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In 2016, the Democrats lost the election, resulting in the appointment of Donald Trump as POTUS. This was not only a loss for Democrats but for all of America, as his presidency rejects the idea of unity, demonstrated by Trump’s constant antagonization of those who oppose him or his beliefs. The state of our country’s current leadership is thus one of the reasons that a victory for the Democrats in the 2020 election is crucial to putting an end to his toxic ideology. America needs both a candidate who will be able to secure victory in the election, as well as one who understands that the aim of politics is not to defeat the other side but to build a stronger nation for all citizens.
Because many recognize the need for a change in leadership, many Democratic party candidates have announced their campaigns for presidency, as there are many schools of thought as to how to recover from the unfortunate results of the last election. However, there are so many candidates that there is a chance of dividing the Democratic Party, resulting in no solid support for one candidate to ultimately vie for the presidency. The rivalry between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton of the 2016 election resulted in a loss of support for Hillary by Bernie supporters when it came time for her to compete against Trump. Though her loss can be attributed to many factors, these divisions within the Democratic party certainly worked against her campaign.
I believe that the right way to pick a candidate is to first consider who would have the best chance of preventing the current president from being elected again. Though many of Bernie Sanders’ progressive proposals resemble those I believe our country should adopt, I think that both his old age and self-proclaimed label of a “democratic socialist” make him at risk for ultimately losing to Trump if Sanders wins the primaries. There are many Democrats as well as conservatives who oppose Trump who could not possibly bring themselves to vote for a “socialist” of any kind, and these are the type of people whose votes can swing the election towards Trump's victory. I am willing to temporarily compromise some of my aspirations for this country in support of a candidate proposing less controversial and more universally accepted policies to ensure Democratic control of the presidency; we can afford to postpone the implementation of majorly progressive policies until the next presidential election, but America cannot risk another four years under the leadership of Trump.
One Democratic candidate who is very practical in this sense is Amy Klobuchar. Klobuchar is a state senator from Minnesota, so she has spent much of her career understanding how to make progress in controversial issues without violating certain conservative values deeply ingrained in the community in which she operates. Her proposed action for gun control is not as aggressive as I or many other members of the Democratic party would like it to be, but her approach allows her to maintain support of gun owners and hunters. Klobuchar believes that the practice of hunting can remain protected while still working towards a solution to America’s problem of gun violence by banning assault weapons and implementing enhanced background checks. Because we still have so much progress to make on the issue of gun control, and implementing dramatic gun control laws is nearly impossible to do, it may be most sensible to elect a candidate that can gain the respect and support of gun owners to gain headway on the issue of gun control instead of appearing inflexible and making no progress towards a safer America.
Though Klobuchar and Sanders represent the extremes of pragmatism and progressiveness respectively, there are also many candidates with a more even balance of these traits. At this point in the race, there may not be enough information to accurately weigh the values of all of the Democratic candidates, so it is important to stay informed about them by watching or attending town halls, rallies, and other events. I am hopeful that the 2020 election can be won by a qualified Democratic candidate, but this can only happen if voters are well informed and active in this complicated process.