Next year America prepares for several landmark events. There is the centennial celebration of women’s voting rights. There is a general election including for the office of president. And there is the once-a-decade process called the census, a process by which individual state populations are counted and surveyed to ensure there is proportionate representation in the American Congress. It appears now all three of these events will be directly related.
Assuming he survives numerous inquiries into his past and present corruptions and a possible primary election challenge, Donald Trump will face a Democratic opponent – and possibly a third-party candidate to be determined – in the November 2020 general election.
Before that happens, the Republicans will attempt to influence the census by introducing questions about citizenship that are designed to confuse, intimidate and invalidate minority voters. The GOP apparently hopes to persuade the newly conservative-majority US Supreme Court to accept a test case and then rule that such activity is legal. Meantime, octogenarian former leveraged buyout expert, Trump casino saviour and current US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who oversees the census process, will continue his attempts to subvert the process.
Four major candidates have already announced their intention to compete for the Democratic party nomination. All are women, and all are elected officials presently serving in Washington. Leading off was Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, a populist whose primary policies are almost indistinguishable from those of her colleague and ally, independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Warren, wittily nicknamed ‘Pocahontus’ by Trump because she claims distant Native American heritage, will run against Wall Street and might not garner much support among African Americans who comprise nearly a quarter of the Democratic base and will be critically influential in early primaries in southern American states.
Sanders may yet decide to run again. But on Martin Luther King Day a week ago, Kamala Harris threw her hat in the ring. Harris, of Indian and Jamaican descent, was just elected to the Senate from California, where she previously served as state attorney general. Very photogenic and highly articulate, she is reminiscent of a young senator from Illinois who surprised many in 2007 by declaring his presidential candidacy. Harris may be this year’s Barack Obama and while she will appeal to large sections of the Democratic base, she is probably more representative of the party’s centre, as Obama turned out to be.
Another Democratic woman who announced she is running is New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who succeeded Hillary Clinton in the Senate and has proven to be a formidable political force in fundraising and with broad appeal across party lines. Gillibrand is certainly the most avowed feminist in the race so far and also an accomplished, experienced politician. With speculation increasing that the Supreme Court may take an abortion case next year, women and their rights are likely to have increased prominence.
The final announced candidate is Rep. Tulsi Gabbart, a plain-spoken congresswoman from Hawaii who may be in the race to increase name recognition in advance of a possible Senate race next year. Youthful and energetic, Gabbart is probably also more representative of the Democrats’ central wing.
Several men (former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke, a Latino despite his Irish surname) are expected to join the race soon. Another female senator, popular Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, should declare in the near future. All these worthy contenders could be joined by up to a dozen others in a primary field likely to be even more crowded than the 17 GOP hopefuls just three years ago.
They will all be vying to oppose an incumbent president who is believed by most or has already revealed himself to be a liar, cheat, philanderer, draft dodger, racist, misogynist, narcissist - a fundamentally unworthy president. The current president casually ignores the import and seriousness of the duties he so regularly defiles by his lazy unwillingness to follow the national interest. His determined corruption has perhaps fatally stained the Republican party whose elected representatives must toe his line or face loss of office.
No wonder so many vie to succeed him.