Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren put out a video on Dec. 31, 2018, announcing her plans to run for president in 2020, making her the first high profile Democrat to do so. In the weeks since, several other Democrats have followed suite, including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and Senator Kamala Harris. These candidates are only the first to enter what will likely be a very large field of candidates, all contending to be the one to represent the Democratic Party in the 2020 general election. With the 2018 elections only a few months behind us, some Americans might wonder whether it’s too soon for the next election to begin. The truth is that this election will be very important, and it’s important to take the time to get it right. If Americans learn nothing else from the past few years, we must learn the importance of taking part in our democracy.

With so many candidates running, it will be no easy task to pick the right one. The American people need time to learn about all of the candidates’ stances on different issues and make an informed decision. Through debates, town halls and reporting, the candidates will be put to the test, and ideally the best will emerge victorious. There are many debates and discussions to be had about exactly what direction is the right one for the country, and the upcoming primary will be the ideal forum for those debates. No matter who wins the primary, we will be better as a country for having undergone the process.

It’s true, of course, that we can’t let the election consume all our attention and distract us from other important events that will happen between now and November 2020, but I don’t think there’s too much risk of that. If anything, this election will give Democrats a louder voice with which to address the citizens of the United States about the issues facing the nation, with the candidates showing the country and the world a more hopeful and optimistic alternative to the cynical fear mongering of Donald Trump’s corrupt administration. Standing in contrast to the insane tweets, the heartless policies and the corrupt dealings, there will be a field of candidates presenting a bold and progressive vision for the future.

There’s a lot riding on 2020, and it’s vital that Americans and the Democratic party take the time to get this right. If 2020 goes the same way as 2016, it will affirm all the vile and cynical ways the Trump Administration has attempted to subvert our democracy and our values, and encourage even worse. The actions of the Trump Administration have directly caused tangible suffering to real people and intangible damage to the spirit of our democracy, and it has to stop. Activists and protesters have done a lot to push back, the new House lead by Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be able to do even more, but the only way we can truly and completely end this madness is to pull it out at the root and retake the White House. With such high stakes, it’s important we take the time to choose the best possible candidate.

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