It may be mid-June in 2019, but we’re about to enter one of the biggest weeks in 2020 movements to date. On Monday, nearly a dozen candidates will appear on stage at an inequality forum in Washington, hosted by the Poor People’s Campaign and Rev. William Barber, one of the most influential political and faith leaders in Democratic politics. The event, billed as “a national call for moral revival,” is one of the largest gatherings of presidential aspirants on one stage yet. I’ll be at Trinity Washington University following the action.
As these things go, the big draw is usually tied to the current frontrunner, and this event is no different. Former Vice President Joe Biden is kicking off the day’s speaking circuit and will appear alongside most of his rivals for the first time since launching his campaign in April. Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), three top-tier candidates, as well as Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, author Marianne Williamson, businessman Andrew Yang, and Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam are all scheduled to attend.
In my view, this is not just another 2020 cattle call. It’s one of the biggest meetings of current 2020 contenders. Ten candidates! Which means we’ll get a glimpse into how they match up ahead of the first primary debates next month. But it’s also a chance for candidates across the Democraitc ideological spectrum–from the moderate lane occupied by Biden to left-leaning space taken up by Sanders and Warren–to hear directly from voters who often find themselves most dependent on the federal government for support. With a party set on increasing turnout and tapping into areas of the country that were largely ignored in 2016, candidates and voters would be wise to pay particular attention to the issues and responses discussed on Monday.