• Ben Henschel

2020 Election: Top 5 Democrats right now

Updated: Jan 11

I'd consider myself Democrat by most standards, liberal but not at all one who would shy from discussing politics with conservatives.

Honestly, I'm just kind of done with this president. After the Blue Wave rolled through the midterms this year — don't delude yourself into thinking it didn't — the country's beginning to shift a bit to the left.

We're getting close to one of the most important elections of all time. One that'll decide whether or not one of the most unhinged and unprecedented presidents will continue to polarize the nation.

Pretty much all bets are off. One thing's for sure, though — Donald Trump will have the Republican spot sealed. A sitting president's only been denied his party's nomination once: Franklin Pierce in 1852. After pulling one of the greatest governmental upsets of all time a couple years ago, there's pretty much no chance he won't at least get the red nomination.

The Democratic side's a bit more interesting. There are candidates that we all pretty much knew would run in 2020 a few years ago, but there are also some fresh, new names that might have an even stronger chance. We'll get through some names on both of those sides, here.

5. Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT)

Every time I listen to Bernie Sanders, I stop myself — there's no way this guy could be president. Usually his accent's too much for me, or he gets too socialist. I'm progressive, but probably not to his level.

But he reels me back in with his explanations and articulate statements, that oftentimes cancel out any unease coming from his rough, Northeastern tone. He'll explain the need for certain implementations like universal healthcare and free college, and I'll get skeptical pretty quick. But as he goes through his plans, and the effects of the two radical-seeming objectives, it seems much less radical.

Sanders has always been a compelling candidate to me, and one that could've easily come out of 2016 with a Democratic nomination. However, there are just too many candidates for Bernie to continue with his shortcomings. He has to rally his base now, or at least scooch to the middle of the political spectrum just a bit, if he wants a shot.

4. Former vice president Joe Biden

Leslie Knope had a massive crush on Joe Biden in Parks and Recreation, so I've always had a certain admiration for the guy. It's a great show.

But Biden's got much more than Knope pulling for him.

He was the V.P. when President Barack Obama was president. Don't think I need to say much more, or maybe a quick question to prove a point. Ever heard someone say they miss Obama over the last two years? Twenty bucks says you have. And Joe Biden's the closest thing the country has to Obama as of now.

Atop that, he began his political career at 27. The man's 76. He has loads of experience, serving 36 years as a U.S. senator, and the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee during that time.

The experience he's picked up and the reputation he's earned make him a major force in 2020.

3. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA)

Following the Kavanaugh nominations, it's likely that the party will move towards nominating a female candidate, and rightly so. Warren is the most likely, behind only Joe Biden, really, to be the party's nomination given her established and distinguished reputation in the party.

She was just reelected by a mile. She's rapidly expanding her already nationwide follower base, and her progressive, anti-corruption policy is exactly what the party is looking for to combat the Trumpist ideals that will undoubtedly be present in the election.

Warren's more experienced than my first and second picks. She's running under the Democratic brand explicitly, unlike my fifth pick, who embraces his socialist ideals. Only Biden, with his long(er) and more public career, is likelier to gain the nomination.

2. Sen. Cory Booker (NJ)

Cory Booker can be a bit much, don't get me wrong. His eyes look like they're about to pop out.

But no one can take away his sense of direction for the Democratic party. He's articulate, forward-thinking, and a formidable threat to Trump securing the vote in 2020. Right now, he's taking on the president by cosponsoring a protection bill for special counsel Robert Mueller. Couldn't be more for it.

Of course, the bill was dead on its arrival to the senate floor. Mitch McConnell and the Grand Old Party stopped it before a vote could even take place. Side note — I'm definitely done with Mitch.

Regardless of if the bill passes — it likely won't with Mitch on the floor — Booker's still taking steps to actively combat the unjust ways of Trump's administration. Not to mention the publicity he garnered during the Kavanaugh nomination, publicly asserting his opposition to Kavanaugh's appointment.

He became a key face of the Democratic party, and there's only one person I'd like to see in the Oval even more.

1. Congressman Beto O'Rourke (TX)

Is anyone actually surprised? Before we get too excited, we should think about what putting Beto at no. 1 really means.

President Obama was a junior senator when he ran in 2020, and still a relative underdog. Beto's only served three terms as a representative. He's very inexperienced in comparison to the rest of the 2020 candidates.

Most people talk about how Beto just lost in Texas.

Did he, though?

Beto seems to have come on top, even after losing to Ted Cruz by a margin of 2.6%, and conceding the senatorial spot to Cruz. Why? He lost in Texas.

Texas last elected a Democratic senator in 1993. Even with the state's changing demographic towards a more liberal base, it was still a nearly unwinnable fight. Especially against Cruz, who gained nationwide recognition for nearly beating out Trump for the Republican nomination two years ago.

Beto raised more than $62 million for his campaign — insane for a senatorial campaign. He's galvanizing a new, youth-filled base, the likes of which I've never seen before. In a few years, when a new wave of voters come through (I miss the chance by a few weeks), Beto could easily become the frontrunner.

Is he the most likely to win? Nope. But at this point, I haven't seen a candidate with more articulate and genuine answers who ran on morals and integrity, like he did. He's a class act, and one I'm excited for over the next few years.