Home Election 2020 The Counter Opinion: A look at some of 2020’s presidential contenders

The Counter Opinion: A look at some of 2020’s presidential contenders

16 min read

Welcome to The New Political’s opinion serial, 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, contributing writers analyze the presidential candidacies of Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and former Gov. Bill Weld.

Contributing writers Charlotte Caldwell, a freshman journalism major, Maddie Kramer, a sophomore political science major, and Tim Zelina, a junior journalism major. 


Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA)

Charlotte: Besides running his campaign on climate change, Jay Inslee would bring some experience and ideas to the presidency that would turn around the country from the path it’s on now. In Washington, where he is governor, the state is preparing to launch a paid family and medical leave program in which employees can have 12 weeks of paid leave for medical issues and maternity. Currently, the United States offers no paid maternity leave, while other developed countries provide more than sufficient leave. This is one proposal that can be bipartisan and is greatly needed to relieve the stress of many families across the country.

Inslee also supports quality education, whether it be early childhood education or college education. In early childhood education, Inslee wants to promote student health and safety and give families access to affordable child care options. When it comes to college education, Inslee wants to improve affordability and access while boosting financial aid. The United States is in the middle when it comes to science, math and reading scores around the world, so Inslee could help raise the bar for U.S. education nationally.

Maddie: When you go to Jay Inslee’s campaign website, you are immediately greeted with messages regarding climate change. This is a platform point Inslee focuses heavily on for his 2020 campaign, as one of the tabs on the website details “a new American climate mission.” While climate change is a big topic at the forefront of the 2020 election, it is important to remember his very progressive voting record.

Inslee is rated 100 percent by NARAL for his progressive voting record surrounding abortion and reproductive rights. He has voted to reintroduce the Equal Rights Amendment and has a pro-LGBT rights voting background, earning himself a 100 percent from the Human Rights Campaign. Inslee has a progressive voting pattern from the 1990’s to the 2000’s, and may prove to be a dark horse for the Democrats.

Tim: Jay Inslee has kicked off his campaign by positioning climate change as the central issue he wishes to combat. A presidential candidate running primarily on climate change is long overdue; in elections past, the issue barely registered during primaries, and during 2016, climate change wasn’t even addressed during the general election debates.

But climate change is an existential crisis, one Democrats and Republicans alike need to take more seriously. While Inslee is a long shot for the nomination, there is one beneficial aspect to his bid. He stands to force those running to take clear positions on how to combat the rise in global temperatures. This is where Inslee’s campaign will really make an impact.



Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

Charlotte: Amy Klobuchar has some views that would appeal to both sides, mainly that the United States has a monopoly problem and that our antitrust laws haven’t attacked changes in the kinds of businesses we have. Two industries that she says pose the biggest antitrust problems are technology and pharmacy. Many Americans are angry about these topics and how expensive they can be, especially for something necessary like insulin. If Klobuchar can show that she can change these problems that impact so many people, then she may get the support she needs to succeed in the primaries.

Maddie: Amy Klobuchar is another low-profile Democrat, but has earned attention for her comments in the Kavanaugh hearing and announcing her candidacy in a Minnesota snowstorm. She has been parodied on Saturday Night Live and featured in a Politico article surrounding the worst bosses in Congress. However, Klobuchar does not have her name on many large pieces of legislation, earning her the title of “The Senator of Small Things.”

This title and stab at her career comes from the fact that Klobuchar continually tends to act on small bipartisan issues, as opposed to large-scale controversial bills. The small things she has worked on include swimming pool safety and banning lead in children’s toys, issues Klobuchar stands behind because she feels the legislation was important for children’s safety. Many voters still feel that she may lack the drive and experience with more controversial, large-scale issues. Klobuchar has experience, but it’s a different experience than her competitors and may let her get lost in the crowd.

Tim: Amy Klobuchar is certainly an attractive choice for Democrats hoping to win in 2020. Despite the demographics and partisan lean of her state working against her, Klobuchar has continually outperformed expectations, winning re-election in 2018 by huge margins. She’s your classic bipartisan moderate, always willing to work across the aisle, which makes her attractive to those seeking to move past government gridlock.

But Klobuchar has some concerning caveats. The allegations that she improperly treated her staff throw into question whether she is equipped to handle the stress and tribulations of managing the White House. Furthermore, Klobuchar is notorious as a security hawk. She voted for extending the wiretaps established under the ironically named Patriot Act, and has continually defended her support of the act.

While this should not be a deal-breaker, Democrats should pressure Klobuchar to drop her support of surveillance. We need a president who will defend the constitution, not continue former President Bush’s erosion of it.


Former Gov. Bill Weld (R-MA)

Charlotte: Even though Bill Weld is running as a “moderate Republican,” his views are truly libertarian at heart. Weld has already outlined an agenda for what he would do if he won the presidency, including lowering trade barriers, shrinking the size of the government, and eliminating the Department of Education. While shrinking the power of the government is something a Republican could get behind, eliminating the Department of Education is a bit too extreme for many moderates.

Weld has shown that he is not committed to the Republican Party by supporting Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. He even urged swing states to vote for Clinton just to stop Trump. It would take a miracle for Weld to win the primary, especially considering Trump is an incumbent and has a strong Republican approval rating. Even if he doesn’t come out with a win, he could still hurt Trump enough in the primaries to weaken his campaign, like past presidents who lost their general elections due to primary opponents — which is most likely the overall goal of his campaign.

Maddie: Bill Weld may not be a household name, but he is not unfamiliar to those who follow politics. He has held positions that include U.S. attorney for Massachusetts and governor of Massachusetts. However, these positions were held in the early 1980’s to the late 1990’s. Weld has since ran as a Republican for the Massachusetts Senate seat in 1996, as a Libertarian for governor of Massachusetts in 2006, and as Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson’s vice presidential candidate in 2016.

Now Bill Weld has created an exploratory committee — a beginning step to see if a possible campaign would be successful, — for the Republican nomination in 2020. Weld is an interesting candidate due to his third party past. He has supported gay rights and called a women’s right to choose “an individual freedom”. He also supported tax cuts as governor and spoke out against wasteful government spending. Weld seems to be thoroughly libertarian, but has learned his lesson about the success of third parties from his 2016 campaign.

Tim: Bill Weld is an unexpected challenger to President Trump. Some remember his brief time in the spotlight when he sided with Libertarian Gov. Gary Johnson in the 2016 election. Weld comes across as an old-school Rockefeller Republican, relatively moderate socially, libertarian economically.

His chances of winning the primary are nil. He has very little recognition beyond his home-state of Massachusetts, whereas practically the entire world knows Trump. His pro-choice positions would never be popular in a Republican primary, but in wake of the backlash against Vermont and New York’s expansion of abortion accessibility, his liberal position on the issue may very well sink his campaign.

Weld may be hoping Trump will implode before 2020, but many have hoped that since 2015, and Trump has maintained his high approval rating within Republicans despite numerous scandals. Weld would need divine intervention on his side to topple Trump in 2020.

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