By: Nate Morris, senior editor
In 376 days, the future of the nation will begin to take shape in places like the cafeteria of Anthon Elementary School in Woodbury, Iowa. The sleepy, snowy landscape of this flyover state will take center stage as excited caucus-goers in winter gear enter unassuming schools, community centers and churches to advocate for their chosen 2020 candidate amid a whirlwind of media and politicos.
And then, by 11:59 on the night of February 3rd, as quickly as that whirlwind arrived, it will leave, moving throughout the rest of the nation as the primary calendar unfolds. In it’s wake will be winners and losers; some will declare victory while others unceremoniously end their campaigns in the cold winter wind.
However, before it ends, before the field is whittled down, Iowans will have the opportunity to make their selection for president from a field of candidates that reflects America more than it ever has in our history.
As of Wednesday, January 23rd, ten significant candidates had declared their intention to run for the Democratic nomination for President. Among them, only two were straight, white men.
Senator Kamala Harris of California, the leading prospect from the current field, would be the first Black woman ever to hold the office. The AKA sorority member and Howard University alumna made history in her electoral ascension through the California judiciary system.
Representative Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii is the first American-Samoan and Hindu candidate for a major party in the history of American politics.
Senators Elizabeth Warren (Mass) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) are also garnering excitement as they swing across Iowa, introducing themselves to voters at cafes and corner stores, seeking to be the first woman to hold the world’s highest office.
Julian Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama roused an energetic Texas crowd during his announcement speech, declaring his candidacy as the first Latinx candidate in the race in both English and Spanish.
Pete Buttigieg, the young, high profile Navy veteran and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announced his candidacy on twitter Wednesday morning, making him the first openly-gay elected official to run for the presidency.
Ken Nwadike, Jr., the award-winning activist also known as “The Free Hugs Guy” announced his candidacy for President in October of 2017, making him the first Black man to seek the Democratic nomination for president since Barack Obama.
Finally, Andrew Yang, the New York entrepreneur and child of Taiwanese immigrants, entered the race as the first Asian-American candidate for a major party, his campaign gaining traction as he advocates for the prospect of Universal Basic Income.
As this field of candidates continues to grow and expand and scrutiny of their past views and voting records intensifies, a stark juxtaposition between the diversity of the Democratic party and the Republican party becomes increasingly clear.
After more than two years of fierce advocacy for gender equality, racial justice and social and economic equity following the election of Donald Trump, all eyes are on one of the whitest states in the union as the most diverse bench of candidates in American history shares their vision for the nation and vies for Iowa’s support.
Nate Morris is the senior editor of the Black Wall Street Times. Nate was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area and moved to Tulsa in 2012 after graduating from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. He received his Master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2015. Nate is a Teach for America alumnus and has worked in schools throughout the Tulsa area.