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

In America, no matter where you start in life, there should be no limit to what you can achieve. We need to rebuild the middle class, and this time make sure everybody—regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or disability—gets a fair shot.

Source: Campaign Website

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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

We can promise young people that college doesn’t have to equal a future of crushing debt. We can promise our seniors that they can count on a life of dignity. We can promise our veterans that they’ll be respected and honored when they come home. We can promise people of color that they are safe, and promise immigrants that they are welcome.

Source: Campaign Website

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Representative John Delaney of Maryland

Together we are on a mission. We are on a mission to find the America that has been lost. Lost through infighting, lost through inaction. We're so much better than this. We are a country that used to do things. We saved the world. We created the American dream for millions of people like myself: the grandson of immigrants, the son of a union electrician who went on to become a successful business leader and create thousands of jobs. But we did these things with real solutions, not with impossible promises, and those are the roots we have to get back to. I'm running for president to solve these problems, to build infrastructure, to fix our broken healthcare system, to invest in communities that have been left behind, to improve public education. I don't want to be your president just to be your president. I want to be your president to do the job.This is not about me, this is about getting America working again.

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

I know how to take on predators. I took on the big banks and won over 20 billion dollars. I took on for-profit colleges and put them out of business. I took on oil companies who were polluting our environments, I took on trans-national organizations that were preying on women and children. I know how to get that job done. And I did it for the people. For. The. People. So let me tell you, we need somebody on our stage, when it comes time for that general election, who knows how to recognize a rap sheet when they see it and prosecute the case. So let's read that rap sheet, shall we? He asked black Americans, what do you have to lose? Well we know civil rights investigations are down and hate crimes are up. We have a lot to lose. Let's look at that rap sheet where he told working people that he would help them, but instead he passed a tax bill benefitting the top 1% and the biggest corporations of this country. Said he would help the farmers, but instead passed what I call the Trump Trade Tax – Trump Trade Policy by Tweet and now we got farmers who have soybeans rotting in bins and auto workers who may be out of their jobs by the end of the year. Let's look at that rap sheet, where he said he would give everyone healthcare, but he's is still trying to rip healthcare away from folks and turn back the clock on Obamacare. Let's talk about looking at that rap sheet where he has embraced dictators like Kim Jong Un and Putin and taken their word over the word of the American intelligence community. Let's prosecute the case!

Source: South Carolina Democratic Convention (June 2019)

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Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota

I’m running because I believe we can be a nation governed not by chaos — but from opportunity. The kind of opportunity my grandpa — who worked 1500 feet underground in the mines in Northern Minnesota — gave my family when he saved money in a coffee can in the basement to send my dad to college. The kind of opportunity my mom, a school teacher and a proud union member, gave me when she taught me to live with purpose. The kind of opportunity my dad, a newspaperman, gave me to always look for life’s adventures and never shy away from adversity.

Source: Campaign Website

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Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Florida

I'm Miramar, Florida mayor - Wayne Messam and I'm so excited to be here and I am one of the presidential candidates. One of the reasons I'm excited to be here is because I'm not supposed to be here. I am the son of immigrants. My father was a contract sugar cane cutter in the hot sun of south Florida - cutting sugar cane for $.75/row. My mother was a cook who went out into those fields to feed those same workers. They came to this country chasing the American dream that I'm living today. Now I'm the mayor of a major city in Florida, situated between Miami and Fort Lauderdale and we're solving a lot of progressive issues.

Source: South Carolina Democratic Convention (June 2019)

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Former Representative Beto O'Rourke of Texas

Urgent need to take on powerful special interests to address the most profound issues facing the nation including climate change, criminal justice reform, access to universal, guaranteed, high-quality health care, immigration laws that reflect our values and ensuring that this economy works for all Americans.

Source: Candidate Website

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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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Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont

I suspect people around the country who are watching this debate are saying, 'these are good people, they have great ideas, but how come nothing really changes? How come, for the last 45 years, wages have been stagnant for the middle class? How come we have the highest rate of childhood poverty? How come forty-five million people still have student debt? How come 3 people own more wealth than the bottom half of America?' And here is the answer: Nothing will change unless we have the guts to take on Wall Street, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the military-industrial complex and the fossil fuel industry. If we don't have the guts to take them on – we'll continue to have plans, we'll continue to have talk, and the rich will get richer and everybody else will be struggling.

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

Ready for big, structural change? I got a plan for that.

Source: Iowa Democratic Hall of Fame (May 2019)

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Spiritual teacher and author Marianne Williamson of California

The United States Government is deeply corrupt. This is not a swamp, this is a sea of corruption. This has been going on for 40 years, and we are now at a point where, basically, we are not functioning as a democracy. We are functioning as a veiled aristocracy, the same kind of thing we said no to in 1776. The same kind of thing that showed and reared it's ugly head with slavery, that shows and rears it's ugly head with the suppression of women, that shows and rears it's head with segregation, with white supremacy, with Islamophobia, with anti-LGBTQ, with anti-semitism. And that ugliness is back. It's back not so much with one particular institution. That would be like an operable tumor which we could just excise. Rather, ladies and gentlemen, it's back and it's really sly now. It's back as a mindset. And it is like a cancer that has metastasized. And we have a president that has harnessed it for political purposes.

Source: South Carolina Democratic Convention (June 2019)

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Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang of New York

If you have heard anything about me and my campaign, you have heard this: There is an Asian man who is running for president that wants to give everyone $1000/month. Have you heard that South Carolina? And the first time you hear that, it sounds like a gimmick, it sounds too good to be true. But then you dig into our country's history and you find that this is an American idea that is as old as the country itself. Thomas Paine was for it at the founding of the country. He called it the citizen's dividend. Martin Luther King, Jr. whose birthday we celebrate every year was fighting for it in 1967 – he called it the guaranteed minimum income. And it is what he was fighting for on the day he was assassinated in 1968. It was so mainstream that 1000 economists signed a study saying that this would be tremendous for the country – and it passed the US House of Representatives twice, in 1971 under Richard Nixon. And then 11 years later one state actually passed a dividend where now everyone in that state gets between one and two thousand dollars a year – no questions asked. And what state is that? (Alaska) And how do they fund it? (Oil) And what is the oil of the 21st century? Technology, that's right. What they are doing with oil money in Alaska, we can do with tech money right here in South Carolina and everywhere around the country with technology money

Source: South Carolina Democratic Convention (June 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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