This week marked the beginning of the 2020 Presidential Debates, at least on the Democratic side. With a whooping 25 candidates currently vying for the Democratic nomination, we were able to hear from 20 of them over two nights.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by how many candidates, here are my personal top five candidates who aren’t white men because let’s be honest we don’t need another white man leading the country any time soon.
Of the ten candidates featured on day one of the Democratic debates, Senator Elizabeth Warren was certainly the front runner. She’s managed to push herself to the front of the pack by paying attention to the concerns of the Democratic base and shaping her policies around them.
This millennial mom is personally excited about her plans to handle student loan debt, universal childcare, and the maternal mortality rate. She’s also laid out a clear plan for ending private prisons, and a plan to help level the playing field for entrepreneurs.
Of all the candidates on this list, her platform is the most thorough right now. And it definitely doesn’t hurt that Trump is clearly bothered by her.
Wednesday’s debate was the first time I really paid attention to Secretary Julian Castro. For those who don’t know, he served as the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014-2017 and was the mayor of San Antonio, Texas before joining the Obama Administration.
Castro’s very bold ideas on immigration, specifically his commitment to abolishing Section 1325 of the U.S. Code that criminalizes illegal entry and reentry to the United States made me sit up in my seat. As far as I can tell, he’s the first candidate to clearly call for this idea and that would mean no more concentration camps on U.S. soil. I’m also a fan of his policies on education and policing in America.
I’ll admit that when Senator Harris announced her presidency, I was a bit apprehensive. Her time as a prosecutor in California concerns me, particularly when it comes to Black and Brown people incarcerated by her office. However, her performance in Thursday night’s debate cannot be overlooked. She went toe to toe with front runner Vice President Biden, and didn’t back down proving she can certainly take on Trump.
Plus, her policy plans in regards to gun violence, economic justice, and racial justice speak to the needs of my family. If Senator Harris isn’t at the top of the ticket, she needs to be on the ticket.
I’ll have to admit when I first started researching the non-white men running for the Democratic nomination that Andrew Yang wasn’t on my radar at all. One click onto his website and I wondered why we aren’t hearing more about him.
I wish we had heard more from him doing Thursday night’s debates because his Universal Basic Income and Universal Healthcare plans are definitely worth discussing. Yang has certainly read the room when it comes to the Democratic base and ending poverty by literally giving citizens money is exactly what we need.
If he’s not on the ticket, he needs to be part of the next Democratic cabinet for sure.
In an effort to be transparent, I have to admit that I’m ending this list with Senator Kristen Gillibrand primarily because of her policy plans that focus on women. I think she was the only candidate to mention paid family leave during the debates, and it didn’t hurt that she is passionate about protecting women’s reproductive rights.
That being said, I’m a little concerned with her cognitive dissonance between what’s happening to children at the border and the history of our country. Like most white women, she focused on this being a huge human rights violation even going as far to say that Trump has torn the moral fabric of our country. Listen, what is happening at the border is disgusting and we definitely need to tear it down. However, we cannot as a nation pretend that this has never happened in our country. The very foundation of the United States was built on the backs of children and adults who were ripped from their families and transported as cargo during the TransAtlantic Slave Trade. If she had said, “hey, we’ve been down this road before, let’s not repeat it.” She’d likely be higher on my list.
If Senator Gillibrand works on her discussion of history and race relations, I think she’ll be a strong contender as well.
These last two days of debates showed that Warren is as strong as we thought. Harris and Castro are ready to move up the ranks. And Yang and Gillibrand shouldn’t be counted out just yet.
Those are my top five candidates. Who is on your list?