There are over 530 candidates currently registered to run for president in 2020. With announcements of presidential-hopefuls entering the race that’s sweeping the nation, candidates are being slammed for their past choices, political ideology and personal and professional history.

Some candidates have been criticized more harshly than others.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, is one example of this. Many people claim the reason for Harris’ close scrutiny is because of her race. I don’t disagree. Harris is black and a woman — of course all eyes are on her. She’s going to be scrutinized more harshly than others simply because of the double standard that exists.

Harris is also facing tough scrutiny for her time as California’s attorney general. Harris didn’t always make the best choices in office, especially when it came to criminal reform.

Harris has been under a microscope on social media, television networks and newspapers. Because of this, some have already chosen to denounce her. I haven’t seen any other presidential candidate in the media as much as her, except the President. Social media users have used the immense amount of criticism to defend some of her choices.

The criticism of Harris seems overwhelmingly more than her opponents, and the obvious double standard is more than annoying. However, this criticism is justified. Politicians are supposed to be scrutinized, and what they stand for is supposed to be challenged. This type of commentary becomes even more vital in the case of those vying for the highest office in the land. Why elect someone with no concept of who they truly are?

Why complain when the public and media is scrutinizing them for their policies and stances? These are efforts to help citizens gain knowledge about those running. It’s what we’re supposed to do.

A human truth is that people do not often change, even in the ways that matter most. The history of those who have served in political offices prior to their campaign will prove telling. What’s even more telling will be what they support after their campaign announcements. If they opposed gay rights or criminal reform three years ago, chances are they still do.

These candidates’ ideological consistencies are important. They tell the public what those running stand firmly on and what principles they value. What they say now can easily be an effort to pander to various groups of voters. However, once they’re in office, what they truly believe will be evident.

The degree to which these candidates are being criticized can seem unbelievable, but this is what these early days are about. We’re learning who these people are, attempting to understand their pasts and giving them a chance to defend their choices. No one said every candidate had to be perfect.

Maya Stevenson is a 19-year-old English and economics sophomore from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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