Fifteen. The current number of Democratic candidates officially announcing their aspirations to become the next President of United States. The ever-growing field of Democrats running for the presidency is worth discussing. The number is not yet fixed, as there are other names being thrown around, of individuals in the party who may announce soon or launch exploratory campaigns. The most recognizable one of them is Joe Biden, the former Vice President, who has not decided whether or not he would run. Nevertheless, he is ahead of all other (formally announced) candidates in all polls.
Other household name (who may give everyone 2016 election flashbacks) is Bernie Sanders, the Independent self-proclaimed socialist Senator of Vermont.
Centrists vs. Progressives
However, not all the Dem candidates are champions of social far-left policies. There are some moderate ones as well. One of them, for instance, is Amy Klobuchar.
Senator Klobuchar of Minnesota, who gained more popularity during Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, has been serving in the Senate since 2007. Unlike other candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, she does not support free 4-year college for everyone, or “eliminating Private Health Insurance” like Kamala Harris suggested, or other promises that are being floated around by progressive candidates.
The office with the highest staff turnover
Senator Klobuchar has always tried to portray herself as “Midwestern nice”, and bring people together through bipartisanship and Minnesota niceness! However, after announcing her candidacy, numerous reports of her alleged misbehavior and verbal abuse toward her staff came out, painting her as a mean boss. Anecdotes such as throwing binders at staffs and telling them the work they have done is “the worst”, and even trying to sabotage the staffs that left her by calling their new bosses and advising against hiring them. She allegedly creates a toxic work environment. Her office has the highest staff turnover in the Senate.
Is toughness the answer?
Senator Klobuchar responded to the reports by acknowledging that she’s a tough boss: “Yes, I can be tough, and yes, I can push people. I have high expectations for myself. I have high expectations for the people that work for me. But I have high expectations for this country”. She also suggested her reputation as a tough boss can be helpful while negotiating with leaders like Vladimir Putin: “When you’re out there on the world stage and dealing with people like Vladimir Putin, yeah, you want someone who’s tough. You want someone that demands the answers and that’s going to get things done, and that’s what I’ve done my whole life.”
The little-known mayor
The other interesting candidate is a young mayor of a small town in Indiana. 37 year-old Pete Buttigieg is serving as the mayor of South Bend since 2012 and he is a Rhode Scholar and Navy veteran of Afghanistan war. He’s the first openly-gay candidate to ever run for President and his juxtaposition to another prominent Indiana politician, Vice President Mike Pence, is strong.
In a recent town hall meeting in Austin, Texas, when “mayor Pete” (what he is called in his hometown) was asked if Veep Mike Pence, former governor of his home state, would be a better president than Donald Trump, he responded that he is not sure and demonstrated:
“How would he (Pence) allow himself to become the cheerleader for the porn star presidency? Is it that he stopped believing in scripture when he started believing Donald Trump? I don’t know”.
“His interpretation of scripture is pretty different than mine to begin with. My understanding of scripture is that it’s about protecting the stranger and the prisoner and the poor person and that idea. That’s what I get in the gospel when I’m at church and his has a lot more to do with sexuality.”
Coming from a red state, Buttigieg understood the importance and necessity of reaching across the aisle and working with Independents and Republicans to carry out his policies.
He has articulated many times in his interviews that his vision is not for 2020, but for 2054. The year which, as he puts it, he will be the current age of the current President. “I think a lot about the way world’s going to look in 2054.”
Is age a liability?
In response to some critics citing his age and the fact that if elected, he would be the youngest president in U.S. history, Buttigieg answered: “[…] You run for any office because you feel the needs of the office meet the moment and what you bring to the table… I have more experience in government than the current President. I have more executive experience than the Vice President, and more military experience than anyone who arrived at that desk since George H. W. Bush.”
He also proposed some ideas like expanding the Supreme Court from 9 judges to 15. An idea that excited some on the far-left, but many (even among centrist Democrats) find radical and not feasible.