How top Democratic candidates compare on major issues
How top Democratic candidates compare on major issues
An astounding 25 Democrats have declared their candidacy for president in the 2020 election—the most out of any presidential primary since 1972, which is the year our modern system of primaries and caucuses began. The previous record was 17 candidates during the Republican primaries of 2016.
The current field of candidates includes a former vice president, seven sitting senators, four members of the House, two current governors, three mayors, a businessman, and an author.
Experts point to the crowded field as a byproduct of President Donald Trump's relatively low approval rating, as well as Democratic voters' opposition to his administration. Still, expect the slate to shrink somewhat after the first caucus and primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
One survey suggested that the top issue on the minds of voters is health care, followed by the economy. Gallup reports that runner-up areas of concern include immigration, women's rights, gun policy, taxes, foreign affairs, and income inequality. As such, the major Democratic contenders have come forward with their stances on these prominent issues and have filled in the gaps on everything in between, from climate change to Puerto Rican statehood.
To participate in the June 26 and 27 Democratic debates, a candidate has to either receive donations from 65,000 people or register at least 1% support in three polls from a preset list. The New York Times reports that nine candidates have accomplished both feats: former Vice President Joe Biden, Senators Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar, (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Beto O'Rourke, and Andrew Yang.
Stacker compared these nine candidates on 20 different issues that have been hot-button topics in the months leading up to the first Democratic debates. Be sure to tune into the June debates, taking place June 26 and 27 in Miami and hosted by NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo, to see if any of the following topics surface.
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- Joe Biden: Biden has pushed for a health care plan that would offer Americans the opportunity to buy into Medicare, saying it would provide more consumer choice than a blanket “Medicare for All” plan. “If the insurance company isn't doing the right thing by you, you should have another choice,” he said in April. Biden's campaign website also states that the Affordable Care Act should be defended and built upon.
- Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg told Fox News that a single-payer health care system is “probably the right answer in the long term,” and said that it could be a step to getting toward a “Medicare for All” system. But he wouldn't immediately implement a single-payer system and suggested starting instead with a system that wouldn't eliminate private health insurance. “You take some flavor of Medicare, you make it available on the exchange as a kind of public option, and you invite people to buy into it,” he said in March.
- Tulsi Gabbard: Gabbard has suggested that Medicare should be able to negotiate with prescription drug companies to lower the cost of health care, and proposed that the U.S. should be able to re-import drugs from countries like Canada at a cheaper price. She posted on Facebook in March: “It is unacceptable in this country that we have people who are sick or in need of care and are unable to get it because they don't have enough money. #MedicareForAll”
- Kamala Harris: Harris is in favor of a “Medicare for All” system. In March, she tweeted: “No American should ever go bankrupt or be without health care in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. We need Medicare for All—and we need to fight for it.” She also took to social media in March to advocate for lower prescription drug prices, calling it “outrageous” that some Americans have to choose between medication and necessities like food.
- Amy Klobuchar: Klobuchar supports an expansion on Medicare, as well as improving Obamacare, but has focused much of her energy on prescription drugs. “As your president, I'll work for you,” she tweeted in March. “That means not kicking people off their insurance for preexisting conditions, lowering prescription drug prices, and universal coverage.”
- Beto O'Rourke: O'Rourke has retreated from his previous support of a single-payer health care system, saying in March that he was no longer sure it was the quickest way to achieve universal health care. Instead, he has championed the “Medicare for America” legislation in Congress that would open Medicare to everyone, but would allow businesses to continue offering private insurance as a benefit. “It complements what already exists with the need that we have for millions of Americans who do not have insurance and ensures that each of them can enroll in Medicare,” he said.
- Bernie Sanders: Sanders has based much of his campaign on his proposal to transition to a single-payer health care system that would provide universal insurance coverage where Americans would be required to pay nothing out of pocket for medical care. The plan would prevent employers from offering separate competing insurance plans and would include a long-term care benefit for people with disabilities. Sanders has proposed that the new system would be paid for by new income taxes on both employees and employers.
- Elizabeth Warren: In March, Warren introduced the Consumer Health Insurance Protection Act, which does not suggest a single-payer system, but instead proposes making insurance within Obamacare more affordable by increasing federal subsidies. The plan would also cap insurance premiums at no more than 8.5% of a person's income and provide more funding for the Affordable Care Act outreach and enrollment efforts. Warren also remains a co-sponsor of Sanders' “Medicare for All” bill.
- Andrew Yang: Yang has promoted a “Medicare for All” health care system, claiming it would raise the quality of life and increase access to preventive care. He has proposed directly setting prices for medical services so that doctors would be paid a flat salary, as well as providing holistic approaches to health care. “By providing holistic health care to all our citizens, we'll drastically increase the average quality of life, extend life expectancy, and treat issues that often go untreated,” he says on his campaign website.
- Joe Biden: Biden released a 22-page climate proposal in June that urges the U.S. to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and to create an economy based on clean energy that would create 10 million jobs. He has also said that if elected president, he would rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate change his first day in office, and would up the pressure on other countries to reduce fossil fuel subsidies.
- Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg supports the Green New Deal's intentions to eliminate carbon from the U.S. economy and fund clean energy jobs. At 37 years old, Buttigieg has said his age makes him the ideal candidate to tackle global warming. “If this generation doesn't step up, we're in trouble,” he said in April. “This is, after all, the generation that's going to be on the business end of climate change for as long as we live.”
- Tulsi Gabbard: Gabbard supports the carbon neutrality goals of the Green New Deal, but does not support nuclear power at all unless there is a solution for nuclear waste. Instead, she has advocated for renewable energy resources and has proposed a ban on fracking. “Fossil fuel executives and their lobbyists are not the ones being impacted by climate change,” she said on Twitter in 2017. “The most vulnerable people in our society are.”
- Kamala Harris: Harris has voiced her support of the Paris Agreement on climate change and criticized President Trump's decision to withdraw from the accords. She also opposed the president's proposal to reverse fuel efficiency standards put in place during the Obama administration and voted against repealing regulations on methane emissions. “This Administration is deliberately ignoring the threat of climate change and favoring polluters over American's health,” she said on Twitter in March.
- Amy Klobuchar: During a CNN Town Hall in February, Klobuchar promised to reenter the Paris Agreement her first day in office if elected president, as well as to reinstate federal environmental protections. She also called for reintroducing President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan and said she would work to increase gas mileage standards. But Klobuchar has not endorsed the Green New Deal. “I don't think we are going to get rid of entire industries in the U.S.,” she said. “I think that would be very difficult to do.”
- Beto O'Rourke: O'Rourke released a $5 trillion plan in April that called for zero emissions by 2050 and would reinstate Obama-era climate protections. His proposal would also introduce new regulations, such as building efficiency standards and hazardous waste limits, and would limit methane emissions from oil and natural gas facilities. The plan did not rule out any low-carbon forms of energy, such as nuclear power.
- Bernie Sanders: If elected, Sanders would work to pass a Green New Deal, invest in infrastructure to protect the communities most vulnerable to climate change, and encourage the construction of high-speed rails, public transit, and use of electric vehicles to reduce carbon pollution emissions. Sanders is also in favor of banning fracking and ending exports of coal, natural gas, and crude oil.
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren has a $2 trillion proposal as part of a Green New Deal that would include a “Green Apollo Program” to invest in clean energy and a “Green Marshall Plan” to encourage other countries to purchase American clean energy technology. Her plan would also create a National Institute of Clean Energy and replace the Commerce Department with a “Department of Economic Development” that would administer a new national jobs strategy as part of a Green New Deal.
- Andrew Yang: Yang has proposed a carbon fee and dividend, which would permit businesses to find market-based solutions to their carbon emissions while providing funding for alternative fuel research as well as upgrading current energy systems. This would be more effective than a carbon tax, he theorizes, because a carbon tax wouldn't be associated with combating climate change.
Education and student loans
- Joe Biden: In May, Biden proposed simplifying and streamlining the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, with particular attention to teachers. In 2015, Biden also appeared open to the idea of free college, saying, “We need to commit to 16 years of free public education for all our children... We all know that 12 years of public education is not enough.”
- Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg has proposed making public college free for middle- to low-income students by creating a state-federal partnership and combining it with an expanded Pell grant. He has also suggested applying strict standards to for-profit colleges and provide more support for student loan borrowers entering public service.
- Tulsi Gabbard: Gabbard has co-sponsored Sanders' College for All Act in the House, and successfully introduced legislation to improve and extend GI Bill benefits that veterans can use to pay for education.
- Kamala Harris: Harris said during a CNN Town Hall that she supports a commitment to debt-free college. She also said that, if elected, she would aggressively crack down on for-profit colleges. “We need to get rid of the for-profit colleges that are preying on students like you,” she told a student at the town hall.
- Amy Klobuchar: Klobuchar does not support tuition-free or debt-free college, arguing that the national debt could not support such an expense. However, she is in favor of making two-year college and community college free in addition to expanding Pell grants.
- Beto O'Rourke: During a town hall, O'Rourke said that students at public four-year colleges and community colleges should be able to attend for free. He was also critical of the Trump administration's proposal to cut the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
- Bernie Sanders: Like in his 2016 campaign for president, Sanders has pushed for free college. In 2016, he proposed accomplishing this through a partnership with the federal government, which would fund two-thirds of the cost, and the states, which would fund the remainder. The following year, he introduced the College for All Act, which would make community college free and four-year college free for families that make less than $125,000.
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren released a plan in April that called for the cancellation of large amounts of student debt and proposed making colleges tuition-free, along with expanding the Pell grant. Her campaign has estimated that student debt cancellation will cost $1.25 trillion over 10 years, but would be funded by a tax on the wealthy.
- Andrew Yang: Yang has promised that if elected, he would explore a partial student loan debt reduction, as well as forgiveness for debt after a certain period has passed beyond graduation. He would also propose legislation that would allow the government to buy student loan debt and offer students the opportunity to buy into a program to repay debt by pledging 10% of their salary for 10 years. Yang also suggested closing schools with high loan default rates.
Immigration and border control
- Joe Biden: During a campaign rally in May, Biden pledged to stop the deportation of veterans who aren't American citizens if he were elected president. Biden also criticized Trump's immigration policy, saying, “Deporting DREAMers just a few days before their high school graduation, separating children from their parents on the border. That isn't who we are. We're better than that.”
- Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg said in an interview with Vogue that he envisioned a “grand bargain” on immigration that would include paths to citizenship, immigration reform, and a border security package. “Border security alone isn't going to solve this problem,” he said in February. “First we need border security, but by the same token, a fence or a wall alone isn't going to solve border security.”
- Tulsi Gabbard: Gabbard has called the immigration system outdated and broken, and urged for more resources to address the problem. She has pushed to address the root problem of the refugee crisis, which she says is the “U.S. policy of regime-change war,” and has criticized the Trump administration's family separation policy. “The Trump Administration's use of children as pawns in the immigration debate is despicable and must end now,” she has said.
- Kamala Harris: Harris has long supported the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and in 2017, said she would oppose any year-end spending bill unless Congress acted to protect DREAMers. She also opposes Trump's border wall. Speaking on “The View” in January 2019, she said, “By the way, because I was a prosecutor for many years, including the attorney general of California, I specialize in trans-national criminal organizations. That wall ain't gonna stop them.”
- Amy Klobuchar: Klobuchar would increase the number of temporary work visas available as a significant step toward increasing legal immigration. She also supports reforming the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but is not in favor of abolishing the agency.
- Beto O'Rourke: O'Rourke released a proposal on immigration policy that would eliminate immigration detention, build up immigration courts for asylum seekers, and reverse Trump's executive orders on the issue. He claims everything in his proposal could be done through “day one” executive orders, including issuing protections for DACA recipients and those with temporary protected status.
- Bernie Sanders: If elected president, Sanders would expand DACA, completely restructure ICE, end family separation policies, establish paths to citizenship, and abolish “cruel” deportation programs and detention centers. He also notes that he voted against the creation of ICE as a senator. “Donald Trump has made himself the biggest platform of hate in the country, and he's used the demonization of immigrants as his own personal political strategy,” Sanders' campaign website says. “That must end, now.”
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren has condemned the Trump administration's “zero tolerance” policy that led to family separations at the border. She even joined an immigration protest in Boston last year, where she called for ICE to be replaced with an agency “that works.” "President Trump seems to think the only way to have immigration rules is to rip parents from their families, is to treat rape victims and refugees like terrorists and to put children in cages," she said.
- Andrew Yang: Yang has said that, as president, he would secure the southern border and provide a new long-term residency program to allow immigrants to work and stay in the country. This program would put people on an 18-year path to citizenship, and Yang's administration would invest in an information campaign to alert immigrant communities of this long-term residency program. He would also seek to deport any undocumented immigrant who declines to enroll in the program.
- Joe Biden: Biden is a longtime supporter of an assault weapons ban, and was appointed by President Obama to lead the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force after the mass shooting in Sandy Hook in 2012. Biden has a storied record as a senator in voting for gun control measures, but he voted for the 1983 Firearm Owners Protection Bill, which allowed firearms dealers to sell guns through the mail, online, and at shows.
- Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg released several gun control proposals in May that would institute universal background checks, a ban on assault-style weapons, and reforms to reduce gun violence nationwide, whether it be in cities, domestic violence, accidents, or suicide. He has also pushed for more “red flag” laws and waiting periods on purchases of guns.
- Tulsi Gabbard: While Gabbard has been criticized for not sponsoring gun control efforts in the House that are supported by most Democrats, she has voted for an assault weapons ban, and added her name as a co-sponsor to the Assault Weapons Ban of 2018. Her campaign website states that she is focused on bipartisan solutions to the issue.
- Kamala Harris: Harris has said that if elected, she would sign an executive order requiring background checks, implement stricter regulation of gun manufacturers, and close a loophole that currently allows perpetrators of domestic violence to purchase guns. She promised to introduce these executive actions in the first 100 days of her presidency if Congress did not pass gun control measures before then.
- Amy Klobuchar: Klobuchar said during a CNN Town Hall that she evaluates gun control measures by asking herself if they would “hurt my Uncle Dick in the deer stand.” She doesn't believe that universal background checks or an assault weapons ban would conflict with that qualification. “Like New Hampshire, Minnesota is a state that values the outdoors,” she said. “We value hunting and fishing. And so I come at it from a little different place than some of my colleagues running for this office.”
- Beto O'Rourke: Speaking in California after a shooter attacked a synagogue in a suburb of San Diego, O'Rourke called for universal background checks and a ban on assault-style weapons. “I hope that I speak for everyone in saying that we will also back that up with our actions to make sure that...we will insist on universal background checks for everyone, without loopholes or exceptions,” he said.
- Bernie Sanders: While Sanders was criticized during his 2016 campaign for not being tough enough on guns, he has taken a different course this election season by doubling down on his calls to ban assault weapons, expand background checks, and close the gun show loophole. Nevertheless, critics still point to his 1993 vote against the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which set up background checks at the federal level.
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren has said gun violence would be classified as a national emergency “right off the top” if she were elected. The Massachusetts senator has supported an assault weapons ban but also supports the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns. After the Parkland shooting in 2017, Warren pressured companies that invest in gun manufacturers to ensure that manufacturers were taking steps to address gun violence.
- Andrew Yang: As president, Yang would implement a tiered licensing system for gun ownership, in addition to passing a federal background check and closing the gun show loophole. He is also in favor of banning the manufacture and sale of bump stocks, creating federal safety guidelines, starting a federal buyback program, and investing in mental health services to prevent gun violence.
Abortion and reproductive health
- Joe Biden: While Joe Biden supports women's reproductive rights, he does not support federal funds being used for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at stake, which is prohibited by the Hyde Amendment. However, his campaign said: “Given the current draconian attempts to limit access to abortion, if avenues for women to access their protected rights under Roe V. Wade are closed, he would be open to repeal.”
- Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg is in favor of repealing the Hyde Amendment, and has called state legislation seeking to ban abortion “hostile to American freedom.” In May, he joined a demonstration at the Supreme Court in protest of anti-abortion laws. He has also pledged that, as president, he would nominate judges and justices who support abortion rights.
- Tulsi Gabbard: Gabbard believes abortion should remain legal and voted against a bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. When she first entered politics, she was anti-abortion, but she said that her military service in Iraq led her to change her previous beliefs.
- Kamala Harris: Harris supports repealing the Hyde Amendment, and has proposed requiring states and localities that have traditionally restricted abortion access obtain federal approval before such abortion laws could take effect. “We cannot tolerate a perspective that is about going backward and not understanding women have agency, women have value, women have authority to make decisions about their own lives and their own bodies,” she said in May.
- Amy Klobuchar: Klobuchar has promised to codify Roe v. Wade into law and has expressed support for legislation that would allow late-term abortions in cases where the mother's health is in danger. She called state measures to restrict abortions “dangerous” and said that the laws “would actually make it so that no one could get an abortion.”
- Beto O'Rourke: O'Rourke would support overturning the Hyde Amendment and in general supports women's rights to choose, including obtaining abortions in the third trimester. “I think those decisions are best left to a woman and her doctor,” he said in March. “I know better than to assume anything about a woman's decision, an incredibly difficult decision, when it comes to her reproductive rights.”
- Bernie Sanders: If elected, Sanders would be in favor of repealing the Hyde Amendment, and has criticized Biden for not vowing to repeal the statute. “There is #NoMiddleGround on women's rights,” he tweeted in June. “Abortion is a constitutional right. Under my Medicare for All plan, we will repeal the Hyde Amendment.”
- Elizabeth Warren: As president, Warren would support overturning the Hyde Amendment, and has released a policy proposal that would call on Congress to codify Roe v. Wade into law. She is also in favor of passing legislation that would bar states from passing medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion clinics.
- Andrew Yang: Yang has said that, as president, he would support abortion rights in every circumstance, and would provide resources for family planning and contraception. He has also pledged to appoint judges who are pro-choice. “Everyone has a right to bodily integrity, and more needs to be done to ensure that women have and maintain that right,” he says on his campaign website.
- Joe Biden: Biden has clocked 36 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has been an ardent supporter of international alliances, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He is also a supporter of free trade. As vice president in 2013, he was in favor of bombing Syria after its president used chemical weapons on its own civilians, which the U.S. ultimately did not do.
- Pete Buttigieg: A war veteran, Buttigieg supports troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. He has also spoken about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and disagrees with Rep. Ilhan Omar's, D-Minn., comparison of Israel to Iran. “It has always been one of the most fiendishly complicated issues and simple answers will not serve us well at a time like this,” he said on “The View” in January.
- Tulsi Gabbard: Gabbard is a veteran, but her isolationist foreign policy views have drawn criticism from both sides of the aisle. In particular, in 2017, she went to Syria to visit President Bashar al-Assad, an accused war criminal who attacked his own citizens with chemical weapons, something that she herself has disputed. In February, she came under fire once again for saying Assad was “not the enemy of the U.S.”
- Kamala Harris: Harris has opposed the boycott, divest, and sanctions movement targeting Israel, and has additionally not supported cutting foreign aid to Israel, or condemning or criticizing its leadership. “She is firm in her belief that Israel has a right to exist and defend itself, including against rocket attacks from Gaza,” her campaign communications director said in April.
- Amy Klobuchar: In her 2020 campaign launch in February, Klobuchar affirmed her commitment to standing with foreign allies to address international problems. She also criticized Trump's foreign policy, saying that military officers “deserve better than foreign policy by tweet.”
- Beto O'Rourke: In a video announcing his campaign, O'Rourke mentioned wanting to end “these decades-long wars.” He has also been critical of Trump's approach to trade and his proposed tariffs. “I represent a trading community that understands that our future is connected to the rest of the world,” he told Dallas News.
- Bernie Sanders: Sanders was one of the first politicians to call for an end to U.S. support for the war in Yemen, a movement he successfully led through the Senate this year. His foreign policy is informed by a belief that income inequality and authoritarianism are connected. “We need an international movement that mobilizes behind a vision of shared prosperity, security, and dignity for all people,” he said in December.
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren laid out her foreign policy vision in November 2018 before she even announced her candidacy: She calls for international economic policies that benefit all Americans and foreign policy that does not put corporate profits above citizens. For globalization to benefit the middle class, she argued, trade negotiations should be used to curb the power of international monopolies and crack down on tax havens.
- Andrew Yang: Yang supports strengthening alliances across the globe, such as NATO, and reinvesting in diplomacy, increasing funding for the State Department, and returning the power to declare war to Congress. He also believes that the federal budget should focus primarily on domestic rather than foreign issues.
- Joe Biden: Biden had remained opposed to marijuana legalization throughout his career. In 2010 while serving as vice president, he said, “I still believe it's a gateway drug. I've spent a lot of my life as chairman of the Judiciary Committee dealing with this. I think it would be a mistake to legalize.” Biden has since changed his tune; he now supports the decriminalization of marijuana, telling voters in Nashua, N.H., in March: "Nobody should be in jail for smoking marijuana." However, he stands for legalization decisions to be made by states.
- Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg is in favor of legalizing marijuana. He told The Boston Globe: “The safe, regulated, and legal sale of marijuana is an idea whose time has come for the United States, as evidenced by voters demanding legalization in states across the country.”
- Tulsi Gabbard: Gabbard has introduced legislation in Congress to end the federal prohibition of marijuana, and supports legalization. “The fact that marijuana's still a Schedule I drug is unacceptable in the harm that it is causing to the people of our country and to taxpayers as well," she told Forbes in March.
- Kamala Harris: Harris supports legalizing marijuana, and has even admitted to smoking it before. While she conceded she had concerns before with making marijuana legal, she said in February she now fully backs legalization efforts. “We need to research, which is one of the reasons we need to legalize it,” she said. “We need to move it on the schedule so that we can research the impact of weed on a developing brain.”
- Amy Klobuchar: Klobuchar is in favor of legalizing marijuana, but believes that states should determine how to deal with marijuana on their own.
- Beto O'Rourke: O'Rourke called for federal marijuana legalization ahead of his candidacy announcement as part of a wider set of proposals on criminal justice. He also urged for the criminal records of people incarcerated for marijuana possession to be expunged. “Giving low-level offenders a second chance no matter the color of their skin or the economic status they hold can create opportunity for all of us," O'Rourke said in an email to supporters.
- Bernie Sanders: Sanders is in favor of decriminalizing marijuana, citing the strain and racial disparities in the justice system. He also mentioned that he has smoked marijuana a few times. “Too many lives are being destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of people get criminal records. You know why? Because they have smoked marijuana,” he said in March. “That's insane.”
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren supports legalizing marijuana and confronted Trump administration officials in 2017 twice about increasing related penalties. In 2016, she also pushed her fellow lawmakers to research the effects of using medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids.
- Andrew Yang: Yang fully supports marijuana legalization. If elected, he would seek to remove cannabis from the controlled substances list. He would also expunge all federal convictions for marijuana-related use or possession offenses, and target non-violent drug offenders for probation, as well as possible early release.
- Joe Biden: Biden has not taken an explicit position on the electoral college.
- Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg is in favor of scrapping the Electoral College, saying it has damaged democracy in the U.S. “We can't say it's much of a democracy when twice in my lifetime the Electoral College has overruled the American people," he said at a rally in Indiana.
- Tulsi Gabbard: Gabbard has not come out either for or against the Electoral College, but has expressed interest in at least making changes to the election system. “There are reforms that need to take place to make it so that our votes are being cast and counted and represented in the outcome of our elections,” she said in March. “I think there are pros and cons to the existing Electoral College and to getting rid of it.”
- Kamala Harris: Harris has said she is open to the idea of abolishing the Electoral College. "There's no question that the popular vote has been diminished in terms of making the final decision about who's the president of the United States and we need to deal with that, so I'm open to the discussion,” she said on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in March.
- Amy Klobuchar: Klobuchar is open to eliminating the Electoral College.
- Beto O'Rourke: O'Rourke has said he believes there is “a lot of wisdom” to getting rid of the Electoral College. “You had an election in 2016 where the loser got 3 million more votes than the victor,” he said in a video posted to Twitter. “It puts some states out of play altogether.”
- Bernie Sanders: Sanders was one of the first Democrats to come out against the Electoral College back in December 2016. “Trump received 2.5 million fewer votes than Clinton, yet he'll soon be president,” he tweeted at the time. “Clearly, in a democratic society, this shouldn't happen.”
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren is in favor of eliminating the Electoral College; she argues that it prevents politicians from ever campaigning in states that are not considered battlegrounds, such as her home state of Massachusetts. “Every vote matters, and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the Electoral College,” Warren said at a CNN Town Hall in March.
- Andrew Yang: Yang has said there are problems with the Electoral College, but has conceded that it would be difficult to get rid of it. Instead, he has suggested reforming the Electoral College and has said, if elected, he would push for constitutional amendments that would shift to a proportional selection system, noting that the method of determining electors isn't explicitly stated in the Constitution.
Taxes and income inequality
- Joe Biden: Biden would pay for his $1.7 trillion climate change plan by rolling back the Republican tax cuts passed in 2017. His proposal also outlined additional funding for clean energy research by reducing incentives for tax havens and closing loopholes in the tax code.
- Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg has expressed support for a higher marginal tax rate for the highest wealth earners; he argues that when this rate was higher historically, the American economy was healthier. He also said the country should consider a wealth tax and a more equitable use of the estate tax.
- Tulsi Gabbard: Gabbard is in favor of breaking up large banks that she believes have perpetuated income inequality. “We need to break up Wells Fargo and put an end to this reckless system of banks that are ‘too big to fail'. The American people deserve a financial sector that works with them, not against them,” she said in a Facebook post.
- Kamala Harris: Harris has released a proposal aimed at closing the gender wage gap. The plan would fine companies 1% of their profits for every 1% wage gap that exists among their employees. The money generated from those penalties would be used to pay for paid family and medical leave under a congressional bill.
- Amy Klobuchar: Klobuchar supports a “rebalancing” of the American economy to achieve income equality. “If you want to make our economy work, everyone has to be able to participate in it,” she said in May. “If you can't afford health care or your pharmaceuticals, you've got to do something.”
- Beto O'Rourke: O'Rourke called income inequality one of the greatest challenges facing America. “This extraordinary, unprecedented concentration of wealth and power and privilege must be broken apart and opportunity must be shared with all,” he said at a rally in March. He has urged for higher pay for teachers, stronger labor unions, and paid family leave.
- Bernie Sanders: Sanders has released a plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest 0.2% of Americans and create four new estate tax brackets ranging from 45% to 77%, and also exempt the first $3.5 million of any person's estate. His legislation would establish protections for family farms to lower their taxes, and would also close loopholes in gift taxes.
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren has proposed a new tax on Americans with $50 million or more in assets in an effort to level the economic playing field. The plan would institute a 2% tax on this set of Americans, with an additional 1% tax on billionaires. While aides to Warren have conceded that the plan has no chance in a Republican-controlled Senate, they argued that if Democrats took control of the Senate, the plan could be passed through the reconciliation process, requiring a majority of votes instead of the usual 60 votes.
- Andrew Yang: Yang would seek to level the playing field by introducing a “universal basic income,” which is a centerpiece of his campaign. The UBI would be a form of social security that would guarantee every American citizen $1,000 a month from the U.S. government, no questions asked. Yang believes a UBI is essential as technology replaces jobs in the workforce, and would be funded through a Value Added Tax.
- Joe Biden: Biden has taken no explicit stance on reparations during the 2020 campaign, but he made comments in 1975 suggesting he was against the idea. “I feel responsible for what the situation is today, for the sins of my own generation,” he said at the time. “And I'll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago.”
- Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg has said he would support studying the possibility of reparations for the descendants of slaves. “The country as a whole is effectively segregated by race and the resources are different,” he said in April. “There is a direct connection between exclusion in the past and exclusion in the present.”
- Tulsi Gabbard: Gabbard supports a recent bill in the House of Representatives that would form a commission to study the effects of slavery and discrimination on African Americans and make conclusions and recommendations about whether the government should issue a formal apology or compensation.
- Kamala Harris: Harris has proposed funding mental health treatment as a form of reparations for slavery. “We need to study the effects of generations of discrimination and institutional racism and determine what can be done, in terms of intervention, to correct course,” she said in March.
- Amy Klobuchar: Klobuchar supports investing in communities that have been damaged by racism and the lingering effects of slavery and discrimination, but doesn't believe that reparations have to be a “direct pay” to each person affected. “What we can do is invest in those communities,” she said in March. “Acknowledge what's happened. ... Making sure we have that shared dream of opportunity for all Americans.”
- Beto O'Rourke: O'Rourke supports the bill in the House of Representatives to study the impacts of slavery and discrimination, as well as the possibility of reparations. "Until all Americans understand that...the injustices that have been visited and continue to be visited on people, we will never get the change that we need to live up to the promise of this country. So absolutely I would sign that into law," he said in April.
- Bernie Sanders: Sanders does not support reparations. In March, he told a host of “The View”: “I think that right now our job is to address the crises facing the American people in our communities, and I think there are better ways to do that than just writing out a check." During the 2016 campaign, he had said there was zero chance of getting legislation on reparations through Congress.
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren supports the federal government issuing reparations to descendants of slavery, and has pointed to the fact that she has introduced a bill in Congress to assist minorities in making a down payment on a home. “Black families have had a much steeper hill to climb—and we need systemic, structural changes to address that,” she said in February.
- Andrew Yang: Yang has called reparations a “logical step,” but argues that his proposed Universal Basic Income would go a step further. “I would go again further, I would put $1,000 a month in the hands of every adult starting at age 18 and then I would say this is not reparations. We need to study reparations independently of the fact that we can make this economy work for you all, minimum, minimum,” he said in April.
- Joe Biden: As a candidate, Biden has pledged not to take campaign contributions from lobbyists or corporate political action committees. However, his own PAC, American Possibilities, which he created in 2017, does accept donations from lobbyists and corporations.
- Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg accepted more than $30,000 from federal lobbyists, but returned all of the contributions in April and said he would no longer accept money from lobbyists. He is also not accepting corporate PAC money or fossil fuel money.
- Tulsi Gabbard: Gabbard has pledged not to self-fund her campaign and supports an expansion of the presidential public campaign finance program. She is not accepting PAC donations, federal lobbyist contributions, or support from super PACs.
- Kamala Harris: Harris is not accepting contributions from PACs or lobbyists, and is disclosing on her website the identities of fundraisers who bundle over $25,000 to her campaign. Federal Election Commission reports show instances where Harris returned donations from lobbyists.
- Amy Klobuchar: Klobuchar has promised to get “dark money” out of politics, and has called for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
- Beto O'Rourke: In March, it was reported that O'Rourke accepted maximum donations from eight oil and gas executives, leading to some confusion. However, O'Rourke in May said he would sign a pledge not to accept fossil fuel money.
- Bernie Sanders: Sanders has long been a champion of campaign finance reform and has famously refused donations from millionaires and billionaires for years. During his 2016 campaign, he said, “I do not have a super PAC, and I do not want a super PAC.”
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren has denounced money in politics, and has pledged not to hold any big money fundraisers. “Corruption, the influence of money, touches every decision that gets made in Washington,” she said in May.
- Andrew Yang: If elected president, Yang would support a public financing system in an effort to limit financial influence, eliminate super PACs, and support a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
- Joe Biden: Biden has decried Republican efforts to change voting rules, such as instituting identification requirements. “You've got Jim Crow sneaking back in,” he said at a rally in South Carolina in May. “You know what happens when you have an equal right to vote? They lose.”
- Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg believes that felons should have their voting rights restored once they have served time, but he doesn't believe that people should have the right to vote while they are incarcerated. "Part of the punishment when you are convicted of a crime and you're incarcerated is you lose certain rights,” he said during a CNN Town Hall in April.
- Tulsi Gabbard: Gabbard supports the Securing America's Elections Act, which would require each state to use verified paper ballots to combat election interference attempts. She has said via Twitter that the legislation would make it impossible for Russia or any other actors to influence American elections.
- Kamala Harris: Harris has not said one way or another whether she supports giving prisoners voting rights, but she said she believes “we should have that conversation.” In response to a question about the topic a voter asked her in New Hampshire in April, she said, “I'm going to think about it and I'm going to talk to experts and I'm going to make a decision and I will let you know.”
- Amy Klobuchar: Klobuchar has been an ardent supporter of automatic voter registration, nationwide same-day registration, and the protection of elections from foreign interference. “I don't believe these should be partisan priorities—our democracy is for everyone,” she said on Twitter in March. “Let's get it done.”
- Beto O'Rourke: O'Rourke has proposed a goal of increasing voter registration by 50 million voters and raise turnout to 65% of all eligible voters by 2024. His plan would make Election Day a national holiday, extend early voting by two weeks, implement automatic voter registration, and eliminate voter ID laws.
- Bernie Sanders: Sanders supports extending voting rights to those that are incarcerated, and has admitted that this stance could open him up to attack ads. “I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy,” Sanders said in April during a CNN Town Hall. “Yes, even for terrible people.”
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren has proposed a constitutional amendment that would codify the right to vote, which she says would become a standard against voter suppression laws across the United States.
- Andrew Yang: Yang supports automatic voter registration, and, if elected, would champion state efforts to restore voting rights to those with prior convictions. He would also push states to reduce the list of felonies that result in a loss of voting rights.
- Joe Biden: Biden does not support incarcerating people for nonviolent drug offenses. On the campaign trail, he has touted the Obama administration's efforts to reduce the federal prison population and has noted that, as a senator, he led efforts to set up drug courts, but funding was blocked by Republicans. However, he would not commit to reducing the prison population by a certain percentage, as he said it would not be "a rational way to do it."
- Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg is in favor of abolishing the death penalty, as well as cutting the private prison industry and ending the practice of solitary confinement. "It is time to face the simple fact that capital punishment as seen in America has always been a discriminatory practice and we would be a fairer and safer country when we join the ranks of modern nations who have abolished the death penalty," he said in April.
- Tulsi Gabbard: Gabbard has urged for criminal justice reform legislation to address recidivism and the lack of transition after prison life, and to reduce the economic impact of incarceration. She is also opposed to the privatization of prisons, calling the concept “dangerous and inhumane.”
- Kamala Harris: Harris faces criticism over her criminal justice record because of her past as a prosecutor, but she has pledged that if elected, she would pardon low-level drug offenders. “We have to have the courage to recognize that there are a lot of folks who have been incarcerated who should not have been incarcerated and are still in prison because they were convicted under draconian laws that have incarcerated them,” she said in April.
- Amy Klobuchar: If she were elected president, Klobuchar has promised that within a month, she would institute reforms that would free thousands of people from prison. Klobuchar plans to use the presidential pardon to limit mass incarceration in federal prisons and lessen the impact of the war on drugs. She also has proposed organizing a bipartisan clemency advisory board.
- Beto O'Rourke: O'Rourke has a five-step plan to combat the school-to-prison pipeline that includes ending the federal prohibition on marijuana, ending the cash bail system, abolishing for-profit prisons, and ending the use of mandatory minimum sentencing for nonviolent drug offenders. “First, we need to end the failed war on drugs that has long been a war on people, waged on some people over other people,” he said in March.
- Bernie Sanders: Sanders has proposed legalizing marijuana to end the war on drugs, getting rid of private prisons and detention centers, ending cash bail, abolishing the death penalty, and ending all mandatory minimum sentencing. He would also seek to wage major police department reforms and bar employers from discriminating against applicants based on a criminal record.
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren has called the criminal justice system “broken” and has said that the heart of the problem is race. “[African Americans] are more likely to be wrongfully convicted and they are more likely to receive harsher sentences,” she said in April during a CNN Town Hall. “That is a criminal justice system that is not only locking up too many people, it is a criminal justice system that has a problem of race right at the heart of it, and we need to call it out for what it is.”
- Andrew Yang: Yang has prioritized reducing mass incarceration as part of his criminal justice policy; he pledges that, if elected, he would end the use of private prisons, invest in prison programs that reduce recidivism, support businesses that hire felons, and identify nonviolent drug offenders for potential early release. He also argues that implementing his Universal Basic Income will decrease incentives for committing certain crimes.
- Joe Biden: While serving in the Senate, Biden voted against a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, voted to add sexual orientation to the definition of hate crimes, and co-sponsored legislation to issue a commemorative stamp of Rosa Parks. However, back in 1996, he voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, which sought to prohibit same-sex marriage.
- Pete Buttigieg: If elected, Buttigieg would be the first openly gay president. He has warned people in the LGBTQ+ movement to remain vigilant under the Trump administration, which he has said has threatened gay rights. “We know that the struggle is not over, not even close,” he said at a Des Moines Pride event in June. “At a time like today when you can still be legally fired in so many parts of this country because of who you are or who you love, we have work to do.”
- Tulsi Gabbard: Early in her career, Gabbard aligned herself with the anti-same-sex marriage movement, but later said she regretted her past comments on gay marriage. "I was raised in a very socially conservative home. My father is Catholic, he was a leading voice against gay marriage in Hawaii at that time. Again, I was very young, but these are the values and beliefs that I grew up around," she said in March.
- Kamala Harris: Harris introduced a bill in February called the Do Not Harm Act that would revise the Religious Freedom Restoration Act so that the law could no longer be used to threaten civil and legal rights. “The freedom to worship is one of our nation's most fundamental rights. That First Amendment guarantee should never be used to undermine other Americans' civil rights or subject them to discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity,” she said in a statement.
- Amy Klobuchar: Throughout her career, Klobuchar has consistently voted in favor of gay marriage and protection for people regardless of sexual orientation. She has said that discrimination of the LGBTQ+ community is not only immoral, but is also bad for the economy. Klobuchar has also been endorsed by the nonprofit organization The Feminist Majority on women's rights.
- Beto O'Rourke: While in Congress, O'Rourke co-sponsored the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which would enforce against anti-gay discrimination in public schools. He also co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would enforce equal pay among the genders.
- Bernie Sanders: Sanders has a consistent voting record in Congress when it comes to supporting the gay and minority communities. He has also spoken out against voter ID laws that marginalize minorities. “We must also pursue policies that empower minority communities. This must start with energizing Latinos all across the country to engage in the democratic process and by thwarting efforts to disenfranchise minority voters,” he said in 2015.
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren gave a broad and wide-reaching civil rights speech in 2015, in which she urged for policing form and lauded the Black Lives Matter movement, linking economic inequality with systemic racism. "The tools of oppression were woven together, and the civil rights struggle was fought against that oppression wherever it was found—against violence, against the denial of voting rights and against economic injustice,” she said.
- Andrew Yang: Yang would support legislation that would seek to protect people from legislation based on gender identity and sexual orientation. He has also said he would nominate LGBTQ+ individuals to serve in his administration if he were elected.
Welfare and poverty
- Joe Biden: Biden has not taken an explicit stance on poverty or welfare during the 2020 campaign, but he has previously been referred to as “middle-class Joe.” At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, he said: “When the middle class does well, the rich do very well and the poor have hope. They have a way out.”
- Pete Buttigieg: While Buttigieg has not made direct comments about his plans for welfare and poverty, he has faced some criticism from citizens of his hometown, South Bend, Ind., for his lack of action to revitalize their communities as mayor. In a local survey, more than half of South Bend residents said their neighborhoods hadn't improved over the last five years.
- Tulsi Gabbard: While in Congress in 2013, Gabbard voted against maintaining work requirements for welfare recipients. She also opposes cuts to Social Security and Medicare, and has participated in the campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
- Kamala Harris: Harris has said her chief goal as commander in chief would be to raise incomes for working people. She has proposed a plan to give working and middle-class families up to $500 a month, after finding via research that most American families did not have enough savings to cover a $500 emergency expense.
- Amy Klobuchar: While Klobuchar has not made specific statements about her plans for addressing poverty and welfare, she has been given a 99% rating by the Alliance for Retired Americans, suggesting she supports social security.
- Beto O'Rourke: O'Rourke is in favor of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and has voted against keeping work requirements in place for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. At one point in his career, he supported entitlement reform, but it's unclear if he still does.
- Bernie Sanders: Sanders is a staunch and outspoken supporter of raising the minimum wage, and went after Walmart in May, calling on the company to increase its “poverty wages.” “Walmart workers are sick and tired of being paid poverty wages, while the Walton family is worth over $170bn,” Sanders said in a tweet. “I'm honored to have been invited by Walmart workers to demand they have a seat on the company's board.”
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren supports raising the minimum wage. “Today, a full-time minimum wage job in America won't keep a mom and a baby out of poverty,” she said in June. “This is about what kinds of jobs we're building in America and where the distribution of our wealth is.”
- Andrew Yang: Yang believes his Universal Basic Income of $1,000 would help to eliminate poverty. He has said that the concept would work better than the current system, where in some cases welfare recipients are denied welfare once they find employment.
Homeland security and veterans
- Joe Biden: Biden has not taken an explicit stance on homeland security and veterans in the 2020 campaign. However, Veterans for Biden, a group of military veterans, emphatically supports the former vice president's candidacy. They point to security camera captures of Biden giving a homeless veteran money in 2018 as an instance of him selflessly supporting veterans.
- Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg has floated the idea of creating a national public service program that would encourage or require some kind of military or civilian service for Americans. "One thing we could do that would change that would be to make it—if not legally obligatory but certainly a social norm—that anybody, after they're 18, spends a year in national service,” he said in April.
- Tulsi Gabbard: A veteran herself of the Iraq war, Gabbard has supported the idea of creating veteran treatment courts which seek to assist veterans with substance abuse problems and those who have committed nonviolent crimes. “I've met veterans in Hawaii who have graduated from this program, and who tearfully share how this program has literally saved their lives,” Gabbard has said.
- Kamala Harris: Though Harris has not proposed a homeland security strategy, she has been critical of former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, especially on the department's policy of family separations at the border.
- Amy Klobuchar: In January, Klobuchar introduced bipartisan legislation to improve health care for veterans. The Veterans Access to Care Act would allow designated medical facilities to apply for scholarships and loan forgiveness for health care professionals.
- Beto O'Rourke: O'Rourke has said he would support tearing down existing walls between the United States and Mexico. “It's cost us tens of billions of dollars to build and maintain. And it's pushed migrants and asylum seekers and refugees to the most inhospitable, the most hostile stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border, ensuring their suffering and death,” he said in February.
- Bernie Sanders: Sanders was the chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, and has been seen as an advocate for veterans throughout his career. In 2015, the national Veterans of Foreign Wars organization presented Sanders with its Congressional Award. The group Veterans for Bernie sought to mobilize and promote his candidacy in the 2016 primaries.
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren has been a fierce opponent of predatory lending throughout her career, and has highlighted how it can disproportionately affect veterans. “Young soldiers became targets for a number of aggressive scams. Once the young soldiers arrived on base, they ran a gauntlet of pretty young women to flirt and sell them on installment loans that charged 100% interest or more,” she said in her book "A Fighting Chance."
- Andrew Yang: Yang has pledged that, if elected, he would invest in the care and treatment of military veterans, and return them home to “a system that recognizes them as assets and contributors.” He has also said he would name a secretary of cybersecurity to combat cyberterrorism and would invest in counterproliferation efforts.
Economy and trade
- Joe Biden: Biden plans on campaigning against Trump's trade war, and is planning to argue that it has hurt American manufacturers, consumers, and workers. Aides say that the Biden campaign will be rolling out a progressive trade policy in the next few months.
- Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg has also criticized Trump's trade policy, and has said that more tariffs will be bad for American consumers. “It ignores the bigger issue in the China challenge, which is not about the export-import balance. It's about whether the rest of this century happens on terms that are favorable to the American model or the Chinese model,” he said in May.
- Tulsi Gabbard: Gabbard is opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, and has said that the job loss under the deal would be unprecedented. She has also come out against the North American Free Trade Agreement. “For too long, hardworking Americans have suffered, lost their jobs and livelihoods as a consequence of large trade agreements like NAFTA, while multinational corporations and special interests continue to make record profits,” she said in 2017.
- Kamala Harris: Harris has called Trump's threat of tariffs against Mexico a “Trump trade tax,” and has argued it could cost the country hundreds of thousands of jobs. Harris is also opposed to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which is the successor to NAFTA. “I believe that we can do a better job to protect American workers," she said in April.
- Amy Klobuchar: Klobuchar calls her economic strategy “heartland economics," which focuses on rural Americans and repairing dilapidated infrastructure. “So ‘heart' is about, you know, the heart of America, the middle of America, but it is also about economics with heart, which means you're looking out not just for the people at the top and the titans, you're looking out for people who are ... working the economy,” she said in April.
- Beto O'Rourke: O'Rourke believes trade wars are ultimately harming American farmers, and aren't hurting China at all, as they were intended to. He has talked about trade in connection with climate change, and how the combination of the two have hurt the Midwest. “Trump knows full well how destructive his trade wars have been. They amount to one of the biggest middle-class tax hikes in history,” O'Rourke wrote for CNN.
- Bernie Sanders: Sanders has a trade policy platform that calls for labeling China a currency manipulator and the complete overhauling of U.S. trade deals. He has also urged for an executive order to ban federal contracts going to companies that outsource jobs, and for the repeal of a section of the Republican tax law that he argues encourages outsourcing.
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren's plan for “economic patriotism” calls for boosting industry, aggressively promoting U.S. manufacturing and exports, and expanding the Export-Import Bank's activities. She also proposed allowing the federal government to only buy American-made goods and to realign American currency.
- Andrew Yang: Yang has called for the U.S. to maintain a positive relationship with China, since they are the country's largest trading partner. Although he has said trade with China is imbalanced, he also argues that a trade war is counterproductive.
Families, including child care and elderly care
- Joe Biden: Although Biden has not taken a stance on paid family leave during his 2020 campaign, he made a personal push for the issue in New York with Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2016. “I think the single most difficult thing for a parent or a son or daughter taking care of a parent is to look at that person in need and know there's not a damn thing you can do to help them,” he said at the time.
- Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg is in favor of paid parental leave, and has noted he has a personal stake in the issue because he and his husband are planning on having a child soon. “We should have paid parental leave and find a way to have paid leave for anyone who needs caring,” he said in April.
- Tulsi Gabbard: In February, Gabbard was one of 160 lawmakers to introduce the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, which would form a national paid family and medical leave program and ensure 12 weeks of paid leave. “Our legislation will provide the security our working families need to care for their loved ones, without risking their ability to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table,” Gabbard said of the bill.
- Kamala Harris: Harris also endorsed the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act in March. “A federal paid leave program would ensure Americans have the opportunity to be caregivers and providers for their loved ones without worrying about income security and how to make ends meet,” she said via Facebook.
- Amy Klobuchar: Klobuchar introduced the bipartisan Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act in March to address what she called a shortage of quality and affordable child care, particularly in rural communities. The bill would offer competitive grants to states to train child care professionals and renovate certain child care facilities.
- Beto O'Rourke: O'Rourke supports codifying paid family leave into law. “Let's sign into law paid family leave for every single family in this country,” he said on Twitter in April.
- Bernie Sanders: Sanders is in favor of offering universal child care and early education, which he believes is the best way to address access to high-quality education. A spokesperson for his campaign said in May: “Bernie will continue to show how our movement will tackle the major issues facing America, including the need for universal child care.”
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren has a policy proposal to provide universal childcare, which would be paid for through a tax on the ultra-wealthy. She has suggested a network of child care centers that would charge families based on their ability to pay. Under Warren's plan, even for the wealthiest of families, childcare costs would be capped at 7% of a family's income, while those earning less than 200% of the federal poverty line would be able to pay nothing for child care.
- Andrew Yang: If elected president, Yang would invest in several programs to support single parents, including tax breaks for child care, mandatory family and maternity leave, increased funding for pre-K programs, and communal housing built specifically for single parents. He has also proposed creating “responsibility-sharing networks” to allow single parents to work with each other.
Other domestic issues
- Joe Biden: Biden has proposed tripling the federal funding for Title I schools, which would raise teachers' pay. “Systemic racism is persistent across our institutions today—including in our schools—and must be addressed,” the Biden campaign said. “President Biden will make sure that no child's education opportunity is determined by their zip code, parents' income, race, or disability.”
- Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg has proposed that Washington D.C., be afforded equal political representation as a state, with two senators and a representative in the House with voting powers. D.C. currently has one congresswoman, but she does not have voting powers.
- Tulsi Gabbard: Gabbard is in favor of prosecuting pharmaceutical companies for deaths related to opioid addiction, and has introduced legislation to hold drug executives accountable for profiting from addiction. “The pharmaceutical industry has lied to the public for years about the addictiveness of their drugs. They are culpable in the opioid crisis,” she said via Twitter.
- Kamala Harris: Harris has said that, if elected, she would make the largest federal investment in history toward teacher salaries, giving educators a 23% raise on average. In Harris' plan, the federal government would provide the first 10% of needed funding while states would be incentivized to reach the rest. The proposal would also make targeted investments in public schools that disproportionately educate students of color.
- Amy Klobuchar: Klobuchar has released a massive infrastructure proposal, calling it her top budget priority. In her $1 trillion plan, she pledged to improve roads, bridges, and airports, as well as expand public transportation and ensure access to safe and clean water. She suggested paying for the plan by raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 25%.
- Beto O'Rourke: O'Rourke supports enacting term limits for Supreme Court justices, and has proposed terms of 18 years. He has also proposed a constitutional amendment to implement a 12-year term limit for both the House and Senate, which he argues will encourage more people to run for office.
- Bernie Sanders: Sanders has pledged to champion the rights of people with disabilities if elected. He has proposed fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, expanding vocational education opportunities, implementing a federal job guarantee program, and enacting a health care plan that includes home and community care.
- Elizabeth Warren: Warren debuted an affordable housing proposal in March which would invest $500 billion over the next 10 years to provide affordable units to lower-income families. The plan would also reduce rental costs by 10% and would create 1.5 million jobs, according to estimates. “The cost of housing is a real obstacle to families looking to move to cities with better job opportunities. My plan creates more affordable housing in these communities,” she said.
- Andrew Yang: Yang has proposed granting Puerto Rico statehood, and has said that, as president, he is prepared to take all steps necessary to admitting the island as the nation's 51st state. “Puerto Rico should be a state—they function as one right now without the political rights and bankruptcy protection,” Yang said.