Klobuchar and Sanders as possible candidates to support for 2020 election. Not a Democrat and still looking for an alternative to Trump? Look into Bill Weld’s campaign, a moderate Massachusetts Republican who ran in 2016 as the Libertarian vice presidential candidate, which is now seeking to challenge Donald Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020.
Regardless of party, we have plenty of options to seek as an alternative to our current president. With the scandals that continue to pile on to President Trump, we as Hoosiers will guarantee our best political future by investing in someone else like Sanders, Klobuchar or Weld.