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

You all know in your bones that this election is more important than any that we've ever been engaged in. We have a president that has promoted hate and division, encourages white supremacy, praises dictators, and in fact, goes around the world weakening our alliances. Our children are watching - and it matters what presidents say and do. Four more years of Donald Trump will permanently change the character of this country. We can't let that happen. We have to beat Donald Trump. I am unwilling any longer to postpone the potential of this nation.

Source: South Carolina Democratic Convention (June 2019)

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Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey

50 years ago this month, my family moved into the town I grew up in because after being denied a house because of the color of their skin it was activists, mostly white activists, who stood up and fought for them. That's the best of who we are as America. That is why, when I got out of law school, I moved into the inner-city of Newark to fight as a tenant lawyer for other people's rights. I've taken on bullies and beat them. I've taken on tough fights and we've won. And we win those fights, not by showing the worst of who we are, but by showing the best. Donald Trump wants us to fight on his turf and his terms. We will beat him. I will beat him by calling this country to a sense of common purpose again. This is a referendum on him and getting rid of him, but it is also a referendum on us, who we are and who we must be to each other. It's time we win this election and the way I'll govern is by showing the best of who we are because that is what this country needs and deserves.

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

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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

Nothing about politics is theoretical for me. I've had the experience of writing a letter to my family, putting it in an envelope marked, 'just in case', and leaving it where they knew where to find it just in case I didn't come back from Afghanistan. I have the experience of being in a marriage that exists by the grace of a single vote on the US Supreme Court. I have the experience of guiding a community where the per capita income was below $20,000 when I took office into a brighter future. I'm running because the decisions we make in the next 3 or 4 years will decide how the next 30 or 40 will go. And when I get to the current age of the current president, in the year 2055, I want to be able to look back on these years and say that my generation delivered climate change solutions, racial equality and an end to endless wars. Help me deliver that new generation to Washington before it's too late.

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

As my first policy proposal, I am prepared to make the first federal investment in the history of our country in closing that teacher pay gap. The is part of the backbone of what I believe needs to be done right now, which is to make the case for America. Make the case for our America. America, where healthcare is a right, not a privilege. An America where teachers are paid their value. An America where women have the right to make decisions about their own bodies. An America where people only have to work one job to put food on the table and a roof over their head. An America where our kids don't have to go to school every day and be concerned about some mass shooter roaming the hallways of their school. An America where the president knows it is a sign of strength, not to beat people down, but to lift people up./p>Source: Iowa Democratic Hall of Fame (May 2019)

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Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota

Three things to know about me. First, I listen to people and that's how I get things done. That is my focus. I have a track record of passing over 100 bills where I am the lead democrat and that is because I listened and I acted, and I think that's important in a president. Everything else just melts away. Secondly, I am someone who can win and beat Donald Trump. I have won every place, every race, and every time. I have won in the reddest of districts, ones where Donald Trump won by over 20 points. I can win in states like Wisconsin and Iowa and in Michigan. Finally, yeah, I am not the establishment party candidate. I got respect, but I am not that person. I am the one that doesn't have a political machine, doesn't come from money, and I don't make all the promises that everyone else up here makes, but I can promise you this: I am going to govern with integrity; I am going to have your back; and I am going to govern for you.

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

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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

I bring you greetings from my hometown of El Paso. It is one of the safest cities in the United States of America. Safe, not despite the fact that we are a city of asylum seekers, immigrants, and refugees. Safe because were are a city of asylum seekers, and immigrants and refugees. Their very presence makes us stronger and safer and more successful than we would be otherwise.

Source: South Carolina Democratic Convention (June 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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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

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

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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