With Donald Trump in the White House, the Democrats were expected to have several contenders to take him on. What no one initially guessed was that it would be 20-some prospective candidates.
Many have dropped out when their candidacy wasn’t getting any traction. While the Nov. 20 Democratic debate only had 10 candidates on stage, there are several candidates that pledge to carry on, hoping to make the next debate.
If that wasn’t enough, at least two new candidates have been making noise about getting into the race, despite the late date and despite missing the first five, national debates.
Most Democrats have a favorite. Some have more than one and more than a few have a “top three” or “top four” list. Nearly every Democrat claims they’ll vote for whomever wins the nomination.
It’s with that spirit that the Las Vegas Spectrum invited community members to weigh in on their current top pick for president. Some of our writers had initially set their sights on a candidate that has since dropped from the race. Obviously between now and the November elections, the field will narrow down to one candidate for the Democrats. At that point, we believe each of our guest authors will rally behind whomever the Democrats choose.
As an avowed progressive news magazine, the Spectrum obviously hopes for a more progressive nominee. More importantly, we pledge that no matter whom the nominee is from the current field, we will solidly support anyone other than the current resident of the White House.
We reached out through social media, email, personal contacts and to individual campaigns for reader comments. We asked the professional campaign staff NOT write the articles below, but it’s quite possible a couple slipped past us. We hope you’ll enjoy reading the views of your fellow Spectrum readers and remember that when the nominee is eventually chosen, we’ll all have to work together.
The views are in no particular order and are arranged more for space. We accepted comments on any candidate, including Donald Trump had anyone been willing to write one. Several candidates are not represented, mostly because we had a hard time finding their local supporters. Enjoy!
My candidate is Joe Biden By KURT THIGPEN Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
I support Joe for a lot of reasons. He has delivered real results for Americans at home and abroad for decades and knows how to get things done. His vision for America is all-encompassing and inclusive, and I know that he can build the coalition of voters that’s needed to win swing states in every corner of this land. But for me, though, it’s Joe’s courage that sets him apart.
I think back to 2012, when Joe became our highest-ranking government official to openly endorse same-gender marriage. People didn’t just think it’d be unpopular; they thought it’d tank the Obama-Biden re-election campaign. But Joe didn’t waiver or backtrack. He remained steadfast, simply because he knew it was the right thing to do.
Joe made an argument that others weren’t willing to make at the time: This is about love, plain and simple. Joe gets that politics is and should always be about people. I am an out gay man in Northern Nevada. I’ve devoted my adult life to fighting to change perceptions here around the LGBTQ community. I can personally tell you that Joe’s courage and support for same-gender marriage made a difference in Reno.
My candidate is Bernie Sanders By TATIANA LEWIS Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
I would always flip flop between Sanders and Warren, since I like both candidates so much. But I have to listen with my heart and go with Bernie Sanders. Bernie has been a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community since day one of his political career. Bernie is a supporter of the green new deal and holding the USA accountable for their environmental actions. Health care is a human right and I believe no other candidate will fight like Bernie will to make sure no one goes bankrupt or homeless because a loved one is sick.
Criminal justice reform is also something I truly believe Bernie Sanders could actually change and do the right thing, not play nice with the politicians and companies that want to keep people in the cycle of poverty and incarceration.
My candidate is Elizabeth Warren By CHUCK STUTZ Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
Let me be extremely frank here, our country will not survive another four years of Donald J Trump. The very foundation of our democracy has been in danger for the last three years. Civility, decency and honesty have been thrown out the window. Our country is in distress, the middle class is in turmoil, the wealthy are obscenely rich, the infrastructure is falling apart, college is no longer affordable, climate change threatens to destroy the world as we know it and health care is a travesty.
We have a two-party political system that is not accomplishing anything at all, there is so much anger and partisanship in our government that the people are suffering. The time is long overdue for a fundamental overhaul of our system. We have become too fractured and separated as we cling to our political ideologies, we need serious solutions and need to start thinking outside of the box. ‘
I support Elizabeth Warren as I sincerely feel she has empathy and an understanding of where we need to move forward as a country. Her plans to address income inequality, eliminate the electoral college, rein in campaign finance, address climate change and establish sensible immigration policies are not only what we need but what we deserve.
My candidate is Kamala Harris By SEN. PAT SPEARMAN Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
You may have heard the phrase “Beat them like a drum,” well, I played drums in high school and college—so I know something about HOW to beat a drum and to get the right beat. “KNOWING HOW” to beat the drum is different than just “Beating the Drum”; skilled percussionist knows the difference.
In 2020 JUSTICE is on the ballot and we need someone with wisdom, courage, compassion, and strength to fight for JUSTICE. Senator Harris is prepared to change the drum beat of injustice-to justice. She knows how to beat the Justice drum for teachers’ raise, the Economic drum putting money back into the pockets of working families; the Justice drum for Medicare for all, WITH CHOICE, and the Justice drum supporting Military Sexual Trauma. She knows how to beat the drum of JUSTICE for Full Equality and Respect for members of the LGBTQ community. She was the FIRST Candidate, in the first debate, beating the Justice drum supporting the Equal Rights Amendment, Reproductive Rights— JUSTICE drum taking Executive Action to implement common sense laws for gun safety. She’s been beating the drum of JUSTICE for Criminal Justice reform her entire legal career. So, the question is, “Do we need someone who can just beat the current occupant like a drum or someone who KNOWS HOW to beat the drum and become, in the words of Dr. King, a Drum Major for Justice? Because my friends, in 2020, JUSTICE IS ON THE BALLOT! Join me as I support Senator Kamala Harris for our next president of the United States of America.
My candidate is Elizabeth Warren By SCOTT WILSON Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
There are lots well qualified-Democrats running (Not Bloomberg!). Any one of them would be an improvement over the incompetent bozo presently in the White House. My favorite for replacing tRump is Mayor Pete but I don’t think he can do it this time. Too young! I believe Elizabeth Warren is a sure winner!
My candidate is Pete Buttigieg By DAVID BLACKMAN Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
Yesterday (when writing this), I attended a Tom Steyer rally. He was engaging, passionate and deeply committed to progressive values, but once again shied away from specifics. Perhaps that is his current strategy.
The gun issue killed Beto. Medicare for all (M4A) and free college are killing both Sanders and Warren. While Steyer’s web site does have more information, when I asked him about net neutrality, he did not know who Anjit Pai was and only vaguely addressed the issue. So, I’m forlorn.
Kamala’s campaign is sadly floundering but could easily come back. The press on staff layoffs was not good. Corey Booker is not gaining traction.
The talk of Hillary will not evolve into something, although I believe it is the Republicans spreading the rumor knowing Trump loves to eviscerate Hillary. I wish Booker and Castro would find a way out of their rut.
Finally, there is Joe Biden. He still leads in most polls. He may not be YOUR best bet, but remember, it’s country over party. If you are a Bernie or Warren person, and still acting like it is 2016 (meaning moving the party to the far “democratic socialist” left) and that nothing else matters if you don’t get your beloved, but horribly wrong, M4A.
There is a reason Trump is already on the airwaves in battleground states like Nevada, Carolina and Iowa with commercials against Biden. He knows if he runs against Bernie or Warren he will easily win.
Strange as it seems, Mayor Pete’s strategy of slow and steady, without crazy proposals and spending trillions, is helping him. He is literate, passionate and rational. This election is the most important one ever. It is the Democrats to lose.
My candidate is Bernie Sanders By KYLE POFF Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
I’m voting for Bernie Sanders because he is the only candidate to consistently fight for humanity, decency, and compassion. Through his 40+ years serving this country, he has never wavered on what he stands for, like every other candidate. He is the only candidate we can trust 100% to do what he says he is going to do, & is willing to fight for all people, not just the wealthy and the elite class.
Just check his voting record, he’s always been on the right side of history, DECADES before any other politician. He voted for gay rights in the 90s, when Clinton and everyone else voted against it. Sanders has been trying to save this country from corruption for decades. He has the most robust climate plan and is the only candidate to receive an A+ for combatting global warming, which is an existential threat to our planet. We don’t have time for incrementalism.
We’ve learned the status quo doesn’t work anymore, it’s what got us in the position we’re in now, with Trump. The American people are fed up with the way the government has been run, on both sides, and Bernie Sanders is the ONLY candidate who we KNOW will stand up to the establishment and not cave in, like Warren and Buttigieg already have.
My candidate is Kamala Harris By DR. DILLARD A. SCOTT Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
Kamala’s plan to provide equality and dignity to all has been the cornerstone in her presidential candidacy. Here in Las Vegas without support, many LGBTQ youth leave home and school when staying is no longer tolerable; tragically, many take their own lives when they believe they will never be accepted for who they are and how they express themselves.
Securing Equality for the LGBTQ community provides hope for an inclusive society. I am supporting Senator Harris because her vision for the future embraces all communities. — Dr. Dillard A. Scott Community Activist and Candidate for Clark County Commission District D.
My candidate is Tom Steyer By ALISTAIR GLOVER Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
As someone who initially struggled with coming out, I have grown to understand the importance of living according to one’s values and personal truth.
That is what I find so appealing about Tom Steyer. While some of the other candidates boast careers in politics, Tom didn’t wait for elected office to pursue supporting the causes he believes in. For the past decade, he’s used his platform and resources to fight for women’s rights, support immigrant families, expand access to the ballot box, and empower organizations that advance the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
During the 2018 election, he helped to organize the campaign to pass Question 6, a ballot measure that would get Nevada’s renewable energy portfolio to 50% by 2030.
Because of his support for various communities and causes, he’s managed to bring together a diverse and inclusive campaign. And as someone who’s had to harmonize living as a Black and Gay man, I am extremely happy to be a part of a team that respects my individual experience.
Tom knows that movements are not won through bumper-sticker sloganeering. You have to get out there and build a grassroots coalition of people from all walks of life.
My candidate is Kamala Harris! By CHRIS MILLER Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
I was the first openly gay Chairman of the Clark County Democratic Party elected to 3 terms, 2011 – 2017. As a staunch Democrat I was faced with a plethora of accomplishedd Democrats to choose from this primary cycle. Even with so many choices, the decision to support California Senator Kamala Harris was an easy one for me.
Sen Kamala Harris has been a fighter for justice for all people from her days as District Attorney in San Francisco, to her time as Attorney General of CA and in her current role as US Senator. During these terms, she has ALWAYS been on the side of justice for our community. Some say that as AG, her decision to fight Prop 8 helped get the case to the Supreme Court where the unconstitutional law was overturned in 2012. Her work throughout her career to reform the criminal justice system has also been viewed as groundbreaking.
After meeting the Senator in 2017, I was won over by her love of family and her dedication to serving all Californians. I cannot wait for her to serve all Americans. #ForThePeople.
My candidate is Pete Buttigieg By DAWN DALLA Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
Our next president should be Mayor Pete Buttigieg. It might be easy to assume that as a bi-sexual woman and supporter of LGBTQ+ rights that I would support Mayor Pete. My case for Pete has nothing to do with his sexuality, nor mine for that matter.
Pete is young. He has a vision of the future for this country not just born from a concern for his eventual children and grandchildren but born out of a concern for himself. Put another way, he has skin in the game for the long term.
He has been the mayor of a city in the midwest. He sees this country beyond just its population centers on the coasts. He understands the needs of people whose voices are often not heard in the halls of Washington. His compassion is palpable.
I also support Pete because he is a combat veteran. He volunteered for service after he received his education. Seeing the world through the eyes of a soldier will provide a much needed steady hand to guide our foreign policy in a fractured world.
If America’s best days are yet to come, we will need people like Pete to bring us into that future.
My candidate is Joe Biden By KATHERINE JONES Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
This February, I am planning to support Joe Biden for president. I’m supporting Joe because he is an experienced and compassionate leader that can also beat Donald Trump in November 2020.
Joe stood shoulder to shoulder with President Barack Obama for eight years, fighting for what is right, including for the Affordable Care Act and being a vocal and original supporter of same-gender marriage, before it was popular to do so. I will forever associate the Obama-Biden Administration with love winning and creating a United States where people like me feel better represented.
As president, I know that Joe will not only prioritize the Equality Act, but actually work with Congress to pass it. He has a proven track record of consensus building to get things done for the American people.
My candidate is Elizabeth Warren By MICHELLE GACK Special to Las Vegas Spectrum
Trust in our government has dropped from an all-time high of 77 percent in 1964 to the near low of 17 percent. This staggering statistic suggests to me that it is way past time to enact big structural changes in order to repair and save our democracy. Fortunately, Elizabeth Warren has many plans (59 at last count) that are all encompassed in one singular goal. As stated on her website: “We need to tackle the corruption in Washington that makes our government work for the wealthy and well-connected, but kicks dirt on everyone else, and put economic and political power back in the hands of the people.”
With respect to LGBTQ+ rights, Warren’s plan includes passing the equality act, preventing the weaponization of religion to discriminate against or harm LGBTQ+ people, and making non-discrimination of LGBTQ+ people a condition of federal grants, I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth Warren at one of the town halls she hosted here in Las Vegas. We chatted briefly and I made a commitment to her that I would knock on 10,000 doors in order to help get her elected. We made a pinky promise to that effect and I am well on my way to meeting that goal.
I’m dreaming big and knocking hard in hopes of electing Elizabeth Warren the 46th president of the United States.
My candidate is Pete Buttigieg By JIM McCOY Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
Mayor Pete has 100 percent of my support and not for the reason you think! In fact, our most common denominator has very little to do with why I endorse him for president.
I stand behind Mayor Pete because I believe that he is the most qualified presidential candidate that we have had in decades. He has the merit of Obama and integrity of Carter. He has the ability to create a muchneeded leadership that will focus on environmental, diversity, humanitarian and economic global issues. He has the attention of the younger generation who are tired of “Old Dark Suits” dictating hatred and dated policy. He has the ability to create a desperately needed revolution of change so that we may begin to move forward instead back.
I revel in Mayor Pete’s Rules of the Road. If you have not read them, I encourage you to do so! They are as follows: Respect, Belonging, Truth, Teamwork, Boldness, Responsibility, Substance, Discipline, Excellence and Joy. https://peteforamerica.com/rules-ofthe-road/ These are simple words that he has established not only for his team but for his supporters. Words, that once are understood, can transform actions and craft a difference for our future!
My candidate is Joe Biden By ELIZABETH ROMERO AHLGREN Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
I’m with Joe because he is a proven and battle-tested ally for the LGBTQ community. As vice president, Joe was the one that pushed President Obama to publicly support same-gender marriage, when Obama was concerned it would hurt their reelection. Joe also helped push the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act as well as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, some of the most significant improvements for LGBTQ rights in recent history. While many other candidates speak truth and say the right things, Joe has actions to point to. That is why I know as president, Joe will fight for LGBTQ rights and push back against the Trump Administration’s attacks on our community, including barring the current military transgender ban and other attacks specifically targeting the transgender community.
My candidate is Pete Buttigieg By RICH GILROY Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
What has impressed me the most about Pete Buttigieg is his integrity. He is relentlessly honest, compassionate, empathetic and unflappable — the polar opposite of the current White House occupant.
Pete’s “rules of the road,” attributes which we volunteers must uphold, include truth, responsibility, teamwork and respect, among others. He lives them, and so do we. Pete’s policies are what I call “pragmatically progressive.” They’re dynamic enough to move the nation forward and reverse the regression of the current administration, yet realistic enough to achieve public — and Congressional — approval. Before we can enact universal health care and address the climate crisis, for example, we have to win the election. Pete can.
When I met Pete last April, I shook his hand and said, “You are an inspiration. I never thought I’d see this day come,” meaning — of course— the day that an out gay man would run for president. Now, seven months later, I am still inspired by Pete, not only because of who he is, but also because of his intellect, energy and vision. As Pete says, “it’s time to change the channel” from this horrific reality show of the past three years. It’s time for a new generation of leadership. It’s time for Pete.
My candidate is Bernie Sanders By JAKE MARKO Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
I am 31 years old and the activism and outreach coordinator for Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada.
As an activist who’s been in the trenches and on the frontlines in the fight for equality and justice most of my life, there is only one candidate who has earned my support for president in 2020. His name is Bernard Sanders.
His advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community predates my birth. As mayor of Burlington in the 1980s, he implemented an ordinance that banned anti-gay housing discrimination. He supported a Pride parade in Burlington back in 1983, long before most politicians even spoke about LGBTQ rights or even knew what Pride was.
Today, Medicare for All would mean the end of health care disparities endured by trans patients and prioritize sexual health and well-being, that without the work of our community, would be non existent. His administration would bring an end to employment and housing discrimination with enforceable penalties for those who violate our rights. Bernie is an ardent supporter of the Equality Act.
Most of all, as a Jewish man who’s family was wiped out in the holocaust, Senator Sanders knows, in a visceral and personal way, what happens when a nation succumbs to hatred of “the other”. That is how I know Bernie is strongest on universal equality for everyone, especially the LGBTQ community.
My candidate is Pete Buttigieg By REV. J. BERY VAUGHN, Ph.D. Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
Like many religious leaders, I’ve found the last three years difficult and troubling. Scripture tells us to love our neighbor and to be our brother and sister’s keeper, but we have a president who constantly denigrates marginalized communities and closes the nation’s doors to those fleeing violence, oppression and persecution.
I long for a president who embodies civility and decency — and one candidate has given me hope: Pete Buttigieg, the young Afghanistan veteran and mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Unlike many political leaders, Pete speaks the language of faith because it is an important part of his life. Like me, the mayor is an Episcopalian, but more importantly, he embodies the values that he professes: honesty, kindness, respect for the dignity of every person, and the desire to serve every human being as a child of God who is made in the divine image.
Pete’s platform further elaborates his faith. For him, health care is a human right and climate change a crisis caused by the damage we have done to God’s good earth. These things are not just rhetoric to Pete; as a two-term mayor, he has worked to put his principles into practice and shown an ability to create coalitions to achieve change.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg embodies the best of the American character – truth, patriotism, and courage. He is the kind of leader we need in the highest office in our land. Pete can restore our faith in the political process and be a president we can be proud of once again. The Rev. J. Barry Vaughn, Ph.D., is Rector, Christ Church Episcopal
My candidate is … still undecided By CHRIS DAVIN Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
With the primary election coming around the corner so fast, it’s really a hard toss up on who I would vote for. Every candidate has so many good ideas.
Do you pick a candidate because they identify as LGBTQ? Or do you pick a candidate that might not identify as LGBT but is with the LGBTQ+ community?
For myself, this has been a back and forth choice of who really is the best fit candidate to get my vote. The top runners so far on my list in no particular order are, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden.
I have always thought Joe Biden did a great job when he was vice vresident. I think going with Elizabeth Warren would finally bring a woman into office as president and Pete Buttigieg would make history having the first LGBT president and first gentleman in office. It’s going to be a hard choice on which of the three I will go with. Hopefully, over the next few weeks and months, one of them will make me sway my vote to them.
My candidate is Cory Booker By KATIE LIM Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
“I see you, I love you.” Those are the words that Cory Booker used at a recent speech in Iowa. I can’t express how much that means to me — a young, AAPI LGBTQ high school student here in Las Vegas. Too often, people like me are unseen, issues that impact my community are left out. But in Cory I see a candidate who sees me. He has built a campaign based on the values of love and respect for one another. For his entire career in public service, Cory has been a devoted champion of the LGBTQ community. It’s time we have a president who every day is using their platforms to inspire and ignite justice so that we see everyone for the equal dignity and equal citizenship that we all have.
My candidate is Bernie Sanders By DEREK MARSHALL Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
My name is Derek Marshall and I support Bernie Sanders for president because as a political organizer (and queer nightlife promoter), I understand the importance of the TYPE of campaign that is being run. In order to win important policy victories, we can’t just focus on getting one person elected, we have to have a larger strategy that involves getting thousands of folks elected and then transitioning those campaigns and teams into individual issue advocacy post-election.
That is what Bernie organizers have built over the past three years, a mass movement. From Sunrise to AOC, Bernie Organizers didn’t step down in 2016, they stepped UP! I am also a huge supporter of the Green New Deal and Single Payer Healthcare. Those and all of the things that we want to achieve as Dem-ocrats will only come to pass if we have an effective theory of change. #NotMeUs
This and so much more is why I will caucus for Sen. Bernie Sanders on Feb. 2, 2020.
My candidate is Bernie Sanders By SHAWNASEA FARRELL Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
My candidate is Bernie Sanders because this man has been there for us as an outspoken and reliable ally since 1972 when he first ran for office. His platform proposed abolishing all discriminatory law pertaining to sexuality. He voted against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Defense Of Marriage Act. The Human Rights Campaign consistently gives him a 100 percent rating. He believes LGBTQ values are family values. He is a cosponsor of the Every Child Deserves A Family act of 2017. He believes we deserve equal rights in all aspects including the right to be free of discrimination at school, in the workplace, and in the military. Not only does he lift up marginalized communities, but he fights for everyone in every aspect of our lives from climate change and environmental protection to education and healthcare. I believe a future with Bernie Sanders leading us would be in the best interests of our country and for the generations to come.
My candidate is Pete Buttigieg By GARY WATSON Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
As voters, we are presented with a simple task: to state who gets the position. For all the claims a candidate makes, when the dust settles on election day, we are left with only the hope that the candidate will do what was promised. Judging a candidate’s potential to deliver used to be enough. Not anymore. To meet the challenges facing this country, we no longer can think within the limited horizon of the next four years. We must now consider the long-term impact of the POTUS we select, which does not rest solely on policy, it rests squarely on the character and capacity of the candidate to not only deliver but endure.
Last week, I met a candidate who fulfills the above. In a single handshake I saw, not a candidate seeking fulfillment of a personal aspiration, but a new future of America. It is not hyperbole when Pete Buttigieg states “it is more than winning an election – it’s about winning an era.” This country we love needs a new leader who can embrace everyone of all backgrounds and ideologies. A leader who can guide an economy into benefiting all Americans, not just a few. A leader who believes in a democracy for all, not just a select class, and understands how to dismantle the systemic problems that impedes the ideal.
As a veteran, Harvard graduate, and Mayor of South Bend, Pete is that leader. Beyond an impressive resume, at the age of 37, Pete brings to the table that vital key ingredient – lasting vision. Good policy isn’t enough. We need leadership to see those policies through the hurdles that challenge their implementation. Discover what I experienced firsthand: the new future of America. Discover Pete at PeteForAmerica.com.
My candidate is Tulsi Gabbard By DAVID EVANS Special to the Las Vegas Spectrum
My candidate is Tulsi Gabbard because it’s time we have a president who will stand against our intelligence agencies and warmongering generals in the pursuit of peace.
It is time for diplomacy, it is time to end our forever wars, and it’s time to invest in our country. Tulsi is the only candidate who can unify our country behind the policies that actually matter. I want a commander and Chief who is willing to meet with Assad. Willing to pull is out of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, and the list goes on and on.Our regime change wars are brutal, barbaric, and cruel. We must end this empire.
As a gay man I support Tulsi because I believe she has my back. In her 7 years in Congress, she has a 100% pro-LGBTQ voting record. I believe she will continue to fight for me and my rights.