5 Names to Know

So I’ve been putting this post off because I’m on vacation but it’s time to write and share the 5 people that I follow and learn from these days in politics. When I say learn from, I mean the people who share their honest views of what is going on and give you a chance to sift through the news and learn their positions. I’ve gone back and forth on who to include in this list but here are 5 people you may or may not know about, and what they are doing to shape our current political landscape. It’s a top 5 list, so #1 is the person I like the most for what they are doing right now. Before that though, I want to get a little bit off of my chest about the 2016 Democratic candidates.

Honorable Mention: Bernie Sanders (Bernie Sanders) - He is the man I went back and forth most about if he deserved a place in this story. At first, my feelings were that it wasn’t worth it to devote some time to talking about him. Here was my main gripe with him: he’s simply not a team player. He somehow thinks that he is now the face of the Democratic Party and everyone has to sort of get in line with his positions. This is not what the Democratic Party needs, not at a time like this. This is no time for a party to coalescence unequivocally behind one voice. This is a time for the Democrats to build a diverse coalition full of a variety of voices. However, after last year I have come to understand that Bernie very much deserves a place at the table. His ideas are important. He pushes other Democrats in a direction that we need to be going. Even if he may make some gaffe-worthy remarks or might not be perfect, he is what we need. We do need to find a way to have a single-payer health insurance system like the rest of the developed world. We do need to make college more affordable. We do need to raise taxes on the rich and wealthy as well as the corporations that stash their wealth away from the poor. We do need to expand our social safety net, not contract it. We need Bernie, we just need him to be more of a team player. Why? Simple. This is a two-party system and we need as many people on our team as we can get against the GOP. So Bernie, either join our team or don’t. But don’t do a bit of both. So support the candidates we put forth in the special elections this year. Next year, campaign hard to win the House back. And keep doing what you’re doing. I’m proud of your revolution and I want you to be a part of the Democratic Party.

Dishonorable Mention: Hillary Clinton - This one might seem a little bit harsh. But this might be something that I think just needs to be said. Hi Hillary, I’m sorry. I voted for you but let’s just be real, I didn’t really want to. You were just the only person I could vote for. So here’s the thing: I don’t think you have a place at the table in this Democratic Party. I’m really sorry. This is not sexist at all, this is strategic. Simply put, the longer Hillary insists on staying around, the more she hurts us. Because she constantly hurts our moral standing as Democrats with her stupid emails and whatever else the conservative media covers about her. Let’s get something straight. That was a BS scandal drummed up by the GOP. But people cared about it. And they still do. So Hillary, you’ve got to go. Because as long as the GOP and the conservative media can prey upon this and any other scandal, we will continue to be harmed as a party. If you’re gone into retirement then the GOP will have to look much harder for a scandal to prey on and beat into the heads of their voters. And let’s face it Hillary, you deserve a rest now. You’ve just been through the most brutal campaign ever. And this doesn’t take anything away from the brilliant, trailblazing career you have had as a female politician. But the time has passed for you to help our party. We thank you for your service and we kindly ask that you let us take it from here.

Alright, now onto the main list. These are 5 people that are younger and ready to take up the mantle as the next generation. They do not have to be Democrats. They do not have to currently occupy elected offices. They don’t even have to be ready to be president yet. This is a list of voices who I hope will have a voice in shaping our future.

5. Cory Booker (@corybooker) - I admire what Cory stands for and what he has stood for his entire career. He is a New Jerseyan who has worked hard for his community and stood up for his views in a nice way. He is the anti-Trump. He is not a bully. He will not slander his opponents. He speaks of hope and is a great speaker who seems to truly be a good man. So why is he so low on this list? Because he’s essentially Barack Obama 2.0. Quick poll: Who really wants another Obama? Hmm, I do! But I am also a privileged Asian/Caucausian man who comes from a good socioeconomic background. Let’s be honest, the economic hardships of the past 10–15 years have had very little effect on me. So when I look at Obama, I see the best president I’ve ever known. To countless others in this country who aren’t in the same position as me, they simply cannot see the same thing. So if you offer them another helping of Obama, they will kindly tell you that they’re good with just one Obama, thank you very much (also, they may not be kind about it!). Another genuine issue with Cory Booker is his membership to the elite class of Democrats who are a bit too closely tied to Wall Street and other moneyed interests. If he truly embraces a more progressive stance, I think that he will be in a great position to run for president in 2020. Do I want him to do so? Yes. Do I think he would win against Trump (or Pence, depending on what happens next year)? Probably. But it would be ugly. Trump has just subjected Hillary to the most misogynistic campaign rhetoric we have ever seen. Imagine what he would do to Cory Booker. Trump is a true racist and running a candidate who is black would simply make for another very ugly campaign that this country simply does not need.

4. Evan McMullin (@evan_mcmullin) - He ran as an independent last year and did very well in Utah, where he is from. Since then, I have seen his profile grow on Twitter and also watched his interviews on shows like Late Night with Seth Meyers. He seems like the type of skeptical conservative that we need more of right now. His organization, Stand Up Republic, is dedicated to holding Trump accountable for what his administration does. I highly recommend following him on Twitter as he tears down the BS/lying/incompetence of the Trump administration on a regular basis. Even though he is an independent conservative, I would be happy to see him run for president again and even mount a primary challenge to the GOP incumbent, whoever he is. In the event he became a mainstream nominee for president, I truly believe he would be the type of candidate that would give us a policy oriented campaign that would challenge the Democratic candidate and move our country forward. Because Trump and his brand of the GOP simply move our country backwards.

3. Deray McKesson (DeRay Mckesson) - He makes this list even though he is only 5 years older than me! But he has done so much already that I can only imagine what he will have done in the next 10 years! Already he has worked with the Harlem Children’s Zone, and worked in the school districts of Baltimore and Minneapolis. But he has really made a name for himself as an activist who has been instrumental in the Black Lives Matter movement. He has been an outspoken protester in Ferguson, Baton Rouge and Charleston. Additionally, he has launched Campaign Zero to address police reform. Finally, he was named to DNC Chairman Tom Perez’s transition team. And he is just 31 years old! He already is a commendable voice at such a young age and he can only stand to gain more experience over time. I can confidently predict that he will gain some sort of elected office in his career. I’m just not exactly sure what that office will be.

2. Jason Kander (Jason Kander) - If you don’t know who Jason is, let me introduce you to him. Because he’s someone you need to know about. He is the former Secretary of State in Missouri who narrowly lost the Senate race last November to the GOP incumbent. He’s picked himself up from that defeat by starting an organization called Let America Vote to combat the GOP’s bogus attack on voting rights. In response to Mr. Trump (still not Mr. President) appointing voter fraud crusader Kris Kobach to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, the DNC immediately responded by naming Jason Kander the chair of the Commission on Protecting American Democracy from the Trump Administration. This is a worthy campaign issue for Jason Kander to head up and one that deserves every bit of attention it can get. The GOP has been working to drum up voter fraud claims to give them cover for passing laws requiring stricter voting regulations. We already saw this have an effect on the results in Wisconsin, which had one of the strictest voter ID laws. I intend to delve into the voter suppression issue in more depth soon, but suffice it to say Jason Kander is a hero for what he is trying to do. He is also a hero because of the person he is. Reading his posts on Medium or seeing the issues and comments he makes on Twitter remind me that this is a politician full of integrity, humor, and knowledge. We need more of those kinds of men and women to go to Washington. I sincerely hope Jason Kander runs again for Senator and I hope to also vote for him for president in my lifetime.

1. Chris Murphy (Senator Chris Murphy) - I have only just recently jumped on the Chris Murphy train, but boy oh boy I’m really on that train. He is someone I have recently began following on Twitter and I have been hugely impressed by what I have seen! He is strong on foreign policy and makes it a point to stand against the Muslim ban on the argument that it actually makes America and the world more vulnerable to ISIS terrorism. This is a smart argument that I plan to write a post about. In addition, he stands resolutely against all the efforts to repeal Obamacare and consistently points out how it will effect not only his state of Connecticut, but all of America. He does it with sharp wit, anger, and frequency. In general, I think that he is the politician who has placed himself in the strongest position to be a Democratic presidential candidate in four years. He is my top Democrat to watch among many, and one I excitedly hope will run for President in 4 years time and continue to make me proud in the coming years.

Like what you read? Give Michael Welch a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.