Eight candidates have already declared they will run for the Democratic presidential nomination. Here is a description of four among the favorites for now.
Elizabeth Warren, the Bane of Wall Street
She was the first of the big names from the Democratic Party to declare herself a candidate. She launched her campaign on Dec. 31, 2018, and has since made a series of public appearances.* A lawyer by training, she made a name for herself with her commitment to economic justice, particularly during the 2008 crisis, when she advocated for regulating the banks and denounced financial industry misdeeds, helping to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In 2012, she became a Massachusetts senator. She is close to Hillary Clinton, and has been one of the fiercest opponents of Donald Trump over the past two years. If a race between Warren and Trump takes place, the duel between them will be explosive. She is one of the president’s prime targets. He has nicknamed her Pocahontas, mocking her for her Native American ancestry.
Kamala Harris, Rising Star
The senator from California is no longer hiding her presidential ambitions. She made her candidacy official on Jan. 21. Serving as attorney general in her state, Harris started her political career later in life, winning election to the Senate in 2016 at the age of 52. With a dazzling trajectory, she is now one of the best positioned candidates looking ahead to 2020. Born to an Indian mother and Jamaican father, she would be the first African-American woman elected to the White House. Therefore, like Barack Obama before her, she is a target for the far right, which questions her American nationality. Before even announcing her candidacy, she was one of the most active Democrats on the internet. Recently, she has worked on her ability to rally people by campaigning on behalf of “Medicare for all” and extending a hand to the left wing of the party. She has also defended Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the young representative from New York who has been attacked by the Republican majority.
Kirsten Gillibrand, Feminist Figure
At 52, the New York senator and a defense attorney by training, is a feminist icon at the forefront of the #MeToo campaign. Elected to Congress in 2006, she is a supporter of Hillary Clinton, whom she replaced in the Senate and for whom she worked during Hillary’s last presidential campaign. Gillibrand launched her own campaign by emphasizing social justice and her passion for improving the education system. However, her opponents have not missed the opportunity to highlight the ambiguity she brings. She started her career defending the interests of Philip Morris, opposed the regulation of firearms in the past and spoke against immigration, voting for cuts to federal funds for so-called sanctuary cities. In response, Gillibrand said that as a New York congresswoman, she had to take into account the views of a diverse group of voters.
Julian Castro, the Southern Latino
Raised in a modest family of activists of Mexican origin, Julian Castro could be the Latino candidate observers have been waiting for for years. At 44 years old, the former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, and Stanford and Harvard graduate symbolizes the changing South. He is multicultural even though he does not speak Spanish fluently. He has already had a successful political career. Elected at the age of 26, he has also held the post of secretary of housing and urban development in the Obama administration. Castro campaigns with his twin brother, Joaquin, who is a representative from Texas, promising an increase in the minimum wage and the protection of minorities. However, he will have to fight the image of being too plain; some consider him weak in a campaign where the blows risk coming thick and fast. In addition, he could face difficulty from the candidacy of another Texan, Beto O’Rourke, who is from the same generation as he is. Castro recognizes that he is not the favorite.
*Editor’s note: Elizabeth Warren announced she was forming a presidential exploratory committee, which allows her to raise money and fill staff positions before a formal start of her presidential bid.