Virtual Debates

Where do 2020 Presidential Candidates Stand on the Issues?

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Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado

My mom and her parents came to the United States to rebuild their shattered lives, the only country that they could. 300 years before that my father's family came searching religious freedom here. The ability for one generation to do better than the next is now severely at risk in the United States. I especially among children living in poverty like the ones I used to work for in the Denver public schools. That's why I'm running for president. I've had two tough races in Colorado - by bringing people together, not be making empty promises. And I believe we need to build a broad coalition of Americans to beat Donald Tump and the corruption in Washington and build a new era of American democracy and American opportunity. This is going to be hard to do, but it is what our parents would have expected. It's what our kids deserve. I hope you will join me in this effort.

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

You all know where power comes from. It does not come from an individual or an office, but from the grass roots. You all are the power. You all are the purpose. You all are what is going to help us win.

Source: South Carolina Democratic Convention (June 2019)

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Governor Steve Bullock of Montana

For the sake of America, for our standing in the world, for the America that we pass onto our kids, we are here to make sure that Donald Trump is a one-term president. It's more than just beating him though, it's rejecting the behavior that he is normalizing: lies and mistatements, dividing us by race and gender and geography... twitter tirades and temper tantrums. We now expect more out of our pre-schoolers than we do out of the President of the United States. I won reelection in a state where Donald Trump won by 20 points. I won by 4. 25-30% of my voters voted for Donald Trump. The path to victory is not just through the coasts, it includes places that we lost last election.

Source: Iowa Democratic Hall of Fame (May 2019)

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Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana

We are living through a moment of huge upheaval, but also of great opportunity. This moment demands that our policies reflect a deep understanding of Americans’ everyday lives and embody our country’s highest values: Freedom, Security, and Democracy. It’s not just about winning an election; it’s about winning an era.

Source: Campaign Website

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Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro of Texas

I'm running for president because I believe it's time for new energy and new leadership in this country with a new vision for our future. It is time for a leader who is a president for everyone, that understands we must move forward as one nation, with one destiny in the years to come. I am convinced that that destiny for America is to be the smartest, the healthiest, the fairest, and the most prosperous nation on earth.

Source: South Carolina Democratic Convention (June 2019)

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Representative John Delaney of Maryland

We need to ensure that America works for hard-working Americans. We need to become the party of ideas. The party that embraces debate. The party that wants to build a big tent - so that progressives that want change, moderates that want solutions, independents who just want their elected officials to put their country first, and even those disaffected republicans who look at this president and see that he has no moral compass and have turned their back on that party. If we become that party, we're going to win every election.

Source: Iowa Democratic Hall of Fame (May 2019)

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Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii

The founders of our nation had a great vision for us, that our government should be of the people, by the people, and for the people. But that is not what we have today. Instead we have a government that is of, by, and for the rich and powerful, and we the people are left behind. You deserve a president that will put your interests ahead of the rich and powerful. As your president, I will bring a soldiers heart, that sense of service above self, to the white house, putting people ahead of profits, putting your well-being and the interests of the American people above all else.

Source: South Carolina Democratic Convention (June 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

We need an optimistic economic agenda that works in the East and the Wests, and in the North and the South. Because we are not going to leave the South behind in this election. We have to make the people in the urban areas understand that food doesn't magically appear on their tables. And this means investing in infrastructure in urban and in rural America. It means broadband, child care, affordable housing, getting our education system back on track, and supporting public education and our teachers, and closing the opportunity gap right here in South Carolina. If billionaires can refinance their yachts, then students should be able to refinance their student loans. As president, I will stand with Congressman Clyburn and the work he has done in poverty and cut child poverty in half in 10 years and end child poverty in a generation. We can do this, democrats.

Source: South Carolina Democratic Convention (June 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

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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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

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

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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