Tonight, the presidential race for 2020 begins in earnest with the first Democratic primary debates. With 20 candidates taking the stage over the next two nights — and more watching from the sidelines — there will be little time to address every important issue. And, yet, we should expect and call upon these candidates to address an issue that is core to all of the others: defending and strengthening our democracy.
If any candidate is to renew our democracy, they need to be able to unite the country with a platform that honors liberty, equality, and truth. Which candidates will put our democracy above partisan interest, and who will work aggressively to lead with integrity and root out corruption? The candidates will debate plenty of policy issues, but none is more important to our future than this.
We need to hear that they will:
1. Reject foreign help from adversaries who wish to harm America.
First and foremost, we need to hear from every candidate for office, regardless of party, that they will fully reject any efforts by a foreign nation to undermine our elections and report them to the FBI.
2. Commit to defending our elections from future attacks.
From securing our voting systems to improving our electoral processes to holding foreign aggressors accountable, the integrity of our elections is paramount.
3. Work for us, not for themselves and not for a small, divisive, entrenched base.
We need a leader who unifies us across political, racial, gender and other lines, to help foster a more inclusive America.
4. End the corruption, abuse of power, and cronyism that has defined the Trump administration.
We demand a president who is accountable to the people, the law, and to the other branches of government which balance its powers. Trump has done everything he can to escape that accountability, our next president must strengthen it.
The 2020 elections will be grueling, and the president will do his best to divide Americans and scare them into his reelection. We must prove to him and every politician that the tactics of hate and fear will not win in America.
To do that, we must make ourselves heard now, early in the process. Republican, Democrat, Independent or otherwise, this is a critical decision for America, so we must all stand up to demand candidates who will work to protect and improve our democracy.