It feels like only a few months ago that Donald Trump won the election to become the 44th (or 45th, if you count Grover Cleveland with his non-consecutive terms) president of the United States.
Yet is has actually been 2 years and 3 months since President Trump took office.
Despite the fact that Trump has only served just over half of his term, there are already a number of politicians throwing their hat into the ring for presidential candidacy, marking this year as the beginning of the campaign trail for the 2020 election.
As this will be the first election that I — as well as countless other new and soon-to-be adults — have the ability to vote in (an opportunity that every citizen should take), this campaign is especially important to me and other members of my generation.
It may be incredibly early to start looking at the candidate list, but it is here at the roots of the campaigns where they are simplest. Before the water gets murky from all the dirt throwing and before the candidates reform their campaigns to directly challenge each other, the candidates for president focus on what matters to them the most.
Right now, there are a total of 670 candidates registered with the Federal Election Commission to run for president, but, seeing as one candidate for the Jewish/Christian National Party is named Bring Back Daniel, and it being unclear who Daniel is or why we should bring him back, it seems ridiculous to consider all 670 legitimate.
Instead of looking at the list of 670 candidates with questionable legitimacy, a list of 21 notable public officials running for president seems much more realistic.
The list of 21 is comprised of several past members of Congress, a handful of past governors and mayors, and a couple of miscellaneous public figures. There are 18 Democrats, two Republicans and good ol’ Bernie Sanders running as an Independent.
What good are a name and a party though? What really matters are the platforms. Though the candidates may change drastically between now and the election itself, the political ideology now is indicative of what the campaign trail will focus on.
With that in mind, here’s a quick look at the most notable platforms from the list of 21:
Cory Booker, a member of the U.S. Senate from New Jersey, intends to focus on unity in addressing inequality and discrimination. He also seeks to reform parts of the criminal justice system.
Julian Castro, the former secretary of housing and urban development, is focusing his campaign on Medicare and housing affordability.
John Delaney, a former member of the House of Representatives from Maryland, is calling for bipartisanship and cooperation as part of his campaign. In an interview in January, Delaney stated, “One of the things I’ve pledged is in my first hundred days only to do bipartisan proposals.”
John Hickenlooper, a former governor of Colorado, directs attention to environmental issues such as methane emission laws. He is also pushing for gun control legislation.
Wayne Messam, the mayor of Miramar, Florida, wants to fight the growing amount of student debt in order to help Americans continue to strive for that great American dream.
Tim Ryan, a member of the House of Representatives from Ohio, has emphasized keeping jobs in the United States in his campaign.
Bill Weld, a former governor of Massachusetts, has run his campaign with criticism of President Trump’s economic policies, advocating for addressing overspending and preparing to deal with the loss of jobs to automation in the future.
Andrew Yang, a New York entrepreneur, has based his campaign on the idea of guaranteeing a monthly payment of $1,000 to every adult American citizen.
The list will change as the election approaches, but the policies will continue to affect the outcome. Important topics such as gun control, student debt and Medicare will be the big questions that candidates must address. These are the issues that ultimately determine which candidate you choose to support in the 2020 presidential race.
It doesn’t matter which party you agree with, which policies you support or which politicians you wish would mysteriously disappear; being informed and educated on the issues and knowing where you stand are essential to the well-being of the country.
So as the country marches down the 2020 campaign trail, it is important that everybody makes an effort to stay informed. Every vote makes a difference, so don’t waste yours.