Home Election 2020 The Counter Opinion: Analyzing another batch of presidential candidates

The Counter Opinion: Analyzing another batch of presidential candidates

16 min read

Welcome to The New Political’s new opinion series, The Counter. Here, multiple writers are presented with a set of question prompts and asked to give their personal take. All writers are Ohio University students whose views do not reflect those of The New Political. This week, The Counter analyzes three of the candidates who are running for president.

Contributing writers Charlotte Caldwell, a freshman journalism major, Maddie Kramer, a sophomore political science major, and Katie Nolan, a sophomore environmental studies major.



Pete Buttigieg official mayor portrait.

Pete Buttigieg, Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana


Charlotte: While Pete Buttigieg is generally unknown by the public, he’s accomplished some impressive legislation as “the most interesting Mayor you’ve never heard of.” As mayor of South Bend, Indiana, he drastically improved job growth and put major investment in industry. He also served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve during his mayoral term. Many voters in South Bend also chose him because he was young, and young people are often associated with change. At 37, Buttigieg is just two years over the presidential age limit.

Many voters on both sides will appreciate the change he’s brought to South Bend and his dedication to the country by taking unpaid leave to serve in the military. A young candidate would also be a nice change of pace from the “old white men” stigma that the government is known for, and he could relate to issues facing the younger generation.


Maddie: Former President Obama called young mayor Pete Buttigieg “the future of the Democratic Party,” while many still do not know how to pronounce his last name. Buttigieg (pronounced Boo-tuh-judge) is a progressive Democrat whose platform includes support for a single payer healthcare system, universal background checks for gun buyers, and the Green New Deal.

Buttigieg represents the new Democratic party, as he is young and openly gay. He embraces this, calling for a “Federal Equality Act,” amending current civil rights legislations to include protections for LGBTQ+ people. He also opposes Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military. Buttigeig, although having little name recognition, represents a revitalized and progressive Democratic party.


Katie: Pete Buttigieg is a promising candidate for the 2020 election. He is a very impressively progressive candidate from what the public has seen of him so far, as he’s not relatively well-known.

Buttigieg stated that he supports the United States re-entering the Paris Climate Agreement, a stance that many Democrats and Republicans alike have publicly supported. He has also pointed out that climate change is a national security threat. In a time where President Trump has declared a national state of emergency on immigration and a border wall between Mexico and the U.S., Buttigieg’s assertion that climate change and its effects are the real security threat are compelling. He also supports the Green New Deal, something that not all Democrats are currently on board with, meaning he’s very progressive when it comes to environmental policy.

This is something that many liberal voters are passionate about acknowledging, and surprisingly, many Republicans are pushing for as well. Opinions are continually rising past party lines in support of climate action, and Buttigieg is fully prepared to mirror public opinion in his campaign and policy.


Howard Schultz speaking at a Starbucks event.

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks


Charlotte: Howard Schultz seems like an unlikely candidate for voters to consider, but he is someone to watch out for when it comes to stealing Republican and Democratic votes. As the CEO of Starbucks, he made certain products a household name and contributed to the business’s success across the country.

He also offered progressive worker benefits and pledged to hire thousands of refugees during Trump’s travel ban. One immediate turnoff, specifically for progressive voters, is the fact that he is an old, white billionaire. As with any billionaire, the case can be made that he is already privileged enough. A quote from a Washington Post columnist says, “Why doesn’t Howard Schultz just try to go to space like a regular billionaire.” But his initiatives on issues like tackling health care by taking down Big Pharma lobbyists and his past actions working with workers’ rights may be enough to be an independent that actually makes a difference.


Maddie: Howard Schultz’s ideas are a daily sight for many Americans, but many do not realize that it is him that influenced their favorite coffee shop. The former CEO of Starbucks is running as a centrist independent in the 2020 presidential election.

Schultz is determined to ensure that President Trump will not serve another term. He feels that Americans need a more centrist candidate to accomplish this. He believes the political parties have become extremist and corrupted.

He was politically active while CEO, launching a “Race Together” campaign where Starbucks employees were encouraged to “facilitate conversations” regarding race issues that ultimately flopped. Schultz’s centrist ideology and past stances on healthcare and race relations, as well as business experience with Starbucks, may set him up for an opportunity to win over both Republican and Democrat voters.  


Katie: Howard Schultz is an interesting candidate in comparison to the candidates we have seen so far. His stance on climate change in particular is very specific and worth noting. When asked about his stance on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, he stated that climate policy is of extreme importance. However, he also noted that the deal specifically was “immoral” and “not realistic.”

His suggestion was instead to make the deal include a longer-term plan that would allow for more time to reach the goals that Ocasio-Cortez presented. This is a moot point for many environmentalists. The most recent IPCC report stated that we have 12 years to get climate change under control, and Schultz’s stance on elongating the urgent process of mitigating climate effects is not favorable to those seeking immediate, radical action.

Kamala Harris official attorney general portrait.

Kamala Harris, Democratic senator from California


Charlotte: Kamala Harris is different than other progressive Democrats in that she wants to work on the more traditional goal of tax relief for the middle class, rather than tax hikes for the extremely wealthy.

Tax hikes are plans that Sen. Bernie Sanders has laid out for his presidential run; Harris has proven the ways she will take a different route, despite skepticism over whether she could win the New Hampshire primaries without becoming more of a Democratic socialist. Harris wants to impose a tax credit of $6,000 a year for middle class and lower-income working families. She plans to pay for it by repealing a GOP tax law that benefits those making over $100,000 and placing fees on financial institutions, but these combined won’t be enough to cover the hefty price tag of $3 trillion.

Harris may be less radical than some of her Presidential candidate cohorts, but her plans are still not reasonable.


Maddie: Kamala Harris’s background as former attorney general of California can work both for and against her. She calls herself a “progressive prosecutor,” but her critics call her “Cop Kamala.” This is due to her alignment with law enforcement and her lack of involvement in some police brutality cases in California.

As the attorney general, Harris had the authority to investigate law enforcement in cases surrounding police brutality, but did not. She defends herself by saying as a prosecutor, she has to defend all clients, even if their views do not align with hers. Harris’s past as a prosecutor and California attorney general can lead to people disliking her. However, it can also add to her credibility as a candidate, since she knows the ins and outs of the legal system and has firsthand experience making legal decisions regarding her state.


Katie: Kamala Harris has been a popular candidate for this election. She is running on a platform of reconstructing a fair criminal justice system, immigration reform, and talking about the uncomfortable truths of this country.

Harris is the former attorney general behind the investigation of Exxon, exposing the company’s withholding of climate change risk analysis. She argued that the company put the American public in danger by continuing with business as usual while fossil fuel usage had been proven to accelerate and heighten the effects of climate change, subsequently putting people’s health at risk.

Overall, Harris has always been environmentally well-minded according to her voting record, as she has earned a 100% approval rating from the League of Conservation Voters. She is a strong candidate for environmentalists looking for a candidate that will uphold Obama-era climate policy and challenge the damaging environmental rollbacks of the Trump Administration.


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