Last week Eric Swalwell, a member of the House of Representatives from California, announced that he is also running for the Democratic nomination for President in 2020.
As the title of his announcement video says, his campaign slogan, at least for now, is “Go big. Be bold. Do good.” A rather generic, yet inspiring and hopeful message to be spreading across the country.
Swalwell has been gaining attention in Democratic circles since President Trump assumed office because of his role on the House Intelligence Committee and how vigorously he goes after the President and his firm belief that President Trump colluded, not a crime, with Russia during the 2016 election.
As Governor of Washington Jay Inslee is focusing his campaign on climate change, and proclaiming himself to be the “climate candidate”, Swalwell is doing a similar thing but with gun control. He wants to make the primary focus of his campaign gun reform, and reducing the amount of gun violence in this country.
Almost all Democrats agree on the basic gun control laws that should be passed, universal background checks for gun and ammunition purchases, removing guns from domestic violence perpetrators, and banning certain types of assault weapons. Where Representative Swalwell varies from the rest of the candidates running when it comes to gun policy is that he supports a government mandated buyback of all “military-style semiautomatic assault weapons”, similar to what occurred in Australia back in the late 1990s.
The policy worked very well in Australia, they have had zero mass shootings since the buyback, but is not as widely accepted in the United States and could provide some resistance even from Democrats. Although he could very well be the Bernie Sanders of this election, where he probably won’t win but he could push a narrative and conversation and make the buyback program a much more mainstream democratic position.
Beyond gun policy, Swalwell is campaigning heavily on healthcare and education reform. His website outlines a plan to make healthcare a guarantee for all Americans, meaning that if they are sick they can see a doctor and the costs will never make you go broke because of getting sick. That doesn’t necessarily mean he supports Medicare-For-All as most candidates do, but it is early on and he could adopt that position in the near future.
He also proposes a plan to make all federal student loans interest free and to make sure that college is debt-free for public university students that commit to a work-study program during their time in school.
Based on these focused policies it is clear the Swalwell is betting on getting a big portion of his support from younger Democratic voters across the country. However, he will still have some trouble, he is relatively unknown, only a 3-term congressman, and doesn’t have the amount of fundraising that some of the other candidates do at the moment. That could all change over the course of the campaign, as we are months away from the first votes being cast, and he will definitely be working as hard as possible to make a difference.