BOSTON — Many of the Democratic candidates looking to unseat President Donald Trump in 2020 are spending the last day of 2019 ringing in the new year with would-be supporters. Elizabeth Warren, a former Harvard law professor, is marking her anniversary of forming a presidential exploratory committee with a speech at Boston's Old South Meeting House, a Congregational church famous for being the organizing point for the Boston Tea Party in 1773. Warren's Tuesday speech highlights how she'd stamp out government corruption.
"It is normally a moment for optimism," Warren plans to say of the coming new year, according to excerpts released by her campaign. "But let's face it: this year in America has been anything but normal."
She will decry the "chaos and ugliness of the past three years" under Trump but also swipe at other Democrats seeking the White House who argue that her support for a "wealth tax," universal health care and proposals to overhaul the political and economic system are too radical for many moderate and swing voters in a general election.
"The billionaires, the corporate executives and their favorite presidential candidates have one clear goal: to convince you that everything you imagine is impossible," Warren will say. "To convince you that reform is hopeless. To convince you that because no one can be pure, it's pointless to try to make anything better."
That last bit refers to a squabble between Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana. Warren has slammed the mayor for relying too heavily on closed-door fundraisers with big donors, while Buttigieg has noted that Warren held similar gatherings for years as a senator. Warren counters that she's evolved.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, another liberal voice in the race, is holding a year-end news conference followed by an evening "Big New Year's Bash" featuring what the campaign describes as "Prince's longtime backing band" in Des Moines, the capital of Iowa, which holds its lead-off caucuses on Feb. 3. Also campaigning in Iowa is New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who has a pair of house parties on Tuesday afternoon.
Businessman Andrew Yang has invited supporters to mark midnight at a late-night party in New Hampshire, which is set to hold the first primary, on Feb. 11. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is doing an afternoon town hall in New Hampshire, while Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet also is campaigning in the state.
The crush of events reflects how little time there is to spare before voting begins. Even though campaigning ground to a near halt for Christmas Eve and Christmas, candidates are betting voters will be more amenable to their messages on the final day of the year.
"You've got to use every minute," said Kelly Dietrich, founder and CEO of the National Democratic Training Committee, which trains candidates and staff all over the country.
Not everyone is getting into the New Year's Eve action. Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigned Monday in New Hampshire but had scheduled no public events Tuesday. Buttigieg's New Year's Eve calendar similarly clear of public events.
Most of the candidates also don't have events scheduled for New Year's Day, though former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is planning to attend services at Mother Emanuel in Charleston, South Carolina, where nine African American churchgoers were shot to death in 2015.
Dietrich said that sometimes activities like door-knocking can be more effective for candidates during the holidays since many people are home from work. They can also use times of traditional parties, like New Year's Eve, to rally volunteers and others who have helped with campaigning over the long haul.
Fundraising also typically declines between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. But Dietrich said candidates still use the time to work the phones, and he instructs clients to touch base with past donors who haven't reached maximum donation limits, reminding them to do so before the end of the year.
"You can't take time off when you're running for president," he said. "Your vacation happens the day after the general election."