Diversity of 2020 candidates

By: Leah Alsept

Email: Alseptl@findlay.edu

A presidential candidate for the United States must be a natural born citizen of the United States at least 35 years of age and have lived in the United States for at least 14 years. The current president of the United States of America is Donald J. Trump, who was sworn into office in 2017. Also according to the FEC for the 2020 presidential election 172 of candidates are part of the Democratic Party and 69 are registered Republican.

Trump has also filed for a 2020 reelection campaign, and despite White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying that ‘God wanted Trump to become president’ during an interview reported by the Huffington Post, his approval ratings say otherwise. Project FiveThirtyEight has been tracking Trump’s approval rating since the beginning of his presidency, and 55.6 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump as of day 747 in his tenure.

But who could replace him as the primary Republican candidate? There are speculations of who would take Trump’s place; Ted Cruz, Mike Pence, Mitt Romney, and even Ohio’s very own former governor John Kasich are potential candidates, but nothing yet has been confirmed.

The Democratic Party has a diverse group that have announced presidential runs. Pete Buttigieg is the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, elected to his post in 2012. He announced his presidential run on Jan. 23. Kamala Harris is the second black woman and first Indian-American woman to serve on the Senate floor. She is a Democrat from California and was elected to the Senate in 2016. She announced her presidential run on Jan. 21. Tusli Gabbard, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker are all running or have formed exploratory committees for the 2020 presidential seat.

Dr. Elkie Burnside, Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Master of Arts in Professional Communication Program at the University of Findlay believes that more diverse representation in the potential presidential pool is a good thing, but these candidates succeeding depends on the voters.

“The youngest most liberal generation isn’t voting,” said Burnside.

Millennials are, on average, more liberal than their parents, but they vote a lot less than their elders, as reported by the Pew Research Center and The Washington Post, respectively. Queer, female, and person of color representation is important in politics, Dr. Burnside believes, but there might not be much success with gay candidates until later down the road when the younger generations come up and vote.

Research is extremely important in this time of campaigning: Voters should be aware of who they are voting for and what issues candidates’ side on. To be well-informed is to be well-read, just like how staying narrow in a political bubble will cause a great slant in how people see news and the world. Certainly, having more diverse presidential base to choose from is great, but paying attention to what all candidates have supported and have voted for in the past is crucial in determining what candidate gets Dr. Burnside’s vote.

“I want to see the best candidate there who’s going to take care of our country and uphold the values we say have which is openness, acceptance, and freedom,” Dr. Burnside said.

Openness, acceptance, and freedom. Three things that may seem both close and far away at the same time. To keep our freedom, all of us must research and vote for who we think is the best fit for this country.

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