By Devora Freundlich
After four tumultuous and divided years of the Trump administration, the American people will have the opportunity to vote for someone new. The Democratic Party has blown up with potential candidates and anticipation, as they’ve worked to figure out what platform best sets them up for success come November 2020. There have been many politicians who have stepped up to the task — so many, in fact, that the Democratic debates were split to accommodate everyone until enough dropped out or weren’t able to qualify. The race for 2020 so far has been fraught with hot-button issues and the question of whether anyone running — Democrat or Republican — can outrun President Trump in November. Although the sheer number of candidates can be overwhelming, staying informed is key so that you may support and vote for a candidate who aligns with your views and can help effect the change you believe in. Hopefully this article can help you gain some perspective and understanding regarding the candidates running, and ultimately help you move towards deciding which choices to make in the primary and general elections.
Michael Bennet – Democrat
Michael Bennet is a senator from Colorado and former superintendent of Denver Public Schools. He is a moderate Democrat who has focused heavily on education and is known for his work on immigration reform. He has been running on a promise to return to a sense of normalcy, and argues that more progressive candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren won’t be able to curry enough favor with the general public in order to win in a general election.
Joseph R. Biden, Jr. – Democrat
Joe Biden is a Delaware senator and the former 47th Vice President of the United States. Biden has run twice previously for office, in 1998 and 2008. He’s a moderate Democrat who is known for his ease with people and relatability with the working class. Joe Biden’s campaign focuses on health care, and he speaks to defending America’s role as a leader on the global stage. He believes in the power of the parties working together, and is willing to extend courtesies to those on the other side of the aisle in order to effect change. Although former President Barack Obama has not officially endorsed his campaign, the two remain close friends and it’s this connection which many African-American Democratic voters have cited as their reason for supporting him. At age 77, Joe Biden is one of the oldest candidates, and voters have voiced concern about his ability to lead.
Michael Bloomberg – Democrat
Michael Bloomberg served as a three-term NYC mayor. He’s now primarily a businessman and philanthropist, having started Bloomberg L.P., a financial news and data company. Although he switched to the Republican Party in order to run for mayor, he has since switched back to the Democratic Party in order to run for president. He’s campaigning strongly on issues such as climate change and gun control, but has butted heads with progressives over his views on taxes, and (until only recently) he rejected support for stop-and-frisk policing.
Pete Buttigieg – Democrat
Military veteran and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, is the youngest candidate in the presidential field at 38 years old. Speaking to and connecting with a wide variety of voters, he has leaned into his generational identity as a millenial and locked in on key issues such as climate change and economic opportunity. Pete Buttigieg is also America’s first openly gay presidential candidate.
Tulsi Gabbard – Democrat
Tulsi Gabbard is a congresswoman from Hawaii and an Army National Guard veteran who supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 elections. She has garnered criticism for her meeting with Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, and her history of anti-gay statements and past work for an anti-gay advocacy group. She opposes American military intervention overseas.
Amy Klobuchar – Democrat
Amy Klobuchar has presented herself as someone who can win back the swing states in the middle of the country, an issue she believes is central to winning in the general election against President Trump. She has focused on the opioid crisis and the cost of prescription drugs as part of her campaign.
Deval Patrick – Democrat
Deval Patrick is a former governor of Massachusetts and current executive at a private equity firm. As the second elected black governor in United States history and a close friend of former President Barack Obama, he looks to try and heal the country and bring people together through shared interests and connectivity. His focus has been on economic development.
Bernie Sanders – Democrat
Bernie Sanders is a senator from Vermont and a former congressman. He was the runner-up in the 2016 Democratic primary and has described himself as a democratic socialist. He has championed strongly for universal healthcare, free college tuition, and fighting against the “one percent.”
Tom Steyer – Democrat
Tom Steyer is a billionaire former hedge fund executive and climate change and impeachment activist. He started out as an environmental activist and then switched gears to air television and internet ads calling for the impeachment of President Trump. His focuses are climate change, renewable energy, and impeaching President Trump.
Elizabeth Warren – Democrat
Elizabeth Warren is a senator from Massachusetts and a former Harvard professor. She has become known for having a plan in place for everything — specifically to target and reshape the economy. She is focused on income inequality and what she believes is a middle class being persecuted by big corporations and political corruption.
Andrew Yang – Democrat
Andrew Yang is a former tech executive who has proposed that he can establish a universal basic income of $1,000 per month per American, funded by the government. Andrew Yang has also brought tech issues to the forefront of the national conversation.
Donald J. Trump – Republican
Donald Trump is a former reality television star and real estate developer. He currently serves as the 45th President of the United States of America. Donald Trump is running for reelection on a continuation of the issues he ran for in 2016: immigration restrictions, renegotiation or cancellation of international deals on trade, climate change, and withdrawal of American troops from overseas. Donald Trump is currently undergoing an impeachment trial and has garnered criticism for his large tax cut which greatly benefited corporations and wealthy investors. He has spoken against the work done by the Obama administration on policies pertaining to health care, environmental regulation, and immigration.
Joe Walsh – Republican
Joe Walsh is a conservative radio show host and a former congressman from Illinois. He was involved in the Tea Party in 2010, which led to his one term as a congressman. Joe Walsh was a staunch supporter of President Trump in 2016, but has since spoken out strongly against him. His key issues involve reducing the national debt, securing the border, and defeating President Trump.
William F. Weld – Republican
William Feld is a former governor of Massachusetts and federal prosecutor. He ran for vice president on the Libertarian Party ticket in 2016. William Feld is an outspoken critic of President Trump and has been since the 2016 election. He has showcased himself as someone who moderates and mainstream conservatives can look to in such a divided political climate. He is focusing on fiscal restraint, free trade, and moderate immigration reform in his campaign.