A Guide to America's Current Presidential Candidates

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With the race for the 2020 elections drawing closer and closer, it seems as if new candidates are being announced left, right, and center. There is so much at stake with this upcoming election, meaning it’s important to understand the various candidates. So, below is a list of all the current candidates from both the Republican and Democratic sides, with some of their key views. 

REPUBLICANS: 

Donald Trump: The current president is running for reelection. Most of us already know his political position, but for those who may not exactly understand, since becoming president, Trump has called for a travel ban in 2017 in which he banned people from 8, mostly middle eastern countries, from traveling to the US. The amount of refugees allowed into the US has been an all-time low. Regarding gun regulation, Trump called for more teachers to be armed, rather than tightening gun regulations. He advocated for repealing the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Bill Weld: The Massachusetts governor officially announced he’d be running for President in April. He is strongly pro-choice and is in favor of same-sex marriage. He proposes a reduction in military spending and aims to refocus American politics to more domestic issues. 

DEMOCRATS: 

Michael Benet: He is a member of the US Senate, representing Colorado. He’s known as a moderate Democrat and has called for a modernization of the economy in specific fields such as artificial intelligence. He was part of a bipartisan group that developed a reform bill for immigration in 2013. 

Joe Biden: Biden was one of the bigger names to join the race, as he was Barack Obama’s Vice President. He has already run for President and is very popular in the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is changing and Biden has changed many of his previous opinions in order to slightly line up with the Party’s current stance. Some of his current proposed policies for when he comes to the office is his proposal to triple federal funding for low-income schools and a climate action plan, that has been accused of plagiarism. He’s currently more popular than Donald Trump. 

Bill di Blasio: He is the current mayor of New York City. In the second Democratic Primary Debate, Blasio mentioned his goal would be to tax the rich significantly in order to make the country one that would “put working people first”. He also wants to focus on economic issues and has mentioned that current calls for the impeachment of Donald Trump could serve to distract from current issues. 

Cory Booker: He is the current senator of New Jersey. In the Senate, he’s been a central figure regarding justice reform. Currently, regarding health care, Booker is in favor of improving the Affordable Care Act and has co-sponsored Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill in 2017. He’s in favor of legalizing Marijuana. IN 2018, Booker introduced a Federal Jobs Guarantee Act. This bill would create a program in which the Department of Labor would find 15 acres across the US providing every adult in the area without a job that paid at least 15$/hour. In 2018, he was also part of the group of senators who introduced a bill to stop the separation of families at the border, known as the Keep Families Together Act. Booker supports expanding background checks for purchasing a weapon and agrees that there should be a ban on high-capacity magazines, bump stocks, and assault weapons. 

Steve Bullock: Bullock is the current governor of Montana, and is in favor of a weapons ban, although his issues in his campaign will center around finance reform and reducing income inequality. He wants to focus on removing money from politics, promising to, among other things, sign an executive order in which companies would be required to show their political contributions before being considered for federal contracts. However, regarding gun control, he thinks people should be allowed to have firearms in order to keep their families safe or to hunt. He does believe in banning semi-automatic weapons and rejects any plans of arming teachers in classrooms. 

Pete Buttigieg: The mayor of South Bend Indiana and military veteran is in favor of restoring voting rights to former felons and is in favor of eliminating the death penalty. Buttigieg supports background checks for the purchasing of guns and is against guns in schools. He believes that the climate crisis deserves national attention and calls for the need for a federal Equality Act, which would prevent people from being discriminated against based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. 

Julian Castro: The former mayor of San Antonio as well as former Housing Secretary is in favor of the Affordable Care Act and has called for universal health care as well as Medicare for All. He opposes state laws that ban/limit access to abortion after the 20th week. He supports tighter gun laws and a ban on assault weapons. In the first Democratic Primary, Castro stated he would repeal Section 1325 of Title 8 of the US Criminal Code which would make illegal entry into the US would be rendered a civil offense instead of a criminal one. 

John Delaney: A former businessman and congressman from Maryland, Delaney is pro-choice and supports Planned Parenthood Funding. In 2017, he voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which aimed to ban abortions in fetuses over 20 weeks. He supports the Equality Act and transgender people in the military and has voted for many bills aiming to stop discrimination for members of the LGBT+ community. He’s in favor of abolishing the death penalty.  For his presidential campaign, he released a gun safety plan which included plans for universal background checks and bans on assault weapons and bumps stocks.

Tulsi Gabbard: She is a congresswoman from Hawaii and military veteran. Regarding gun rights, she stated she’s in favor of universal background checks and a ban on military-style assault weapons, but has not always acted this way. She was slower to sign several gun-control measures that received widespread support from other democrats. In 2017, she voted for the 2nd Amendment Protection Act supported by the NRA (National Rifle Association). In 2015, she voted in favor of a bill that would essentially stop resettlements of Syrian refugees in the US. She worked for her father’s anti-gay organization in the 90s but in 2012 apologized for her past actions and comments. 

Kirsten Gillibrand: She was a senator from New York from 2007 until 2009 and is currently serving as a junior US senator from New York since 2009.  When she served in the House, she was a member of a caucus of Fiscally Conservative Democrats. Since then, however, her positions have taken a more liberal turn. She used to be a supporter of gun rights but is now in favor of stricter gun control. She became the first sitting senator to express support for the calls to stop the ICE (Immigrations and Customs enforcement). She supports abortion rights and Medicare for All. 

Kamala Harris: Harris is a former attorney general of California and former San Francisco district attorney as well as Current Californian state senator. Harris opposes the death penalty and is in favor of legalizing marijuana, although she was against the legalization for most of her careerShe, along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, launched the Climate Equity Act in July 2019, which laid out steps for Congress and the White House about how to guarantee policies that’d ensure the safety of vulnerable communities who have been polluted or flooded due to the current climate crisis. However, Harris has had a controversial past as an attorney  Now, during her presidential campaign, a key aspect she’s focusing on is criminal justice reform. She announced in 2017 that she’d co-sponsor Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” bill. 

John Hickenlooper: Hickenlooper was the former governor of Colorado and a former mayor of Denver. He is very much in favor of tighter gun control laws. He is against Trump’s trade policies and is in favor of action against climate change. He supports gay marriage and the enforcement of the Affordable Care Act. He also signed an executive order that would prohibit the use of Colorado’s resources in order to help implement Trump’s family separation policy. He did not send National Guard Troops to the southern border although Trump urged governors to do so. 

Jay Inslee: A former congressman and current governor of Washington, Inslee is known for his environmental policies and has claimed to make defeating climate change a top priority. He opposes the travel ban and wants to move towards universal health care. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

These are the 20 Democratic presidential candidates who qualify for CNN's debate in Detroit on July 30 and 31 at 8 p.m. ET. CNN will conduct a live, random drawing on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET to determine the candidate lineup for each night. The Democratic National Committee announced Wednesday that the candidates who have made the debate stage are: Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet Former Vice President Joe Biden New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker Montana Gov. Steve Bullock South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro New York Mayor Bill de Blasio Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand California Sen. Kamala Harris Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper Washington Gov. Jay Inslee Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren Author and activist Marianne Williamson Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang #DemDebate #Democrats #2020election #cnnpolitics #cnn #politics #us #news

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Amy Klobuchar: She is the current senator from Minnesota. She’s pro-choice and in favor of LGBT+ rights. She was also critical of the Iraq War. 

Wayne Messam: He’s the mayor of Miramar, Florida. He became his city’s first black mayor. He’s been a fairly quiet candidate so far. As mayor, Messam made gun control as well as bringing in new jobs a priority. 

Seth Moulton: A congressman from Massachusetts and an Iraq War Veteran, Moulton wants to increase the minimum wage to 15$/hour. In 2014, he opposed the sending of troops back to Iraq. He supports the Green New Deal. He opposes civilians owning military-style assault weapons. 

Beto O’Rourke: O’Rourke is a former Congressman from Texas and a senate candidate. He became popular during the Senate race of 2018, narrowly losing to Ted Cruz. He’s urged politicians to end the war on drugs, work on eliminating private, for-profit prisons, and to stop using mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses that were non-violent. He wants to increase federal aid to public schools in low-income areas. He’s denounced current President Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, calling it “provocative”. He supported the Iran Nuclear Deal. O’Rourke is in favor of comprehensive immigration reform. He has said that a top priority should be to protect DREAMers. He led a protest in Tornillo, Texas in June of 2018 against Trump’s family separation policy. In 2016, he participated in a sit-in in the House of Representatives that attempted to force a vote on stronger gun control legislation. He initially supported “Medicare for All” but has more recently been supporting “Medicare for America”

Tim Ryan: Ryan is a congressman from Ohio. He initially opposed abortion but in 2015 announced that he saw it as a personal choice. He does support the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. He does see climate change as a threat but does not support the Green New Deal. Ryan is also a co-sponsor on the 2019 Medicare for All Act. He supports the DREAM Act. 

Bernie Sanders: Sander is a front runner in the 2016 Presidential Elections and is running again this year. He currently ranks one of the top potential candidates for the 2020 elections. When he was younger, he was involved in the civil rights movement. He calls himself a democratic socialist. Sanders viewed the need for the minimum wage to be raised to 15$/hr. He’s proposed expanding the estate tax and has called for financial reform. Sanders supports the banning of assault weapons, universal federal background checks, and closing the gun show loophole. His aim is to cancel student loan debt and, in 2015, made a plan for making public colleges tuition-free.

Joe Sestak: Sestak is a former congressman from Pensylvania and a former Navy Admiral. He would make the US rejoin the Paris Agreement if elected. He’s called for the cutting of fees for minority-owned businesses on loans from the Small Business Association. He urges colleges to limit tuition increases and wants to rejoin the Iran Nuclear Deal. He too wants to end the Trump administration’s family separation policies. 

Tom Steyer: Steyer is a billionaire hedge-fund manager and wants to focus on fighting climate change, promoting renewable energy, as well as impeaching Trump. He’s described as an environmentalist, philanthropist, liberalist, and activist. In 2017, Steyer spent around 10 million dollars for a TV ad campaign that advocated for the impeachment of Trump. 

Elizabeth Warren: Warren is another big name in the current race. She was a former Harvard professor and current senator from Massachusetts. In April 2019, she encouraged the House of Representatives to start impeachment proceedings on Trump after the release of the Mueller Report. She’s in favor of increasing the minimum wage and regarding trade, she thinks the US should strengthen and enforce trade laws. In February of 2018, she was among 6 senators who called on President Trump to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement. Warren, in her presidential campaign, proposed an annual wealth tax. She opposes continuing the war in Afghanistan. She supports abortion rights all the way up to labor. In June 2019, Warren was part of the group of 18 senators that signed a letter to the US Secretary of State, which requested an explanation as to why the Department did not issue an official statement commemorating Pride month. Warren supports getting rid of mandatory minimum sentencing. 

Marianne Williamson: Williamson is a self-help author and ran for Congress in 2014 as an independent but lost. As part of her campaign, she has pledged 100$ dollars in reparations for slavery. She supports the Green New Deal, an increased minimum wage, Medicare for All, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). She has made some controversial comments about vaccines, calling mandatory vaccinations “Orwellian” and the AIDS crisis. 

Andrew Yang: Yang is a former tech executive. A key aspect of his campaign is the proposal of establishing a universal basic income of 1000$ a month for all American citizens over the age of 18. He’s highlighted issues in technology such as robotics and artificial intelligence. 

Thumbnail image via CNN

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Valeria Keuser

Editor

Valeria is a current senior at an International School in the Netherlands passionate about writing and politics.


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