There are (currently) 24 potential democratic candidates for the party’s nominee, and they really have a diverse mix of names. From Joe Biden and Tim Ryan, to Bernie Sanders and Marianne Williamson, to Pete Buttigieg and Kristen Gillibrand, there is a mix of names as varied as their policy stances.
Instead, we’re going to prop you up with the pronunciation of some of the more complex names in the running, along with their background. Next time you’re discussing politics at a cocktail party or fundraiser, you’ll immediately know what you’re talking about.
Just make sure you read those other articles too. We don’t endorse political ignorance!
The Really Tricky Names:
Perhaps the most infamously mispronounced name on this list (there’s even a song), Buttigieg is surprisingly simple to get correct: it just requires a little attention. Buttigieg is currently the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
Bill de Blasio is the current mayor of New York City, and has recently set his sights on the Democartic candidacy. His name has its roots in his Italian heritage.
Gabbard is the first Hindu member of Congress. She acts as the representative for Hawaii, and her name is pronounced with a soft “T.”
Kirsten Gillibrand has earned the moniker “Me Too Senator” for speaking out about sexual harassment during her time in the Senate. Her last name can get tricky thanks to the soft “G.”
The first woman to be elected a Missouri senator, Amy Klobuchar announced her bid for the presidency during a snowstorm. Her last name comes from her Slovenian heritage.
Messam, the son of a Jamaican immigrant and a former NFL player, is currently the mayor of Miramar, Florida. While his first name may be simple, his surname can be a little more tricky.
With perhaps the most colorful background of the democratic candidates, Beto O’Rourke has snagged a lot of publicity in the past year. A former hacker, punk-rocker and US Congressman, his name combines his Irish-American background with a Spanish nickname, “Beto.”
The Deceptively Simple Names:
Yang is making the rounds for his dedication to helping Americans through the AI Revolution. He has also been noted for accepting donations in Bitcoin.
Swalwell boasts blue-collar roots and a strong commitment to tackling access to college in the US. His last name calls to Olde English, and means “Swallow Stream.”
Castro offers a powerful narrative: he and his twin brother came from a low-income neighborhood to Ivy League degrees and political careers. His name hails from his Latinx heritage.
Harris comes from Jamaican and Indian heritage, and policy-wise is quite reminiscent of the Obama presidency. Kamala often says that you can pronounce her name by adding “la” to “comma.”
Moulton was a member of Congress for the state of Massachusetts. His last name could originate from a number of British towns.
Jay Inslee makes a strong argument for climate change legislation. He also happens to be supported by none other than Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Delaney looks to blue-collar issues in order to resonate with more moderate Americans. His last name looks tricky, but becomes simple once you break it down.
Steve Bullock is looking to unite more moderate voters under a single banner. He is also known for fighting for stronger campaign financing laws.
The other democratic candidates:
Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders are all fixtures in the American political landscape. And their names aren’t too tricky: they’re more or less how they sound. The same goes for other candidates not mentioned here.
Check out some of the articles in the intro to find out more about those we haven’t mentioned.