As of Wednesday, March 6, there are 607 days until the 2020 presidential election and 29 officially declared presidential candidates. Two are running for the Republican Party nomination, 19 have entered the race for the Democratic Party and eight candidates are representing other parties.
For the Republican Party, current president Donald Trump announced his campaign on Feb. 17, 2017. The campaign has been using three slogans playing off of his 2016 election: “Keep America great!” “Promises made, promises kept” and “Finish the wall.” The campaign has also established a website with multiple pages. Trump’s only current competitor is a former governor of Massachusetts, Bill Weld, who served from 1991 to 1997. Weld has no slogan yet but he does have a website for donations. Weld declared his run nearly two years after Trump, on Feb. 15, 2019.
While Trump has an advantage with name recognition and being the incumbent, Weld is not new to the campaign trail. He was Gary Johnson’s vice presidential nominee in the 2016 election, representing the Libertarian Party. Weld has been against Trump’s immigration policies since the 2016 campaign, going so far as to compare Trump’s policies to Nazi Germany, according to PBS News Hour. According to On The Issues, these candidates also differ significantly on LGBTQ+ rights, with Weld being an active supporter of same sex marriage and Trump often saying marriage is between a man and a woman.
Another hot topic that these candidates disagree on is abortion, with Trump being adamantly pro-life and Weld being pro-choice. Both candidates are fiscally conservative, but Weld has spoken out against Trump’s numerous tariffs.
In a University of New Hampshire poll published on Feb. 28, Trump had six percent of the Republican vote and Weld only had three percent of the vote behind the currently not running John Kasich, who had 17 percent.
For the Democrats, the candidate field is wider, with 19 declared candidates so far. Some of the big names who have declared candidacy so far are New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, Maryland Representative John Delaney, Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, California Senator Kamala Harris, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. In addition to these big names, several other Democrats have announced their candidacy. This includes Pete Buttigieg, a mayor from Indiana, Jay Inslee, the Governor of Washington, Michael Arth, a former candidate for Governor of Florida, Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Harry Braun, who ran for president in 2012 and 2016, Ken Nwadike Jr., a documentary filmmaker, Robby Wells, a 2016 presidential candidate and Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur.
This list is unusually long, especially for so early in the campaign cycle. However, in a New York Times article William G. Mayer, a political science professor at Northeastern University explained, “There is no obvious front-runner, making the race on the Democratic side wide open, and unlike most incumbent commanders in chief, President Trump is seen as vulnerable in 2020, which could be an encouraging sign for potential Democratic candidates.”
There are many candidates who, if voted in to office, will make history. Buttigieg would be the first openly gay president, Castro would be the first Latinx president, any of the six women running would be the first female president and Yang would be the first Asian-American president.
There are many who are already making history by just running. Yang has a section of his website titled “The 1,000” where he states he is the “first Asian-American Man to ever run for president” (although this is technically not true; the first Asian-American to “run” for president was Republican Hiram Fong, who was nominated as a favorite son candidate for president in 1964 and 1968 according to The New York Times.)
Sanders, who ran against Clinton in 2016, is one of the biggest names in politics and is now running with the slogan “Not me. Us.” While former Vice President Joe Biden has not officially declared candidacy, many voters are already supporting him. In an Emerson College poll published March 2, Biden had 3 percent of the Democrats’ votes, with Sanders far behind with only 21 percent of the vote. When only looking at the 18-34 age bracket of this poll, however, the numbers are flipped with Sanders having 40 percent of the vote and Biden having only 23 percent.
In the same Emerson poll, Trump is still ahead of Biden with 52 percent of the voters. However, many polls tell a different story, giving current President Trump anywhere from a 49 percent to a 58 percent disapproval rating. A poll from Morning Consult and Politico, conducted from Feb. 22-24, shows a generic Democrat ballot winning with 42 percent of voters support and a generic Republican ballot only getting 36 percent.
If the 2016 election has shown us anything, it is not to discount any candidate despite what polling numbers are, especially this early in the election cycle.