Everything you need to know about the 2020 presidential election (so far…)

In just under a year, the 2020 Presidential Election will be upon us and we as citizens of these United States will have a duty. Nov. 3, 2020, we will head to the polls as voters and cast a ballot for who we wish to lead our country over the next four years. Will be stay the course and re-elect President Donald Trump to his second term in office? Or will we instead choose a brand-new candidate that will usher in a new era of leadership? 

So many things are up in the air right now that it is truly impossible to gauge exactly what our race will look like in these upcoming months. 

However, staying up to date with important election info and being a well-informed voter is an integral part of our democracy. In this rundown, we will discuss exactly what you need to know up to this point on both sides of the isle in order to know where you stand as a voter. 

Democratic Party

Back in March, I wrote a piece for the Setonian highlighting eight prominent Democratic candidates running for their party’s respective nomination. While only highlighting eight, in actuality, there were 26 candidates predating the first democratic debate in June. However, after months of campaigning and debating, we are down to 18. 

While this may not seem like a huge change in numbers, only12 of these candidates qualified for the last debate in October. Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Julián Castro, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Yang, Tom Steyer, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard and Kamala Harris each reached a certain polling threshold and also a certain donation threshold that were required to be in the October debates. 

In the months to come, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) plan to have several more debates and in turn more debate requirements that will attempt to thin the herd by increasing polling and donor thresholds alike. Doing so will eliminate some of the fringe candidates still in the race and begin to form the strongest group of candidates running in this primary. 

For example, the November debate scheduled for Nov. 20 requires participants to have reached at least 3% support in four national polls (or 5% support in two early state polls) while simultaneously having registered at least 165,000 unique donors to their campaign, with at least 600 of these coming from 20 individual states.  

Only nine candidates have qualified for this debate so far. December’s requirements figure to be even harder to match for certain candidates as it will require a 1% increase in the aforementioned polling requirements and adding the need of 35,000 additional donors from 800 individual states. 

As of this moment, five candidates continuously register as the strongest candidates of this field and each have an argument as to who will win the democratic nomination. Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris (in that order) have polled highest among the eighteen candidates running and continue to hit requirements that register them for democratic debates months in advance. 

Warren and Biden regularly hit between 20-30% in polls nationally while Sanders hits 15-25%. Buttigieg usually hits 10-15% while Harris gains 5-10% in comparison. All the remaining candidates range far and wide in polling from around 0-5% and struggle to reach certain thresholds in time. 

While there are months and months for these figures to change and momentum to swing, around this time is where we begin to see fringe candidates drop out and back some of the larger polling individuals. 

Republican Party

In contrast to the democratic primary, the Republican party is fairly decided when it comes to their candidate for President. Current President Donald Trump, while not alone in the primary, is seemingly cruising to an easy win for his party’s nomination. In fact, certain states have actually decided to forgo their primary voting procedures and declare their delegates for President Trump already. Even so, Republicans Bill Weld, Joe Walsh and Mark Sanford have decided to challenge the sitting President for the nomination and have campaigned all over the country attempting to siphon Republican support from President Trump’s base. 

However, there will certainly be some hurdles for President Trump to jump while running for re-election in 2020 as current Ukrainian scandals and impeachment inquires have muddied the waters for his campaigning. Current approval ratings for President Trump show a 56% disapproval rating as calls for impeachment echo more and more from both the democratic and independent parties. 

The President’s impeachment inquiry opened on Sept. 24 due to a governmental whistleblower complaint surfacing claiming President Trump withheld aid from the Ukraine unless they agreed to investigate one of President Trump’s potential rivals Joe Biden. 

Over the next month, democrats in the house subpoenaed multiple members of the Trump administration attempting to find evidence of the claim, while also receiving a second whistleblower complaint as well. 

While some in the White House refuse to comply with this inquiry until an official impeachment vote is admitted, several of the officials have testified before house committees as more and more information becomes available each day. 

When this issue is released in early November, there will no doubt be some differences in each of these party’s narratives as political action and news changes daily. However, having read this, I hope that you feel more informed in our upcoming election and somewhat better understand the issues each candidate faces ahead. Keeping this in mind, there are also several senate seats and undoubtedly other seats in local government that will be up for election and just as important as our presidential one. 

I implore you to do research into these candidates (as you would any presidential candidate) and know your options once you head to the polls. A year may seem like a long time, but the 2016 elections feels just like yesterday to some and our choices mean something. Allow your voice to be heard as you only get one.

Published by Caitlin Srager

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