In the 2016 presidential election, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) didn’t declare until March 2015. Hillary Clinton released a YouTube video announcing her candidacy in April. Donald Trump didn’t take that famous ride down the escalator until June. But America now lives squarely in the era of The Endless Campaign: The 2020 race started months ago.
Before 2018 was even over, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) announced she had formed an official exploratory committee and was headed to Iowa to campaign. By the end of January, nine Democrats had officially entered the race, and more jumped in, with former Vice President Joe Biden wading into the crowded waters in late April. (Also on the calendar? At least a dozen presidential debates.)
Here’s Glamour’s cheat sheet to the White House contenders. Watch for updates as this race unfolds.
First, the Female Front-Runners
Women were early entrants into the race—that kind of timing allows any candidate to snap up the best staff and start fund-raising. At the beginning of 2019 more than half of the field of announced candidates were women from the Senate, some fueled by activism around #MeToo, others by high-profile roles on the Senate Judiciary Committee. While some say this is a play to be the VP on the eventual ticket, these women are (rightly) focused on landing the top job.
Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is a daughter of immigrants—her mom is from India and her dad from Jamaica. Her parents met as student activists, and Harris, 54, has credited them with shaping the woman she is today. She's used to being a "first"—Harris is the first Indian American woman in the Senate and currently the only black woman in the upper chamber and has shown her tough questioning skills while taking on Brett Kavanaugh (as well as Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearings for U.S. attorney general).
Harris officially announced her candidacy for president during Good Morning America on January 21—a symbolic date, given that it coincided with Martin Luther King Jr. Day. "I love my country. And this is a moment in time that I feel a sense of responsibility to stand up and fight for the best of who we are," she told the show's hosts.
Her experience as a prosecutor and attorney general in California inspired her campaign slogan, “Kamala Harris, for the people,” but there has been some criticism that her record there is not as progressive as she's presented it to be. After her announcement, her campaign took in more than $1 million in donations, and many have said she's already a front-runner.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is one of the most liberal and aggressive critics of the Trump White House. Known for taking on the big banks, Warren, 69, became President Obama’s appointee to oversee the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (which Trump has dismantled), and has an avowedly power-to-the-people tone to her work. (She's also gone after sexism in political campaigns, with a January 2 fund-raising email scoffing at "likability" issues for female candidates and "tired, beard-stroking opinion pieces.") But Trump delights in taunting Warren and likely won’t be quick to stop throwing around his “Pocahontas” nickname for her that his arena-rally fans have grown to love. Warren has also faced scrutiny for claiming Native American heritage; she apologized in February after The Washington Post obtained a registration card for the State Bar of Texas that shows she identified herself as “American Indian.” Warren might be the right populist for the moment, but some question whether Warren can be the kind of national leader who can broker meaningful Washington compromises.
Warren officially announced her 2020 campaign on February 9 during a speech in Lawrence, Massachusetts. She firmly positioned herself as someone who will fight against corruption and spoke strongly against the current administration. "It won’t be enough to just undo the terrible acts of this administration. We can’t afford to just tinker around the edges—a tax credit here, a regulation there. Our fight is for big, structural change," she said.
Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii’s Second District): At 37, Gabbard is the youngest lawmaker in the race (the age requirement is 35). In 2002 she was also the youngest person ever elected to the Hawaii legislature; she later stepped down ahead of two tours with the Army National Guard. Gabbard now serves on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees. Gabbard is in many ways the antithesis of the current POTUS: young, female, progressive, experienced in war; and she happens to be the first Hindu to serve in Congress. Her break with the Democratic Party during the 2016 campaign over the Clinton-Sanders battle (she supported Sanders) could speak to a simmering dissatisfaction with the establishment among liberal primary voters—something they expressed with their ballots in 2018.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) announced on Sunday, February 10, that she'd officially be running for president. She's been pegged by some observers as more moderate—and maybe even more relatable—than other Democrats in contention. It’s the kind of political triangulation you’d find in decades of political playbooks: Be liberal enough to win a Democrat primary, but not so far off the grid that you can't get independents and moderate Republicans on your side to win in November. Klobuchar, 58, could fit the bill: She’s got a blend of Midwestern politesse and diplomacy. She’s not a household name, but she was able to turn deep-red counties blue in her reelection.
"For too long, leaders in Washington have sat on the sidelines while others try to figure out what to do about our changing economy and its impact on our lives, what to do about the disruptive nature of new technologies, income inequality, the political and geographic divides, the changing climate, the tumult in our world,” she said in her campaign announcement. “Let’s stop seeing those obstacles as obstacles on our path. Let’s see those obstacles as our path.” But since then, she's been dogged by allegations that she can be demeaning to her staff. The senator has agreed that she is a tough boss who pushes for excellence, but says anything more than that, a campaign spokesperson told the New York Times, is "ridiculous."
Also in the Mix
Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) announced his run on February 1, the first day of Black History Month. His launch video drew on the history of the Civil Rights movement, and he described how, after realtors refused to sell his parents a house in a district with good schools, a group of lawyers stepped up to help and protect black families in the region. The idea and expected theme of his campaign: America is "better when we help each other." He also emphasized his background as mayor of Newark before joining the Senate (where he championed the bipartisan justice reform bill that passed just before Christmas). But his ties to Wall Street may be a little too close for comfort for some Democrats.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) officially announced his 2020 campaign in a CBS This Morning interview on February 19. "It is absolutely imperative that Donald Trump be defeated, because I think it is unacceptable and un-American, to be frank with you, that we have a president who is a pathological liar," Sanders said.
He quickly raised some major cash ($10 million in the first week, according to his campaign), a sign that many of the progressive voters he energized in the 2016 race are still with him. Still, Sanders is now 77, and he’s not the only game in town when it comes to unabashed liberals. Critical new looks at his heavily male-dominated 2016 campaign may not play in his favor either.
Former secretary of housing and urban development Julián Castro formally announced his candidacy—in English and Spanish—on January 12 at a rally in San Antonio, where he once served as mayor. He got some buzz as a possible VP for Hillary Clinton, but some said he didn't have the foreign policy experience necessary for the role. Whether this is his year or not remains to be seen, but some said he could be the country's first Latino president.
Former Maryland congressman John Delaney pledged, during the early days of his campaign, that during his first 100 days in office he would focus only on policies that had the support of both parties to try to bring the country together. But voters may not be interested in another wealthy, white, male candidate.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a military veteran and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announced on January 23 that he had formed an exploratory committee to run for president. The country has never elected a mayor to presidency, but a victory would make Buttigieg the first openly gay commander-in-chief.
On the heels of gaining momentum and all-important fund-raising dollars in the crowded field, Buttigieg made his candidacy official with an event in South Bend on April 14. "My name is Pete Buttigieg," he said in a campaign video. "They call me 'Mayor Pete.' I am a proud son of South Bend, Indiana, and I am running for president of the United States.
Former vice president Joe Biden has had his eye on the Oval Office before. He first ran for president in 1988, but his campaign was dogged with accusations of plagiarism, both from his time at law school and in campaign speeches. He entered the race again in 2008, but dropped out. Later, he joined Barack Obama on the ticket and served two terms as his vice president. One of Biden's sons, Beau Biden, who died from brain cancer in 2015, had encouraged his dad to run in 2016, but Biden decided to sit that race out. He is known for plain—and sometimes tough—talk, as well as a good measure of personal charisma. He formally entered the race on April 25 and framed his announcement video around Charlottesville, Virginia—as both the birthplace of Thomas Jefferson and the site of the 2017 white supremacist rally and protests that resulted in the death of Heather Heyer, though he did not mention her by name. The rest of the video focuses on the threat Biden believes that Donald Trump poses to the nation. "[Trump] said there were quote some very fine people on both sides," Biden said. "With those words, the President of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it. And in that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime."
"The core values of this nation, our standing in the world, our very democracy, everything that has made America, America, is at stake," Biden said in the video. "That's why today I'm announcing my candidacy for President of the United States."
The former VP certainly has name recognition as his side, but he has also faced allegations from women of unwanted and inappropriate touching, which will certainly continue to be a talking point throughout the campaign. He is also one of the oldest candidates in the race and is a white man in one of the most diverse fields in Democratic history. (Donald Trump was the oldest elected president in U.S. history when he won in 2016 at age 70; Ronald Reagan was 69 when he took the oath; George H.W. Bush was 64.) Could he balance a ticket with a younger running mate? Quite possibly. The late Senator John McCain and others have tried that tactic.
Colorado Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) announced his candidacy on May 2, adding to the incredibly crowded Democratic primary field. He had previously delayed his announcement after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in early April. He has since had surgery and been given a clean bill of health by doctors, according to CNN. "I think right now the Democratic Party doesn't stand for very much at the national level with respect to what the American people think," he said in an interview on CBS This Morning. "But this is an opportunity to show what we stand for, for us to have a competition of ideas. I think it is phenomenal we have got as diverse an array of candidates as we have in all respects and that we got the number that we have. A process like this is long overdue in the Democratic Party." He also said that making sure Americans have health insurance would be a major focus of his campaign.
Marianne Williamson first rose to national prominence via her work as a self-help author—with a little help from The Oprah Winfrey Show. She also ran for Congress in 2014 and lost. One of her signature issues is a proposed $100 billion plan to pay reparations for slavery, and she says the country needs a "moral and spiritual awakening." So far her campaign hasn't gained much traction.
Andrew Yang is a former tech executive who now runs an economic nonprofit. He believes the United States should establish a universal basic income, funded by the government. “Universal basic income is an old idea, but it’s an old idea that right now is uniquely relevant because of what we’re experiencing in society,” he says. It's also an idea Republicans quickly brand as socialism.
Former governor of Massachusetts William F. Weld ran for vice president on the Libertarian ticket in 2016. So far he's the most high-profile politician to talk openly about challenging Donald Trump in the Republican primary. "I hope to see the Republican Party assume once again the mantle of being the party of Lincoln,” he said. Key issues for Weld include fiscal restraint, moderate immigration reform, free trade, and legalization of marijuana. Expect the party backlash to be fierce.
Montana Governor Steve Bullock entered the crowded Democratic primary field on May 14. He has twice been elected governor (and once, attorney general) in a state which Donald Trump won by more than 20 points. He counts Medicaid expansion and campaign finance reform as two of his fundamental issues to address. "We need to defeat Donald Trump in 2020 and defeat the corrupt system that lets campaign money drown out the people’s voice so we can finally make good on the promise of a fair shot for everyone," he said in a campaign video. It may be hard for him (another white male) to make headway in this field, but he's staking out his ground as a moderate who can win in a Trump state—while some are pleading for him to run for Senate instead, perhaps giving Dems a shot at the majority there.
Tom Steyer, a Californian investor and activist, has been funneling his considerable wealth into Democratic causes and loudly calling to impeach Trump. He also poured more than $30 million, per Forbes, into registering more than a quarter-million young voters ahead of the 2018 midterms, with a special focus on swing congressional districts. His efforts there (along with Bloomberg’s spending) could well have helped make a difference in tight races. In July he announced his official run for president. "If you think that there's something absolutely critical, try as hard as you can and let the chips fall where they may. And that's exactly what I'm doing. My name's Tom Steyer, and I'm running for president," he said in a video.
Deval Patrick, the former two-term governor of Massachusetts, told senior Democrats that he will enter the presidential race. According to the New York Times, Patrick is expected to formally announce his campaign via video, and then appear in New Hampshire to file his paperwork to secure a place on the primary ballot in the state.
Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, announced in March he wouldn't run because he couldn't see a clear path to victory in such a crowded Democratic field, especially with Biden in the race. However, he appeared to have a late-entry change of heart, as he announced that he'll be entering the 2020 race on November 24. Bloomberg explained his candidacy in a letter on his campaign website, writing, "I'm running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America. We cannot afford four more years of President Trump's reckless and unethical actions." As CNN points out, Bloomberg's late bid—in addition to the funds the billionaire can spend to fund his campaign—adds a new level of uncertainty into the crowded race less than three months before the first voting begins.
Call Me VP, Maybe?
If there’s a time-honored tradition in American politics, it’s running for president (or talking about it) to get on the ticket as vice president. Some are likely doing just that. Among them:
Governors often spark interest in presidential cycles; Bullock, along with former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, 61, could be in that mix. Mayors of high-profile cities also can’t yet be counted out, including Eric Garcetti, 47, of Los Angeles, and Mitch Landrieu, 58, of New Orleans. Also don't rule out former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, who told CNN, "If any of the nominees offered me the opportunity to run with them as their vice president after they have been selected as a nominee, of course I'd be honored to consider that."
Bowing This One Out
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was rumored to be at least thinking about the idea of a third run but in March she put the speculation to rest when she said definitively, "I'm not running," in an interview with a New York City television station. Don't think you won't be hearing from her throughout the election cycle, however. "But I’m going to keep on working and speaking and standing up for what I believe,” she said. And many candidates in the field have also turned to her for advice.
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who hails from the pivotal state of Ohio, was rumored to be weeks within announcing his bid for the presidency when he announced on March 7 that he would not be campaigning for the White House. His news was a huge disappointment to some, who felt he could have been a major contender, given his record of governing in Ohio and his "dignity of work" platform. In an interview on Pod Save America, he said he wasn't sure he wanted the presidency enough; other rumors suggested say that party leaders pressured him to stay in the Senate, since democrats need every seat they can get there to try to take the majority. He could still be a very attractive VP contender.
Andrew Gillum, the former Tallahassee mayor who lost his bid to become the governor of Florida by less than half a percentage point, has announced his next political move—and it's not running for president of the United States. Instead, Gillum is launching a voter-registration group to help Democrats win Florida in 2020—and ultimately, defeat President Trump. The group, called Forward Florida, already has close to $4 million in the bank, according to Politico. One of Forward Florida's missions will be to solidify the Democratic base in the state. “Given the migration patterns in our state, and given the challenges we have around producing an electorate that’s favorable to Democrats to get out and vote—we’ve got to put more people in the game,” Gillum told the New York Times.
Michael Avenatti, lawyer to Trump accuser Stormy Daniels, took several jaunts to Iowa and threw plenty of elbows at Trump on TV and Twitter. After he notably told Time that the 2020 Democratic nominee “better be a white male” if the party wants a real chance of knocking Trump out, allegations—which Avenatti, 47, categorically denies—of domestic violence led him to set aside any White House ambitions for, he said, the sake of his family.
Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper officially dropped out of the race on August 15. The moderate candidate made his announcement via video, which he shared across social media. "This morning, I’m announcing that I’m no longer running for President. While this campaign didn’t have the outcome we were hoping for, every moment has been worthwhile & I’m thankful to everyone who supported this campaign and our entire team," he wrote on Twitter. Hickenlooper also says he has given "serious thought" to running for Senate in Colorado, but has not made an official decision.
Washington governor Jay Inslee appeared on Rachel Maddow's show on August 21 to announce that he was withdrawing from the race. His campaign was one that focused intensely on climate change with a 10-year-plan about moving toward clean energy. "It's become clear that I'm not going to be carrying the ball. I'm not going to be the president, so I'm withdrawing tonight from the race," he said and promised to make sure other candidates continued to focus on his core issue. "I've been fighting climate change for 25 years, and I've never been so confident of the ability of America now to reach critical mass to move the ball."
Elizabeth Warren, for one, vowed in a tweet to continue his fight.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced on MSNBC's Morning Joe that he is ending his campaign for president. He said he felt he had contributed “to this primary election” and that “it’s clearly not my time.”
Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio (D-Ohio) announced he was leaving the field on October 24. He participated in the first two Democratic debates but failed to qualify for the the others. "While it didn’t work out quite the way we planned, this voice will not be stifled. I will continue to advocate and fight for the working people of this country—white, black, brown, men, women," Ryan said in a statement, per Politico. "There’s people who get up every day, take a shower after work sometimes, that are working really hard. And we’re going to continue to fight for making sure that those workers are treated fairly, and that they have access to good health care, that they have a solid pension to retire on."
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) became the first woman to drop out of the presidential race. In an official statement Gillibrand wrote, "Today I am ending my campaign for president. I am so proud of this team and all we've accomplished. But I think it’s important to know how you can best serve. To our supporters: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Now let's go beat Donald Trump and win back the Senate."
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) a Democrat and former Marine from Massachusetts, ended his campaign in late August. He announced plans to run for reelection to the House, and relaunch his political action committee, Serve America, to promote veterans issues.
Representative Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas’s Sixteenth District) dropped out of the race on November 1. Of the decision O'Rourke issued a series of tweets saying, "Our campaign has always been about seeing clearly, speaking honestly, and acting decisively. In that spirit: I am announcing that my service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee. I am grateful to all the people who made up the heart and soul of this campaign. You were among the hundreds of thousands who made a donation, signed up to volunteer or spread the word about this campaign and our opportunity to help decide the election of our lifetime. Let us continue to fearlessly champion the issues and causes that brought us together. Whether it is ending the epidemic of gun violence or dismantling structural racism or successfully confronting climate change, we will continue to organize and mobilize and act. We will work to ensure that the Democratic nominee is successful in defeating Donald Trump in 2020. I can tell you firsthand from having the chance to know the candidates, we will be well served by any one of them, and I’m going to be proud to support whoever she or he is. Thank you for making this campaign possible, and for continuing to believe that we can turn this moment of great peril into a moment of great promise for America and the world."
According to the New York Times, he's not expected to run for any other office in 2020.
This post is continuously updated as politicians announce their candidacies and as they drop out .
*Celeste Katz writes about politics and elections. Follow her on Twitter @CelesteKatzNYC.m
Originally Appeared on Glamour