2020: The Doggone Dilemma

In the field of at or around 8,000 Democratic presidential nominees still in contention (give or take roughly 7,982), I side with the generally frustrating consensus: It’s tough to narrow down a few candidates out of the 18 in the running, let alone choose one to cast our precious vote for. We really aren’t getting enough credit on being able to juggle the separate ideas – policies and jabs at the current President that each candidate has wielded in their campaigns thus far. At this point, it’s just all too clear: There’s a lot of people that have ideas and the fully ignited passion – on how to change the currently crappy state of our United States of America.

There are so many blue-minded, donkey-loving folks to choose from right now, and they keep entering the race! Former Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick didn’t even declare candidacy for the race until Thursday, November 14, less than three months away from the pivotal, game-changing Iowa primaries. Depending on how Thanksgiving dinners go, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more people join the running just to spite their armchair-reclining, opinion-loving uncles.

Medicare for all who want it? Pistol Pete Buttigieg (for the hoopers: not Maravich) has quite literally got you covered. Major gun control reform and help navigating a pesky high school breakup? Elizabeth Warren is eager to share her plans for both. Exposing Donald Trump for what he really is: a fraud and a failure? You bet your bottom dollar that the ultimate fun, rich, restaurant-owner-type-of-guy Tom Steyer has got you covered in that department (re: every YouTube advertisement ever.)

Choosing a country-altering solution is hard when you’re hearing many of the same things in regard to presidential policy and procedure. After a while, all of these things start to get blended into the chock-full Fruit Ninja that is our abundant Democratic candidate pool. If only there was a way to help…

Thanks to a highly informative dog breed book I got when I was a chubby fifth grader with the burning need for my more creative opinions to be public, I might be of service to you. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you, (some of) the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates as canines. Grab your primary ballots and your Purina—it’s going to be a ruff ride.

1. Joe Biden: Golden Retriever

This one goes without saying. It’s a tale as old as time; much like Joe Biden, Golden

Retrievers have been adored by the public for quite some time. They’re loveable, care a lot about the people around them and aim to please a lot of people. Potential cons? A little slower than other candidates/breeds, a little goofier and potentially too affectionate in some social situations.

2. Cory Booker: Dalmatian

Dalmatians are an underappreciated source of strength in their community, serving as the

official canine of the firehouse—not any ordinary feat. Sen. Cory Booker reigns supreme in his home state of New Jersey as a man of the people; in his early political years, he often advocated for the poor and marginalized groups in Newark. However, despite continuously serving his people, like a Dalmatian, Sen. Booker often goes unappreciated against the others running the political landscape. Though they’re a strong, uniquely beautiful, black-spotted breed, you don’t see many Dalmatians in the popularity contest. It’s the same for Sen. Booker—vital yet underutilized.

3. Pete Buttigieg: Beagle

Meager, mild and innocent yet affirmed in their views, Buttigieg gives off strong Beagle

vibes. Perhaps it’s his seemingly smaller head with prominent ears combo, but that’s the canine comparison that seems the most obvious to this writer. As a smaller dog with strong, instilled hound tendencies, a Beagle knows how to assert themselves for what they desire through their skills. Like a Beagle, Buttigieg has moved into the top of the polls by being himself when the world thought otherwise of him. Though small in popularity to begin with, Mayor Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, has focused himself into strong contention through his own individualistic ways—small yet mighty in confidence.

4. Tulsi Gabbard: German Shepherd

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii is the ultimate warrior. In her numerous roles within the

Hawaii Army National Guard since 2003, Gabbard has been deployed to Iraq and Kuwait and served as the former Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee. Her experiences and hard-pressed personality have given her the fighter persona in this presidential race. Similar to a Gabbard, a German Shepherd gives off the idea of being forceful in their ways. They’re a symbol of dominance and persistence through their own determination. Active in intelligence and strength like her canine counterpart, Gabbard is looked over as a potentially threatening candidate due to her powerful prowess when in reality, it’s all because she deeply cares about the issues at hand in America. Additionally, just like German Shepherds and other members of the herding group, Gabbard is top notch in blue-collar areas.

5. Kamala Harris: Jack Russell Terrier

An anecdote about Sherman the Jack Russell Terrier from my neighborhood:

Sherman belongs to my good friend Ryan and his family. Like most Jack Russell Terriers, Sherman could be a good boy but had the capability of flipping his switch on a dime. One day at Ryan’s house, Sherman had greeted me while I was eating a snack and, because he was hungry too, he sat at my feet and began to beg. After I had refused him a nibble, I went downstairs with Ryan to watch Tosh.0 because it was 2011 and we viewed that program as one that should win every possible Emmy in existence. Sherman quickly followed and sat at the opposite end of their family’s loveseat about seven feet from me. He quickly stood up, gazed at me, jumped onto me in one motion and bit my thumb all in one sequence.

I don’t see Kamala being this bitter over not getting a portion of a sleeve of Ritz crackers like Sherman was, but there’s a strong similarity in emotion. Yes, Sen. Harris is extremely knowledgeable and well-experienced, but when that passion begins to heat up and she feels questioned by anyone, she knows when to pounce (see: Most of her jabs at Joe Biden). Much like my right thumb, if you choose to oppose her in a debate or on the campaign trail, you better be able to back it up.

6. Bernie Sanders: Bloodhound

This one couldn’t be more straightforward. Bloodhounds are unconventional in their

qualities, knowing exactly how to sniff out a problem and fix it. Bloodhounds aren’t popular due to drool and coming off as a less than exciting dog breed. Much like Bernie Sanders, bloodhounds aren’t popular amongst the older crowd because the older people want a dog that at the very least acts younger than they do. In addition, I would add that the drool is just as unappealing to old people as the idea of socialism is. Yes, do the math: The drool is equivalent to socialism—try to keep up. Plus, at the very least, both Bernie and Bloodhounds have seen less wrinkly days.

7. Tom Steyer: Chihuahua

Yippy is the word that comes to mind when I think of a Chihuahua. A lot of them just act

unequivocally frantic; in a sense, I see Tom Steyer as acting the same way. Chihuahuas aren’t a bad option by any means, they’re just generally thought over because people usually want more out of a dog than a spastic, six-pound ball of fluff. Billionaire Tom Steyer, similarly, isn’t a bad candidate but just isn’t the best option at all. His platform focuses on things that aren’t major issues in the 2020 presidential race, and he essentially is trying to prove himself as a better, more holistic businessman than Donald Trump. His ideas aren’t bad, but you know that he sits in the backseat of this race kind of like Bruiser the Chihuahua sat in Elle Woods’ flashy pink purse in “Legally Blonde.” I’ll leave you with this: Who are the usual suspects when you think of Chihuahua owners? Old, stupidly rich elitists from metropolitan spots like New York City—an exact description of Tom Steyer.

8. Elizabeth Warren: Boxer

Passionate and personable is an understatement. Much like Vermont Sen. Sanders, Sen.

Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is one who cares deeply about the issues at hand. However, the main difference between her and Sanders is her ability to express her love for politics. Much like a Boxer, Elizabeth Warren is firm in her views, confident in herself and will jump in your lap and be in your face letting you know about every plan she’s got for the country. A Boxer could be standing firm at the door of your house one minute, chest puffed out because they heard an unsettling noise; then, within seconds, they’re speeding around the house looking for their favorite chew toy and coming to sit on your lap. Like a Boxer, Elizabeth Warren knows what she wants, but she’s going to make sure she’s in tune with the people around her first before anything.

9. Andrew Yang: Standard Poodle

Money talks with this breed. They just look rich, with some of them shaved on parts of their

legs and having fur near their paws that are thick and look like Ugg Boots. Yang is the creator of Venture for America, a program which disperses two-year fellowships to those who are breaking into their startup businesses. He’s rich, and Standard Poodles look wealthier than other dog breeds, plain and simple. There’s more to Yang, as well as Standard Poodles, than the first glance, dating profile sort of knowledge we have of them. However, there’s such a big hump to get over that first immediate thought of wealth that are assimilated into both their personas; in essence, with both Yang and Standard Poodles, it’s tough to see more than dollar signs.

10. Marianne Williamson: Lhasa Apso

Williamson, besides being a New York Times bestselling author, non-profit organizer and

activist, is a 2020 Democratic candidate running on a platform of spiritual leadership. There’s less focus on the issues at hand than there is on peace and prosperity being achieved in the end. Yes, there’s tangible ways to get there that she’s outlined, but her main goal, one that Saturday Night Live has mockingly highlighted, is love and happiness. Now, in a terrible transition, have you seen a Lhasa Apso? It’s one of those dogs with so much fur that it can’t see and kind of looks like the mop grandmother keeps in the corner of her basement. Williamson and Lhasa Apsos: Both absolutely wonderful and well-intentioned yet completely blinded from reality.

2020 is just a woof, bark and a growl away from coming into the foreground and, with a plethora of worthy, passionate Democratic presidential candidates, homework needs to be done on who we believe is best to take the ticket. To the people, in order to form a more perfect union: I know it can be ruff, but this country needs all of us. In these dog days of our arguably most pivotal election cycle, individual action and support for change is paramount to the welfare of our United States of America.

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