Stacy BrownPolitics

Handicapping the 2020 Democratic Hopefuls

Caucuses in Iowa and Nevada and primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina are just one year away and Democrats seeking to unseat Republican President Donald Trump are gearing up for what many are saying is a race to save America from the current divisive administration.

Of the declared Democrats — it’s still relatively early and many others could still throw their hat in the ring — here’s a look at the candidates thanks to rankings that Rolling Stone magazine compiled earlier this month.

Kamala Harris

The 54-year-old senator, who battled big banks and for-profit colleges as California’s attorney general — has adopted a platform responsive to the passion of the grassroots, including a Green New Deal.

As noted by Rolling Stone and other outlets, Harris isn’t shying away from her sometimes controversial record as San Francisco District Attorney where she once threatened to incarcerate parents whose children skipped school.

The Howard University-educated Harris, whose signature policy would pay out up to $500 a month for working-class families in a tax cut, has surged to the top of candidate pool in a straw poll of Democratic activists.

Cory Booker

The 49-year-old former mayor of Newark, New Jersey, reportedly has one of the most liberal voting records in the Senate and distinguishes himself by centering his agenda on federal marijuana decriminalization and criminal justice reform.

Booker worked closely with Harris to make lynching a hate crime, but Rolling Stone Magazine noted that Booker’s outward liberalism has been undercut at times by problematic connections to Wall Street and a vote that benefitted Big Pharma.

Booker’s signature policy is Baby bonds, where he targets the wealth gap in America by seeding “American Opportunity Accounts” for children that would allow kids from the poorest families to enter adulthood with a nest egg of up to $46,000 — to invest in education, home ownership or retirement.

Julián Castro

Some may view Castro, 44, as a dark horse while a growing number of observers favor him as the strongest candidate in the field.

The former Housing and Urban Development secretary so far is the only Latino contender in the field.

While his fundraising thus far has been lackluster, Rolling Stone noted that the Texan’s implausible personal story resonates at a moment when immigration and borders dominate the national conversation.

Castro’s signature policy is universal pre-K — public education for 4-year-olsd.

“As president, I’ll make pre-K for the U.S.A. happens,” he said.

Elizabeth Warren

The Massachusetts senator has been entrenched in controversy over her claim to Native American identity which blunts what have otherwise been strong weeks for her, Rolling Stone noted.

Warren has called on the working class to “fight back” against “class warfare” waged by the “rich guys.”

The 69-year-old is “a capitalist at heart,” but has built a career fighting for working people, including by standing up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

In her signature policy, Warren reshuffled the inequality debate by proposing a wealth tax, imposed annually on “ultra-millionaires,” to pay for benefits for “yacht-less Americans.”

Fortunes greater than $50 million would be taxed at 2 percent. Billionaires would pay 3 percent. The proposal would raise $2.75 trillion over 10 years.

Other undeclared candidates to keep an eye on are Beto O’Rourke and Joe Biden.

Biden, 76, famously served as vice president under former President Barack Obama and, as noted by the editors at Rolling Stone, “If Democrats don’t fall in love with a new hope, they may fall in line behind the former veep.”

The editors noted that Biden has peerless foreign policy credentials

“I’m the most qualified person in the country to be president,” he said.

O’Rourke, 46, earlier this month told Oprah Winfrey that, “I have been thinking about running for president. I’m so excited at the prospect of being able to play that role.”

Excitement defined O’Rourke’s run for Senate in Texas, and he nearly toppled Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.

He returned to the national spotlight on Feb. 11, starring at a counter-rally protesting Trump’s visit to El Paso.

He would enter the race with a nationwide grassroots machine that backed him with $60 million in 2018. His signature policy has centered on immigration reform, based on what he said is “respect and dignity.”

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Stacy Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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