It’s been less than a week since the midterm elections, with several races still too close to call, but that doesn’t mean it’s too soon for the 2020 election to officially get rolling. On Sunday, the first Democrat candidate filed the paperwork to kick off what is destined to be the most over-the-top, hysteria-filled, post-post-apocalyptic election yet.
Even before Democrat Richard Ojeda filed to take him on, President Trump had already managed to give the presidential hopeful a nickname: “stone cold crazy.” To make things even more fun, though “JFK with tattoos and a bench press,” as ABC notes he’s called, is now officially running against Trump, he voted for him back in 2016.
Though he failed to get elected for West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District last week, falling short by a sizable 13 points to Republican Carol Miller, Ojeda still believes he’s got a shot at the highest office in the land. He announced his bid for the presidency Monday morning, and made quite clear what kind of campaign he’s going to run: A drain-the-swamp, anti-establishment campaign aimed at appealing to the blue collar voters Hillary Clinton abandoned in 2016.
“In the last 19 months while running for office in southern West Virginia, we received countless phone calls, e-mails, and messages from people all across the United States of America that educated me that the problems we have in southern West Virginia are the same problems that we have in the Southside of Chicago, in Flint, Michigan, in the Bronx, New York, the Rio Grande Valley and believe it not even places like Silicon Valley,” said Ojeda, ABC reports.
Ojeda said the first pillar of his platform will be fighting Washington corruption by imposing caps on how much elected officials can make. He also called on officials to donate to charity any of their net worth over $1 million. After running on pledges to serve the people, he said, too many elected officials end up amassing “millions upon millions of dollars” and looking out for themselves. He aims to force them to put their money where their mouth is.
Part of Ojeda’s appeal is his unorthodox approach and look. As ABC notes, he’s covered with tattoos of “the names of his fellow service members who died in action on his body.”
Though he fell to Miller, Ojeda’s team insists his loss was actually a win, touting that he managed to turn out 35% of a district that heavily voted for Trump. And though he couldn’t get a majority of them to pull the lever for him this time, he believes he’ll ultimately appeal to more working class Americans than Trump.
“Let me tell you something, we can do this. I think that I relate to the people far more than what the president can ever relate to these people,” he said. Trump, he suggested, is one of the elites whose wealth is a barrier to understanding the middle and lower classes.
Though he’s running as a Democrat, Ojeda voted for Trump in 2016, a decision he’s defended by pointing out that Clinton largely neglected the state’s most important concerns: jobs.
As for Trump’s “stone-cold crazy” line, Ojeda’s embracing it, telling ABC, “If I’m stone-cold crazy because I have a hard time going to sleep at night because we have kids that go to bed hungry, then I’ll be stone-cold crazy, and I’m OK with that.”
2020 is officially on, and it’s going to be one crazy, entertaining ride.