As 2020 nears, Democratic race heats up

Almost one year away from the general election, candidates from both parties seek to unseat Donald Trump from office.

Following his surprising election in 2016, President Trump has enacted several controversial policies, from holding children at the border in inhumane conditions to attempting to repeal the American Care Act of 2010 to warming relationships with totalitarian countries such as Saudi Arabia and North Korea. His approval rate has hovered below 50% throughout his entire presidency.

Frontrunners for the Democratic Party’s nomination include former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. At its peak, more than twenty candidates sought the nomination, but candidates began dropping out over the summer and have continued to do so into the fall.

Biden, widely considered the frontrunner for the nomination, has been campaigning on his ability to beat Trump in a general election. However, he has been criticized for creepy interactions with women and his numerous gaffes throughout his campaign.

Another frontrunner, Bernie Sanders, has campaigned on progressive policies, including forgiving medical and student debt and implementing a single-payer healthcare plan named “Medicare for All”. Sanders has labeled himself a democratic socialist, a label traditionally scorned in American politics.

Critics have also raised questions about Biden and Sanders, as both are over 75 years old. If either of these candidates made it to office, they would be the oldest president elected; they are both more than 6 years older than Donald Trump’s age when he took office. Biden has been criticized for his visible gaffes, including an incident in the September debate where former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro accused him of forgetting what he had said two minutes earlier. Sanders recently suffered a heart attack, taking him off the campaign trail indefinitely.

Other candidates who remain in the conversation include Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana and the first openly gay major presidential candidate, Andrew Yang, whose policies include Universal Basic Income, and Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who has garnered attention for her prosecutorial record and challenging Biden in an early debate.

As the Iowa caucus kicks off in a little under four months, it is still anyone’s game. In fact, neither Bill Clinton nor Barack Obama were the likely nominee when their campaign started.

In the Republican Party, Donald Trump faces some challenges for the nomination, including former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, and former representatives Mark Sanford and Joe Walsh. All are running on an anti-Trump sentiment. These bids for the nomination are seen as having a low chance, as the last time an incumbent president was unseated by his own party occurred in 1856.