The race for the Democratic nomination for President in 2016 has begun. Several candidates have already announced their campaigns, and more are expected to do so in the coming months. One thing is for certain – the country is ready for a change. Over the past few years American politics has been dominated by Republicans, and it is high time for a realignment. The Democratic Party will have a new leader in January 2017. Many have already begun to speculate who that might be. Here are the top contenders.
If there is one candidate running for the Democratic nomination who embodies the spirit of the Bernie Sanders campaign it is Bernie Sanders. The self-avowed democratic socialist led his supporters in a passionate protest movement that shook the Democratic establishment to its core. He has continued to advocate for greater government involvement in the economy and a more progressive platform. While many in the Democratic Party have been critical of Sanders, he still enjoys a large following among the grassroots activists who propelled his campaign for the presidency. Sanders has openly stated that if he is not the nominee he will support the eventual Democratic winner, but he will not be discouraged by this eventuality.
The other prominent socialist in the race for the Democratic nomination is Joe Biden. The former vice president is certainly more moderate than Bernie Sanders, but he has still adopted many of the same policy positions. Biden is campaigning on a message of “moderate” approach. He has argued that the America that Trump has unleashed is not one that his generation of politicians has had to face. Biden believes that his generation of politicians spent too much time in the limelight and not enough time governing, which has resulted in greater polarization and dysfunction.
Another prominent Democrat to consider is Elizabeth Warren. The Harvard Law School professor has been a vocal opponent of many of Trump’s policies and has been critical of the president. She has proposed a “make it fair” plan to combat income inequality. It is a plan that would provide all citizens with 12 weeks of paid leave per year, expand on existing child tax credit, and create a new minimum wage for teenagers. She has also vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). The Massachusetts senator is definitely a long shot to overtake the frontrunner status, but she has already gained a large number of followers, particularly among the progressive base who feel that Trump is not doing enough to combat inequality and provide economic opportunities for all Americans.
Kamala Harris is the junior senator from California and previously served as the attorney general of the state. She too has been critical of Trump, particularly his travel ban and his handling of the economy. Like Biden, Harris has argued that the best way to combat income inequality is to promote greater opportunity for all citizens through better education and more inclusive growth. She supports Medicare for all and the abolition of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).
Another prominent Democrat who has had some success in attracting supporters is Cory Booker. The New Jersey Senator is certainly the front runner among African Americans. The Trump administration has been accused of a racist ‘dog whistle’ campaign aimed at black Americans. Booker has openly denounced the president and stated that his administration will have to fight back by fighting for racial justice. He has pointed out that while politicians focused on economic issues, such as Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, will be able to win support among white Americans, the president will be unable to win support among black Americans.
Sherrod Brown is the senior senator from Ohio and the Chairman of the party’s Senate campaign committee. He is also a member of the budget committee, which has led to his criticism of Trump’s budget, which he has deemed “dead on arrival”. Brown has a mixed record on LGBTQ issues. While he voted against same-sex marriage, he supported the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and opposed the Defense of Marriage Act. Brown was the first Democratic candidate to come out against Trump’s travel ban, arguing that it is discriminatory against Muslims and that the administration does not have the authority to enact such a policy.
There are several other prominent Democrats who are running for president and who have a chance of making the nomination. They include Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, and Andrew Yang. While they have attracted the attention of the media and the public, they still have a long way to go before they can seriously contend for the presidency.
The coming months will be an interesting spectacle to watch as the Democrats contest for the nomination. A number of high profile Democrats are already off and running, and the rest will follow suit soon.