President Trump does not like pets. Not only is he the first president in over a century to not have a dog in the White House, he’s thinks pet ownership in general is beneath him, according to a 2018 report from the Atlantic:
When it was reported last January that the Pences would be moving some of their family pets — which include two cats, a rabbit, and a snake — into the Naval Observatory, Trump ridiculed the menagerie to his secretary, according to a longtime adviser. “He was embarrassed by it; he thought it was so low class,” says the adviser. “He thinks the Pences are yokels.”
It’s little surprise, then, that so many Democratic presidential candidates are going out of their way to show that, unlike Trump, they’re human beings who like animals — dogs, in particular. No one’s going to vote for a presidential candidate because they have a cute puppy, but voters might follow them on Instagram because of it. And in a race that’s on track to have the largest Democratic presidential primary field ever, these candidates (and their dogs) will take all the followers they can get.
Joe Biden and Major
Though he’s not officially in the race, Joe Biden is clearly inching toward it, despite recent allegations of inappropriately touching a handful of women. The latest sign he’s running? An Instagram post that screams, “I’m not a creep! I have a wife and a dog!’
Pete Buttigeg and Buddy and Truman
More than most of the other Democratic candidates, the primary’s current it-boy appears to use Instagram like a normal person rather than a politician. At least, he did before he launched his campaign. There are selfies, pictures of his lunch, and artful shots of his dogs, Buddy and Truman, who have their own Twitter account. A fat, one-eyed puggle, Buddy was a new addition to the Buttigeg household in December.
Kirsten Gillibrand and Maple
Maple joined the Gillibrand family in the summer of 2017, long enough ago that her adoption doesn’t come across as a craven attempt to win the hearts of Labradoodle lovers. Maple only makes occasional appearances on the senator’s social media, but when she does, she makes it count.
John Hickenlooper and Skye
What do Democratic party voters and John Hickenlooper’s dog Skye have in common? Watch and see.
Beto O’Rourke and Artemis
Artemis had her star turn when she appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair looking very emo. She remains criminally underutilized within the O’Rourke campaign.
Elizabeth Warren and Bailey
The Massachusetts senator, long known as a policy wonk, got a new dog last July and he quickly became one of the most visible members of her campaign. Bailey, who’s named after the lead character in It’s a Wonderful Life, is everywhere, including all over Warren’s Instagram. He’s also got his own Twitter, which identifies him as a “consumer watchdog & campaign furrogate.”