Virtual Debates

Where do 2020 Presidential Candidates Stand on the Issues?

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Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado

I haven't spent my life in politics. I was a school superintendent in the Denver public schools before I was in the Senate. I am in this race because we are at risk of being the first generation of Americans to leave less opportunity, not more, to the people coming after us. Our education system across this country is reinforcing income-inequality across the United States, not liberating people from it and that needs to change.

Source: South Carolina Democratic Convention (June 2019)

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Former Vice President Joe Biden

I'm running to lead this country because I think it's important to restore the soul of this nation. This president has ripped it out. He is the only president who has equated racist and white supremacist with ordinary and decent people. He is the only president who has actively engaged and embraced dictators and thumbed their nose at out allies. And secondly, I'm running for president because I think we have to restore the backbone of America, the poor and hard-working middle-class people. You can't do that without restoring the dignity they once had. And the last thing, we've got to unite the United States of America as much as anybody says we can't. If we do, there is not a single thing the American people can't do. This is the United States of America. We can do anything if we are together. Together. God Bless you All. And God protect our troops.

Source: MSNBC Democratic Primary Debate #2 (June 27, 2019)

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Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey

An economy that values American workers and benefits everyone, a baby bonds proposal would virtually close the racial wealth gap by funding a federally-backed savings account for every child born in America ensuring that all children born in this country are afforded the opportunity for upward mobility.

Source: Campaign Website

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Governor Steve Bullock of Montana

Money has broken the political system’s power to take even the first step. We have to do more than just win this election — we have to make Washington work for us. Not for Big Money, not for the special interests, but for each one of us in the communities we call home.

Source: Campaign Website

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Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana

Our values are on the line, and this season in the life of America's political development is one to end the idea that American values are the property of conservatives and republicans. Starting with freedom: Freedom is not a conservative value it is an American value. Freedom includes economic freedom, and you are not free if you do not have a living wage in this country. Freedom comes by way of organizing and that's why we stand shoulder to shoulder with labor. And we know that freedom comes by way of education and that's why, on day one, we need a president who will appoint a Secretary of Education who actually believes in public education.

Source: Iowa Democratic Hall of Fame (May 2019)

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Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro of Texas

[Spanish... my name is Julian Castro and I'm running for president of the United States]. The very fact that I can say that tonight shows the progress we have made in this country. Like many of you, I know the promise of America. My grandmother came here when she was 7 years old as an immigrant from Mexico – and just two generations later, one of her grandsons is serving in the United States Congress, and the other one is running for president of the United States. If I'm elected president, I will work hard every single day so you and your family can get good healthcare, your child can get a good education, and that you can have good job opportunities whether you live in a big city or a small town. And – on January 20, 2021, we'll say 'Adios' to Donald Trump.

Source: MSNBC Democratic Primary Debate #1 (June 26, 2019)

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Representative John Delaney of Maryland

Young people today will be the first generation that don't actually do better than their parents. We are leaving them with debts they can't repay - fiscal debts, climate debts. I don't think what the country needs is more gridlock more partisanship, or more ideology. They need solutions. Unless you have investment nothing happens. We need more investments in so many communities in this country. And I know how to do it.

Source: South Carolina Democratic Convention (June 2019)

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Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii

Our nation was founded on the principles of service before self. People who fled from kings who literally profited off the backs and sacrifices of people coming here to this country, instead putting in place a government that is of, by, and for the people. But that's not what we have. Instead we have a government that is of, by, and for the rich and powerful. This must end. As president, our White House, OUR White House will be a beacon of light: providing hope and opportunity, ushering in a new century where every single person will be able to get the healthcare they need, where people will have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. Where we will have good paying jobs in a new green economy. Join me in ushering in this new century with peace, prosperity, opportunity and justice for all.

Source: MSNBC Democratic Primary Debate #1 (June 26, 2019)

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Senator Kamala Harris of California

Thank you all. I just want to leave you with a couple of things. One, we need a nominee who has the ability to prosecute the case against four more years of Donald Trump – and I will do that. Second, this election is about you. This is about your hopes and your dreams, and your fears, and what wakes you up at 3 o'clock in the morning. And that's why I have what I call a 3am agenda that is about everything from what we need to do to deliver healthcare to how you will be able to pay the bills by the end of the month. And when I think about what our country needs, I promise you I will be a president who leads with a sense of dignity, with honesty, speaking the truth, and giving the American family all they need to get through to the end of the month and to prosper. So I hope to earn your support. Please join us at kamalaharris.org

Source: MSNBC Democratic Primary Debate #2 (June 27, 2019)

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Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota

I come from the Heartland. I don't come from money, but I have grit. What better place to vow to revive the heart of America than in the Heartland of America? It means an optimistic economic agenda, bridging that rural-urban divide. It means investing in child care, fair housing, infrastructure, and getting our education system back on track.

Source: Iowa Democratic Hall of Fame (May 2019)

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Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Florida

For us to take the White House back, we have to hear from candidates like myself. One of the youngest candidates that's bringing fresh and dynamic ideas to this debate. We cannot forget those who are disenchanted. Issues that deal with people of color, with women, with the LGBT community - we need them to be energized, inspired, and to show up at the ballot box. And when we ignore their voices, it hurts our opportunities to win. So I'm running for president because I feel that the same American dream that I've been blessed to achieve because of the hard sacrifice of my parents is slipping away from too many Americans. Too many Americans have to work more than one job to make ends meet, too many seniors cannot afford their high-cost prescription medication, too many Americans cannot get access to healthcare.

Source: South Carolina Democratic Convention (June 2019)

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Former Representative Beto O'Rourke of Texas

Our daughter, Molly, turned 11 this week. I'm on this stage for her, and for children across this country including some her same age who have been separated from their parents and are sleeping on concrete floors under aluminum blankets tonight. We're going to be there for them. We are going to confront the challenges that we face. We can't return to the same old approach. We are going to need a new kind of politics, one directed by the urgency of the next generation. Those climate activists that are fighting, not just for their future but for everyone's. Those students marching not just for their lives, but for all of ours. We'll need a movement like the one we lead in Texas. It renewed our democracy by bringing everyone in and writing nobody off. That's how we beat Donald Trump and that's how we bring this great country together again. Join us. This is our moment. And generations that follow us are counting on us to meet it.

Source: MSNBC Democratic Primary Debate #1 (June 26, 2019)

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Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio

I'm from northeast Ohio -- the epicenter of industrialization in the United States. The next nominee for the Democratic party has got to deeply, deeply understand what the workers in America are going through. We have, in my community, watched the ripple effect of these devastating trade policies where you can't get mental health coverage, you don't have funding for your schools, you don't have funding for your roads, there's pollution in your river, there is lead paint and high rates of infant mortality as this ripples through the economy.

Source: Iowa Democratic Hall of Fame (May 2019)

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Representative Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania

Accountability means answering for oneself, not for one’s intentions, but for the deed. We need a leader who is trusted by the people because he is willing to be accountable to them – above self, above party, above any special interest, no matter the cost to him.

Source: Candidate Website

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Philanthropist Tom Steyer

Tom Steyer stepped down as head of his investment firm in 2012 to dedicate all his time to philanthropy and political action focused on making America more just by putting the people, not the corporations, in charge of our democracy.

Source: Candidate Website

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Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts

It's a great honor to be here. Never in a million years did I think I would stand on a stage like this. I was born and raised in Oklahoma. I have three older brothers. They all joined the military. I had a dream growing up and my dream was to be a public school teacher. By the time I graduated from high school my family... my family didn't have the money for a college application, much less a chance for me to go to college. But I got my chance. It was a $50 per semester commuter college. That was a little slice of government that created some opportunity for a girl, and it opened my life. I am this fight because I believe we can make our government, we can make our economy, we can make our country work – not just for those at the top – we can make it work for everyone. And I promise you this: I will fight for you as hard as I fight for my own family.

Source: MSNBC Democratic Primary Debate #1 (June 26, 2019)

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Spiritual teacher and author Marianne Williamson of California

I'm sorry we haven't talked more tonight about how we are going to beat Donald Trump. I have an idea about Donald Trump. Donald Trump is not going to be beaten just by insider politics talk. He's not going to be beaten just by somebody who has plans. He's going to be beaten by somebody who has an idea what he has done. This man has reached into the psyche of the American people and he's harnessed fear for political purposes. So, Mr. President, if you are listening, I want you to hear me please. You have harnessed fear for political purposes and only love can cast that out. So I, sir, I have a feeling you know what you're doing. I'm going to harness love for political purposes. I will meet you on that field, and sir, love will win.

Source: MSNBC Democratic Primary Debate #2 (June 27, 2019)

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Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang of New York

First, I want to thank everyone who put me on this stage tonight. I am proof that our democracy still works. Democrats and Americans around the country have one question for their nominee and that is who can beat Donald Trump in 2020? That is the right question. And the right candidate to beat Donald Trump will be solving the problems that got Donald Trump elected and will have a vision of a trickle up economy that is already drawing thousands of disaffected Trump voters, conservatives, independents, and libertarians as well as democrats and progressives. I am that candidate. I can build a lot broader coalition to beat Donald Trump. It is not left. It is not right. It is forward. And that is where I will take the country in 2020.

Source: MSNBC Democratic Primary Debate #2 (June 27, 2019)

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Former Governor of Massachusetts

I'm running for president of the United States against President Trump in 2020. I really think if we have 6 more years of the same stuff we've had out of the White House for the last 2 years that would be a political tragedy and I would fear for the republic.

Source: CNN Interview

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Economic Stimulus

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Health Care

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Education

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Drug Policy

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Environment

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Civil Rights

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Tech and Innovation

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Foreign Policy

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Domestic Policy

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