The Case For 2020

Democratic optimism is on the rise as special elections and state primaries have shown promise for this year’s midterm results. However, this has translated into undeserved hubris in prospective 2020 presidential candidates. Just because one can run, does not necessarily mean they should. 

We at Time For Biden, have repeatedly called for caution within the Democratic ranks to avoid the disaster Republicans created for themselves in 2016. Goaded by political bloodlust to challenge a popular GOP foil, Hillary Clinton, an unwieldily and crowded field of GOP candidates arose. Bombast, anger, and soundbites drowned out any reasonable debate amongst the 16 declared candidates. Policy debate was tuned out in favor of populist rallying cries, impart due to the media obsession with the least conventional candidate- Donald Trump. A man who has held no political office, and is the least experienced president in American history was elected amid a field of career politicians. A shakeup? Undoubtedly. And yet if anything, he has turned Washington DC into a wetlands reserve that rivals the Florida Everglades in its swampiness and stagnation.

Are we doomed to repeat the mistakes not of history, but of the past election cycle? If we cannot learn from the failed strategies of our opponents, how can Democrats prepare to avoid the unthinkable, a second term for Donald Trump? We face a similar dilemma, Donald Trump is without a doubt the favorite foil of Democrats to date. The arguments made for potential 2020 presidential candidates are identical to those made in favor of Trump. “We need a new voice.” “We need an outsider.” While we sympathize with those frustrated with the feeling of the gridlock and the status-quo, the last thing we need is another charlatan in the Oval Office, promising everything to get elected, while delivering nothing but chaos. We cannot fall prey to the siren song of populistic rhetoric whether it is from the left or the right, as we have seen our allies and adversaries around the world reap the consequences when electing politicians who promise immediate and unspecified “change."

Our Democracy was not founded upon the notion of instant popular change, that is why we have survived and thrived as a nation for as long as we have. We have institutions and standard procedures for a reason- stability. We must elect officials who understand that reform,

and not revolution is the pathway to successful change. For the machinery of our government to operate smoothly, we require an experienced engineer to oversee it. We must be able to negotiate, understanding that comprise is better than inaction. 

The “Old Guard” may not be as exciting to some voters, but in rejecting their lifetimes of experience, we are failing to tap into some of the brightest political minds available and their wisdom. People who have literally made history in legislative achievements and reforms are being left by the wayside in favor of a “fresh face.” Is voting to ban assault weapons in the 90’s, or personally protesting against segregation not progressive enough? Joe Biden stated he was comfortable with gay marriage before President Obama did. It would be shamefully inaccurate to say one’s age determine’s their political views, or for whom they would fight for. We would rather have someone who grew up when going to college was affordable, or blue collar workers could support their families comfortably fighting to make that a reality again. 

If in the struggle to find this ever elusive “perfect, fresh faced, new-voice” candidate, Democrats find themselves backing first-term junior Senators or Representatives are making the explicit choice of appearance over experience and form over function. Surely, if this does come to pass, we will find ourselves awash with candidates who think simply because they have a modicum of government experience they are qualified to be president. Do we as Democrats want to set our standards so low as to only expect candidates to be “more qualified than Donald Trump,” or to be fully capable of fulfilling the duty of the Presidency? Do we want to support an actual Democrat, who has never simply registered as one to exploit DNC resources while waging an internal war in an effort to change the party identity?

Our goal as Democrats is to flip as many seats as we can in the upcoming midterm, and to beat Donald Trump in 2020. We must use our best judgement in selecting candidates to support those most qualified to represent us. The promise of good governance will never be as sexy as populist promises for overnight change, but it our responsibility to have foresight in knowing that we cannot repair an old building if we just opt to burn it down instead. We must be willing to identify who we are and what we stand for as a party. We are a party of values, and that is why we differ from the GOP. We are a party organized horizontally through grassroots, and do not simply obey whatever edict is issued from the top. Despite our small differences, we are unified by our many commonalities. We cannot afford to spend so much of our energy on infighting as in 2016, especially when so much is at stake.

It is for these reasons and more, we maintain our complete confidence that Joe Biden is the best possible candidate for President in 2020. His long legislative career, two terms as Vice President, and lifelong advocacy for America’s working and middle classes uniquely qualifies him to serve. While we, as young Democrats ourselves hope to find that “young, new voice,” we refuse to overlook those with decades of experience when selecting our next leaders and representatives.