(290593)
 (290487)

Let’s start 2020 with a fresh pair of presidential candidates, as well as some familiar faces from the past.

As for the Republican candidates, President Donald J. Trump filed for re-election on Jan. 20, 2017, the day of his inauguration. Curiously, Trump’s re-election odds are higher now, despite his impeachment.

From the remaining 12 Democratic candidates still in the running and on the ballot, only six qualified for the presidential debates, which are crucial decision makers.

According to www.politico.com, the top four democratic candidates at press time are:

1 Joseph R. Biden Jr.: Biden, 77, was the former vice president, working with former President Barack Obama. He previously served as a senator from Delaware.

Major issues: Biden wants to focus on rebuilding the middle class with a new tax reform; an increased minimum wage; more protections for workers; including pay transparency; free public college for everyone; as well as expanding the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”).

Controversy: Biden got caught up in some controversy by supporting the Hyde Amendment —which bans federal funding for abortion and the access for people who need it the most—but he recently changed his mind and is now against the amendment. He is pro-choice, with limits. He also received some heat regarding his overly friendly expressions toward some women who later spoke against his behavior.

2 Bernie Sanders: Sanders, 78, is an Independent senator from Vermont who ran for the Democratic nomination for president against Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Major issues: Sanders is also for raising the minimum wage; he’s pro-felon voting while incarcerated; and he wants farmers to adopt a climate-friendly approach. Sanders also endorses debt free colleges; universal free meals in schools; as well as pro-choice with few limits, if any.

Controversy: In 2016, several women who worked on Sanders campaign went public and accused him of sexual harassment and pay inequity.

3 Elizabeth Warren: Warren, 70, is the senator from Massachusetts who once said in a video, “If you work hard and play by the rules, you ought to be able to take care of yourself and the people you love.”

She then continued with, “We can make our democracy work for all of us. We can make our economy work for all of us.”

Major issues: Higher wages and free education, as well as stricter regulations for Wall Street and big corporations.

Controversy: Her DNA test to prove she has a Native American background caused some controversy and definitely backfired. A number of American voters also call her a socalist.

4 Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg, 37, is the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, one of the youngest candidates and is openly gay.

Major issues: Buttigieg would like to abolish capital punishment; legalize weed; supports paid leave; and would like to push the minimum wage to $15 an hour. He’d also like to eliminate private prisons, fund affordable housing, and invest in rural America.

Controversy: He was criticized in 2015 for a statement he made in regards to #BlackLivesMatters, when he said that “All Lives Matter.”

But Buttigieg is a close fourth place. According to a poll by the Washington Post, he is popular among African-American voters, coming in with 10 percent of Black voter satisfaction, following Biden with 27 percent, Sanders with 18 percent, and Warren with 16 percent.

Although Buttigieg lived with an African-American family when he worked as a Journalist intern in Chicago. Still, it wasn’t enough to convince African-American voters that he understands what the “Black experience,” is. He especially caused controversy when he fired South Bend’s first Black police chief and raised taxes on homeowners in Black neighborhoods.

Biden on the other hand, has a warmer connection to the African-American voters, maybe they are thinking back on the Obama era and all the selfies Biden took with his buddy, our first Black president.

Nevertheless, Buttigieg’s profile doesn’t look too bad, for someone who’s younger and doesn’t have much of an identity in politics yet.

On the opposite side is;

President Donald J. Trump – R: Trump, 73 is the current U.S. President, a former real estate developer and reality TV star.

Major issues: Although President Trump succeeded in decreasing poverty and increasing non-farming jobs while in office, he still has to achieve his campaign slogan “the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” Many people are still without health insurance, also the current national debt has increased by $3 trillion since he took office.

Controversy: Controversies include impeachment, the Russia hacking of the 2016 election; his questionable behavior towards women; his doubts about the press; his tax break for the wealthy—his list goes on. The other two Republicans on the ballot are Joe Walsh and William F. Weld. However, neither of them are making much noise, so chances are they are going to drop out sooner than later.

Congreational seats

There are a number of political newcomers, seasoned community activists, and small business owners challenging well-known incumbents for three important Los Angeles congressional seats long held as political strongholds for the Democratic Party.

Rep. Karen Bass of the 37th Congressional District District has long been an advocate of criminal justice reform, equitable wages for working-poor families, child welfare, health care and has waged a steadfast fight against the conservative Trump agenda in Washington, D.C. Bass is the chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus and is completing her fifth term in Congress.

Erroll Weber, a Republican, is running against her on a platform of enforcing existing immigration laws, advocating for school choice and facilitating Opportunity Zones. Larry Thompson, an Independent, is also on the ballot.

The 37th District includes Culver City, Inglewood, Mid-City, West Los Angeles, Century City, Rancho Park, and View Park-Windsor Hills.

Lucille Roybal Allard has represented the 40th District since 1993. Her father, Ed Roybal, founded the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in 1976. For almost three decades, Roybal Allard has championed public health services, has addressed the needs of working families, has advocated for increased services to veterans and has worked to provide more services for seniors.

One of her challengers, Anthony Felix, a native of East Los Angeles, has stated that “life-long politicians are not able to relate to the American public.” Another challenger, Republican C. Antonio Delgado, is an attorney and has stated that “a good representative must not fall into the trap of becoming a surrogate of ‘special interest’ groups and the money they throw around in Congress.”

A third candidate, David Sanchez, ran twice against Roybal Allard (2012 and 2014) and forced a runoff against her eight years ago. He was once a senior deputy for former Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke. Michael Graham (American Independent) and Rudolfo Cortes (Green Party) are are also challenging Roybal Allard.

The 40th District encompasses much of South Los Angeles, and a number of southeast cities such as Downey, Bell, Bell Gardens, Maywood and Cudahy.

Rep. Maxine Waters is completing her 15th term in California’s 43rd District. Waters, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, has for years been an outspoken opponent of Republican Party policies and was among the first members of Congress to call for the impeachment of President Trump.

Joe Collins, a Republican, is challenging Waters’ seat. The Navy veteran hails from South Los Angeles and wants to address the growing homeless crisis in Los Angeles County, and also seeks a reduction of crime in South LA. Education choices and curtailing gang activity are also two planks of his campaign.

Omar Navarro, also a Republican, is a native of Inglewood. Navarro is a small business owner and has been a coordinator for the United Small Business Alliance Outreach Program, as well as a former Traffic Commissioner for the city of Torrance. Reginald Keys, and Independent, is a write-m candidate.t

The 43rd Congressional District includes portions of South Los Angeles, and also Westchester, Playa Del Rey, Watts, Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Torrance, and the unincorporated regions of West Athens and Harbor Gateway.

Merdies Hayes contributed to this story.