2020 presidential race update

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It’s been a dramatic week on the campaign trail. Pete Buttigieg made a controversial statement about black rights, Kamala Harris’s State Operations Director left her campaign for Michael Bloomberg’s and Amy Klobuchar shaded the democratic billionaire candidates. 

Okay, let’s start with Buttigieg. The Indiana mayor has risen in the polls, recently hitting double digits at 12.0 percent. However, his recent actions may hinder this growing support. On Nov. 27, Buttigieg attempted to make a comparison between gay and black rights, saying that his experience as a gay man helps him relate to the issues faced by African Americans. This statement has caused outrage among the black community and the general media. Evan Wolfson, who founded Freedom to Marry which fought for the legalization of same-sex marriage, called Buttigieg’s statement “an attempt to appropriate someone else’s experience.”

Buttigieg has also been criticised by Kamala Harris for a comment he made during the last Democratic debate. 

“While I do not have the experience of ever having been discriminated against because of the color of my skin, I do have the experience of sometimes feeling like a stranger in my own country…,” Buttigieg said. 

Harris called his comment “not productive” and “naive.” 

Harris’s own credibility has come into question recently after her aide Kelly Mehlenbacher resigned from her campaign Nov. 11. Mehlenbacher stated in her letter of resignation, which was released to the Times, that she had “never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly.” According to her report, the campaign had forced its staffers to move from Washington D.C. to Baltimore and then laid off some of those workers weeks after the move with no notice. Mehlenbacher said that she no longer has “confidence in our campaign or its leadership.” You can find her full letter linked here.

The campaign’s internal struggles may explain Harris’s dramatic drop in the polls. Harris, who was once the second highest polling candidate, has dropped in the polls by 11.2 percent to a current average of 3.8. Does this signal the end of the Harris campaign? Or will the campaign restructure itself after the release of the resignation letter as Mehlenbacher hoped? Only time will tell. 

Mehlenbacher left the Harris campaign to join Michael Bloomberg’s — a controversial billionaire running in the Democratic primaries. Bloomberg recently came under criticism from fellow candidate Amy Klobuchar this morning on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd. Todd questioned Klobuchar on her opinion on Bloomberg’s decision to join the race.

“I don’t buy this argument that you get in because everyone else sucks,” Klobuchar said to Todd. “I just don’t. I think we have strong candidates.”

Klobuchar, like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, is a big proponent of keeping money out of politics. Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer are the two billionaire’s running for president. According to Axios, Steyer has spent $54.8 million on his campaign so far and Bloomberg, who joined the race Nov. 24, has already spent $35.0 million on TV advertisements. These candidates have an advantage in that they began with so much money, while candidates like Warren and Sanders have to rely on small-dollar fundraising to finance their advertisements and campaign expenses. 

This advantage is shown clearly in the polls. Bloomberg is currently polling at 3.0 percent. This is higher than longer-running candidates Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker. As a fan of Booker, this is not only surprising but also disappointing. The fact that Bloomberg has an advantage in the race because of his financial background is ironic due to the Democratic Party’s values of spreading money from the rich to provide services and support to the poor. 

This juxtaposition poses the question: Should a billionaire be president?

I feel as though the billionaire class is already so separated from the realities of the rest of society. As president, this quality would be incredibly worrisome. I believe that we need someone more in touch. 

Bloomberg has rejected both Sanders’s and Warren’s plan to place a higher tax on the billionaire class, but he does admit that he needs to be paying more than he currently is. Bloomberg is the former mayor of New York City in which he won as a republican. Now, he is running for president as a democrat. While he supports issues like gun control and climate change, he is more fiscally conservative. As he is new to the campaign trail, he has yet to release his financial plan, but it is sure to be much more conservative than the ones Sanders and Warren are currently pushing. For more on Bloomberg, check out my column from three weeks ago, linked here

Feel free to leave your thoughts, opinions or questions down below and check back next week for another update on the 2020 presidential race. 

Here are the most recent polling numbers of the top five candidates from the Economist’s poll Nov. 24–Nov. 26:

Joe Biden — 23.0

Elizabeth Warren — 17.0

Bernie Sanders — 15.0

Pete Buttigieg — 12.0

Kamala Harris — 4.0

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