Too Early to Choose a Candidate

The 2020 elections are on: Mayor Pete, Biden, Bernie, Warren are a few of the many names making headlines. With the 2020 election getting closer, news outlets everywhere are starting to ponder who will be sitting in the Oval Office as the 46th President of the United States. While the excitement over the next presidential election—especially considering how much attention the last election drew—is understandable, I believe we should wait a little longer before we begin to jump on political trains and choose a candidate.

Early candidacies demand commitment from voters early on, creating a bias and hard-headedness among them that is difficult to overcome later in the election process. While a plethora of Democrats have thrown their names into the ring, many of them have not had the opportunity to voice their opinions on certain matters. Apart from Sanders and some other candidates, who have expressed their views in previous campaigns, candidates like Pete Buttigieg have drawn a lot of attention even though they have expressed fewer opinions on the issues. I am not against giving these candidates a platform from which to voice opinions. In fact, I think that is exactly what should be happening right now. However, I am against people hearing only a few opinions and deciding it will be “Bernie or bust.”

Furthermore, such early decision-making turns the election cycle into a quagmire. The consistent attention to these candidates produces so many opinions that by the time the debates come around, we appear to have our minds made up already. As a result, there is little space for candidates to make proposals and be heard. Instead, the debates turn into inquiries about very specific things that questioners want to hear about in order to make that candidate or another one look bad, and many people aren’t interested in the answer since they already know who they’re for and against.

While I do not think it is wrong for candidates to begin to announce campaigns and voice their ideas this early, it is too early for voters to make up their minds. Except in the case of an incumbent president, we need to give candidates more time to express all of their opinions before choosing. An objection to this point might be that candidates with fewer funds will not last long in a campaign, and thus won’t be able to communicate their opinions to a large audience except at the beginning. Although this is a respectable objection, the simple answer is that if one wants to, one can fund a candidate he or she believes will be a good president to give that person a chance to win others’ votes--and maybe one’s own. Then, perhaps upon hearing more about the candidate, the person who donated may change his or her mind.

We need to properly hear candidates out before deciding who we want to vote for. The time to choose is in 2020, not 2019. Early decisions just lead to stubbornness and a wider political split than the one that already exists. So the next time you hear someone trying to persuade you to go in a certain direction, take it into consideration, but remember that there is still plenty of time left to figure out exactly who you want to support.