"I see a country in quicksand" the young Congressman said while announcing his tilt at the presidency.

By Daniel Herborn


Posted on April 9, 2019

Swalwell made the announcement in an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on the night of Monday 8 April.

His candidacy means there are now an unwieldy 18 candidates for the Democratic nomination in 2020, with likely candidates Joe Biden and Steve Bullock (Governor of Montana) yet to show their hand.

Swalwell has made gun control a priority

Speaking to Colbert, the 38-year-old emphasised his credentials as a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee.

“I’ve been in Congress for six years, I’ve defended our country from the Intelligence Committee while democracy has been on the ropes,” he said, “I see a country in quicksand, unable to solve problems and threats from abroad, unable to make life better for people here at home. Nothing gets done.”

Shortly after his talk show appearance, he published a tweet featuring a short video unveiling his campaign slogan ‘Go big. Be bold. Do good’.

The Congressman has positioned himself as a fierce critic of US President Donald Trump.

He has been particularly vocal on gun control and at one point went on the road with Cameron Kasky, a survivor of the 2018 Parkland shooting to campaign against gun violence. He has also been active on the issue of student debt, establishing a group of likeminded colleagues to discuss the topic and plan policy initiatives.

Data journalism site FiveThirtyEight has reported he has only voted with Trump 19.3% of the time in Congress. He has usually only sided with the President on uncontroversial measures, such as allocating funds to disaster relief and stepping up efforts to curb opioid addiction.

Swalwell at the back of line for Democrats contenders

The Californian has achieved reasonable levels of recognition as a prolific cable news interviewee, but he is not considered one of the leading Democrats candidates. One betting agency even listed him as less likely to secure the nomination than novelty candidates such as rapper Marshall Mathers (Eminem) and entertainer Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

While there is no indication either Johnson or Mathers have interest in running, former 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin has announced on Twitter that defeating Trump would be “so easy” if he decided to run. “I promise I will win,” he boasted. Having famously impersonated Trump as a droopy-lipped imbecile on Saturday Night Live since 2016, Baldwin would at least know his enemy.

The heavyweight contenders are Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, Kamala Harris and Biden, with UBI advocate Andrew Yang and Pete Buttigieg both making headlines and generating huge interest but not really expected to challenge the big four candidates.

Other prominent Democratic candidates such as Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand are already falling behind the leading group.

No Democratic candidate is as short-priced as Trump to emerge as President.

The proliferation of Democrats putting their hands up for the role has raised questions of whether less known candidates will face unprecedented challenges of cutting through the noise of the campaign to win recognition, much less building a significant base with voters.

On the Republican side, only former Libertarian candidate Bill Weld has said he will challenge Trump, but he has not been viewed as a realistic chance to unseat the incumbent President.

Header image credit: James Morehead