A clay pigeon with the face of a Democratic presidential hopeful. Illustration by Cayden Bullock.

Voters, Remember the Ultimate Goal in Choosing a 2020 Democrat

Recently, a Facebook post shared by former congressional candidate Joan Greene went viral for simply stating that, “Democratic nominees are not clay pigeons.” In this post, Greene explains that leading up to the 2020 presidential election, more candidates will be running on the Democratic platform and more will become targets of voter cynicism.

“They are going to launch themselves, one by one, into the sky, right into our line of vision,” the post said. “Our job is not to shoot them down.”

Greene goes on to elaborate on exactly what “shooting them down” entails. They implore us to take caution when being handed a rifle by conservatives to immediately pluck them out of the sky as soon as they appear. The voting population is given the responsibility of considering the greater implications of how our criticism functions and how it becomes part of a greater public discourse. What the article implies is that we scrutinize these Democratic candidates far too harshly for things far too insignificant to affect their potential service as president. We hand the rifle to media outlets to further shoot them down. In return, the cult of personality we have allowed to overtake our discourse provides a broom and pan to sweep their campaigns into the garbage.

The user reminds us that many voters did not wholeheartedly support President Trump or subscribe to his politics but elected him to put a conservative agenda ahead of all others. They shrugged off the sexual assault allegations against him in order to have a president committed to outlawing abortion. They ignored his racist assertion that Mexican immigrants are rapists in order to gain tighter control over border security. They turned their gaze from his misogyny to keep a man behind the desk of the Oval Office. These decisions were made selfishly, furthering restrictive policies and disregarding voters’ needs as Trump supporters sacrificed morality for political gains. Going into the 2020 elections, we should move away from such self-interest and focus on what can benefit that most people.

As a student it may be daunting to be up on every single aspect of a candidate’s campaign and political history. As much as we must be conscientious of how we critique a candidate, we must give ourselves an equal benefit of the doubt. We must give ourselves time to truly determine what is important when going to the voting booths in 2020. There is no way for us to know everything at all times. That is simply the reality of humanity.

On the other hand, we must also understand that even before the general election in 2020, we will be faced with primary elections and fierce campaigning from all sides. Approaching the primary elections we must understand that we will not have nearly as many candidates to oust the current president as we think we will. It is vital for us to realistically evaluate a candidate’s actions, their implications and, if present, their apologies for those actions.  

In the period between the 2018 midterms and the 2020 presidential election, the electorate must take into consideration that we are not voting strictly for ourselves. We have to come back to reality and understand that there is no bulletproof candidate. It is hard to acknowledge that no one candidate can embody every single positive thing about the Democratic party or the progressive agenda, but it is an acknowledgment we have to make until we can repair the damage of the Trump administration. We have to stop preoccupying ourselves with how likable a candidate is and start consciously assessing how competent they would be as a president. We have to accept the hard truth that no person is perfect. If voters focus too heavily on finding a flawless 2020 Democratic nominee, the party will be handing out rifles to fire at candidates until, perhaps, no candidate remains.

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