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 all 20 candidates 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 is larger and more diverse than any group of White House hopefuls since the modern primary process began. The field of two dozen candidates includes six senators, two members of the House of Representatives, three mayors, a governors, a handful of former lawmakers, a former vice president, a former tech executive, a self-help guru, six women, six people of color, and a 37-year-old trying to become America’s first LGBTQ president.

Just as diverse are the candidates’ prescriptions for how to cure the United States of its worsening case of Trumpism. The more progressive wing of the party, led by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, is calling for a single-payer health care system while pushing for higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Moderate Democrats, led by current frontrunner Joe Biden, prefer a more tempered stance focused on formulating bipartisan solutions they argue are more practical. Others, like former tech executive Andrew Yang, who has called for a “Freedom Dividend” that would give every American $1,000 per month, and self-help guru Marianne Williamson, who wants to establish a Department of Peace, are hoping Democratic voters are willing to embrace a more outside-the-box approach.

Below is a guide to where all 20 candidates stand 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.


JOE BIDEN | ELIZABETH WARREN | KAMALA HARRIS | BERNIE SANDERS |  PETE BUTTIGIEG | CORY BOOKER | JULIÁN CASTROAMY KLOBUCHAR | BETO O’ROURKETULSI GABBARDANDREW YANG | BILL DE BLASIO | MARIANNE WILLIAMSONSTEVE BULLOCK | JOHN DELANEY | MICHAEL BENNETTIM RYANWAYNE MESSAM

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 in 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 in 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 in June. “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 March.

Free College

Buttigieg bucked with some progressives in April when he seemed to oppose tuition-free college while speaking to students at Northeastern University. “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.

In May, he 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

In June, 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 January. “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

In July, 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 in February 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 April 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 New Zealand mosque shooting in March, 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 in July 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 National Action Network convention in April, 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 said in April that 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.”

2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker speaks during a meeting with local residents, in Ottumwa, IowaElection 2020 Cory Booker, Ottumwa, USA - 16 Mar 2019

Cory Booker


Medicare-for-All

Booker supports it. “Our broken health care system costs too much, is unsustainable, inefficient, unequal and unjust,” he tweeted in March. “No one living in the richest country in the world should die or go bankrupt because they can’t afford quality care. We need Medicare for all.”

Closing the Wealth Gap

Booker’s signature economic policy is “baby bonds,” which are aimed at closing America’s glaring racial wealth gap by seeding “American Opportunity Accounts” for children. Every newborn baby in America would get $1,000 in a low-risk savings account managed by the Treasury Department. Children in low-income families would get an additional $2,000 per year until they’re 18. The accounts would allow kids from the poorest families to enter adulthood with a nest egg averaging $46,000 to invest in education, home ownership, or retirement. A study conducted by Columbia University found that the program would “dramatically” reduce racial wealth inequality in America.

Booker has also introduced the Rise Credit, which would expand the existing Earned Income Tax Credit to benefit more middle-income families and individual earners. His campaign says the credit would lower taxes for 150 million Americans.

The Climate Crisis

Booker says he backs the Green New Deal and recommitting the U.S. to the Paris climate accord. “If our own military is preparing for the effects of climate change, then our country’s leadership should get serious too,” he tweeted in March. “That’s why I support the Green New Deal & I’ll immediately rejoin the Paris Climate Accord as president.”

Guns

Booker’s plan is one of the more ambitious in the field. It calls for universal background checks and mandatory gun licenses to purchase a firearm, ratcheting up federal regulations of gun manufacturers (including giving the Consumer Product Safety Commission the power to oversee the industry), closing the “gun-show loophole,” and more.

Foreign Policy

Foreign policy has not been a centerpiece of Booker’s campaign so far, but as a member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee he has spoken out against the Trump administration’s shadow war in Syria and against arm deals with Saudi Arabia. He backed the Iran nuclear deal and condemned Trump’s decision to pull out of it as “an abdication of American leadership.”

Housing

In June, Booker released an affordable housing plan, the centerpiece of which is a “Renters Credit” that would cap rental costs at 30 percent of the income of lower- and middle-class Americans. The plan would also reform zoning laws so more affordable housing could be constructed (and penalize cities that try to restrict land use), institute several anti-homelessness measures, beef up protections for tenants, and more. “All people deserve a chance to live without the worry of being homeless or keeping their families safe,” Booker writes. “That’s why it was important for my new housing plan to increase affordable units, end discrimination, help Americans pay their rent and give everyone a fair shot at homeownership.”

Free College

Booker has introduced legislation to make college debt-free. The bill would match state-level investments in higher ed with federal dollars so that students don’t have to take on debt to get a degree.

Legal Weed

Booker has introduced the Marijuana Justice Act, a sweeping bill that would legalize marijuana at the federal level, and invest billions in communities hardest hit by the drug war while expunging criminal records. “It’s not enough to just legalize marijuana at the federal level — we should also expunge records of those who have served their time, and reinvest in communities hardest hit by the failed War on Drugs — which has really been a war on people,” Booker tweeted in February.

Abolishing the Electoral College

Booker suggested that he was open to the idea at a CNN town hall in March but urged Democrats to focus on winning in 2020 with the current electoral system: “I believe very simply that in presidential elections, the person with the most votes should be the president of the United States,” he said. “It’s nice to hear all this conversation going on, but we have about 595 days to win this election, and the way we’re going to do it is by getting a lot of folks off the sidelines,” he said. “The cure for these anti-democratic problems is not to surrender. It’s to get up, get involved, get engaged, and let’s change it.”

Packing the Supreme Court

Booker has expressed concern that structural changes to American institutions — like court-packing — would only be wielded by the majority power against an increasingly powerless minority. “You have to understand that a lot of these that are talked about: If we do it when we have the control to do it, they can do it again,” Booker told Politico in March. “What we need to find is real solutions that are sustainable regardless of who is president. We should be careful about the traditions in this country and how we honor them.”

He has, however, called for term limits for Supreme Court justices.

Criminal Justice Reform

Booker has led within the Democratic Party on criminal justice reform. He helped pass the First Step Act, which freed thousands of inmates sentenced to prison for drug-related offenses. He then introduced the Next Step Act to scale back mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses, ban employers from asking prospective hires about their criminal history until late in the interview process, and improve training for law enforcement officers on racial bias issues.

In June, Booker unveiled what he calls his “Restoring Justice Initiative,” which is centered around a pledge to “immediately start the clemency process for more than 17,000 individuals who are there due to the failed War on Drugs.” A month later, he introduced legislation aimed at giving a “second look” to prisoners both by allowing those who have been behind bars for 10 years to have their sentence reexamined, and by allowing prisoners over 50 to petition for their release, putting the onus on the government to give a reason why they should remain incarcerated.

Immigration

In July, Booker unveiled a plan aimed at fixing America’s immigration system that includes a promise to “shut down inhumane facilities and require all facilities to meet the highest standards” on his first day in office. The plan also calls for expanding protections for DACA, expanding the availability of legal counseling for migrants seeking asylum, reforming Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, appointing a special envoy to the North Triangle countries (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) producing many of the migrants traveling to the southern border, reversing immigration policies put in place by the Trump administration, and more. “We’re going to stop the criminalization of immigration and go back to the system as it was before [Trump] was president,” Booker said on MSNBC. “It was a civil system which shows evidence-based models of having a better standard for protecting our country, for evaluating legitimate asylum claims, and not violating people’s human rights.”

As a senator, he’s been a vocal critic of the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown. He supports Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), co-sponsored a bill to reunite separated immigrant families, and introduced legislation to curtail the practice of detaining immigrants who were picked up by ICE or Border Patrol for extended periods of time.

Reproductive Rights

In May, Booker slammed Georgia’s draconian “fetal heartbeat” bill as an “all-out attack on women.” Later that month, he released a plan that includes several measures to bolster reproductive rights, including the creation of a White House Office of Reproductive Freedom that would be “charged with coordinating and affirmatively advancing abortion rights and access to reproductive health care across my Administration .”

Voting Rights

Booker has pledged to put in place a new Voting Rights Act, a package of reforms that would combat voter suppression efforts (like those seen in Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial election), end partisan gerrymandering, enact universal voter registration, and give former felons the ability to regain their right to vote.

Reparations

One of the most vocal candidates on the issue, Booker introduced legislation in April to launch a federal commission to study federal reparations for African Americans. “I support economically designed programs with race as a conscious part of them that balance the scales and address past ills,” he told The Root. “Not just slavery, but even things that were going on until the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s that were specifically race-conscious programs that were designed to disadvantage African Americans.”

Democratic US Presidential candidate Julian Castro addresses an audience at the Politics and Eggs event held at the St Anselm College New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA, 16 January 2019. Castro is in New Hampshire campaigning after announcing his candidacy on 12 January 2019 in his home town of San Antonio, Texas.Democratic US Presidential candidate Julian Castro in New Hampshire, Manchester, USA - 16 Jan 2019

Julián Castro

Immigration

Immigration is one of the signature issues of Castro’s campaign. His “People First” immigration policy would break up ICE and shift its enforcement and removal powers to the Justice Department. It would create a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers, as well as for people with Temporary Protected Status and undocumented residents. It would also rescind Trump’s Muslim ban and “effectively end” the practice of detaining refugees who present themselves at the border. And it would establish a “21st-century Marshall Plan” for Central America to re-establish stability in the region.

One of the signature moments of the opening night of the first Democratic debates came when Castro squared off against Beto O’Rourke over whether to decriminalize illegal border crossings by repealing Section 1325 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Castro argued in favor of axing it. “My plan … includes getting rid of Section 1325 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, to go back to the way we used to treat this when somebody comes across the border, not to criminalize desperation, to treat that as a civil violation,” he said. “Here’s why it’s important. We see all of this horrendous family separation. They use that law, Section 1325, to justify under the law separating little children from their families.”

Free College

In May, Castro unveiled his “People First Education” plan, which includes tuition-free public college, community college, and vocational school, as well as government-funded universal pre-K. Castro also wants to help relieve student debt. His plan holds that if an American with outstanding student loans is earning less than 250 percent of the federal poverty line, they do not have to make loan payments. The plan also offers partial loan forgiveness for those “who qualify for and receive means tested federal assistance such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or Medicaid for any three years within a five year period.”

As mayor of San Antonio, Castro helped launch Café College, a hub for college prep, application, and guidance services for high school students.  

Medicare-for-All

Castro supports it in theory, although he has yet to lay out the specifics of what his plan would look like. “7 million Americans have lost health insurance under this President,” he tweeted in response to Trump’s State of the Union address in February. “Bad deal. We need Medicare for All now — everybody counts in this country, and everyone should get good health care when they need it.”

Housing

In June, Castro, who was the secretary of Housing and Urban Development for three years under President Obama, unveiled his “People First Housing” plan, a three-part initiative that aims to solve housing affordability and homelessness, strengthen anti-discrimination measures, crack down on Wall Street’s mortgage-lending practices, and support homeownership. Measures include creating a tax credit for low- and middle-income renters, expanding HUD’s ability to enforce the Fair Housing Act, working to stem displacement caused by gentrification, establishing a National Housing Stabilization Fund, and more. “Housing is a human right,” Castro wrote. “My plan would ensure that all Americans can get access to affordable, safe, and healthy housing.”

Closing the Wealth Gap

Castro hasn’t released a specific tax plan yet. But he has voiced support for plans to tax the wealthiest Americans, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposals for a 60 or 70 percent marginal tax rate for people who make more than $10 million. “Oh, I can support folks at the top paying their fair share,” he said on ABC’s “This Week” in January. “There was a time in this country where the top marginal tax rate was over 90 percent. Even during Reagan’s era in the 1980s, it was around 50 percent.”

The Climate Crisis

Castro has promised to sign an executive order on his first day as president to recommit the U.S. to the Paris climate accord. He also supports the concept of a Green New Deal:

Foreign Policy

Castro said little about foreign policy in his 2020 announcement speech. He has criticized Trump’s America First agenda and defended the post-World War II Western alliance. “The first thing that I would do if I were president with regard to our relationships around the world is to strengthen them, because those alliances have helped keep us safe,” he said in January.

Campaign Cash

Castro has refused to accept “a dime” of PAC money of any kind, corporate or not.

Legal Weed

Castro wants to legalize weed and regulate it. “It’s not enough just to say we want to #LegalizeIt,” he tweeted in April. “We will also regulate it, taking best practices of states that have successfully legalized marijuana. And while we’re at it, we’ll expunge the records of folks who’ve been incarcerated for using it.”

Guns

Following the August shootings in El Paso and Dayton that left 31 dead, Castro unveiled a plan to combat white nationalism and gun violence. The plan calls for domestic terrorism investigations to be rebalanced so appropriate attention is given to white nationalist terror; the creation of a White House Initiative on Disarming Hate, as well as other programs to combat hate; and several gun control measures, including ending the gun show loophole, enacting universal background checks, requiring a license to purchase any firearms, renewing a ban on assault weapons, and more. “Now is our moment to decide what kind of country we want to be,” Castro wrote. “We can be paralyzed by fear of extremism and cower before the corporate gun lobby, or we can combat white supremacist terrorism directly and end the gun violence epidemic that has plagued our nation for too long. There is a movement in America to change our gun safety laws and fight for our future.”

Abolishing the Electoral College

Castro supports the idea and wants to replace the Electoral College with a national popular vote. “A national popular vote could expand the map and force other candidates to campaign in more states, like my campaign is already doing,” he wrote in April.

Packing the Supreme Court

Castro told the Washington Post that he does not support adding justices to the Supreme Court, but is open to other reforms.

Criminal Justice Reform

In June, Castro released his “People First Policing Plan,” which aims to “end over-aggressive policing and combat racially discriminatory policing,” “hold police accountable,” and “start the healing process between communities and law enforcement.” The plan would involve limiting the use of deadly force, demilitarizing the police, de-prioritizing minor offenses, mandating several new training programs, and more. “Far too many lives have been tragically cut short at the hands of a broken police system,” Castro wrote on Twitter. “I’m proud to put forward my #PeopleFirst Policing plan to begin to heal the divide between police departments and the communities they serve.”

Reproductive Rights

Castro supports a woman’s right to choose and Roe v. Wade:

Voting Rights

Castro has spoken out about the need to protect voting rights and voiced support for giving some, but not all, felons the right to vote. “There’s no question that stripping people of voting rights when they’re incarcerated has been weaponized over time, especially in the South, and especially for African Americans,” he said in April. “Where I would draw that line is, I would say, with the people who are incarcerated having the opportunity to still vote. They’re counted in the census, they’re counted for political representation purposes. The one exception [is] for people who are violent felons. When you commit certain types of violent crime, I believe that you lose all of those things.”

Reparations

“We have never fully addressed in this country the original sin of slavery,” Castro said at a CNN town hall in April. He supports some form of reparations but he has yet to lay out a specific plan. He reiterated his support for reparations — not just considering them, but making them — on Juneteenth. “To truly heal as a nation, it’s time we settled the moral debt of slavery,” he wrote on Twitter. “We owe it to the future of our nation to make reparations to the descendants of enslaved people.”

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.

In July, Klobuchar 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 in February. 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 in 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.)

Beto O'Rourke'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert' TV show, New York, USA - 12 Jun 2019

Beto O’Rourke


Medicare-for-All

O’Rourke says he is for universal health care but he’s equivocated about Medicare-for-All specifically — supporting the measure when he was running for Senate in Texas, but distancing himself since launching his bid for president. O’Rourke now says he supports the similarly named “Medicare for America” plan introduced by two of his former colleagues in the House, Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Jan Schakowsky, last year. Medicare for America would open up the same plan that’s currently available to government employees to the uninsured and anyone who purchases their health insurance on the individual market, while keeping employer-run private insurance plans as they are.

Closing the Wealth Gap

On the campaign trail, O’Rourke has voiced support for Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax, giving a somewhat tortured explanation for why. “Both for reasons of generating the revenue that we need and reasons to achieve the political democracy by having an economic democracy, some part of that wealth that has been built up, and continues to be built up, and receives favorable preferential treatment in the tax code, must be taxed for our common benefit,” he said, adding that the revenue could be used to finance infrastructure projects and health care policies.

The Climate Crisis

O’Rourke was one of the first in the Democratic field to release a detailed plan to address the climate crisis. His proposal calls for net-zero emissions by 2050, a recommitment to the Paris Agreement, and an investment of $1.5 trillion (designed to stimulate additional spending of $5 trillion over 10 years) in clean-energy research and infrastructure improvements in the communities that will bear the brunt of climate change. Among the plan’s more granular details are calls for new building efficiency standards, as well as limits on hazardous waste, methane emissions and the total elimination of hydrofluorocarbons.

Campaign Cash

As he did during his fundraising record-shattering bid for Senate, O’Rourke has sworn off donations from political action committees. He’s also officially laid out a detailed list of policy prescriptions intended to get money out of politics. Among the items on that laundry list: banning PAC contributions to all campaigns; limiting individual contributions to $2,000; making political contributions tax deductible; requiring public companies, large private companies, and all government contractors to disclose all political contributions and federal lobbying efforts; requiring disclosure within 48 hours for any donations of $1,000 or more; prohibiting U.S. companies with substantial foreign ownership from donating to campaigns; and imposing limits on how much can be contributed to a political party. O’Rourke has also sworn-off donations from the oil, gas, and coal industries and their executives after sustained pressure from environmental activists.

Immigration

O’Rourke has made immigration on of his signature issues. The El Paso native has pledged to dismantle the Trump administration’s “cruel and cynical” policies through a series of executive actions: rescinding the travel ban, ending family separation, halting work on the border wall, requiring detention only for immigrants with criminal backgrounds, eliminating funding for for-profit detention centers, increasing refugee resettlement efforts, working toward a permanent legislative solution for individuals with DACA or Temporary Protected Status, and overhauling the asylum system. O’Rourke, who has also committed to cracking down on smugglers and traffickers, says he supports the Bush-era law that criminalizes border crossings on the grounds that there needs to be a “legal mechanism” to hold coyotes legally responsible for their actions.

Guns

O’Rourke — who has spoken of owning guns himself and teaching his children how to use them — supports universal background checks, magazine limits, and restrictions on some semiautomatic weapons, including America’s most popular rifle, the AR-15, which he’s called “a weapon of war designed for the sole purpose of taking lives.”

Foreign Policy

O’Rourke says Trump has “made a mess of our foreign policy,” but he hasn’t offered details on what his own foreign policy would look like.  

Free College

“I am not for free college for all,” O’Rourke has said. Instead, he’s proposed refinancing at lower rates the estimated $1.5 trillion in American student debt, and discussed the possibility of expanding the government’s troubled Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that is supposed to wipe out debt in exchange for public service.

Legal Weed

O’Rourke has been a strong proponent of legalizing marijuana since he was a member of El Paso’s city council. At the time, he co-wrote a book called Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico: an Argument for Ending the Prohibition of Marijuana, about the toll of the drug war on border communities and the country at large. He supports ending the federal prohibition on marijuana. He’s also called for expunging the criminal records of anyone convicted of marijuana possession.

Veterans

In June, O’Rourke unveiled a four-pronged plan to take care of veterans. It involves removing troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and implementing several measures to care for veterans — including the creation of a Veterans Health Care Trust Fund (VHCTF) for each war the United States fights. The fund would be filled at least partially through a “war tax” imposed on households that do not include veterans or active-duty service members. According to O’Rourke’s website, the tax would be imposed in part to “serve as a reminder of the incredible sacrifice made by those who serve and their families.”

Abolishing the Electoral College

O’Rourke said at the We The People summit that he supports abolishing the Electoral College. “This is one of those bad compromises we made at day one in this country,” he said. “If we got rid of the Electoral College we get a little bit closer to one person, one vote in the United States.”

Packing the Supreme Court

O’Rourke has floated several ideas that could dramatically change the makeup of the Supreme Court, including expanding the number of justices who sit on the court, changing the way they are selected, and imposing 18-year term limits. “What if there were 5 justices selected by Democrats, 5 justices selected by Republicans, and those 10 then pick five more justices independent of those who picked the first 10?” O’Rourke asked at a campaign stop in Iowa. “I think that’s an idea we should explore.”

Criminal Justice Reform

While campaigning for Senate, O’Rourke called for ending mandatory minimums for minor drug offenses, ending cash bail, and stopping the use of private prisons

Reproductive Rights

O’Rourke has said he would appoint an attorney general who would prioritize protecting reproductive rights, and he would reverse the Trump administration’s “gag rule” banning doctors who work in offices or clinics that accept federal funding from speaking about abortion. He supports ending the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding from being used for abortions except in extreme cases like rape and incest, and increasing funding for Title X, the federal family planning program. He’s expressed a commitment to appointing judges who would uphold Roe v. Wade, and said he would encourage the passage of federal legislation codifying Roe’s protections, as well as legislation prohibiting abortion restrictions on private insurance.

Voting Rights

On his campaign website, O’Rourke describes a plan to register 50 million new voters, institute automatic registration, same day-registration, early voting, and vote-by-mail in all 50 states, and calls on Congress to make Election Day a national holiday. He also wants to amend Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act ”to make clear that even seemingly race-neutral election regulations are unlawful when they result in disproportionate impact on racial minorities,” and make the protection of voting rights a priority in his Justice Department.

Reparations

“The answer is yes,” O’Rourke has said. “The path there, though, has to come through telling, learning and sharing this American story with everyone. Then I think you’ll find what reparations look like in order to make that repair.”

O’Rourke reiterated his support for reparations in a July Medium essay in which he reckoned with the realization that he and his wife are descended from people who owned slaves. “I benefit from a system my ancestors built to favor themselves at the expense of others,” he wrote. “That only increases the urgency I feel to help change this country so it works for those who have been locked-out of — or locked-up in — this system.”

“I will continue to support reparations,” he added, “beginning with an important national conversation on slavery and racial injustice.”

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 in 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 in 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.”

Andrew YangNational Action Network Convention, New York, USA - 03 Apr 2019

Andrew Yang


Human-Centered Capitalism

While Yang has a plethora of policy proposals — including everything from publicly funded journalists to a demand that the NCAA pay athletes — he prioritizes three: Universal Basic Income, Medicare for All, and what he calls Human-Centered Capitalism. The last calls for changing the way the U.S. gauges the success of the economy, and to move away from a simple focus on GDP to look at metrics such as “Median Income and Standard of Living, Health-adjusted Life Expectancy, Mental Health, Childhood Success Rates, Social and Economic Mobility, Absence of Substance Abuse.”

“The government’s goal,” he has written, should be “to improve the standards of living of individuals and families on these dimensions.” To encourage this, Yang has called on the government to issue a “new currency” called Digital Social Credit that is earned by creating “significant social value” and can be converted into greenbacks.

Closing the Wealth Gap

Yang has called for taxing investment income — including capital gains and the “carried interest” received by hedge fund partners — like regular income. “It’s irrational that we privilege capital gains and investment income versus earned income,” his website reads. Yang has also called for a 0.1 percent tax on financial transactions to reduce speculation and help fund his Freedom Dividend, or universal basic income proposal.

Universal Basic Income

Yang’s most famous proposal is quite simple. He wants to pay every American adult a basic income — branded a Freedom Dividend — of $1,000 a month. The checks would be financed by a European-style Value Added Tax (paid on every business transaction, up and down the supply chain). Yang is promoting universal basic income as a way to insulate America from the impending job loss and dislocation caused by automation and artificial intelligence. As many as one third of current American jobs are vulnerable to being automated by 2030.

Some progressives are troubled, however, by the fact that the Freedom Dividend is meant to displace traditional social welfare programs, not add to them. Beneficiaries would have to choose between their current food stamps or disability check and the $1,000 in monthly cash.

Read Rolling Stone’s deep-dive interview with Yang on his proposal here.

Medicare-for-All

Yang has endorsed Medicare-for-All, focusing on the potential to control costs, expand coverage, and the benefits of ending job lock by Americans who stick with employers just to maintain their benefits. “Being tied to an employer so that you don’t lose your healthcare prevents economic mobility,” his website reads. “It’s important that people feel free to seek out new opportunities, and our current employee-provided healthcare system prevents that.”

The Climate Crisis

Yang wants to regulate and tax greenhouse gas emissions and improve efficiency standards. He sets himself apart from most progressives on climate policy with a focus on human engineering to cool the planet. He calls for investment in “large-scale geo-engineering measures like shoring up glaciers and reducing solar exposure to counteract the effects of climate change even as we reduce our emissions.”

Taking on Big Tech

Rather than the monopoly powers of Big Tech, Yang is focused on the threat of emerging artificial intelligence. Yang would create a Department of Technology, based in Silicon Valley, with a new Cabinet-level secretary tasked with identifying “emerging threats” and to work with industry to maximize the societal benefits of innovation.

Guns

Yang proposes a tiered licensing system for gun owners like those the DMV requires for auto drivers vs. truck drivers. He’d require background checks and gun locks for all levels. Anyone seeking a semi-automatic weapon or an assault rifle would have to complete more rigorous safety training and intrusive background checks.

Foreign Policy

“My first principles concerning foreign policy are restraint and judgment — we should be very judicious about projecting force and have clear goals that we know we can accomplish,” Yang’s website reads. “If I send young men and women into harm’s way, they will know that vital national interests are at stake and there is a clear plan for them to achieve their goal in a reasonable time frame.”

Free College

Yang wants to make community colleges and vocational training accessible. He vows to “work to fund community colleges to a point where they can provide free (or drastically reduced) tuition to anyone from the community,” with an emphasis on technology training and partnerships with local employers.

Immigration

Yang wants to heighten border security and provide ways for undocumented immigrants to normalize their status. His website outlines a drive to create a “new tier of long-term permanent residency for anyone who has been here illegally for a substantial amount of time so that they can come out of the shadows and enter the formal economy and become full members of the community” with a chance to become a citizen after 18 years. He has said he will “deport any undocumented immigrant who doesn’t proactively enroll in the program.”

Legal Weed

Yang wants the “full legalization of marijuana” at the federal level, removing it from the Controlled Substances Act.

Abolishing the Electoral College

Yang does not favor abolishing the Electoral College, arguing that it would “wind up further favoring high-density high-population areas with big media markets. He favors reducing the role of third-party spoiler candidates by “implementing ranked-choice voting.”

Packing the Supreme Court

Rather than pack the Supreme Court, Yang is seeking 18-year term limits, staggered so that “each President should be allowed to appoint two justices per term served in their first and third years in office.”

Criminal Justice Reform

Yang wants to remove the threat of jail time for users of opioids, as countries like Portugal have done. “We need to decriminalize the possession and use of small amounts of opioids,” his website reads. Yang also wants to be tough on Wall Street criminals and believes that “financial crimes should be treated the same way as any other crime,” and that “those perpetrating it should go to jail, and their punishment should reflect the amount of damage they’ve done to the economy and individuals they’ve defrauded.”

Reproductive Rights

Yang calls for universal access to “safe and affordable abortion services” and wants state abortion laws put under the oversight of a board of doctors, instead of being subjected to “the whims of legislators who have no background on the procedure or even the basics of medicine.”

Yang believes abortions can be made less necessary by guaranteeing access to contraception, and by providing universal basic income so prospective parents have more financial security.

Voting Rights

Like many Democrats, Yang seeks automatic voter registration and the restoration of voting rights to those with past felony convictions (although not those convicted of murder), as well as a reduction in the number of offenses that trigger the loss of voting rights to begin with.

Reparations

Yang has danced around reparations, voicing support for the goal of reducing wealth disparities experienced by black people, but highlighting other tools to address the problem, including government support to shore up the endowments of Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as the poverty-alleviating benefits of his Freedom Dividend.

Family Care

Yang has promised to “fight for a paid family leave policy, requiring employers to offer at least 9 months of paid family leave, distributed between parents however they see fit; or 6 months of paid leave for a single parent.” The father of a child with autism, Yang also wants new federal programs “to identify and treat autistic children” as well as to “destigmatize” neurodiversity.

Democratic presidential candidate New York Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during the official dedication ceremony of the Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island, in New YorkElection 2020 Bill de Blasio, New York, USA - 16 May 2019

Bill de Blasio

Closing the Wealth Gap

As the mayor of New York, de Blasio has pushed for a “millionaires’ tax,” which he has said will be used to fix the city’s decrepit subway system. “Rather than sending the bill to working families and subway and bus riders already feeling the pressure of rising fares and bad service, we are asking the wealthiest in our city to chip in a little extra to help move our transit system into the 21st century,” de Blasio said in a statement before the plan was announced in 2017. The tax has not gone into effect, as it’s the state that decides how taxes are administered in New York, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has rebuffed the plan.

De Blasio has also pushed for the minimum wage to be raised to $15. At a rally in Des Moines in May, he said he was boycotting McDonald’s until it complied. “We’re not going to McDonald’s anymore until McDonald’s addresses these issues!” he said. “No one from my campaign is going to McDonald’s anymore until McDonald’s respects working people.”

De Blasio stressed his drive to close the wealth gap at the top of his announcement video. “There’s plenty of money in this country, it’s just in the wrong hands,” he said.

Medicare-for-All

In January, de Blasio guaranteed that everyone in New York City, including undocumented immigrants, would be able to receive affordable health care. “I refuse the notion that these folks don’t deserve health care,” he said while announcing the guarantee. “It is not only the morally right choice, but it will save taxpayers in the end.”

De Blasio has not offered specifics on how he would translate the plan nationally, although during the opening night of the first Democratic debates in June, he was one of only two of the 10 candidates onstage (the other being Elizabeth Warren) to raise their hand when the moderator asked who supports ending the private health insurance industry. He later cut in when Beto O’Rourke was fielding a question on the issue. “Private insurance is not working for tens of millions of Americans when you talk about the co-pays, the deductibles, the premiums, the out of pocket expenses,” he said. “It’s not working. How can you defend a system that’s not working?”

The Climate Crisis

De Blasio has taken measures to combat climate change as mayor of New York. He recently proposed an ambitious plan to mitigate the effects of sea level rise. In April, he announced the introduction of legislation to require builders to use more environmentally friendly materials, part of a $14 billion “NYC Green New Deal” that would help New York become carbon neutral by 2050.

In June, he tweeted a picture of himself with a furrowed brow holding a pledge not to accept contributions of over $200 from the oil, gas, and coal industries.

Family Care

De Blasio’s primary achievement as the mayor of New York is probably his institution of universal pre-K. The program has been praised since it was implemented, and, as the New York Times points out, pre-K enrollment has nearly quadrupled since de Blasio took office in 2013.

Guns

De Blasio has on several occasions called for Congress to pass common sense gun safety legislation. “A clear majority of Americans would like common sense gun safety legislation,” he tweeted in response to the 2017 church shooting that left 26 dead in Sutherland Springs, Texas. “Every single tragedy is a chance for Congress to act.”

Free College

De Blasio has called for student loan debt forgiveness for veterans with disabilities.

Immigration

De Blasio has pushed to make New York a “sanctuary city,” and promised that police in New York will not target undocumented immigrants. In March, he urged Congress to pass the Dream and Promise Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for immigrants brought to the United States while children. “While we’re waiting for change in Washington, we will protect you [in New York],” he said outside the Tenement Museum in New York’s Lower East Side.

Legal Weed

De Blasio has cited his family’s history of addiction as one of the reasons he has been bullish on marijuana legalization. He stated his support for legalization for the first time in December 2018, although, as the New York Times points out, he included a few qualifications, namely that public consumption and consumption by those under 21 should be prohibited.

Abolishing the Electoral College

De Blasio called for the Electoral College to be abolished in December 2016.

Criminal Justice Reform

Stop-and-frisk has declined since de Blasio took over as mayor, and in 2016 he signed the Criminal Justice Reform Act, which focused on reforming the handling of low-level offenses.

Reproductive Rights

De Blasio does not support the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding for abortion except in extreme cases, but he does support dad jokes.

Voting Rights

De Blasio has advocated for voting rights as mayor, and expressed a desire to make New York the “fairest big city in America.” In 2018, he pledged to devote more city money to elections and registering more voters, including the incarcerated. In May 2019, he offered $75 million to help open up to 100 new early voting sites in the city.

Reparations

“There’s no question that the issue of reparations has to be taken seriously,” de Blasio said in April.  “I do believe the way to do it is to form a very public commission and say, ‘What is the way to address this problem once and for all?'”

De Blasio added, however, that there needs to be a “bigger discussion about income inequality and oppression of other groups including Latinos, Native Americans, Asian and women.”

De Blasio has also said he would create a commission to study reparations if he were elected president. “It’s time to have that national discussion,” he said during a May appearance before the South Carolina Democratic Party Black Caucus. “It’s time to have that national discussion,” he said.

Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson speaks during the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame Celebration, in Cedar Rapids, IowaElection 2020 Iowa, Cedar Rapids, USA - 09 Jun 2019

Marianne Williamson

Reparations

Reparations is one of the core issues of Williamson’s candidacy, on the order of $200 to $500 billion dollars. (Anything less than $100 billion, Williamson has said, would be an “insult.”) She proposes using the money, which would be disbursed over a period of 20 years, to fund educational and economic projects selected by “an esteemed council of African-American leaders.”

Foreign Policy

Williamson is calling for the creation of a “Department of Peace” to “coordinate not only the international peace-building agencies that already exist, but also the many domestic efforts — conflict resolution, restorative justice practices, police and social work programs, non-pharmaceutical mental health services, and other local peace-building efforts — in a way that increases their efficacy and begins to genuinely transform the experience of millions of our citizens.”

Medicare-for-All

Williamson, a self-help guru and author of a dozen books, writes on her campaign website that she will “robustly support high-quality universal coverage for every American, including a medicare for all model.” The Williamson administration, would also provide citizens with “ongoing support from nutritionists, health coaches, therapists and mental health, exercise specialists, and other peripheral lifestyle treatment providers,” end subsidies for “unhealthy foods, like high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated fats,” and “develop ways to lower stress societally.”

Family Care

Williamson has called for the establishment of a Department of Childhood and Youth. “When it comes to health, hunger, addiction, education, and safety — we are shirking our responsibilities as a nation of parents,” her website reads. “Child advocacy is not being addressed with the attention and care it deserves. Too many of our children are endangered physically and/or emotionally; this is a humanitarian emergency.”

Williamson’s plan to care for children and families includes universal pre-K, maternal and paternal leave, mental health services for all children, mindfulness training in school, and more. During the first Democratic debates in June, she said that her number-one priority as president would be turning the United States into the best place in the world to raise children. Yes, even better than New Zealand.

Closing the Wealth Gap

Williamson has said she would repeal Trump’s 2017 tax cut for the wealthy and “put back in the middle class tax cuts.” She has also indicated an interest in eliminating the income cap on payroll taxes, eliminating the carried interest and ETF tax loopholes, and raising the estate tax. (She also told WBUR that she agrees with Elizabeth Warren on taxing billionaires.)

The Climate Crisis

Williamson declared on her website that “as President, I would argue, in no uncertain terms, that rapid, man-made climate change and global warming represents a clear and present danger to our people, to our democracy, and to the world at large.” To combat the climate crisis, Williamson has called for immediate re-entry into the Paris climate accord, and promised to “take unprecedented action between now and 2030 to actually bring the carbon we put in the atmosphere back into the earth where it came from — to reforest, transform our dirt back to soil on our farms, restore wetlands, peatlands, and increase phytoplankton and fisheries.” She supports the Green New Deal, but says it “doesn’t cover the whole range of measures we must undertake to reverse global warming.”

Campaign Cash

Williamson, who has pledged not to accept corporate PAC money or fossil fuel money, is calling for a constitutional amendment to establish public financing for federal campaigns.

Guns

Williamson wants to institute universal background checks and mandatory waiting periods, eliminate the sale of assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons, ban bump stocks and high capacity magazines, see child safety locks on all guns and “strict control of gun use among children,” and expand red flag laws (also known as gun violence restraining orders), which temporarily remove firearms from the home of someone deemed to be a risk to themselves or others.

Free College

Williamson supports it. “I want college to be free at public universities and colleges, and I want the cancellation of these college loans or — at the very least, radical renegotiation,” Williamson said in an interview with WMUR.

Immigration

Williamson says she would “provide a timely, ethical, transparent and straightforward path to citizenship for all law-abiding, productive immigrants living in the United States,” end family separation, and “increase border security intelligently through electronic surveillance and more patrol agents.”

Legal Weed

Williamson supports the legalization of marijuana and the release of non-violent offenders incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses. Opioids, she contends, are a much bigger threat than weed. “The most dangerous drug dealers in America are legal pharmaceutical companies that knowingly overmanufacture, falsely advertise & promote overprescription of addictive substances,” she wrote on Twitter in April.

Abolishing the Electoral College

Williamson has signaled an openness to getting rid of the Electoral College, telling the Washington Post that she did not take changes to the Constitution “lightly, but at this point there is too much of a risk to our democracy when the popular vote can be so easily overridden.”

Packing the Supreme Court

Williamson does not support adding justices to the Supreme Court.

Criminal Justice Reform

Williamson wants to “focus on studying and promoting restorative justice programs and approaches for criminal justice reform throughout this country”; “create a trauma-informed environment inside the juvenile justice system”; and “support increasing the number of programs in prisons that provide life-skills for those who are incarcerated.”

Reproductive Rights

Williamson writes in bold and all-caps on her website: “REGARDING ABORTION RIGHTS, I AM ONE HUNDRED PER CENT PRO-CHOICE.” As president, she says, she would “vigorously resist any effort to restrict, limit, or diminish the reproductive rights and freedoms granted by Roe v. Wade.”

Voting Rights

Williamson wants to lower the voting age to 16 and pass a constitutional amendment to establish public financing of our federal campaigns. She also wants to end partisan gerrymandering, eliminate “unfounded” voting restrictions, and establish Election Day as a national holiday “(or Saturday).”

Democratic presidential candidate Steve Bullock speaks during the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame Celebration, in Cedar Rapids, IowaElection 2020 Iowa, Cedar Rapids, USA - 09 Jun 2019

Steve Bullock


Campaign Cash

Bullock has based his campaign largely on tackling dark money in politics. “Our nation is founded on the basic idea that every American’s voice matters,” his website reads. “Yet too often it’s those who can cut the biggest checks who wield the greatest influence. Fighting against the toxic influence of money in politics has been the fight of Governor Bullock’s career. And he’s just getting started.”

Bullock has said that on his first day in office he will sign an executive order “requiring every company to disclose every dollar they spend or contribute to influence our elections if they want to do business with the largest contractor in the nation — the federal government.” He has also pledged to empower watchdog agencies go after groups that seek to “corrupt our elections,” ban Super PACs, pass the Disclose Act and work to overturn Citizens United.

Medicare-for-All

When he was asked last year in New Hampshire whether he supported Medicare-for-All, Bullock said that “health care ought to be affordable, accessibly and of quality. How we get there, there’s any number of different paths.”

Closing the Wealth Gap

“400 of the richest Americans own more wealth than the bottom 60% of people,” Bullock tweeted in June. “At the same time, the average worker hasn’t had a real wage increase in 40 years. Every American deserves a fair shot at success, not just the wealthy.”

The Climate Crisis

Bullock does not support the Green New Deal, telling the Washington Post that “we can do better with a more focused plan,” and that “we should significantly increase renewable energy, reverse the Trump Administration’s cuts to fuel efficiency standards and expand them to address the 37% of emissions that come from transportation, improve energy efficiency which could account for 30% of our overall goal, and follow the IPCC’s recommendation to invest in carbon capture.”

Guns

Bullock was hesitant to adopt many of the gun safety measures popular among Democrats, but has recently been more open to reform. He said in 2018 that he supports universal background checks and magazine size restrictions. “As governor, I hear directly from the people I serve,” he wrote for the Great Falls Tribune. “They want action. They recognize that like most policy issues, there is no single proposal or prescription that will solve the issue of gun safety. But they are tired of the enormity and complexity of the challenge being the excuse for inaction.”

Immigration

In 2017, Bullock was one of 11 governors to sign a letter urging Congress to take steps to protect the status of undocumented immigrants brought to America as children. He’s continued to advocate for Dreamers since announcing his campaign.

Free College

As governor of Montana, Bullock froze the cost of public college tuition. In April, he wrote a Medium post detailing how difficult it was to deal with his own student debt burden, and how crucial it is for students to be able to pursue an affordable education. “The next generation of Americans, my kids and their classmates, must be able to pursue an education and their American dream with the same faith in their future opportunity that I was able to have,” he wrote.

He has continued to advocate for affordable education while on the campaign trail. “Student debt has doubled in the last decade,” he said while in Iowa in May. “It’s $1.4 trillion — the average 2017 graduate has $28,000 of student loans, we’ve got to turn around and make college more affordable and accessible.”

Abolishing the Electoral College

Bullock has not been as enthusiastic as some of his competitors about abolishing the Electoral College. “Rather than upending something that’s been around since the start of our country, I’d rather turn around and say, why is it that we’re not winning in certain places?” he said while campaigning in Iowa. “I would much rather say, why aren’t we winning in places like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa?”

Packing the Supreme Court

Bullock has said that he is willing to considering various types of Supreme Court reform, including imposing term limits and adding justices. “I’m open to trying to say, how can we actually make sure that that court isn’t reflective of politics?” he told the New York Times in June.

Reproductive Rights

“I begin from the premise that a woman should be able to make her own health decisions, in consultation with her doctor, if she chooses her family and faith,” Bullock told the Washington Post in May, adding that the restrictive bills passed in Alabama and Missouri “not only an attack on Alabama but an attack on women having domain in over their body.”

Democratic presidential candidate and former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., speaks at the Heartland Forum held on the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, IowaElection 2020 John Delaney, Storm Lake, USA - 30 Mar 2019

John Delaney


Medicare-for-All

Though Delaney writes on his website that he believes healthcare is a “fundamental right” and that he is “proposing a universal health care plan,” he is not in favor of some of the more progressive Medicare-for-All options backed by candidates like Bernie Sanders. Delaney’s plan involves providing every American under 65 with basic public health insurance. Americans would be able to opt out of public healthcare and receive a tax credit if they want to buy insurance from a private provider, or buy additional insurance from a private provider to supplement their government-provided insurance.  Medicare would remain in place for Americans over 65.

In June, Delaney was booed for saying Medicare-for-All is not “good policy nor is it good politics” while speaking at a California Democrats convention. The issue is one of several around which Delaney has staked his position as perhaps the most moderate Democrat in the field of candidates.

The Climate Crisis

In May, Delaney unveiled a $4 trillion climate change plan that would bring the United States to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The plan involves charging a $15 fee for each metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted, which would then raise by $10 year after year. Fossil fuel subsidies would end, and states would receive grants for preventing forest fires, using electric transportation and reducing emissions. Delaney also wants to create a “Climate Corps” that would tie into his plan to introduce a new national service program.

National Service

Delaney has proposed a national service program for young people graduating from high school. The plan would aim to enroll 200,000 high school graduates in the first year of the program, which would provide incentives to work on various building and infrastructure projects managed by both nonprofit and for-profit companies.

Closing the Wealth Gap

Delaney does not support the idea of a wealth tax, a la that of Elizabeth Warren, and has even argued that it might not be constitutional. Instead, he has proposed raising the tax rate on capital gains and matching it with the normal income tax rate. “What I’d like to do is reform the capital gain system,” he told CNBC in December. “I think capital gains and ordinary income rates should be the same unless you own the asset for a very long time.”

Guns

Delaney has said he wants to take a three-pointed approach to gun control that involves universal background checks, limiting the availability of military-style assault rifles, and passing a national red flag law, which would allow Americans to argue to a court that someone who poses a danger to them should not be permitted to carry a firearm.

Criminal Justice Reform

In April, Delaney introduced a 13-point plan to address criminal justice disparity. “Our criminal justice system has a demonstrated clear bias against people of color,” he wrote. “Black people, who are approximately 13% of the US population, make up 40% of the incarcerated population.” The plan includes ending for-profit prisons, ending mandatory minimum sentences, removing marijuana from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, heightening transparency within police departments, and funding for programs to reduce recidivism.

Immigration

Delaney believes in a path for citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. However, he doesn’t believe that border crossings should be decriminalized. “I just don’t think at this moment in time when we have a huge kind of surge at our border sending a message that we’re going to decriminalize crossings is the right thing to do,” he told The Hill.

Foreign Policy

Delaney has criticized President Trump for pulling the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal. He has also supported the president’s willingness to sit down with Kim Jong-un, and has praised the “progress” made regarding North Korea. When the New York Times asked Delaney in June whether there would be troops in Afghanistan at the end of his first term in office, he said it is “in our self-interest as a country to keep a small presence there.”

Free College

Delaney wants to allow student loan debt to be discharged through bankruptcy.

Legal Weed

At a town hall event hosted by CNN in March, Delaney said he believes marijuana should be reclassified on a federal level. “I think the federal government should get out of the way and let [the movement at the state level to legalize marijuana] continue,” he said. “Because right now the federal government is blocking it by keeping marijuana as a scheduled substance.”

“I’m in favor of that, which would basically get marijuana out of the shadows, and get it into a market where it could be regulated, where we can make sure it’s labeled and distributed appropriately, where we can tax it,” he added.

Abolishing the Electoral College

Delaney has not joined some of his more progressive competitors in calling for the abolition of the Electoral College. “If I was starting from scratch, yes, but trying to abolish the electoral college now is impractical,” he told the Washington Post.

Packing the Supreme Court

Delaney does not believe in altering the makeup of the Supreme Court. “I think if we make this election about completely changing the United States of America, that feels really risky to me,” he told New Hampshire Public Radio when asked about adding justices to the court or abolishing the electoral college.

Reproductive Rights

Delaney supports abortion rights and has defended government funding of Planned Parenthood. “I’m going to fight extreme right-wing attempts to defund Planned Parenthood in Congress every step of the way,” he said in 2017.

Voting Rights

While in Congress, Delaney introduced the Open Our Democracy Act, which would prohibit gerrymandering and require an independent commission to draw congressional boundaries. Delaney also supports automatic voter registration, making Election Day a national holiday and restoring the Voting Rights Act.

Reparations

Delaney has said he would support H.R. 40, a bill that would create a commission to study and develop reparation proposals for African Americans.

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bennet speaks during the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame Celebration, in Cedar Rapids, IowaElection 2020 Iowa, Cedar Rapids, USA - 09 Jun 2019

Michael Bennet


The Climate Crisis

Bennet has released a climate change plan he has dubbed “America’s Climate Change Plan.” It calls for net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest and would use, as Bennet puts it “every diplomatic and economic tool available to assert America’s leadership in this critical fight.” The plan would also seek to “conserve 30 percent of America’s lands and oceans by 2030,” incentivize power providers to offer zero-emission energy, create a “Climate Bank” that lead to $10 trillion in private sector investment in innovation and infrastructure and more.

Campaign Cash

Bennet has released a multi-faceted plan to “fix our broken politics.” It involves overturning Citizens United, heightening transparency of Super PACs and other fundraising mechanisms (including social media ads), cracking down on campaign finance violations, banning members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists, requiring all presidential candidates to release their tax returns, and more. “So much of what we got to get done — from climate to health care to changing the tax code — is going to require us to change the way our politics works,” Bennet said on a conference call in June. “Our plan responds to that by taking on the corruption in Washington and at the same time strengthening our democracy. It attempts to take the money out of politics and put the American people back in.”

Medicare-for-All

Bennet does not support Medicare-for-All, instead favoring an expansion of the Affordable Care Act called “Medicare X.” Like other candidates who do not support a single-payer health care system, Bennet has warned that the the plan favored by progressives is not what it seems. “When you tell people the first thing about Medicare-for-All — either that it takes insurance away from 180 million Americans that have it through their employer or the taxes we would have to pay to afford that $30 trillion program — that 70 percent support falls to the mid-30s,” Bennet said on CNN in May. “I think we need to level with the American people.”

Bennet even used his opposition to Medicare-for-All to solicit donations.

In July, Bennet unveiled a plan to expand access to health care services in rural areas of America though Medicare X. The plan would invest in telemedicine (allowing doctors to see patients over video conference), expanding rural broadband, a measures aimed at combating the opioid epidemic, and more. “Rural Americans currently face unique challenges to accessing high-quality, affordable health care,” the introduction to his plan reads. “In 2019, 37% of counties—almost all of them in rural and small-town America, and home to nearly one in five Americans—had only one insurer on the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, are more prevalent in rural communities. And the lack of providers and insurers has resulted in higher costs and lower quality of care.”

Closing the Wealth Gap

Bennet has not proposed raising taxes on the wealthy, but his American Family Act would greatly expand the child tax credit, which currently provides up to $2,000 per child up to the age of 17. This plan would benefit lower-class and middle-class families with children, and, according to Vox, could cut poverty in the United States by over a third.

Free College

Bennet has not released a higher education plan, but his campaign told the New York Times that he wants to make sure “college students can pursue their studies without incurring the crushing burden of debt; more people seeking an alternative to college can pursue high-quality apprenticeships and job training; and Americans throughout their lives can advance their careers by improving their existing job skills or learning new ones.”

A former superintendent of the Denver public school system, Bennet has also promised to ensure all children are able to receive high-quality education, beginning in early childhood.

Abolishing the Electoral College

Bennet believes the Electoral College should be abolished. “The electoral college is outdated,” one of his Facebook ads reads. “Americans should directly elect our presidents.”

Packing the Supreme Court

Bennet does not believe in adding justice to the Supreme Court, and has argued that amending the court in response to what has transpired during Trump’s presidency would be stooping to the level of Republicans. “Having seen up close just how cynical and how vicious the tea party guys and the Freedom Caucus guys and Mitch McConnell have been, the last thing I want to do is be those guys,” Bennet told the Washington Post in March. “What I want to do is beat these guys so that we can begin to govern again.”

Reproductive Rights

Bennet has promised to “do everything [he] possibly can” to protect Roe v. Wade.

Immigration

Bennet has bashed Trump’s approach to immigration, and in March reiterated his belief that a pathway to citizenship should be provided for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States when they were children. “Since President Trump announced his decision to end the DACA program last September, more than 21,000 Dreamers have lost their status,” he wrote on his website. “Beginning today, that number will rise at a dramatic rate, putting thousands more DACA recipients at risk. For months, I worked with a bipartisan group of senators to find a solution that protects Dreamers and keeps families together. We’ll continue fighting in Congress for a legislative fix, but let’s be clear: the onus falls on President Trump to fix the crisis he created.”

Legal Weed

In February, Bennet sponsored the Marijuana Justice Act, which would end the federal prohibition of cannabis. “This long-overdue change will help bring our marijuana laws into the 21st century,” he said at the time. “It’s past time we bring fairness and relief to communities that our criminal justice system has too often left behind.”

Voting Rights

Included in Bennet’s plan to “fix our broken democracy” are several measures aimed at protecting the integrity of elections. He has called for automatic voter registration, making Election Day a national holiday, restoring voting rights to the formerly incarcerated, requiring states to allow students to vote where they attend school, and more.

Democratic candidate for United States President, Congressman Tim Ryan addresses the Politics and Eggs gathering at the St Anselm College New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA, 11 June 2019.Democratic candidate for United States President, Congressman Tim Ryan campaigns in New Hampshire, Manchester, USA - 11 Jun 2019

Tim Ryan


Medicare-for-All

Ryan is a co-sponsor of the Medicare-for-All legislation introduced to the House of Representatives in February. “We need to move toward a single-payer system,” he told the New York Times in June. “I think the natural next step is to have some public option for people to be able to buy affordable, accessible, quality health care. We tried really hard during the Obamacare debates to get the public option in. I think that is the natural next step for us to take.”

The Climate Crisis

Ryan said in an April interview that his first priority as president would be creating a new U.S industrial policy, and that addressing the climate crisis must be a part of that policy. “A lot of it should be focused around decarbonizing the United States and making sure we are leading the world in reversing climate change,” he said. Ryan’s approach centers on renewable energy. “There’s so many industries out there growing,” he said on The View in April. “Wind and solar is growing at 25 percent to 30 percent a year. By 2030, there’s gonna be 30 million electric vehicles. I want those vehicles made in the United States.”

Ryan also supports re-entering the Paris climate accord.

Closing the Wealth Gap

Ryan has attacked Trump’s 2017 tax cut for the wealthy as a “scam” and “trickle-down” economics. As a candidate he’s called for rewriting the tax code to spur the growth of electric car and solar panel manufacturing. “Research, infrastructure, incentives in the tax code [will] help us organize and dominate the growing industries like electric vehicles and Solar,” he tweeted in May. “China/German have industrial policy. We need one here. Gov needs to create the environment for business to thrive.”

Ryan’s campaign has focused on dealing with the hollowing out of the manufacturing industry, which he has experienced firsthand in Congress — Lordstown, Ohio, where a major GM plant recently shut down, is in his district. He sees electric cars and renewable energy as the future where the traditional manufacturing industry is failing. Ryan has also called for a general raise in wages through a $15 national minimum wage.

Guns

Ryan used to have an A rating from the NRA, but he distanced himself from the gun lobbying group after the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting and is now a vocal proponent of universal background checks, reinstating federal funding for gun-violence research, and raising the age limit on certain gun purchases. “Let me say that we have not done enough to prevent gun violence in this country. I support background checks. I support increased research. I support comprehensive gun safety reforms. Our kids need to feel safe in school and in our communities,” he tweeted in March.

Foreign Policy

Foreign policy isn’t a focus of Ryan’s message, but he has called for tougher tax and trade policies so that the U.S. can better compete with China. “If you’re going to be competitive, you have to compete against China, which I see as the big competitor,” he told Rolling Stone in April. “Russia’s messing with us, but China’s coming in for the kill.”

During the first Democratic debate in June, Ryan stressed to need to remain “engaged” in Afghanistan. “The lesson that I’ve learned over the years is that you have to stay engaged in these situations,” he said. “Nobody likes it. It’s long. It’s tedious. But right now … I would say we must be engaged in this. We must have our State Department engaged. We must have our military engaged to the extent they need to be.” He was swiftly rebuked by Tulsi Gabbard. “Is that what you will tell the parents of those two soldiers who were just killed in Afghanistan?” she replied.

Free College

Ryan supported a suite of bills in 2018 that would ensure debt-free and tuition-free public college. Regarding education, he has devoted time as a presidential candidate to focusing on a push for the integration of Social and Emotional Learning into the education system.

Immigration

Ryan has yet to roll out an immigration plan as part of his 2020 campaign. As a congressman, he said the U.S. immigration system is “broken,” slammed Trump’s national emergency order regarding the U.S.-Mexico border, and introduced a bill to create a nonpartisan, nine-person commission to come up with better immigration policies and border security measures. While speaking to Meet the Press in July, Ryan said America needs to have “strong border security but still be compassionate.” He refused to answer a question about whether he wold decriminalize border crossings, only offering that he was “open to have a conversation” about it.

Legal Weed

Ryan supports it. In a 2018 CNN op-ed, he said that marijuana should be legal in all 50 states.   

Abolishing the Electoral College

Ryan has not supported changing or eliminating the Electoral College, although he has said he is “open” to it. A key part of his pitch to prospective voters is that he can win his home state of Ohio, a critical battleground state on the way to reaching 270 votes in the Electoral College.

Packing the Supreme Court

Ryan told the Washington Post that he does not support adding justices to the Supreme Court.

Criminal Justice Reform

A co-chair of the House Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus, he co-sponsored the Marijuana Justice Act that would remove weed from the list of Schedule I drugs; get rid of criminal penalties for people who import, export, transport and sell marijuana; and set aside $500 million to invest in building up the marijuana growing and selling industries. He believes every police officer should wear a body camera, and voted in favor of the First Step Act.

Voting Rights

As a congressman, Ryan has opposed efforts to restrict people’s right to vote. He calls voting rights “a cornerstone of our democracy.”

Reproductive Rights

Ryan switched his position from anti-abortion to pro-choice in 2015: “[W]hile there are people of good conscience on both sides of this argument, one thing has become abundantly clear to me: the heavy hand of government must not make this decision for women and families.”

Reparations

Ryan is a co-sponsor of H.R. 40, a bill that would create a commission to study and develop reparation proposals for African Americans. Such a commission would “help us understand exactly what the numbers are that we’re talking about,” he said in an interview on the Breakfast Club.

Mayor of Miramar, Florida and Democratic candidate for United States President Wayne Messam addresses members of the New Hampshire Young Democrats at A&E Coffee / Apotheca Flower and Tea Shoppe in Goffstown, New Hampshire, USA 21 May 2019. Messam, the son of Jamaican immigrants, is on a two day campaign swing through New Hampshire, the first state to hold a primary for the 2020 Presidential election.Mayor of Miramar, Florida and Democratic candidate for United States President Wayne Messam, campaigns in New Hampshire, Goffstown, USA - 21 May 2019

Wayne Messam


Free College

The tentpole of Messam’s campaign is his proposal to cancel all $1.5 trillion of outstanding student loan debt. “It is time for the federal government to cancel all federal and private student loans,” his website reads. “This one-time policy would boost the annual GDP between $86 billion and $108 billion and create 1 million to 1.5 million new jobs each year.”

Messam’s plan calls for all 44 million Americans with outstanding student loan debt to be informed of its relief within 60 days. The United States Treasury would pay off the debt. Messam argues that lifting this economic burden off tens of millions of Americans would outweigh the financial cost to the nation, which he says would ultimately be paid for by canceling the Trump’s tax cut for the wealthy that was passed in 2017.

Medicare-for-All

Messam has said he supports the idea of Medicare-for-All, and is open to a system that retains the private insurance industry. “As President, I will be open to ideas to fix a broken system that right now does more to protect the bottom line of insurance and pharmaceutical companies than protecting patients,” his website reads.

Closing the Wealth Gap

Messam has proposed canceling the Trump administration’s 2017 tax cut for the wealthy. He tweeted in June that all Americans “should earn a wage that allows them to meet their basic needs.”

The Climate Crisis

Messam told the Washington Post that he supports “the urgency and the end goal” of the Green New Deal, but has said that he will unveil his own climate policy. He was also one of 407 mayors to sign a pledge to uphold the principles of the Paris climate accord despite President Trump’s decision to remove the United States from the agreement.

Guns

Messam has been strong on gun safety, and has often cited the shooting at Parkland, which is less than 50 miles away from his home of Miramar, in calling for reform. His goals as president are pretty ambitious: “It will be my goal as your President to cut gun deaths in half by the end of my first term, with the goal to eliminate this threat entirely by the end of my presidency,” his website reads.

Foreign Policy

Though he hasn’t offered many specifics, Messam has said that “we need to change course, rebuild our fractured alliances and lead by example” on the global stage. He has also advocated for a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Immigration

Messam has said that America’s immigration system needs to be overhauled. “Washington had failed the American people when it comes to immigration,” he told CBS in April, adding that “when we have a process and a political will in place to ensure comprehensive immigration reform, we will be able to subside some of the issues that we are currently seeing right now.”

Legal Weed

Messam has said that states should be able to legalize marijuana without interference from the federal government.

Abolishing the Electoral College

Messam believes the Electoral College should be abolished. “It’s very rare that I will say this, but Donald Trump was correct. He once called the electoral college a ‘disaster for democracy.’ Boy, was he right,” Messam told the Washington Post. “If we believe [every vote counts], we shouldn’t have a system where a candidate can lose by three million votes and somehow be declared the winner.”

Packing the Supreme Court

Messam is open to the idea of adding justices to the Supreme Court. “Make no mistake, the court is already packed,” he told the Washington Post. “If Senator McConnell chooses to play by a different set of rules, as he so often does, then so will I.”

Reproductive Rights

“As President, I will vigorously defend the a woman’s right to choose and nominate a @USSupremeCourt justice that recognizes his question became settled law in 1973,” Messam tweeted in May.

Voting Rights

“Across this country, voting rights are under attack as politicians create barriers that make it harder for people to register to vote and cast their ballots, cut back early voting, and engage in unconstitutional acts of voter suppression,” Messam’s website reads, adding that “we must protect Americans’ right to vote regardless of economic and societal status — not limit participation in the democratic process and discriminate against our own people.”

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