Helton: 20 Out of 20: Checking the stocks of Democratic candidates

Which presidential hopefuls has been making the right moves and who has been left out in the cold?

Elijah Helton, Opinions Columnist

A year out from Iowa caucuses, the Democratic nomination race is well underway. The month of January has seen lots of posturing from potential Trump challengers. Let’s check in with 12 — yeah, I know it’s a lot — top candidates looking to move up in the race during 2019. Who’s campaign is looking up and who’s heading downward?

Elizabeth Warren: Down

The Massachusetts professor-turned-politician wanted to get a head start and she got it. The only problem is that her spotlight didn’t last long next to some other female Democrats. She did get parodied on “Saturday Night Live,” though, so maybe not all hope is lost.

Kamala Harris: Up

The justice-system reformer is looking strong out of the gate, with her introductory campaign video and speeches being widely well-received. Her Iowa town hall on CNN seems to be pretty well-received among Democrats, and her poll numbers have been on the rise as well. I might even dare to say she’s the new frontrunner.

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Joe Biden: Down

His former anti-integration and “tough on crime” positions from his time in the Senate have been passed around a lot online. That doesn’t look good in the current Democratic Party. This might be harder than the former vice president may have thought.

Bernie Sanders: Down

Similar to Biden, Sanders has the problem of being an old white guy in a caucus that’s younger, browner, and full of women. Combine that with allegations that his 2016 campaign mishandled harassment complaints, and the Vermont socialist is left with a revolution in need of renovation.

Kirsten Gillibrand: Up

Previously treated as one of the plainer, less exciting options, the New York senator has proven a worthy opponent. She’s attacked Sanders for not officially being a Democrat in what’s probably the first shot of the primary battle, and she seems locked and loaded for more.

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Tulsi Gabbard: Down

If you thought a 37-year-old, mixed-race woman from Hawaii would be the darling of every progressive, you’d be wrong. As one of the most moderate House Democrats, her history includes problematic positions on everything from Syria to gay rights, and the road to the White House isn’t exactly paved with apologies.

Julián Castro: Up

The former Housing secretary’s campaign might have struck a chord with his campaign, especially for Latinx voters. He’s got more media play than many expected, and he’s taking up firmly progressive policy positions. He’s not trying to be just another also-ran.

Beto O’Rourke: Down

Castro’s fellow Texan has been lying lower than usual, but the calls for him to run are still there. However, interest is cooling for the former congressman’s potential run. If he wants to be taken seriously by the media and party establishment, he needs to act sooner rather than later.

Amy Klobuchar: Down

The Minnesota senator was a trendy pick during the holidays, but she hasn’t done much recently. Similar to O’Rourke, she needs to get the ball rolling if she wants to keep up with others already on the campaign trail. Her Midwestern roots remain an asset though.

Pete Buttigieg: Up

Perhaps “Mayor of South Bend” isn’t the most traditional résumé-topper for a presidential hopeful, but the young Hoosier is leaning into the small-town identity. At least for now, he isn’t being dismissed out of hand à la other small-time Democrats such as Andrew Yang or John Delaney.

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