Someone reminded me recently that Pete Buttigieg is running for president. It’s really a testament to how many people are running for president that I completely forgot a gay person was running. We’re over a year and a half out from the election and there’s already too many Democrats running for me to keep track of, so I decided to do what I do best. Make a list.
Except there are literally over 500 people who have filed to run for president. 537 to be exact. Almost half of those are not affiliated with a political party (not even Green or Libertarian) so we don’t have to take them seriously in any way. That still leaves 184 declare Democrats, 69 declared Republicans, 19 Libertarians and 14 Green party candidates.
I looked through the main list and there aren’t even any funny names. We’ll get to the Deez Nuts type candidates as we get closer to the election, but for now, I’m going to focus on only people who everyone actually knows. So here it is, a complete list of all the (serious) candidates for president, in order of how much I like them, with my opinions attached.
10. Howard Schultz
Didn’t we learn America? Did we not learn our lesson when we elected a rich person with no political experience? Personally, I have a policy of not voting for people who have never held elected office before (unless it’s for something like Council or Assembly or another introductory office) so I’m a strong no on the CEO of Starbucks. Keep making coffee Howard. It’s what you do best.
9. Bill Weld, Marianne Williamson, Andrew Yang, John Delaney
A veritable Who’s That of candidates. Bill Weld is a former governor from Massachusetts who may be challenging Trump in the primary. Weld is a Republican, but he’s a libertarian Republican which means he loves weed and hates the distribution of wealth to help the poor. Pass.
Andrew Yang is a New York businessman who is running on the idea that everyone should get $1,000 a month. I’m into that idea and universal basic income in general (kind of. We’ll have a longer blog post about that in the future) but again, I’m opposed to voting for people who have never held office before.
John Delaney is a former Congressman who’s very into bipartisanship and wants to appeal to people who feel dissatisfied by both parties. I’d tell you more, but I got bored just reading his Wikipedia.
Marianne Williamson? You mean the same Marianne Williamson of the below quote?
She’s running for president? Yikes. I mean the quote is great but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to be president.
8. Tulsi Gabbard
It’s never great when a candidate gets her start working for an organization that supported conversion therapy for LGBTQ people with a CEO that blamed the spread of AIDS on the repeal of sodomy laws. But I’ll take off my lesbian goggles to look at her campaign differently.
She supports a lot of the progressive policies that have become new yardsticks on the left, like Medicare for all and renewable energy. When it comes to foreign policy though, she’s hawkish, appearing to support dictators who have orchestrated killings of their citizens. She also has met with and expressed tacit support for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, which is unforgivable to me. I don’t want to support anyone who can look past war crimes. Not really what I’m looking for, and not something any progressive should be supporting.
7. Amy Klobuchar
I was a big Amy Klobuchar fan. I’ve been a pretty big Amy Klobuchar fan since I first interned in the Senate, way back in 2013. I’ve written posts about Amy Klobuchar. Why is she so low on this list?
Let’s call it the Secretary Principle. No matter how powerful you are, you should be treating your secretary with nothing but respect. In fact, the more powerful you are, the better you should strive to treat your employees. If you’re making your employees cry, if you’re throwing things at them, if you have the highest turnover rate of staff in the Senate, you’re not a good boss and you’re not a good person.
Anyone who has worked knows what it’s like to have a tough boss. And they know what it’s like to have an abusive boss. And they know that tough bosses are really different from abusive bosses. Amy Klobuchar is an abusive boss. It says something about her character, and that’s not the type of person I want to vote for.
However, this blog post is not just about me, it’s also about you all having information to make good decisions. So let’s look past Klobuchar’s abusive practices and check out her policies.
Turns out, they’re not amazing!
She doesn’t support four year college for all, or Medicare for all, or the Green New Deal. She’s taking a moderate stance on all the policies, because apparently some people have learned nothing from 2016.
6. Pete Buttigieg
Oh Pete. Sweet and lovely Pete Buttigieg. Going from Mayor to President is a very bold move. But he’s long been considered a rising star in the party (even Obama name-checked him once) and his policies make him very similar to Bernie Sanders. He was a very successful mayor of South Bend, he knows how to appeal to millennials (a huge voting block) and he’s gay, which is a big plus for me.
Downside? Very few people have heard of Pete. Even I can’t remember how to pronounce his last name, and I love the man. Also, he’s similar to Bernie Sanders, but doesn’t have the same base. If Sanders is in the race, it’s very unlikely Buttigieg could get anywhere close to the nomination. Maybe not this year Pete. But in the future, I’ll be there to help your campaign.
5. Kirsten Gillibrand
It’s not good to punish people who naturally move further to the left. It’s great for the party if people get more progressive in response to the changing times, and who am I to demand progressive purity tests when I myself may fail them? But boy, has Kirsten Gillibrand shifted on a lot of issues very quickly. She went from an A to an F from the NRA in what appears to be a year. She used to oppose amnesty for undocumented immigrants, now she favors abolishing ICE.
She’s been fighting against sexual assault since before it was discussed as frequently in the public consciousness. Her voting record is undeniably liberal. I hate to admit it, but my opposition to her comes down to vibe. She feels too calculated, I don’t think I trust her. There’s probably sexism here, but I can’t deny that I don’t feel comfortable supporting her.
4. Elizabeth Warren
I really am still mad about her lying about being a Native American. I don’t think I personally can get over that. What I didn’t know is that Elizabeth Warren is not originally from Massachusetts. She’s not someone who grew up with no Native Americans, who claims a Cherokee grandmother because it makes her different from everyone else. She’s from Oklahoma. She grew up around many Native Americans, enrolled members of tribes. She knows what it means to live as a Native American, and she lied about it anyway. That’s yet another character flaw that is very hard for me, personally, to look past.
But that’s not the case for everyone! And Warren has a long history of progressive economic policies. She’s been working to strengthen the middle class in America for her whole career, and she’s pushing for a big structural change that will be attractive to many people who supported Bernie Sanders. She supports increasing taxes on the wealthiest, loans to low-income homeowners in areas where it was previously impossible to get a mortgage, and a law to require boards of major corporations to reserve almost half the seats for workers. These are big ideas that can get people excited.
3. Julian Castro
I love Julian Castro. I though he would’ve been a great choice for a 2016 VP and I’m glad to see he’s running for president. Former Mayor of San Antonio and later Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Obama. He supports universal pre-K, Medicare for All, and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. I think it would truly amazing if Trump was beaten by a Mexican-American, so I would love to see Castro win.
Plus, I met him, so that’s very cool for me.
2. Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris
Earlier, I said some people have learned nothing from 2016. I hope I don’t become one of those people. Anyone who knows me knows I was a Hillary fan in 2016 and was very much not feeling the Bern. I don’t regret my support for Hillary but I’m not so blinded by 2016 that I won’t support Bernie in 2020. People are excited about Bernie Sanders, and excitement leads to increase in turnout, which leads to wins across the country. He may have the best chance to win against Trump and that’s something I’d be an idiot NOT to throw my support behind.
I also like Cory Booker. I think he’s the only person running who can really take it to Trump on social media. I think he can run the same type of guerilla campaign that Trump is running. And I’ve yet to see something about Booker that I don’t agree with.
My heart is also with Kamala Harris. She has a spotty record as a prosecutor, including keeping innocent people in jail and opposing sexual reassignment surgery for transgender inmates. I do think she embraces different positions now, and unlike Gillibrand, I trust her evolution.
Those are incomplete reasons to support those three candidates, which leads me to my top candidate for President.
I don’t know who I like best! I’m gonna bide my time. Keep an open mind. Who knows what will happen between now and even 2020. One my second place candidates may pull ahead. Tammy Baldwin may run for president. I don’t want to hitch my horse to any wagon too soon.
Only time will tell and I look forward to going through what promises to be an incredibly stressful election cycle.