The 2020 presidential race is already off to a fast start. The Democratic field is already getting cluttered with plenty of big names already announcing a run and plenty more notable frontrunners (*cough* Biden and Bernie *cough*) expected to join. However, the message that the party will send as a whole continues to be unclear.
While some Democrats will stick to policy issues, the vast majority will inevitably simply try to make this election a "I'm not Trump" election.
That simply won't work. If Democrats really want to win back the base that they lost in 2016, here are 10 key points they need to push for in 2020.
1. Immigration ReformPhoto by Nitish Meena on Unsplash
In opposition to Trump's wall, Dems need to push a solution with bipartisan support that will help fix the cracks in the system. Revitalizing Lindsey Graham's "Gang of Eight" bill would be an easy way to cause actual change as well as presenting a bipartisan solution. I expect Julian Castro to speak a lot on this, especially considering he is a Texas native with a deep stake in the immigration issue.
2. Climate Change
One of the hardest criticisms of the Trump presidency has been the president's policy on climate change and environmental protections. He pulled America out of the Paris Agreement, put coal barons in charge of the EPA, and has loosened environmental protections in other areas. Keeping a message of environmental protection will be an asset for the Democratic frontrunners.
3. Gun Reform
After Republican inaction on gun control after several mass shootings, most notably the Parkland School Shooting, Americans were rightfully angry. In 2018, Representatives like Lucy McBath were elected on the anger of parents fearing for the safety of their children in school. By staying on message about popular gun control reforms, a 2020 candidate can have a good shot at putting a plan into action for the first time in years.
4. Protecting American Elections
Russian meddling in the 2016 election was a huge talking part before, during, and after the election. American voters will feel a huge resurgence in confidence in our democracy if a Dem can propose a solution to ensuring that our elections stay fair and free of foreign influence.
5. A New Middle East Policy
Trump's decision to rapidly withdraw troops from Syria quickly drew outrage from both sides. To distance themselves from Trump's irrationality, it is important for a Democratic candidate to have a clear plan for the Middle East that places American interests and the safety of American allies first.
6. Reforming Educationhttps://www.pexels.com/photo/achievement-cap-celebration-ceremony-262485/
One of the most popular proposals from Bernie Sander's 2016 campaign was his plans for affordable and free college tuition. As a college degree becomes more and more necessary for a good job while also becoming more and more expensive, a Democratic candidate can win a strong, young base with a plan to help make college more affordable.
7. Legalizing Marijuanaupload.wikimedia.org
As I have mentioned in a previous article, legalizing marijuana would be a win for freedom and a bonus for important tax dollars. In addition, this is another proposition that a vast plural of young people supports. This would be a major win for any candidate as it can push for breakthroughs in freedom, criminal justice reform, and medical reform.
This is another major bipartisan solution that could help sway independent voters Democrat for 2020. By addressing issues like crumbling highways and bridges, fixing water plants like those in Flint, Michigan, and solving other transportation issues, a Democratic candidate can help push policy that will directly impact many Americans lives and give them a good reason to vote blue.
9. LGBT Issues
Yet another issue that will win over plenty of younger voters, a Democratic candidate can help set themselves up as a champion of equality by protecting the rights of the LGBT community. With Trump's transgender military ban making headlines again, this can be another area where a Democratic candidate can break their administration from Trump's.
More than anything, this election needs to be about unity. 2016 was an election of division, and those divisions have ruined the everyday lives of so many of us. If we really want to move on from the ugliness of the Trump presidency, we need a candidate that will push a message of bipartisanship, cooperation, and a return to normal. After this election, normal is what we need.