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.
You may also like: Libertarian, gerrymandering, and 50 other political terms you should know
- 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.2018 All rights reserved.