In 2015, I was a young Ohioan just beginning my interest in Democratic politics when Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) caught my eye. Ever since politics became my lifeblood, Brown has been my favorite Senator and perhaps my favorite politician.
Brown has campaigned on issues that make me proud to be an Ohioan and call him my favorite Senator: bipartisanship, fighting corporate special interests and promoting American jobs and working to reduce healthcare costs. These are the issues typical of the easygoing, moderate Democrat you can often find elsewhere in the Midwest.
As a politician, Brown is in an interesting position. He was the only Democrat re-elected statewide in Ohio in the 2018 midterms. He beat his opponent, Jim Renacci, by six points in a state President Trump had won by a comfortable eight-point margin in 2016.
This leads many to wonder whether Brown is the sort of Democrat that can regain the Midwest in 2020 as a presidential candidate or whether the Democratic Party has shifted too far leftward to make him a viable candidate in the primary.
Personally, I find him to be the most practical candidate. I’m hoping he announces his candidacy soon. He’s a reasonable alternative to slogan-rearing, fire-and-fury Democrats and a Republican Party with more rhetoric than substance. With Brown, what you see is what you get. He pushes bipartisan bills, often alongside his colleague Rob Portman (R-Ohio,) in an effort to break up big banks, make trade deals which put American workers first and push for increasing healthcare coverage for seniors, workers and small businesses.
His conversational and conscientious approach is admirable and has produced allies in sectors he’s trying to improve. Building coalitions in this way, though, is seen by Democratic Party loyals in two separate ways.
For those in the left portion of the party, it seems untrustworthy, corporatist and naive. For those in the center-left, it’s what they desire: an easygoing approach that is a stark contrast to Trump’s loud populism.
Brown’s efforts resonate with me as a young Midwestern progressive who craves meaningful and tangible reform. I admire candidates like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders for their abilities to rally a crowd and for the sweeping reforms they hope to accomplish but I often favor candidates who have a record of bipartisanship, diligence and genuine understanding of Midwestern plight.
He makes a convincing argument about a cautious approach towards sweeping medicare reforms, claiming “you don’t wipe away” the current health system and “then come up with something new that will take time and cause people angst and anguish to move to a different plan.” With this, he resonates well with independents and moderate democrats wary of radical change which, I’d argue, make up a sizable portion of the country’s Democrats.
I think Brown would compete well in a general election against Donald Trump and could hold him accountable for his broken promises regarding trade and outsourcing in Ohio and elsewhere. He differs from his colleagues in the Democratic Party mostly in approach. He is committed to improving the lives of everyday Americans through palatable, and therefore possible initiatives and I feel that the party needs to prioritize making headway in these aspects of American life over who can rally a crowd with theoretically sound but ultimately elusive objectives.
Additionally, he has publicly stated his willingness to refuse corporate PAC money if he were to run for president. This is an admirable and reasonable step towards improving campaign finance. While this may not be enough to convince the progressive wing of the party of his merits, it’s certainly a step that I would encourage all Democrats to make while running for any political office.
Brown is the best choice for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 2020 for several reasons.
First, he is incredibly electable as shown by the 2018 Midterms.
Second, he would have a great advantage in Midwestern states that were taken by President Trump and the Republicans in 2016.
Third, his record of bipartisanship is refreshing in today’s divisive political atmosphere.
Fourth, he has built coalitions with institutions and enterprises he wishes to improve, an important step for negotiating and forming policy.
Fifth, he is more concerned with reform than rhetoric, a stark contrast to some in his own party and in the White House.
And lastly, he is willing to follow the leftward trend of the Democratic Party at a pace comfortable to middle America.
Brown has the perfect mix of authenticity, likability and grit. He knows how to get things done and work across the aisle. We cannot afford another four years of the Trump presidency and Sherrod Brown is the best hope of defeating the toxic administration.