Forty-eight Democrats were noticeably absent from the U.S. Senate this week, but rather than hitting Daytona Beach for spring break, they each hit the campaign trail to announce their bid for president.
With a wide-open field of only about 50 candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination for the 2020 election, many senators felt they could bring something unique to the Oval Office.
“I will fight for the right of a woman to choose what to do with her own body; I will fight for stricter gun reform laws; and I will fight for dreamers whose parents came to this country in search of a better life,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) during her March 14 exploratory committee announcement amid the 70 mph winds and tornado sirens in Chicago. “No other Democrat will fight for these rights like I will.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) was the only Democratic-leaning senator left in Washington, D.C.
“Someone has to hold down the fort,” King said with a shrug in a March 15 speech outside Sweetgreen, 221 Pennsylvania Ave. “I drew the short straw, I guess. I don’t really mind, though. It means I get first choice from the bagel tray and the pizza box.”
As the lone wolf in the Senate, King was unable to convince Republican senators to reject Trump’s national emergency declaration. He tried to with a three-hour filibuster speech. Republicans moved forward with plans to build the U.S.-Mexico border wall March 20, selecting a contractor—Proseghin, which has one five-star review on Yelp—and choosing a paint color, Pantone’s Excalibur.
According to senior White House officials, President Donald Trump is unfazed by potentially staunch competition from the other side. When asked in a March 14 press briefing whom he would most like to face off against on the final November 2020 ballot, he pointed to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt).
“Anyone whom Hillary Clinton can beat, I can too,” Trump said. “I’m not concerned about it.”
Many Democratic candidates are choosing to pour campaign funds into Facebook ads rather than the traditional televised ones, a move inspired by Trump’s success with Facebook in 2016. Some have also been seeking donations from Russian officials.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social media company will be closing down all Russian users’ accounts until the 2020 election has passed so he does not have to sit through another Congressional hearing on an uncomfortable booster seat.
Clinton confirmed she will not be running again because she is still on a five-year meditation retreat in upstate New York trying to comprehend her 2016 defeat by Trump. She advised Democratic candidates to be careful with their emails. She added not to pander to young voters on the trail because they do not vote anyway.
In the meantime, senators said they were not worried about not being present on the Senate floor.
“We’ll stop in to oppose whatever the Republicans do, don’t worry about that,” said Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), who announced her bid on the Las Vegas strip March 11. “This is about the American people and their right to have a president who is going to work to represent them on all fronts.”