Democratic Party has a lack of leadership for the 2020 election | The Triangle

Democratic Party has a lack of leadership for the 2020 election

Photograph courtesy of Marcus Yam at Los Angeles Times/TNS

As the election cycle starts rolling, more and more information is being released to the public, and the path to the 2020 elections is steadily being formed. The Democrats saw two new high-ranked individuals announce their campaigns. Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris announced their decisions to join other Democratic candidates in the race for the White House.

But what does this mean for voters in 2020? These announcements are a prelude to what the election cycle will be like, as the race to the White House accelerates. It is important for voters to know exactly who is in the running, so that they can find a candidate they support. However, an excessive amount of candidates can also prove to be problematic. While Republicans are primarily backing President Donald Trump in his bid for reelection, the Democrats are having a difficult time finding one primary face for their party. This lack of leadership can not only be detrimental for the party itself, but for Democratic voters who might find themselves torn between the ever growing number of Democratic candidates.

Kamala Harris, who announced her candidacy in late January, is a child of Jamaican and Indian immigrants and has been in politics for 16 years. Before winning her seat in the U.S. Senate, Harris was a deputy district attorney for Alameda County, California, and then the San Francisco district attorney. Harris’ presidential campaign has also decided that they won’t be accepting donations from corporate PACs. In the past, Harris’ biggest campaign contributors included Werner Media, the University of California and Alphabet Inc.; however her top sources of funding included attorneys, retirees, financiers and the entertainment industry. Harris’ main backing thus far comes from fans of Obama’s progressive policies. And while Harris is rated as one one the more liberal members of the Senate, Harris has earned the ire of progressives who believe that she is not definite in supporting leftist ideas, particularly those who question her record on justice system reform in her days as district attorney.  

Harris’ fellow Democratic candidate, Bernie Sanders, does not share the same problems as her. Bernie Sanders — who is a self-described Democratic socialist — is the top choice for progressives in the 2020 election since he announced his bid for the presidency in February. The Brooklyn-born senator has spent a total of 38 years in politics, which has made him the longest serving independent senator. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990 and then the U.S. Senate in 2006, and in 2016 Sanders made his first bid for the presidency. Notably, most of Sanders’ campaign funds came from small donors in amounts of less than $200. Bernie, who attracted voters with the idea of universal healthcare and higher taxes for the wealthy, hasn’t been able to draw in centrist Democrats or win back people of color who were alienated by his last campaign. But that does not diminish from the fact that he still has a loyal base, and growing support from liberal Democrats.

With campaigns starting to ramp up their efforts, it is important to remember that this is only the beginning of the election season. The 2020 campaign trail has not yet been determined.  As of now, Harris and Sanders are the two most favored Democratic candidates. However, if Joe Biden were to run, he’d have a tremendous amount of support and backing. As would Beto O’Rourke, who recently became a popular choice with liberals.

The one conclusion I drew from all this, is the fact that the Democratic Party has no clear leadership. There is no one who is taking center stage, and guiding the party as a whole, there are instead multiple factions who are vying for their favored politician to make a bid. As of right now, Harris and Bernie have the most support from Democrats, and it appears that the primary election is heading towards a showdown between the two. But I would argue that it is simply too soon to know what the 2020 campaign trail will look like.