With approximately a year left, the 59th US presidential election is scheduled to be held on Nov. 3, 2020. While the election date remains in the seemingly distant future, the race is already underway, with four democratic primary debates being held from June 29. 27 candidates launched campaigns for the Democratic nomination, which is the largest pool of candidates for any political party in the post-reform period of American politics. Major Democratic candidates include Joe Biden, the former vice president from Delaware, Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont, Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg from South Bend, Indiana. In the Republican Party, President Donald Trump has launched a re-election campaign.
“I think the election could be beneficial for both parties depending on how the impeachment inquiry proceeds,” said Jay Kim (11), an active member of the forensics speech and debate team. “Democrats must not only focus on the impeachment process but also strengthen their policies. Policies are extremely important, as they impact people on a daily basis. Rather than ideological concepts such as banning all guns and radically advocating for global warming, having detailed and well-layered policies on such issues will be what citizens should look for.”
A candidate’s policies are reflective of his or her vision for the country. Many candidates propose policies on issues such as gun control, free healthcare, affordable education, and immigration. One notable policy from the Democratic Party is the College Affordability Plan from Elizabeth Warren. Warren claims that her experts estimate her plan to cost $1.25 trillion over the next ten years and that she would pay this cost with funds from the tax imposed on the wealthiest Americans. She is also the first to address the problem of student debt. She further plans to fund historically black colleges and universities. Forbes has claimed her plan to be more comprehensive and detailed than those proposed by Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in 2016. Furthermore, she plans to increase taxes on businesses and companies to raise $20.5 trillion for a free healthcare system.
“For such an important election like this, I firmly believe that any citizen of the US with voting age has a civic responsibility to be an informed voter and to exercise that right to vote,” said James Kowalski, social studies teacher. “To that end, it is essential that they follow not just the current events, but do so through news outlets that are reputable and credible. Furthermore, the voters should be aware of the interests for themselves, the community, and on a national scale.”
As for impeachment proceedings, the US is more divided than ever. Trump, who has broken numerous political traditions, has put himself in yet another unprecedented circumstance for the 2020 elections: he may be the first president in history to be impeached by the House while seeking a win for another term. History suggests that the party that drives an impeachment wins the White House for the next term. The winning candidates ran their campaigns on restoring national unity after the bitter nation-wide conflict. However, the media is split on whether this will also be the case for 2020. Democratic candidates are entering the reality of the 2020 elections, and election day is approaching quickly; they are running out of time and opportunities to change the trajectory of the race. The House began its impeachment proceedings against Trump, which means that there is much less attention on the 2020 Democratic platform than many candidates had hoped for.
“This election especially is incredibly important because of all the turmoil that’s going on in the US and the general public has never been so divided,” said Leslie Gregori, coach of the forensics speech team. “In my opinion, Trump is not a good leader. I feel like people do a lot of complaining, but unless we rally a larger percentage of people to vote, we are going to be stuck with him again. As long as he stays president and he is in that position, not only the US, but other countries need to worry about what decisions he is going to make, and the impact that they are going to bring.”