It’s no surprise that it’s only February 20, 2019 and yet the 2020 election is upon us. The 2016 election ended with heartbreak and calls to action, action that is now coming to fruition. So it should come as no surprise that we have Democratic candidates filling the field and vying for our votes.
This is the best of what our system has to offer—a primary system where candidates can put their platforms on the national stage. An opportunity that enables issues to become universal, to become top priorities for candidates all across the nation. It’s a way to test ideas and gauge national support.
True, it isn’t a perfect system. It’s never been a perfect system. But the ideals behind it are.
Primary elections are opportunities to engage in national dialogue, to rally the base around candidates, and generate excitement for the upcoming general election. And as we all know, there’s plenty of anticipation and excitement around the 2020 election. This election year has been seared in our brains as a beacon of hope and the prophesied light at the end of the tunnel.
At the same time, we’re cautious, determined to prevent a repeat of what happened in 2016. Yet to repeat 2016, a lot of things would have to go seriously wrong for that to happen—even if we had an imperfect candidate. Not to say we should be lazy. Hard work is the only way we’re going to win. But 2016 didn’t happen because of one single thing.
To date, 10 Democratic candidates have declared their candidacy for President, with more anticipated to announce in the coming weeks. Some we’ve loved forever. Some we’re skeptical of. Some are new to us. Some inspire us. And some have us ready to work. By the end of this process, all of us will know these candidates that much better and the process will be better for each of their efforts, their patriotism, and their bravery.
Already, records are being broken. Half of the Democratic candidates who have declared are women, a feat that four years ago seemed almost unheard of even if badly needed. The 2016 election activated women in ways unseen for decades. In 2018, 102 women were sworn in to Congress. Women are clearly saying it’s time for to be heard, to be believed, for women to lead. And they’re right. It’s long past time to have a woman elected to the highest office in the nation.
And yet women also face hurdles of “just not quite having that quality.” That unarticulated quality that infiltrated the 2016 election, that infiltrated every campaign where the candidate was female. With five female candidates, that sexism is now more easily identifiable and it’s getting named for what it is.
We have declared Democratic candidates who have been fighting for justice, equal rights, and income equality for years and some for decades. All are important voices and all them have changed and shaped the landscape. We’re grateful for their service to our nation.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a feminist icon, sitting on the bench of the United States Supreme Court at the age of 85. She makes decisions that last for generations, and yet we do not call into question her ability to do her job because of her age. Therefore, let us not view any of these candidates through an ageist lens.
Let us instead evaluate each candidate by their campaign platforms and the leadership they would bring to a starved nation. Please, volunteer to canvas and phone-bank and donate for the candidate you support. Get involved in the process! Engage in discussions of ideas in all mediums. Our democracy will be better for it!
If you need help getting in contact with any campaign, always feel free to contact the Washington County Democratic Party. We’ll be here to help. We’ll be here to help train how to canvas and phone-bank so you know how to be a more effective volunteer. What we won’t do is endorse any Democratic candidate until the general election.
Just because the road ahead of us is long, doesn’t mean we won’t cross the finish line together.
So let’s get fired up! Let’s pound the pavement, knock on some doors, and make some phone calls! We’re going to make history and we’re going to do it together!