2020 Presidential candidates compete for the white house: a guide to where everyone stands
September 23, 2019
In one year from this November, America will go to the polls to choose their next president per order of the constitution. With a crowded field of Democrats competing for their party’s nomination against the Republican incumbent, staying informed on what candidates stand for can be challenging. While not all of Northwest’s students will be eligible to vote in the next election, the ones who do may find the following guide helpful in learning about who is running.
Joe Biden is the former Vice President of the United States and served under President Barack Obama. He is both the already-popular and more moderate candidate, making him a frontrunner for the presidential chair. His key issues include: expanding and improving upon Obamacare, allowing for two years of free college education, and decriminalizing marijuana (while not necessarily “legalizing” it). While he does touch upon key democratic voting issues to secure a base, Biden also realizes the importance of moderate views. He supports boosting the military spending budget, as well as supports some limits on abortions, issues of which are important to republican voters as well. Ultimately, while it is early in the race, Biden has been polling strong numbers and, if he maintains steady results, could be the potential Democratic nominee.
Booker is a Democrat who has experience as the ex-Mayor of New Jersey and is currently a U.S. senator. He emphasizes criminal justice reform, a more equal economy and equal opportunity.
- Criminal justice reform
- Abolish death penalty
- Legalize marijuana
- No solitary confinement for minors
- No private prisons
- Medicare for all
- $15 minimum wage
- Tax cut for lower and middle class
- Supports Green New Deal
- No fossil fuel exports
Some students do not seem to trust Booker.
“I think that (Booker) is like Kamala Harris: not genuine,” senior Kema Leonard said. “I think he says things to appeal to his base. (I don’t think) he believes in these things. (He) will likely change what they say they’re going to do once they get into office.”
Pete Buttigieg is the current Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and a veteran in the war in Afghanistan. He is the first ever openly gay presidential candidate to be running in the race, making progressive history. His key issues consist of: removing US troops from the wars of 9/11, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, climate reform, and easing access to financial aid for college students. Buttigieg is certainly a progressive millennial; however, still has some popular ideals held by Republicans. These include not supporting the mandatory assault weapon buyback plan that some Democrats are in favor of, as well as boosting spending on the military budget. While it is uncertain of Buttigieg’s chances in the election, as he has been polling well yet not high enough to be a serious frontrunner, it certainly still is both history and progress in American political culture for a young, gay man to be running for the presidential candidacy.
The first woman of color to be California’s attorney general, the first woman of color to be a senator of California and now potentially the first female president.
Previously a prosecutor, Kamala Harris is known for her quick and to the point questions. She has shared her strong opinions on universal healthcare, immigration and public schooling for all, but her primary point is her position on criminal justice reforms.
“My plan has been described by activists as being a bold and comprehensive plan that is about ending mass incarceration,” Harris said during the third democratic debate. “(It’s) about taking the profit out of the criminal justice system. I plan on shutting down for-profit prisons on day one.”
Harris has overcome boundaries, and broken down walls. Her sharp questions, unwillingness to back down and perseverance have led her to where she is now.
“You know, every office I’ve run for, whether it be district attorney or attorney general, I was told each time, it can’t be done,” Harris said, “each time, people would say, it’s not your time, it’s not your turn, it’s going to be too difficult, they’re not ready for you, and I didn’t listen…don’t you let anybody ever tell you who you are. You tell them who you are.”
Bernie Sanders is a senator from Vermont. While he is officially independent, he caucuses with the Democrats for committee purposes. Sanders ran unsuccessfully for the democratic nomination in 2016 and seeks it again now. His self-described democratic socialist platform is built around decreasing the influence of lobbyists. Some of Sanders’ proposals include tuition free college, universal health care and increasing taxes on wealthy companies. Sanders also emphasizes the idea of rooting out discrimination on the basis of race, gender and sexual orientation. On immigration, Sanders supports a pathway towards citizenship for migrant families.
“If a mother and a child walk thousands of miles on a dangerous path, in my view they are not criminals. They are people fleeing violence,” Sanders said in the Salt Lake City Democratic debate.
Elizabeth Warren is a senator from Massachusetts, who worked as a law professor at Harvard for over 20 years. Warren runs on the idea of rebuilding a corrupt system that only provides for the wealthy and has served to detriment the middle class.
“The paths to America’s middle class have gotten a lot smaller and a lot narrower. … I know what’s broken. I know how to fix it and I’m going to lead the fight to get it done,” Warren said at the Democratic debate in Houston.
Like other candidates, Warren supports a system that would make affordable healthcare accessible to all Americans and take control away from private insurance companies.
“We need to do the opposite of much of what we’re doing right now, and the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math. So let me share the math,” Andrew Yang said in his opening speech at the July 31 Democratic Debate.
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang is a fresh new face in the political scene. He is certainly making a splash with universal basic income as his signature policy, and if Yang wins the election, he will be the first Asian-American president of the United States.
His plan is to give $1,000 dollars a month to every adult in America.
“It would be the trickle up economy from our people, families and communities up,” Yang said. “We would spend the money and it would circulate through our regional economies and neighborhoods, creating millions of jobs, making our families stronger and healthier” To fund this, he plans to add a corporate income tax on multi-billion dollar companies, such as Amazon, who currently pay nothing.
“I can build a much broader coalition to beat Donald Trump. It is not left, it is not right, it is forward, and that is where I’ll take the country in 2020,” Yang said.
Trump is Republican, the current U.S. president and a businessman. He emphasizes a border wall and renegotiation of treaties and deals in an attempt to put America first.
- Lower taxes on corporate profits, investment income, and estate tax
- Imposed tariffs on China
- Try to strengthen America
- Supports death penalty for drug traffickers
- Allow states to legalize marijuana
- Cut funding to Department of Education
- Does not support Green New Deal
Some students dislike Trump’s policies, but acknowledge the energy of his voter base.
“I don’t like Trump,” Leonard said, “but I feel like for America, he was a necessary wake up call. His base is strong–he’s not even going to the first Republican debates because he is so confident. I think he’s going to be the Republican nominee.”
Others support the incumbent’s decision making, but worry if his arrogance might cause problems for him.
“I like his policies, but I don’t like his twitter, the way he institutes those policies, or how he treats people (poorly),” senior Devin Bradshaw said. “I don’t feel like any of the other (Republican) candidates will surpass him. I think that the other candidates, like Walsh, need to go to keep Trump in check and not let his ego get so high.”