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2020 Election Candidates Flock to Iowa

America Daily with Mark Jackson

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Democratic presidential candidates flocked to Iowa this past weekend. In the race to the 2020 primary, it’s not unusual for Iowans to see a flood of candidates months before the election.

America Daily’s election reporter Arleen Richards joins us now in New York.

2020 Policy Platforms Take Shape

How many presidential hopefuls visited Iowa this past weekend, and what were their overall campaign messages?

Arleen Richards: There were about 5 candidates making their stops over the weekend, but some other candidates had already arrived earlier in the week. At this point, they’re not just introducing themselves, but actually doing some policy platform building. Take Jay Insley for example, he introduced his clean energy plan on Friday and he modeled it after a clean energy law that was recently passed in his own state. Beto O’Rourke also had rolled out his clean energy plan before returning to Iowa and of course, Insley made some jabs at O’Rourke for taking oil money from some corporate supporters. But, O’Rourke later announced that he would give that money back. Elizabeth Warren had put out her public lands policy plan a couple weeks ago. She plans to stop new fossil fuel leasing on public lands. The newest Democratic candidate, Michael Bennet, who just announced his candidacy on Thursday, announced his platform for economic mobility. So there are a number of candidates making stops all over Iowa and talking about how they’d like to change the country.

 

There are lot of plans out there already. Amy Klobuchar has a substance abuse and mental health plan. Many people say Elizabeth Warren is setting the bar for the pack with her detailed plans. But she also seems to be taking on Joe Biden since he entered the race about a week ago. Do you have any details on Warren’s strategy on going up against the former vice president?

Arleen Richards: Reportedly she is positioning herself as sort of the overseer of the other candidates. In other words, she’s planning to call out all of the candidates not just Joe Biden to challenge their inconsistencies. As for Biden, she is targeting his complicated history with some of the special interest groups. It’s no secret that she and Joe Biden have had some sparring matches in the senate over some of these same issues, so it will be interesting to see how they come out fighting in the presidential race.

 

Speaking of Joe Biden, how have the dynamics changed since he entered the race?

Arleen Richards: As you know, everybody was waiting for Biden to finally throw his hat in the ring. He had already been in the lead in several polls before that and that’s probably due in no small part to his big name recognition. Now that he’s in the race, everybody else has to pay attention and respond to what he does. According to ABC news reports from Iowa, every candidate is being asked to respond to speeches Biden has given in Pittsburgh and in Iowa. People are asking them what they think about his speeches, how they feel about his attempts to play to union members, or what do they think about the way he has been interacting with voters so far. Now, remember, Jess, Biden began to get some bad press before he made his candidacy official over his inappropriate physical contact with some of his female supporters. But so far, the candidates themselves have not chosen to target that subject. Overall, I think they’re sticking to their platform issues and challenging others who raise similar plans.

 

Regardless of how the democratic candidates do against each other, at the end of the day, Democrats want a candidate who they think can beat Donald Trump.

Arleen Richards: That’s right. Most of the national polls have shown that the majority of voters, particularly older voters, tend to lean toward candidates who have similar policy beliefs but for the most part they want someone who can just beat Donald Trump. Of course, in addition to Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders is a top pick and Beto O’Rourke is also a favorite. Interestingly though, despite all of Elizabeth Warren’s efforts to police the other candidates, she is not among the favorites to beat Donald Trump. And, you know, President Trump’s team is not ruffled by this growing list of candidates. His campaign manager Lara Trump even said to Fox News last month that she thinks Donald Trump will easily win re-election. Let’s listen to a little bit of what she said.

 

One way to find out where each Democratic candidate stands is to wait for the first democratic primary debate in Miami. But not every candidate will have a chance to attend. So what’s the criteria for candidates to get in that first debate?

Arleen Richards: That first primary debate will be held in just shy of two months and candidates do have to qualify in one way or another. And so far, most of the candidates do qualify. Some of the criteria includes getting 65,000 individual donors or at least 1 percent support in three major national polls. Right now, almost 20 candidates will participate in the debate, but if any new candidates decide to enter the race, they will likely be left out.

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