For Democrats, it’s reinvent or lose in 2020

Photo by Brenda Lin

As we draw closer to the 2020 election, more Democrats are announcing their interest in running for president. Elizabeth Warren has thrown her hat in the ring and Joe Biden, Beto O’Rourke and Bernie Sanders are also considering the possibility of fighting for the party’s nomination. Because President Trump is the Republican incumbent, it’s almost assured that he will run against the Democratic nominee.

In 2016 many thought that a Trump presidency was an impossibility, but in the upcoming election cycle Democrats will not be as passive as they were the first time around. They know beating him is not inevitable, so the contenders will be scrutinized even more because they need an ideal candidate to guarantee a win against Trump, something that seemed like a slam dunk just two years ago. This candidate must have unimpeachable morals, a clean track record and a complete disregard for the truth while maintaining integrity.

Democrats showed in the last election that they care more about the morals and ideals of their candidates than Republicans do. People still brought up the Lewinsky Scandal during Hillary Clinton’s campaign twenty years after her husband left office.

Republicans let Trump’s genital-grabbing comments slip by, but both sides held tight to Clinton’s past transgressions even after Bernie was out of the race. Whoever wins the Democrat’s nomination has to be a model in their personal and public lives.

Any entrenched politician will have some policy or history that will draw criticism, which is why Trump did well as an outsider. Experienced politicians are inherently disliked. They are viewed as lying and manipulative, which is why Trump’s blatant lies are all the more surprising.

Trump has redefined politics by denying reality and all evidence contrary to his current opinion. To say we live in a post-truth era is an understatement. People trust him because they think he “tells it like it is,” even when there is photographic proof that he is simply telling it how he wishes it was, truth be damned.

Whoever runs against him cannot get caught up in fact checking or telling the truth. Perception has always mattered more than reality, but it is more important than ever. Hillary seemed less trustworthy and her statements, factual or otherwise, were taken as such.

This candidate will need to rally people and unite a party that is out of touch with their biggest demographic: millennials. Recently elected younger Democrats are butting heads with their more experienced party members because they want more change. The presidential nominee will have to connect with older, centrist Democrats and younger liberals who are demanding progress and filling voting booths in record numbers.

The electoral college will not be changed anytime soon so the main goal for Democrats in 2020 will be winning back the swing states that were lost to Trump. Drawing people to the polls will depend on the nominee’s personality in addition to their policies. Democrats cannot afford for moderates to abstain in this election.

Essentially, the candidate has to do the impossible by satisfying a divided party and debating someone who is not bothered by facts. They must show strong morals and have an ideal track record. Liberals should not assume that they are going to win against the current president, even with a lowered approval rating, so they either need to lower their standards or come up with a better option.