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Who would have expected a flurry of Democratic candidates to announce their candidacy for the presidential nomination, except of course for the news media. They are at work at their job -- making news.

There have been a lot of newspaper articles and television programs warning us about the 2020 campaign but who would have expected it to start this early? Can being a "candidate" be the way to get your name out to the public so they will become familiar with the name even though you aren't really serious about winning? And, probably equally important it gives the candidate's favorite topic some media coverage. Maybe the news coverage will go from Donald Trump's ego-centered Tweets to a new and controversial political theme.

If you are tired of seeing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) standing in front of a microphone trying to explain the failure of the Republican Party to do something for the nation while trying not to oppose President Trump, we are in the same boat. If you are tired of seeing Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the Leader of the Congressional Democrats being photographed with a group of awe-struck news persons with their tape players (or smart phones) stuck out in her direction, we are definitely on the same page. Maybe, regardless of the political party it is time for some new faces.

The political race for the Democrat nomination for president might be the vehicle to change the focus toward new party leadership.

A new first-term political lady, California's Senator Kamala Harris, a former California attorney general, has announced her desire to seek the Democratic nomination for the presidency. Sen. Harris has her political history to count on. She is 54 years old, according to her biography and has a law degree from University of California - Hastings Law College. Her undergraduate degree is from Howard University - Class of 1986. Howard University has a history of being known as a very liberal school. That background in college should appeal to a large segment of the party. According to her announcement, she believes "America is ready to make history by electing the first woman of color as president." If elected, she would be, of course, the first woman -- and the second president "of color." So far she is the first officially announced candidate actually campaigning.

There are other soon-to-be-announced Democratic candidates who are taking a different route. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have taken a more circuitous route by forming "exploratory committees," apparently to determine their voter appeal and their fund raising capacities. It appears to be early for one to expect a groundswell in fund raising. However if one can find a hot-button issue and become the poster bearer, there is a legitimate reason to run and it certainly gets one's name in the news. There are a number of people who have been mentioned as possible candidates with name recognition such as Joe Biden. With so much time to talk about how poorly the Republicans did in the last election cycle, we will probably lose count of the actual number of Democratic announcements before we get to the fall. Some names who plan to announce their intentions include former Representative John Delaney (D-Maryland) and a name from Barack Obama's administration, Julian Castro. And, there are probably others who have been on talk shows and indicated their "intentions" to run that I have missed. Bernie Sanders (D/I-VT) will surely be heard from again before the official filing date -- whenever that takes place.

But this is really about new faces and news coverage. The decisions about serious political candidates is still months away. Watching for announcements is simply an early vehicle to see how the newer members of the Democratic Party fare in their first few months as they vie for recognition. It also gives us an idea of what platforms the serious candidates will use in their efforts to gain support of the newer political faces.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a newly elected Democratic member of the House of Representatives from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Her election in New York's 14th House District was a major upset over a long-term, well-financed incumbent Democrat with remarkable family ties and a history of winning in his district. As mentioned in the article of Jan. 16, 2019, she will be heard from frequently with her desire for a top tax bracket of 70 percent on income over $10 million, medicare for all and tuition-free colleges. She is not even a candidate for the Democratic nomination but reports out of Davos Switzerland (the World Economic Forum) have them discussing her views on U.S. taxes over there. Not bad for one of the new ladies on the block.

I can promise we will hear a lot about taxes from the Democratic Party during this election cycle, whether it comes from Massachusetts' Sen. Warren or New York's Rep. Ocasio-Cortez there is going to be a lot of discussion about the top tax bracket for the very wealthy. You can't lose the "middle class of America" without someone making it the subject of their campaign. Someone has to pay for our attempt to be the world's peace-keeper and international Santa Claus.


Editor's note: Leo Lynch, an award-winning columnist, is a native of Benton County and has deep roots in northwest Arkansas. The opinions expressed are those of the author. He is a retired industrial engineer and former Justice of the Peace.

Editorial on 01/30/2019

Print Headline: Is it time for presidential candidates already?

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