MADDI LARMORE: Let’s push candidates on policy. As the Democratic field for president becomes more crowded by the day, we have the opportunity to distinguish nuanced, yet incredibly important, differences among candidates. Just because two candidates are described as “progressive” (as opposed to “moderate”) doesn’t mean they stand for the same things. Those terms are subjective and don’t provide an accurate picture of the way a candidate intends to lead the country for four years.
As the Democratic party breaks records with regards to female and minority representation, identity is at the forefront of the national conversation. However, we can’t allow ourselves to literally take candidates at face value. Descriptive representation — an increase in the number of seats held by women, for example — does not necessarily translate into an increase in substantive representation. More women in Congress does not necessarily mean more smart legislation on female-specific issues. This applies to not only gender but to candidates claiming to represent a particular racial, ethnic, religious or socioeconomic category too.
Never a government major? Simply not interested in sifting through pages filled with jargon and acronyms like “cloture” and “FECA”? Analyzing a candidate’s policies is not too hard. Once candidates have their campaign websites up and running, most candidates summarize their main issues and how they hope to solve them. For an outside perspective on candidates, a quick search of “2020 candidates” along with the policy realm you’re interested in should yield good comparative pieces that synthesize all the candidates’ positions.
Even if you’re busy, you can stay up to date on the issues shaping up to be some of the greatest dividers within the party: healthcare, free-college, corporate responsibility and a federal minimum wage, climate change, and accountable government.
Policy matters. A lot. So let’s push our candidates to sharpen their positions, and at the very least, make sure you know what a candidate stands for before broadcasting your support for them across social media. Your voice is powerful. Finally, let’s encourage candidates not only to set ambitious goals for our country, but also to think through how to achieve them responsibly as well.