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A Look Into the Declared Female Candidates for the 2020 Election

What To Expect When You're Electing

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A Look Into the Declared Female Candidates for the 2020 Election

GRAPHIC ILLUSTRATION BY ESME BLEECKER-ADAMS

GRAPHIC ILLUSTRATION BY ESME BLEECKER-ADAMS

GRAPHIC ILLUSTRATION BY ESME BLEECKER-ADAMS

By CASEY BRENNAN, Staff Writer

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The 2020 election is approaching sooner than we think, and this time around, the Democratic Party has many new faces following the 2016 election. There is an increase in the number of female candidates who have expressed interest in running ,including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand and Marianne Williamson. With more than one prominent female candidate, “playing the female-card” is out. The policies of these women will take center stage.

Probably the most well-known confirmed candidate is current U.S. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Warren is popular among progressive Democrats and has openly opposed President Trump throughout his presidency. Warren supports abortion rights by continuing to fund Planned Parenthood. In addition, she believes in education reform, including reducing student loans and providing universal pre-school.

Warren is known to be tough on large corporations; one of the most notable legislative acts she has introduced is the Accountable Capitalism Act, which would hold large corporations (having over $1 billion in tax receipts) to the same standards of citizens. This act would encourage corporations to concern themselves more with their own reputation and the well-being of their shareholders.

During Warren’s 2020 campaign, she will likely be faced with criticism over the controversy concerning her Native American heritage, which has been the subject of many of Trump’s tweets throughout 2018. In late 2018, Warren received the results of her DNA test, which proved that she had traces of Native American heritage, but it was too little to be considered significant. Part of her campaign website is devoted to addressing the strong evidence that she did not use Native American heritage to her advantage for any job positions, though a recent Washington Post .has alleged that she used it for the bar exam. However, it would not be surprising for Trump and other critics to use this incident against Warren during her campaign.

Kamala Harris has an impressive track record for a presidential candidate. Following her 20-year career as a prosecutor, Harris served as Attorney General of California from 2011 to 2016. Since 2017, Harris has served in the U.S. Senate, representing California. She announced her run for presidency on Good Morning America on MLK Day. As the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, Harris was the second black woman to be elected a senator. Harris supports Universal Healthcare, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, federally mandated family and sick leave and DREAM Act. According to Harris’ campaign website, she will be refusing to accept donations from corporate PACs.

Although Harris is definitely qualified to run for office, her past as a prosecutor may hurt her among voters who are concerned with criminal justice reform. As a member of the U.S. Senate, Harris has supported more progressive policies regarding criminal justice reform, but as a prosecutor, she opposed legislation to mandate the use of body cameras for police officers and appealed against a ruling from a federal judge calling the death penalty unconstitutional.

Harris has switched many of her opinions since her days as a prosecutor and attorney general, however, and if she is to go far in the campaign, people will be looking much more closely into her past policies.

Currently serving as a U.S. Representative from Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013, Tulsi Gabbard has broken quite a few records. Gabbard was the youngest woman to be elected to a U.S. state legislature when she was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives at age 21. When elected to Congress, Gabbard was the first Samoan-American and first Hindu member.

One main theme in her campaigning will probably focus on multiculturalism in her politics, as Gabbard grew up in a multi-religious family, with her mother practicing Hinduism and her father Catholicism. Tulsi Gabbard also served in the U.S. military as part of the Hawaii Army National Guard, which may appeal to veteran voters. In 2016, Gabbard was a strong supporter of Bernie Sanders and even resigned from her position as vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee to endorse him.

According to Gabbard’s campaign website, she wants to focus on defeating terrorist groups, protecting the environment, providing universal healthcare, reforming the criminal justice system and providing governmental support for small businesses. Although she endorsed Sanders for similar policies, she will most likely do poorly among progressives and democratic socialists due to her controversial past, especially among the LGBTQ community. Gabbard was against legalizing gay marriage until 2012 and had even promoted the use of LGBT conversion therapy.

Gabbard has also been heavily criticized for her support of Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad. In January of 2017, Gabbard had secretly met with Assad, believing it would be a step towards ending the Syrian civil war. However, Gabbard has stated that she is “skeptical” over whether or not the Assad regime was responsible for the chemical attacks in April of 2017. With the amount of controversy, it will be difficult for Gabbard to address these issue and move past them.

Out of the female candidates mentioned above, Kirsten Gillibrand is the most centrist female candidate. This may hurt Gillibrand in the primaries, but could give her a huge advantage if she is able to proceed to the general election.

Since 2009, Gillibrand has been serving as a U.S. senator representing New York. Gillibrand is also a former U.S. Representative of New York from 2007 to 2009. When looking at Gillibrand’s campaign website, it appears that her message is family-focused, and that she will be targeting middle-class families.

Gillibrand may struggle to earn the Democrat vote, as her past policies, especially regarding immigration, were quite conservative. Gillibrand has previously supported deportation of undocumented immigrants (to whom she referred as “illegal”), although she has stated that Trump’s immigration policies are racist. In an interview with CNN, Gillibrand had admitted that her past policies lacked empathy and were wrong, but did not mention any racial biases involved with it.

In addition, Gillibrand has also changed her views on gun control, believing now that stricter gun control is important for the safety of Americans. She has also stated on her campaign website that “[she has become] the first member of Congress in history to post her official daily meetings, personal financial disclosures and earmark requests online for her constituents.” Looking forward, Gillibrand will tailor her image to be honest and transparent, as she has publicly apologized for her previous policies.

The true definition of a wild card, the Californian author, motivational speaker and spiritual leader Marianne Williamson has announced her interest in running for the presidency in 2020. Williamson lacks political experience but has campaigned once before in 2014 as an Independent running for a seat in the House of Representatives for California’s 33rd district.

According to her campaign website, Williamson is a strong advocate for improving public education and believes that democracy is flawed under an economic system that favors corporations over the well-being of the citizens. Williamson’s lack of experience will definitely hurt her chances of success in this election, but as we know from the 2016 election, no one ever really knows who will succeed. Believe me.

About the Writer
CASEY BRENNAN, Staff Writer

Casey Brennan, FCLC '21, is a Staff Writer for the Opinions section of The Observer. She typically likes to write about her takes on national politics....

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A Look Into the Declared Female Candidates for the 2020 Election