Far out from 2020, a deep Democratic bench takes shape

Far out from 2020, a deep Democratic bench takes shape

Washington (AFP) – From a young gay mayor who launched his candidacy Wednesday, to high-flying female US senators and charismatic military veterans, a crowded field of Democrats jockeying to challenge Donald Trump in 2020 has already emerged — and is sure to grow.

All told it will likely be the largest and most diverse coterie of candidates ever, with the potential for dozens of current and former lawmakers, governors, mayors, and businessmen to throw their hat in the ultimate political ring.

Here are the first politicos to enter the presidential race, 21 months before the election.

– Elizabeth Warren –

At 69, the US Senate’s consumer protection champion from Massachusetts became the most high-profile Democrat to enter the race when she announced a presidential exploratory committee on December 31. Warren is on the party’s left flank, and built her reputation by holding Wall Street accountable for its missteps.

Trump has already taken aim at Warren, mocking her for her proclamation of Native American heritage.

– Kirsten Gillibrand –

This senator from New York cut her teeth on the battle to end sexual assault, especially in the military, before the #MeToo movement gained national prominence. 

The 52-year-old fierce Trump critic is making gender and women’s issues a hallmark of her campaign.

– Kamala Harris –

The barrier-breaking senator from California who aspires to be the nation’s first black female and Indian-American president announced her candidacy this week on a day honoring slain civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr.

The daughter of an Indian immigrant medical researcher mother and Jamaican economist father, Harris, 54, began her career as a district attorney in San Francisco before serving as California’s attorney general. 

– Julian Castro –

A cabinet member in the Obama era and grandson of a Mexican immigrant, Castro announced his candidacy in English and Spanish on January 12 in the heat of debate on immigration and border security. 

At 44, the former mayor of San Antonio, Texas hopes to become the nation’s first Hispanic president.

– Tulsi Gabbard –

At just 37, this congresswoman from Hawaii would be the first Hindu president if elected. 

A supporter of liberal Bernie Sanders in the 2016 race, military veteran Gabbard was criticized for meeting with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad during that country’s civil war, and for anti-gay positions that she has since retracted and apologized for.

– Pete Buttigieg –

Nine months younger than Gabbard is the South Bend, Indiana mayor who joined the race Wednesday, unveiling a resolutely future-looking and optimistic message to counter Trump’s darker vision.

A US Navy veteran who put his mayoral duties on hold to serve in Afghanistan, Buttigieg would become the first openly gay nominee of any major party.

– Richard Ojeda –

This tattooed, blunt-talking retired US Army paratrooper rose to prominence last year during his unsuccessful bid for a US congressional seat deep in Trump country. 

Ojeda voted for Trump in 2016 but feels the president has failed to meet his economic promises. He seeks to return the Democratic Party to its roots as a champion of working class Americans.

– Andrew Yang –

This 44-year-old tech entrepreneur launched his campaign with little fanfare in late 2017, warning against the dangers that automation presents to US workers. 

He has advocated for a form of universal basic income as a way to reduce inequality.

– John Delaney –

A wealthy businessman who served three terms in Congress, Delaney was the earliest Democrat to officially launch a bid, back in July 2017. He has crisscrossed the early-voting state of Iowa seeking to boost his name recognition.

– Waiting in the wings –

Several big Democratic guns have yet to commit, including former vice president Joe Biden and senators Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar and Sherrod Brown.

Former congressman Beto O’Rourke is considering a run, as are billionaire New York ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Current and former governors are in the mix too: Washington’s Jay Inslee, John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Steve Bullock of Montana and Virginia’s Terry McAuliffe.

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