Women Candidates in 2020

Over 800 people have filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for president, yet only three women made it to the third presidential debate. The three women are senators: Kamala Harris from California, Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota, and Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts. This is the first time that the three women have run for national office. There appears to be a lot of excitement about the prospect of having a woman on the Democratic ticket.

On Sept. 12, the top 10 presidential candidates met in Houston to debate. September’s debate allowed voters to witness the candidates’ demeanor on the same platform. Whereas Klobuchar sounded forceful, Harris appeared joyful and diplomatic. Warren seemed eager to debate and deftly responded to challenges from Joe Biden — the leading candidate in the presidential race.

Chabot student, Veotis Latchison II, thinks all the female candidates are strong. His advice to these women is to speak louder, powerfully, and respectfully. Latchison thinks highly of Elizabeth Warren but prefers Cory Booker over Warren.

This year, Warren has been the most competitive among the top female candidates and has occasionally edged out Biden in national polling.

For Harris and Klobuchar, their campaigns face pressure to gain traction since Iowa and New Hampshire voters will cast their votes in Feb. 2020. A look at the candidates’ positions on College and Immigration in Table 1 may explain the senators’ current rankings.

CollegeAllow current students to refinance college debt.
Future students to attend college debt-free.
Tuition-free community College.

Expand Pell Grant Eligibility.
Forgiveness of $50,000 in college debt.

Free college for 2-year or 4-year degrees.
ImmigrationProvide a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living in the US and contributing to the economy.

Reinstate DACA and implement protections for DREAMERs and their parents from deportation.
Provide a pathway to citizenship.

End the policy of separating children from their parents.
Decriminalize migration.

Raise the refugee cap.

Expand legal immigration.
Created the Office of New Americans to support new immigrants’ transition into America.
StrengthRaising Teacher PayMental Health PolicyPlans for nearly every public issue.

Table 1

Senators Harris and Klobuchar both served as prosecutors, government attorneys who brought charges against defendants.

In the September debate, both Klobuchar and Harris were asked to defend their records. 

Harris responded by stating that she developed “requirements that a state law enforcement agency would have to wear cameras and keep them on full-time” and that she “created police officer trainings … on the issue of racial bias.”

Klobuchar referred to two incidents where perpetrators were found and jailed. She asserted that her prosecutor’s office made changes, such as to pursue “white-collar crimes in a big way, diversify the office in a big way, [and] work with the Innocence Project to make sure we do much better with eyewitness ID.”

Harris sounds strong when she is talking about barriers she overcame to succeed in her career. However, she often changes her position on critical issues, including her health care plan. 

According to the website FiveThirtyEight, Harris has received nearly as many endorsements from Democratic leaders as former Vice President Biden. Representing the populous state of California has helped catapult Harris to the debate stage. But Harris’ support from last summer has declined precipitously in California and other states according to recent polls.

Klobuchar continues to voice moderate positions on hot issues and often touts her ability to get work done. According to Quorum (a legislative tracking company), Klobuchar has introduced more than 70 bills in 2019, more than any other US senator in the current Congress. These bills have not yet been enacted, but often include bipartisan sponsorship. The majority of these bills have been referred to the appropriate legislative committee for consideration.

Warren worked as a Harvard law professor before joining the Senate in 2013. She has a good command of the issues and a reputation for bold plans. During the debate, however, Warren did not directly respond to questions on whether she would increase middle-class taxes to help pay for her expensive proposals.

Several polls are regularly conducted of voters in early primary states by various media outlets. According to Real Clear Politics, polling averages show Harris and Klobuchar in single digits below Warren, except in California. The average polling percentages for all female candidates expected to debate in October are shown in Table 2. For comparison, polling percentages for former Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii also appear in Table 2.

New Hampshire6.31.04.317.722.3

Table 2

As the American public becomes more familiar with these women, some may drift into higher tiers or end up withdrawing from the race. On the other hand, one of these women may become the nominee or earn a spot on the 2020 Democratic ticket. 

The next debate will be on Tuesday, Oct. 15, in Ohio. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii recently qualified to join the October debate. Since there will be at least 11 candidates debating, the candidates may be divided into two groups and perhaps have more time to explain their views. 

To participate in the presidential primary, you must register to vote beforehand. To register online, visit https://registertovote.ca.gov/ or scan the QR code on the right. The deadline to register is Feb. 17, 2020, to cast your vote in California’s primary on Mar. 3, 2020.

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