With Sen. Booker’s campaign announcement today, I wanted to take this opportunity talk about the upcoming Presidential Primary. In the past few weeks I’ve talked to a lot of democrats that are concerned that we have to many candidates and that this intense competition will be bad for the party and our chances in 2020. What I’ve said is, having more candidates is good for the Democratic Party and producing the best candidate.
The last two Republican primaries featured a crowded field of candidates, with 17 candidates in the 2016 primary. In theses primaries Republicans got a chance to have a full conversation about who they are and what they stand for. For democrats, I would argue that we haven’t had a truly open primary since 2008. In that campaign we started off with 8 candidates Sen. Barak Obama, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. John Edwards, Gov. Bill Richardson, Sen. Joe Biden, Sen. Chris Dodd, Sen. Mike Gravel, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Between April of 2007 and April of 2008 there were 26 major televised democratic debates. We had a chance to really examine the candidates and push them to be better through that process.
In 2012, during President Obama’s re-election campaign, we didn’t have this conversation since there wasn’t another primary candidate. In 2016 we all recognize that democrats in a variety of ways were biased in Secretary Clinton’s favor. We started off with 5 candidates, two who dropped out after the first debate, and a third candidate dropping out after the Iowa Caucus. Even the intense competition between Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton didn't showcase the full spectrum of the Democratic Party.
I welcome all possible democratic candidates into the race, even the candidates I’m not supporting. I want a truly open primary, where we can have a real competition, and where we can all have confidence that we got the rightful winner. There will be some candidates in the race you can’t support and that’s ok. A competitive race, focused on policy, will produce the strongest nominee, and I hope we’ll rise to the occasion.
Dillan Horton is an Assembly District 4 Delegate for the California Democratic Party