2020 Democratic Candidates: Where Do They Stand on Key Policy Issues? - Rolling Stone
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The RS Politics 2020 Democratic Primary Policy Guide

Where every current candidate stand on health care, the climate crisis, closing the wealth gap, and more

Former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Matthew Putney/AP/Shutterstock; Paul Sancya/AP/Shutterstock; Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/Shutterstock

The collection of Democrats vying to win the party’s nomination to take on President Trump in 2020 was larger and more diverse than any group of White House hopefuls since the modern primary process began. But with primary season fully underway, the field of over two dozen candidates has been whittled down to eight, a group that includes three senators, three women, a former vice president, two billionaires, and a 37-year-old trying to become America’s first LGBTQ president.

Below is a guide to where every current candidate stands on a variety of crucial issues. Scroll through at your convenience or click a candidate’s name to jump directly to their policy positions. For a look at where the candidates stand in the marathon horse race to secure the party’s nomination, check out the RS Politics 2020 Democratic Primary Leaderboard. Both guides will be updated as the primary progresses and candidates continue to develop policy positions.


BERNIE SANDERS | JOE BIDEN | MIKE BLOOMBERG | PETE BUTTIGIEG | ELIZABETH WARRENAMY KLOBUCHAR | TOM STEYER | TULSI GABBARD

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., arrives to speak at George Washington University in Washington, on his policy of democratic socialism, the economic philosophy that has guided his political careerElection 2020 Bernie Sanders, Washington, USA - 12 Jun 2019

Bernie Sanders


Medicare for All

Sanders is the author of Medicare for All legislation in the Senate. His bill would transform Medicare into cradle-to-grave insurance coverage for all American residents, financed by taxes, so there would be no fees at doctors offices, emergency rooms, or hospitals. Over a decade, the government would need to fund and administer a $32 trillion program, but studies have suggested overall U.S. spending on health care could drop, even as tens of millions gain coverage. “Here is the truth that the drug and insurance companies do not want you to know,” Sanders tweeted last May. “Expanding Medicare to everyone will save the American people money.”

Closing the Wealth Gap

When Sanders, the democratic socialist, preaches “revolution,” he is talking about wresting power and wealth from the billionaire class to create security and opportunity for working people and “an economy that works for all.” Sanders is targeting the wealth of America’s oligarchs, and has proposed hiking the estate tax to 77 percent on the fortunes of the very wealthiest, aiming to raise “$2.2 trillion from the nation’s 588 billionaires,” including $74 billion from the Koch brothers alone. “If the Koch brothers and the billionaire class hate my guts, I welcome their hatred,” Sanders has long said. It’s a line he cribbed from FDR, from whom he has also taken the idea of an Economic Bill of Rights, calling for, among other things, the government to guarantee a “decent-paying job” to everyone who can work. “A job guarantee will lower the crime rate, improve mental health, and create a stronger sense of community,” Sanders has said. “It will create a much healthier and happier America.” He’s also been a longtime proponent of raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour (a “starvation wage”) to $15 per hour, insisting: “It is not a radical idea to say a job should lift you out of poverty, not keep you in it.”  

The Climate Crisis

A co-sponsor of the Green New Deal resolution released by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, Sanders has released his own $16.3 trillion plan to combat the climate crisis. Regarded as the most ambitious plan of anyone remaining the field, Sanders’ proposal calls for declaring the climate crisis a national emergency, investment in clean energy sources, and setting aside $200 billion to help other nations cope with the effects of climate change. Sanders says his plan would pay for itself in 15 years while creating 20 million new jobs. In January, Sanders was endorsed by the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led coalition of progressive climate activists.

Foreign Policy

Sanders’ rhetoric on foreign policy has often mirrored his domestic priorities, condemning the power of corporate multinationals and oligarchic concentrations of wealth. His record leans toward an anti-interventionist stance — he voted against the Iraq war and more recently did not support ousting Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro, citing the U.S’s “long history of inappropriately intervening in Latin-American countries,” adding, “we must not go down that road again.” Sanders has called for Congress to reclaim its power to declare war and in April invoked the War Powers Resolution to cut off U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. “We’re not going to invest in never-ending wars,” he has said.

During an interview last July with Pod Save America, Sanders offered sharp criticisms of Israel under Benjamin Netanyahu, and said that he would “absolutely” considering cutting American aid to Israel in order to force the nation to behave differently. “You have an extreme right-wing government with many racist tendencies,” he said of the nation under Netanyahu, adding that “our policy cannot just be pro-Israel, pro-Israel, pro-Israel; it has got to be pro-region working with all of the people, all of the countries in that area.”

Guns

Sanders has been slow to evolve on gun control. He voted for the NRA-backed 2005 bill that made most gun makers immune from accountability for misuse of their weapons, sparking the reckless marketing of military-style weapons. During his 2016 campaign, Sanders cited his concern for mom-and-pop gun shops to justify his vote. In his announcement speech for his 2020 run, Sanders sounded more like a conventional progressive: “I’m running for president because we must end the epidemic of gun violence in this country,” he said. “We need to take on the NRA, expand background checks, end the gun-show loophole, and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons.”

Free College

Sanders pushed the call for free college to the fore in his 2016 campaign, and continues to champion the policy in 2020. He has called for free public college tuition, with the federal government covering 67 percent of this cost and states the remaining 33 percent. His plan seeks to “fully fund” historically black colleges and universities — financed by a transaction fee for Wall Street trades on stocks, bonds, and derivatives. Sanders is proposing to use the same Wall Street tax to fund a debt jubilee, wiping out all $1.6 trillion in outstanding student loans. “If we could bail out Wall Street, we sure as hell can #CancelStudentDebt,” he tweeted after announcing his new debt relief legislation last June.

Legal Weed

Sanders supports the Marijuana Justice Act, which would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, meaning it would no longer be federally prohibited and legality would be left up to the states. The act would also invest at least $500 million a year in communities hardest hit by the Drug War and withhold federal Department of Justice funding from states that enforce their own pot laws unequally. 

He ratcheted up his rhetoric on the issue during an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience last August, saying that, if elected, he would use an executive order to remove marijuana from the list of Schedule I narcotics, which also includes heroin. “That is insane,” he told Rogan. “Heroin is a killer drug. You can argue the plusses and minuses of marijuana, but marijuana ain’t heroin. So we have to end that and that’s what I will do as president of the United States. I believe we can do that through executive order and I will do that.”

Abolishing the Electoral College

Sanders wants to “reexamine” the Electoral College. “It is hard to defend the current system in which one candidate receives 3 million votes less than his opponent, but still becomes president,” he said.

Packing the Supreme Court

Sanders has voiced support for reforming the Supreme Court — perhaps by rotating on new justices from the appellate courts — but he’s concerned that conservatives could retaliate if progressives pack the court. “My worry is that the next time the Republicans are in power they will do the same thing. So I think that is not the ultimate solution,” he said at the 2019 We The People summit.

Criminal Justice Reform

Sanders voted for the 1994 Crime Bill, placing him in company with Joe Biden. Today he wants to end the drug war, including by legalizing marijuana. Sanders also seeks to end cash bail, mandatory minimums, private prisons, and the death penalty.

Reparations

Sanders, who is not given to fiscal conservatism, has balked at reparations for slavery, telling The View last year: “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.”

He elaborated on his position during an appearance on “Black Coffee” with Marc Lamont Hill. “My preferred solution,” Sanders said, “is … focusing a very substantial amount of federal money on distressed communities in America, which in most cases, not all, will be African-American communities. That means paying attention and rebuilding schools; making sure the young people who are graduating high school are not falling through the cracks — that they have the job training or the ability to go to college; making sure there is decent housing and that the environment in those communities is adequate; and making sure everybody has health care.”

Family Care

In addition to calling for universal pre-K, Sanders wants universal child care. “In a society with our resources, it is unconscionable that we do not properly invest in our children from the very first stages of their lives,” he tweeted last February. “We need universal, publicly funded childcare.”

Reproductive Rights

Sanders has been on the record as staunchly pro-choice since 1972, when he was quoted in a Vermont newspaper saying: “It strikes me as incredible that politicians think that they have the right to tell a woman what she can or cannot do with her body.” He opposes the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal spending on most abortions, limiting access for women on Medicaid, in particular.

Voting Rights

Sanders seeks to re-enfranchise people with felony records, including those currently behind bars. He’d abolish Voter ID laws, “restore” the Voting Rights Act, create automatic voter registration at the federal level for all Americans over 18, and make Election Day a national holiday. “The great political crisis we face is not voter fraud, which is virtually nonexistent,” he tweeted last April. “The crisis we face is voter suppression. Our movement is about ending voter suppression, restoring the Voting Rights Act and implementing automatic voter registration.”

Taking on Wall Street

Sanders uses a Wall Street transaction tax to fund free college. With Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders also has a proposal to cap all interest rates for credit cards and other consumer lenders at 15 percent.

Immigration

Sanders speaks about immigration in more conservative terms than some 2020 competitors. “What we need is comprehensive immigration reform,” he said while stumping in Iowa last year. “If you open the borders, my God, there’s a lot of poverty in this world, and you’re going to have people from all over the world. And I don’t think that’s something that we can do at this point. Can’t do it. So that is not my position.”

Trade

Sanders has long blasted free trade deals — “unfair trade agreements written by multi-national corporations” — as harmful to the American working class, and he calls for “a trade policy that benefits American workers and creates living-wage jobs. He hits Trump as being feckless in slowing offshoring of jobs and closing the trade deficit. He wants to close the tax breaks that provide incentives to ship jobs overseas. Sanders also wants to expand “buy American” policies to increase job growth at home. He would also make sure “binding labor, environmental, and human rights standards are written into the core text of all trade agreements.”

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden during a campaign rally at Eakins Oval in PhiladelphiaElection 2020 Joe Biden, Philadelphia, USA - 18 May 2019

Joe Biden


Medicare for All

Biden does not support Medicare for All, instead favoring an expansion of the Affordable Care Act. Last summer, he unveiled a health care plan built around subsidizing the “big fucking deal” he helped pass as Obama’s vice president. Biden’s 2020 plan would also offer a Medicare-like public option that Americans would be able to buy into. “I believe we have to protect and build on Obamacare,” Biden said in a video announcing the plan. “That’s why I proposed adding a public option to Obamacare as the best way to lower cost and cover everyone. I understand the appeal of Medicare for All, but folks supporting it should be clear that it means getting rid of Obamacare, and I’m not for that.”

Biden’s claim that Medicare for All would mean the end of the Obamacare is an odd way to promote his plan. While true that Medicare for All would replace and thus end the ACA, no one would lose coverage under a single-payer system.

Closing the Wealth Gap

Biden has pledged to close $1.6 trillion in “tax loopholes.” One staple of his stump speech is pledging to eliminate the stepped-up basis loophole, which allows heirs to pay less in taxes on their inheritance. Biden also wants to crack down on the use of non-compete clauses that make it difficult for workers to change jobs, and has slammed the Trump tax cuts by saying that the vast majority of the benefits go to “folks at the top and corporations.” But he has faced criticism for pointedly refusing to take aim at America’s new oligarchs, a la Warren or Sanders. “I love Bernie, but I’m not Bernie Sanders,” he said in 2019. “I don’t think 500 billionaires are the reason why we’re in trouble.” At a recent Manhattan fundraiser, he vowed not to “demonize” the wealthy if elected president and told the well-heeled donors in attendance, “I need you very badly.”

The Climate Crisis

Biden, who introduced one of the Senate’s first climate bills in 1986, has endorsed the framework of a Green New Deal and unveiled a $1.7 trillion plan to get to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The plan calls for signing climate-focused executive orders on Biden’s first day as president, recommitting to the Paris climate accord, reinforcing the Clean Air Act to combat growing transportation sector emissions, and demanding Congress pass legislation creating an enforcement mechanism to meet emissions targets, among other goals. Biden also wants to use the reach and buying power of the federal government to combat climate change, mandating that federal infrastructure spending help reduce pollution and all federal permitting decisions weigh the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Public Education

Biden’s first major policy rollout focused on K-12 education. The centerpiece of that plan is tripling Title I federal spending on schools that serve low-income students from $16 billion to $48 billion. He also wants to increase teacher pay, expand pre-K access for three- and four-year-olds, and invest more in mental health services in public schools. If he’s president, he’ll call on the Department of Education to fund efforts to “diversify” public schools. But school desegregation is a dicey subject for Biden: Before he got in the race, the Washington Post highlighted Biden’s opposition three decades ago to busing as a way to diversify public schools. “I do not buy the concept, popular in the ’60s, which said, ‘We have suppressed the black man for 300 years and the white man is now far ahead in the race for everything our society offers. In order to even the score, we must now give the black man a head start, or even hold the white man back, to even the race,'” he told a Delaware newspaper in 1975. “I don’t buy that.”

Campaign Cash

Biden has disavowed Super PACs and fossil fuel money but not corporate PAC money or dark money nonprofit groups. His campaign has reportedly begun recruiting big-money fundraisers, a.k.a. “bundlers,” who receive nicknames depending on how much money they raise —  $50,000 for a “Protector,” $100,000 for a “Unifier.”

Foreign Policy

After eight years as vice president, Biden has logged more miles as a statesman than any other 2020 candidate. His views are decidedly mainstream and centrist, for good and ill. He has slammed Trump’s “need to coddle autocrats and dictators” and called for more support of NATO and a strong response to Russia’s sustained assault on Western democracy, including in the U.S. Yet he also voted for the Iraq war, and supported President Obama’s escalation of the war in Afghanistan.

Last July, he reset his approach to foreign policy for his latest run at the White House. While speaking at the City University of New York, Biden preached the need to restore America’s relationship with the international community to what it was before the current president took office. He promised to rejoin the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal, cancel Trump’s travel ban on predominantly Muslim nations, resume sending aid to Northern Triangle nations, and more. “Donald Trump’s brand of America First has too often left America alone,” he said. “We only have one opportunity to reset our democracy. After Trump, we have to be prepared to make the most of it.”

Rural America

Last summer, Biden unveiled a plan aimed at revitalizing rural America. The plan features a bevy of economic initiatives, investment in clean energy solutions, tripling funding to expand rural broadband access, measure to improve access to health care in rural areas, and more. “A healthy, vibrant rural America is essential to the success of our country,” he wrote in introducing the plan. “Yet in small town after small town, parents watch their kids and grandkids leave rural communities because there just is not enough opportunity for them at home. For too many rural Americans, a pathway to the middle class is out of reach if they stay in their rural communities.”

Free College

As vice president, in 2015, Biden called for four years of free public college, going further than Obama’s proposal for free two-year community college. Biden’s campaign website pays lip service to the need for all Americans to “obtain the skills and education to realize their full potential” from pre-K to college, but he has not explicitly endorsed four years of free public college since joining the 2020 primary (only free community college), and has been facing criticism for votes he made as a senator that made it harder for borrowers to discharge student debt through bankruptcy. 

Guns

A longtime gun control advocate, Biden responded to a school shooting last year by listing various policies that could prevent future tragedies. “The idea we don’t have universal background checks,” he told reporters, “the idea that we don’t outlaw a number of the weapons I was able to get outlawed in the crime bill, from large magazines and assault weapons and all that, this is crazy.” In the past, he pushed for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines as well as implementing universal background checks.

Immigration

As president, Biden’s website says, he would “pursue a humane immigration policy that upholds our values, strengthens our economy, and secures our border.” He recently pledged not to deport veterans who aren’t U.S. citizens. As a senator, he voted in favor of the Secure Fence Act to pay for 700 miles of wall construction on the U.S.-Mexico border. He played a key role in the Obama administration championing the cause of Dreamers, or undocumented residents who were brought to the country when they were young.

Legal Weed

Legalization advocates slammed Biden when he entered the race, telling Rolling Stone that he had “an abysmal record when it came to marijuana law reform.” As a senator, he helped lead the charge in the ’80s to ramp up the federal government’s War on Drugs, introducing the Comprehensive Narcotics Control Act of 1986 and calling for the creation of a “drug czar.” He has not made many public statements on the subject in recent years, but in 2014 told Time magazine that he still didn’t support legalization. Last summer, Biden released a plan for criminal justice reform that calls for the decriminalization of marijuana, for states to be allowed to legalize it as they see fit, and for it to be downgraded to a Schedule II substance at the federal level.

Abolishing the Electoral College

Biden told the New York Times editorial board that he does not support eliminating the Electoral College.

Packing the Supreme Court

In 1983, during a hearing on President Reagan’s plans to replace members of a national civil rights commission, Biden said FDR’s court-packing was “totally within his right” but, in his view, was “a bonehead idea” that “put in question, for an entire decade, the independence of the most significant body” in the United States.

He told the New York Times editorial board earlier this year that he does not support term limits for Supreme Court justices.

Criminal Justice Reform

Since launching his campaign, Biden’s had to answer for his criminal justice stance in the ’80s and ’90s, including support for the 1994 Crime Bill and co-sponsoring the 1988 Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which created mandatory minimum sentences that treated crack cocaine more harshly than cocaine and contributed to the disproportionate incarceration of people of color. “It was a big mistake…” he told a crowd in early 2019. “We thought, we were told by the experts, that crack — you never go back; it was somehow fundamentally different. It’s not different. But it’s trapped an entire generation.”

Last summer, Biden unveiled a comprehensive plan for criminal justice reform. It calls for abolishing the death penalty, private prisons, cash bail, and mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent crimes; investing in reforming law enforcement and encouraging the Justice Department to hold police departments accountable for misconduct; a $20 grant program to encourage states to reduce crime and incarceration; and more. “Today, too many people are incarcerated in the United States — and too many of them are black and brown,” Biden wrote. “To build safe and healthy communities, we need to rethink who we’re sending to jail, how we treat those in jail, and how we help them get the health care, education, jobs, and housing they need to successfully rejoin society after they serve their time.”

Reproductive Rights

Biden, a Roman Catholic, has said that he personally opposes abortion but because this conviction is based on his faith, he has no right to impose those views on other people. Accordingly, he said in 2012 that the government doesn’t have a right to tell women what to do with their bodies. And a Biden spokesman told the New York Times last year that Biden supports the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. But as a senator in the early ’80s, Biden voted in favor of an amendment to allow states to overturn Roe, a vote he described then as “the single most difficult vote I’ve cast as a U.S. senator.”

Last June, Biden’s campaign confirmed that he still supported the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funds from being used for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, and if the life of the mother is at risk. This put him in stark contrast to other Democratic candidates on this issue. Days later, he reversed course and said he no longer supports the measure.

Voting Rights

Biden website includes a call to protect “every American’s vote” — to make it easier for people of all races and classes to vote and protect our elections from foreign interference. On the campaign trail, he’s said that Republicans want to scale back voting rights and make it harder for people of color to exercise their right to vote. “You’ve got Jim Crow sneaking back in,” he said. “You know what happens when you have an equal right to vote? They lose.”

Reparations

Biden does not support reparations. He dismissed the idea in a 1975 interview that resurfaced in news reports before he entered the presidential race. “I don’t feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather,” Biden told a local newspaper. “I feel responsible for what the situation is today, for the sins of my own generation. And I’ll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago.”

When asked in an interview with the New York Times editorial board earlier this year why he doesn’t support reparations, he said he does before elaborating that they would come through “end[ing]systemic segregation, and it’s real, and it’s genuine,” and that “there’s a whole range of things we can do legislatively now to deal with this systemic racism that still exists.”

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg speaks at the Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa, Okla. They are circling each other like wary boxers, with taunts on Twitter, snarky asides and belittling depictions of one another. They rose to prominence in Manhattan on parallel tracks, amassed wealth real and perceived and displayed a penchant for putting their names on things. President Donald Trump and Mike Bloomberg could hardly be more different as people but now they both want the same job: Trump'sElection 2020 Trump Bloomberg, Tulsa, USA - 19 Jan 2020

Mike Bloomberg


Medicare for All

Bloomberg’s health care policy is aligned with those of moderates like Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg in that it calls for offering a public option but not a universal, single-payer system. His $1.5 trillion plan would expand the Affordable Care Act, and offer a tax credit for individuals and families whose premiums account for more than 8.5 percent of their income.

Closing the Wealth Gap

Bloomberg has proposed a repeal of President Trump’s 2017 tax cut that was aimed largely at corporations and the wealthy; a new 5-percent tax on incomes over $5 million; and raising capital gains tax on those earning more than $1 million per year. Bloomberg estimates his tax proposal would bring in $5 trillion in new tax revenue.

The Climate Crisis

Bloomberg’s climate plan aims to replace all coal plants with clean-power by 2030, for the America to get 80 percent of its electricity from clean sources by 2028, and for 100 percent of America’s energy to come from clean sources by 2050.

Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg arrives for a grassroots event, in Alexandria, VaElection 2020 Pete Buttigieg, Alexandria, USA - 14 Jun 2019

Pete Buttigieg


Medicare for All

Buttigieg has said a single-payer health care system is the “right place for us to head as a country,” but doesn’t think a Medicare for All model necessitates the elimination of the private insurance industry. “If we want to make Medicare available to everybody, whether it’s as a public option to buy in or simply establishing that as how the payer structure works in this country, that’s going to be the center of gravity,” he told ABC last February. “The bottom line is that we need to make sure every American is able to get health care.” Buttigieg has described his plan as “Medicare for All Who Want It,” which would serve as a “pathway” toward Medicare for All.

Packing the Supreme Court

Buttigieg has one of the field’s most radical ideas for reforming the Supreme Court. He told The Intercept last March that we “definitely need to do structural reform on the Supreme Court,” and has floated the idea that the court should be expanded to 15 seats, five of which would be left-leaning, five of which would be right-leaning and five that would be chosen by a consensus of the other 10.

“The reform of not just expanding the number of members but doing it in a way where some of them are selected on a consensus, nonpartisan basis, it’s a very promising way to do it,” Buttigieg told NBC News last summer. “There may be others. But the point is, we’ve got to get out of where we are now, where any time there is an opening, there is an apocalyptic, ideological firefight. It harms the court, it harms the country and it leads to outcomes like we have right now.”

Abolishing the Electoral College

Buttigieg has called for the end of the Electoral College. “At risk of sounding a little simplistic, one thing I believe is that in an American presidential election, the person who gets the most votes ought to be the person who wins,” he said at a CNN town hall in 2019.

Free College

Buttigieg bucked with some progressives when he seemed to oppose tuition-free college while speaking to students at Northeastern University last year. “Americans who have a college degree earn more than Americans who don’t. As a progressive, I have a hard time getting my head around the idea of a majority who earn less because they didn’t go to college subsidizing a minority who earn more because they did,” he said. The previous month, he told Vice that he believes “there should be a comprehensive strategy,” but that he isn’t “wedded” to any specific approach to tackling the student debt crisis, such as debt cancelation.

He later clarified his own strategy by releasing his higher education policy on his website. His plan calls for debt-free public college, as well as an increase in Pell Grants and more support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities  and Minority-Serving Institutions. Buttigieg has also said he would expand the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which, as the name implies, offers loan forgiveness in exchange for public service.

Foreign Policy

Last summer, Buttigieg delivered a foreign policy-focused speech at the Indiana University at Bloomington in which he laid out several proposals, including repealing and replacing the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which essentially gives the president unilateral authority to wage war, and withholding taxpayer money from Israel if it annexes the West Bank. Though he supports Israel, Buttigieg noted that a “supporter of Israel may also oppose the policies of the Israeli right-wing government,” and that he is seeing “increasingly disturbing signs that the Netanyahu government is turning away from peace.”

The Afghanistan veteran has also called for an end to “endless wars,” and criticized both parties for failing to develop an adequate approach to international relations. “Since the election of the current president, the United States hardly has a foreign policy at all,” he said. “And lest that seem like a partisan jab, I should acknowledge that for the better part of my lifetime, it has been difficult to identify a consistent foreign policy in the Democratic Party either.”

“We need a strategy,” he added. “Not just to deal with individual threats, rivalries, and opportunities, but to manage global trends that will define the balance of this half-century in which my generation will live the majority of our lives.”

Closing the Wealth Gap

“We can quibble over marginal tax rate levels, but we know that a lot of people in this country are not paying their fair share,” Buttigieg said on CBS in 2019. “We know about Warren Buffet paying less percent of taxes than his secretary, and I think we know that’s wrong. There’s this talk about this being some crazy left-wing position, but I think the idea that some people aren’t paying their fair share, and we’ve got to change that, that’s something most Americans get.”

He has also proposed raising the national minimum wage to $15 per hour, as well as exploring ways to deal with the effects of automation. He has also expressed openness to more radical solutions, telling Pod Save America that “it’s the right moment to have the conversation” about universal basic income.

National Service

Last summer, Buttigieg rolled out a plan for a new national service program that would build a network of one million national service participants by 2026. Dubbed “A New Call to Service,” the plan would bolster existing programs like AmeriCrops and the Peace Corps, as well as creating new, similar programs, such as a Climate Corps, and a national service program centered around mental health. Buttigieg’s campaign has said the program would cost $20 billion over 10 years. “Shaping a new generation bonded by the experience of serving will not only deliver good work, but also help repair the social fabric in our nation,” Buttigieg tweeted.

The Climate Crisis

Buttigieg supported the Paris climate accord, and told CNN that he believes the Green New Deal is “the right beginning” to tackling what he has described as a national emergency. He supports “a carbon tax-and-dividend for Americans, and major direct investment to build a 100% clean energy society.”

Voting Rights

Buttigieg supports automatic voter registration, expanding early voting, making Election Day a national holiday, and restoring voting rights for the formerly incarcerated — but at a CNN town hall in 2019 he said that he didn’t support people being allowed to vote while incarcerated. “Part of the punishment when you are convicted of a crime and you’re incarcerated is you lose certain rights. You lose your freedom,” he said. “And I think during that period it does not make sense to have an exception for the right to vote.”

Guns

Buttigieg supports universal background checks, and is a member of the bipartisan group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. After the 2019 New Zealand mosque shooting, he called for military-style assault weapons to be banned, along with the establishment of a national gun licensing system, and the closure of the “boyfriend loophole,” which allows some domestic abusers to purchase guns so long as they were not married to the victim.

Immigration

Buttigieg supports the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He has also called for comprehensive immigration reform that would “end the backlogs in our lawful immigration and asylum processes.”

Reproductive Rights

“The government’s role should be to make sure all women have access to comprehensive affordable care, and that includes preventive care, contraceptive services, prenatal and postpartum care, and safe and legal abortion,” Buttigieg’s website reads. He also supports the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which restricts federal funding for abortion except in extreme cases such as rape and incest.

Legal Weed

Buttigieg supports the legalization of marijuana, and has said that he first learned about white male privilege when he was caught with a joint by a police officer in college but wasn’t arrested for it. “A lot of people probably had the exact same experience…and would not have slept in their own beds that night — and maybe would have been derailed in their college career because of it,” he said.

Racial Inequality

Struggling to garner support among African-American voters, Buttigieg unveiled “The Douglass Plan,” which his website describes as “a comprehensive investment in the empowerment of black America.” The sweeping set of proposals calls for reducing mass incarceration by 50 percent; reducing the racial wealth gap; ending racial health care bias; combating voter suppression; investing $25 billion in Historically Black Colleges and Universities; and other measures. “Named after American hero Frederick Douglass, this plan demands we take aggressive steps toward fulfilling long-broken promises of true equality, including reforming broken systems, strengthening access to credit, and injecting capital into the Black community,” Buttigieg tweeted. “If we don’t tackle racial injustice in my lifetime, it will upend the American Project in my lifetime. If the Marshall Plan could rebuild Europe, I believe the Douglass Plan could renew America.”

Criminal Justice Reform

At the 2019 National Action Network convention, Buttigieg said he opposed solitary confinement“As we work to end mandatory minimums for nonviolent offenses, as we work to put an end to prolonged solitary confinement, which is a form of torture, here too we must be intentional about fixing disparities that have strong and deeply unfair racial consequences,” he said.

At the same conference, he argued the death penalty should be abolished. “Speaking of sentencing disparities, 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.”

Buttigieg has also called for the elimination of the private prison industry, reforming pre-trial detention and cash bail, and incentivizing the reduction of mass incarceration.

Reparations

Buttigieg has said he is open to considering reparations. “The country as a whole is effectively segregated by race and the resources are different,” he said at the National Action Network convention. “There is a direct connection between exclusion in the past and exclusion in the present.”

Elizabeth WarrenConversations About America’s Future: Elizabeth Warren, SXSW Festival, Austin, USA - 09 Mar 2019Senator Elizabeth Warren attends the 2019 SXSW conference and Festivals at ACL Live

Elizabeth Warren


Medicare for All

Though Warren was an early proponent of Medicare for All and has expressed a desire to eliminate the private insurance industry, the health care plan she unveiled last fall is built around a public option rather than a single-payer overhaul. The plan calls for anti-corruption reforms, lowering the Medicare age to 50, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and other measures Warren says will help America transition to Medicare for All system.

“Medicare for All will mean that health care is once again between patients and the doctors and nurses they trust–without an insurance company in the middle to say ‘no’ to access to the care they need,” she wrote. “I have put out a plan to fully finance Medicare for All when it’s up and running without raising taxes on the middle class by one penny.”

Closing the Wealth Gap

Warren has the most aggressive tax-the-rich proposal in the field. Under her “Ultra-Millionaire” wealth tax, households with a net worth of more than $50 million would be taxed 2 percent on every dollar of net worth above $50 million, and a 3 percent on every dollar of net worth above $1 billion. Warren estimates the tax, which would apply to about 75,000 households, would bring in $2.75 trillion in revenue over 10 years.

The Climate Crisis

Warren’s “Green Manufacturing Plan” takes inspiration from both the Apollo program and the Marshall Plan to “develop, manufacture, and export the technology the world needs to confront the existential threat of climate change.” The plan would divide a $2 trillion 10-year investment among three priorities: clean energy research and development ; a massive investment to encourage the manufacture of clean, renewable, and emission-free energy products; and a diplomatic program to encourage other countries to use clean American technology. Warren has also released a plan to ready the military for threats associated with climate change. Under that plan, the Pentagon would have to achieve net zero emissions by 2030 and the Defense Department would invest “billions of dollars into a new, 10-year research and development program … focused on microgrids and advanced energy storage.”

Warren has also said she will adopt Jay Inslee’s 10-year action plan “to achieve 100% clean energy for America by decarbonizing our electricity, our vehicles, and our buildings.”

Free College

Arguing that crushing student loan debt is reducing rates of homeownership, discouraging people from starting businesses, and forcing students to drop out before graduating, Warren has declared that she would cancel up to $50,000 in student-loan debt for 42 million Americans, almost completely wiping out educational debt for three-quarters of the country’s borrowers. To prevent future generations from becoming similarly buried in student debt, Warren has proposed offering every American the chance to go to a two- or four-year college for free. (The cost, Warren says, will be covered by the tax on her Ultra-Millionaire tax.)

Taking on Big Tech

Last March, Warren released a plan to break up Facebook, Google, and Amazon, companies she argues have “too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy.”

Central to her plan is designating companies with an annual revenue of more than $25 billion and which offers an “online marketplace, an exchange, or a platform for connecting third parties would be designated” as a “Platform Utilities,” which would have to abide by a set of regulations relating to their interactions with users, and would not be able to share data with third parties. She would also appoint regulators to reverse “illegal and anti-competitive” tech mergers — for example, Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. “We must help America’s content creators — from local newspapers and national magazines to comedians and musicians — keep more of the value their content generates, rather than seeing it scooped up by companies like Google and Facebook,” Warren wrote.

Campaign Cash

Warren announced early on in her campaign that she would not court or accept contributions from big-money donors — a decision that ultimately resulted in her finance director quitting the campaign. (He reportedly “strenuously objected” on the grounds that the move would kneecap her candidacy right out of the gate.)

Guns

Warren, who said in 2014 that she “grew up around guns and gun owners” and that she “will work to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens,” has more recently joined other senators in calling for research into the public health consequences of gun violence and for hearings on universal background checks. Last January, she co-sponsored an assault weapons ban bill, and in February, she said gun violence would be qualified as a national emergency if she were elected. Last June, Warren tweeted that she supports a national gun licensing program that would require Americans to hold a license before purchasing a gun, and that she also wants to ban assault weapons, prevent domestic abusers from obtaining firearms, and closing the gun show loophole.

After the shootings that left 31 dead in El Paso and Dayton, however, Warren unveiled a wide-ranging plan aimed at reducing gun violence by 80 percent. The plan is essentially three-pronged: Warren would take several executive actions to institute gun control measures like universal background checks, prosecuting gun traffickers, and more; passing anti-corruption legislation that would end the NRA’s “stranglehold on Congress”; and sending Congress comprehensive gun violence prevention legislation that would be revisited and tweaked on an annual basis. “I’ll make sure that the NRA and their cronies are held accountable with executive action,” Warren wrote on Medium. “If we turn our heartbreak and our anger into action, I know we can take the power from the NRA and the lawmakers in their pockets and return it to the people.”

Foreign Policy

Warren certainly has expertise in domestic economic policy, but she’s been beefing up her foreign policy credentials as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. In 2018, before officially declaring her candidacy, Warren outlined in broad strokes her vision for a progressive foreign policy in an op-ed in Foreign Affairs. Among other goals, Warren emphasized the importance of ensuring trade negotiations are “used to curtail the power of multinational monopolies and crack down on tax havens,” of making “honest assessments of the full costs and risks associated with going to war,” and of committing to “reprioritize diplomacy and reinvest in the State Department and the development agencies.” She also criticized the Defense Department’s bloated budget and called for pulling troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq. Last June, she offered an unequivocal “no” when the New York Times asked whether American troops would still be in Afghanistan at the end of her first term in office.

Housing

Warren’s housing plan is built around the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, which she initially introduced to the Senate in 2018. The bill would set aside $500 billion over the next 10 years to “build, preserve, and rehab units that will be affordable to lower-income families.” The increase in units would in turn drive down rental costs. How would this be paid for, you ask? The same way Warren plans to pay for several of her proposals: by taxing the rich. Currently, an heir doesn’t pay estate taxes until they inherit $22 million or more. Warren would reduce the threshold to $7 million, which she says would fully pay for the plan.

Her plan would also “level the playing field for communities of color”:

Immigration

Warren has said that America needs to come up with immigration policy that “align[s] with our values.” Last July, she delivered by unveiling a sweeping plan that includes “remaking” ICE and Customs and Border Protection; allowing more refugees into the United States; ending the abuse of migrants and reducing detention; and decriminalizing border crossings. “We already have the tools to effectively track and monitor individuals without shoving them into cages and camps along the border,” she wrote on Medium. “As President, I’ll issue guidance ensuring that detention is only used where it is actually necessary because an individual poses a flight or safety risk.

Legal Weed

Warren declined to publicly state a position when Massachusetts considered whether to legalize weed in 2016, but now says she voted in favor of the ballot measure and supports nationwide legalization. Warren has cited the racial disparities in marijuana arrests as a big reason to legalize the substance.

In 2018, Warren introduced a bipartisan bill with Sen. Cory Gardner — the The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act — that would free states with legal pot from the threat of federal crackdowns.  

Criminal Justice Reform

“Our criminal justice system is broken — and right at the heart of that problem is race and we have to address this head-on,” Warren said at a CNN town hall in early 2019. Black Americans, she said, are more likely to be arrested, arraigned, taken to trial, wrongfully convicted and given harsher sentences, adding, “that it 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.” Warren has also talked about making sure quality legal representation is available to everyone regardless of their income, called for getting rid of for-profit private prisons. She has also stressed the need to ensure Americans who serve time in prison are reintegrated into society.

Last June, Warren released a plan to ban private prisons, stop contractors from marking up prices on commissary goods, and install an independent Prison Conditions Monitor inside Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General.

Reproductive Rights

Acknowledging that court attacks on choice are not stopping anytime soon, Warren has issued a Congressional call to action to protect reproductive rights. She proposes ending the Hyde Amendment (which makes it difficult for women who get their health coverage through Medicaid, the VA, or the Indian Health Service to pay for an abortion) and for federal laws that would enshrine the protections of Roe v. Wade no matter what state you live in. In the same proposal, she calls for repealing the Trump administration’s gag rule that bars certain physicians from discussing abortion with their patients, and for an increase in funding for Title X, the federal government’s family planning programs.

Voting Rights

Last June, Warren released a plan to fortify federal elections, which she wrote on Medium should be “as secure as Fort Knox.” The plan calls for modernizing election machines; blanket, federal standards including same-day registration, early voting, and vote-by-mail, rather than the current state-by-state regulations; measures to end gerrymandering; and making Election Day a national holiday.

Rural America

Prior to a blitz through Iowa late last summer, Warren released a plan to invest in rural America. The plan calls for increased government investment in rural communities, including creating a “public option for broadband”; strengthening health care and economic security; and, in true Warren fashion, breaking up the agribusiness corporations that have been crippling smaller farmers for years. “Our failure to invest in rural areas is holding back millions of families, weakening our economy, and undermining our efforts to combat climate change,” Warren wrote. “It’s time to fix this.”

Abolishing the Electoral College

Warren supports abolishing the Electoral College, which she has argued encourages candidates to “zero in on just a few battleground states, and they don’t get to hear about the issues that are on the top of people’s minds everywhere else in the country.” She added: “Everyone’s vote should count equally  —  in every election  —  no matter where they live.”

Packing the Supreme Court

The conversation about adding justices to the Supreme Court is “a conversation that’s worth having,” Warren told Politico in 2019. In the same conversation, she floated the idea of bringing appellate judges onto Supreme Court cases. “It’s not just about expansion — it’s about depoliticizing the Supreme Court.”

Reparations

Warren supports offering reparations to black Americans in recognition of the economic toll of slavery. “We must confront the dark history of slavery and government-sanctioned discrimination in this country that has had many consequences, including undermining the ability of Black families to build wealth in America for generations,” she said in a statement to Reuters. But the form those reparations would take is somewhat unclear; for instance, it could take the form of legislation that guarantees a down-payment on a house (she’s introduced a bill proposing exactly that in the past), or something like her proposed Small Business Equity Fund, which would offer grants to help black-owned businesses get off the ground.

Family Care

Warren introduced the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act last June. Among other provisions, it would ensure that no family pays more than seven percent of their income for child care, create a federally funded network of child care centers, and guarantee day care workers were paid on par with public school teachers.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., listens to a question during an interview before speaking at the National Organization of Black County Officials annual Economic Development Conference in DetroitElection 2020 Klobuchar, Detroit, USA - 03 May 2019

Amy Klobuchar


Medicare for All

Klobuchar sees Medicare for All as a “possibility in the future,” but says she’s focused on more immediately achievable results. The Minnesota senator feels the path to universal health care begins by expanding the Affordable Care Act to include a public option — specifically allowing insurance customers on state exchanges to buy into Medicaid, the program that currently serves the disadvantaged. Klobuchar also wants to lift the ban on drug importation and to force Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices. In addition, Klobuchar has called for a $100 billion investment in mental health and substance abuse treatment, paid for in part by a tax on opioid producers.

Klobuchar has also released a plan specifically targeted at bolstering care for senior citizens. The plan would take on chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s through investing in research and increasing the availability of care; expand access to mental health treatment and other forms of health care; lower the cost of prescription dugs; expand programs related to retirement security; and more.

Closing the Wealth Gap

Klobuchar wants to raise the corporate income tax from its Trump-tax-cut low of 21 percent to 25 percent as part of a plan to pay for a $650 billion infrastructure package. Klobuchar has also said that she will increase the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15 per hour within her first 100 days in office.

The Climate Crisis

Klobuchar co-sponsored the Green New Deal as an “aspiration,” calling it “a framework to jump-start a discussion.” She pledges a restoration of Obama-era climate policies, including rejoining the Paris climate accord on Day One and restoring the Clean Power Plan and Obama’s fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles. She’s also called for “sweeping legislation” for green buildings. She has said that within her first 100 days in office she will introduce climate legislation that will put the United States on a path to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Guns

Klobuchar supports an assault weapons ban, universal background checks, and closing the “boyfriend loophole,” which allows some domestic abusers to purchase guns so long as they were not married to the victim. She has said she balances her support of gun control against the interests of her sportsmen relatives, asking: “Would this hurt my Uncle Dick in the deer stand?”

Foreign Policy

Klobuchar has decried Trump’s “foreign policy by tweet.” She voted with Republicans in a resolution of disapproval when Trump announced a precipitous withdrawal of American troops from Syria and Afghanistan.

Abolishing the Electoral College

Klobuchar has described herself as “open” to eliminating the Electoral College and electing the president by popular vote.

Packing the Supreme Court

Klobuchar has said she is focused on shaping the courts the old fashioned way: “You always want to look at all ideas, but I think right now the most reasonable thing is to win the elections and to try to stop the bad judges.”

Free College

Klobuchar does not support free public-college tuition, suggesting that it would take a “magic genie” to be able to afford such a policy. “I am not for free four-year college for all, no,” she said at a CNN town hall early in her campaign. Klobuchar does support free community college, better refinancing options for student debt, and an expansion of Pell grants.

Immigration

Klobuchar supports a pathway to citizenship for most undocumented immigrants and an increase in legal immigration. She calls for reform, rather than abolition, of ICE.

Legal Weed

Klobuchar supports the STATES Act, which would normalize the status quo on marijuana by exempting pot-legal states from federal enforcement under the Controlled Substances Act. “I support the legalization of marijuana,” she said last February, “and believe that states should have the right to determine the best approach to marijuana within their borders.” Unlike many of her 2020 rivals in the Senate, Klobuchar has not signed onto the Marijuana Justice Act, which would legalize cannabis at the federal level and invest in communities hardest hit by the drug war.

Criminal Justice Reform

A former prosecutor who declined to file charges against nearly two dozen officers who killed suspects, Klobuchar wrote in an op-ed for CNN that “we have finally started to acknowledge that there is racism in our criminal justice system and that we need to take action to fight it.” She has proposed creating a federal clemency advisory board, and appointing a White House post, outside of the Department of Justice, to shape policies on criminal justice reform.

Reproductive Rights

Klobuchar has said she’d seek to codify Roe v. Wade in law if it were overturned by the Supreme Court, and has called the slate of anti-abortion legislation in states like Alabama and Georgia “a violation of civil rights.” In the past, Klobuchar has spoken of seeking “common ground” on abortions, “making them safe and making them rare.”

Voting Rights

Klobuchar supports federal, automatic voter registration at age 18, a reform she says could create 22 million new voters. She has also emphasized the role of state governments in expanding voting rights: “Every time we take over a state legislature or a governor’s race, we should change the laws to make it easier for people to vote,” she said at the We The People summit in April. Her campaign has said that within her first 100 days in office she will “restore the federal government’s longstanding position of challenging intentionally racially discriminatory voting laws.” 

Reparations

Klobuchar has called for investment in communities hurt by racism but insisted, “it doesn’t have to be a direct pay for each person.”

Family Care

Klobuchar is a co-sponsor of the American Family Act, which would send parents as much as $300 per month, per child, to defray the costs of raising a family. Klobuchar has been a vocal proponent of family-leave policies, but her own office’s policy called for women to repay the leave benefits they used. (After a New York Times article exposed the policy, a spokesperson said it had never been enforced and would be changed.)

Democratic presidential candidate and businessman Tom Steyer speaks during a public employees union candidate forum, in Las VegasElection 2020 Nevada, Las Vegas, USA - 03 Aug 2019

Tom Steyer

Medicare for All

Steyers believes all Americans should have access to health care but does not support eliminating the private health insurance industry.

“My belief is we can make the public option so much cheaper and better than what’s provided through insurance companies that working people can go to their employers and say, ‘I want to take the public option, and I want the money that you’re spending on my health care to go directly to me. I want a huge raise, but I want the public option,’ he told WBUR last August. “I want to drive them out as opposed to tell people they have to do exactly what the government tells them to do with their lives.”

The Climate Crisis

Steer founded NextGen America, a climate activism group, in 2012, and after announcing his candidacy unveiled a five-pillar “justice-centers” plan to tackle the climate crisis. The proposal calls for converting the U.S. to a 100-percent clean energy economy with net-zero carbon emissions by 2045; the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps that would create one million jobs; rejoining the Paris Climate Accord; and more. The plan would call for $2.3 billion in public investment.

In September of 2019, Steyer unveiled a multi-faceted “International Plan for Climate Justice” that includes a “Global Green New Deal Fund” that would set aside $200 billion over 10 years. “From day one of my administration, I will center the climate crisis at the heart of my foreign policy,” Steyer wrote. “As we redouble our efforts at home, I pledge to reestablish the U.S. at the forefront of global climate leadership.”

Closing the Wealth Gap

Steyer, a billionaire, is one of the few candidates to have proposed an outright wealth tax. His version would add an additional 1 percent tax on the top 0.1 percent of American families. “That means if you’re one of the 175,200 richest families worth more than $32 million, you’ll pay a penny on every dollar you have above that level,” his campaign website reads.

Last fall, Steyer released an economic agenda that involves raising the national minimum wage to $15 per hour, repealing Trump’s tax cuts, and other measures aimed at “ensuring that economic power rests with the American people, not big corporations.”

Rural America

Steyer has released a “Partnerships for Rural Communities” plan that involves investing $100 billion toward improving rural broadband access, $100 billion toward improving rural infrastructure, $100 billion toward telemedicine and ensuring rural communities have access to quality health care, and more.

Governmental Reform

Steyer has advocated for several measures that he believes would help remedy a government that has “been corrupted by corporate influence, a lack of political transparency, and partisan efforts to suppress voter participation for their own benefit.” They include repealing Citizens United, imposing term limits on members of Congress, bolstering voter participation by instituting a vote-at-home system and other measures, establishing independent commissions to redistrict congressional boundaries, and more.

Immigration

Steer has advocated for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have already been living in the U.S. for an extended period of time.

Reparations

Steyer has said that “we are long overdue” to have a national conversation about reparations.

Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, answers questions during a presidential forum held by She The People on the Texas State University campus, in HoustonElection 2020 Democrats, Houston, USA - 24 Apr 2019

Tulsi Gabbard


Medicare for All

Gabbard supports universal health care, and co-sponsored the Medicare for All Act, which was introduced to the House of Representatives in 2017. She does, however, believe that Americans should have the option to remain their private insurance providers.

Foreign Policy

Gabbard has been stridently anti-interventionist, and believes the United States should withdraw troops from Afghanistan and Syria. But her approach to foreign policy has gone beyond taking a strong anti-war position. She has bene widely criticized for visiting murderous Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in 2017 on a secret “fact-finding” mission while dismissing his opposition — across the board — as “terrorists.”

Gabbard has been fiercely critical of the Trump administration’s approach to Iran — particularly its decision to send troops to the Middle East in anticipation of a potential conflict — and has called for the United States to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal.

 

Gabbard’s anti-interventionism came to the fore during the opening night of the first Democratic debates last June, when she sparred with Tim Ryan, who argued that the United States needs to remain “engaged” in Afghanistan. “Is that what you will tell the parents of those two soldiers who were just killed in Afghanistan? Well, we just have to be engaged? As a soldier, I will tell you, that answer is unacceptable,” Gabbard said.

Closing the Wealth Gap

Though she has not offered specifics, Gabbard wrote in 2017 that “there is no question our tax code needs serious reform” before explaining why she voted against Trump’s tax cut for the wealthy. “This bill isn’t about real tax reform—it’s a giveaway to corporations and special interests on the backs of people who are already struggling just to make ends meet,” she wrote.

The Climate Crisis

In 2017, Gabbard introduced the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act, which aims to bring the United States to 100 percent reusable energy by 2035. “For too long, our nation has failed to take action on climate change, putting the future of our people and our planet in danger,” she said of the bill the following February. That November, Gabbard spoke alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in support of the Green New Deal. She ultimately did not co-sponsor the legislation, however, explaining in February that she has “some concerns with the Green New Deal, and about some of the vagueness of the language in there.”

Guns

Gabbard has advocated for a federal ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Free College

Gabbard supports Bernie Sanders’ College for All Act, which would eliminate undergraduate tuition at four-year public universities for families making up to $125,000, make all community college tuition-free and reform the student loan system.

Legal Weed

Gabbard supports marijuana legalization.

Abolishing the Electoral College

Gabbard hasn’t been as enthusiastic about getting rid of the Electoral College as some of her fellow candidates. “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 during a stop in New Hampshire in March. “I think there are pros and cons to the existing Electoral College and to getting rid of it.”

LGBTQ Rights

Gabbard’s telling CNN last January that she planned to run for president wasn’t received quite as warmly as she may have hoped. As soon as she declared her candidacy, she was met with a flood of criticism for her past views regarding the LGBTQ community, particularly relating to her work for the Alliance for Traditional Marriage, which fought against gay rights in Hawaii. Gabbard initially ran for office on her drive “to pass a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage” in the state while working with the group. She also ran a group called Stop Promoting Homosexual America, and has objected to children being taught that homosexuality is normal. She soon apologized later in January. “My views have changed significantly since then,” she said in a YouTube video, going on to reference her congressional record: “My record in Congress over the last six years reflects what is in my heart: a strong and ongoing commitment to fighting for LGBTQ rights.”

Reproductive Rights

Though Gabbard was anti-abortion early in her career, she has voted in favor of abortion rights on several occasions, and currently has a 100 rating from Planned Parenthood.

Voting Rights

Gabbard doesn’t believe people on parole should be allowed to vote, despite their ability to in Hawaii.

Reparations

Gabbard is open to the idea of reparations, and co-sponsored H.R. 40, a House bill that would create “a commission to study and develop reparations proposals for African Americans.”

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