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

I'm running for president because we can't take four more years of Donald Trump. And I'm running for president because beating Donald Trump is not enough. We must have bigger aspirations and bolder dreams than just that. Beating Donald Trump is the floor, not the ceiling.

Source: Iowa Democratic Hall of Fame (May 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

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

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

As your president and commander in chief, I will bring the spirit of service before self to the White House, putting people ahead of profits, putting the well-being of th American people above all else. I will reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act and break up the big banks that are gambling with our future.

Source: Iowa Democratic Hall of Fame (May 2019)

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Senator Kamala Harris of California

We are better than this. We will fight for the best of our country. We are not going back. We see a future. I know how to get that job done. And I did it for the people. We need someone who knows how to read a rap sheet and 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

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

There is nothing worse than not being heard, nothing worse than not being seen, and I know that because I've represented for 17 years in congress the forgotten community.They've tried to divide us: who's white, who's black, who's gay, who's straight, who's a man, who's a woman. And they ran away with all the gold because they divided the working class. It is time for us to come together. I don't know how you feel but I'm ready to play some offense. I come from the middle of industrial America but these problems are all over our country. There's a tent city in LA. There's homeless people and people around our country who can't afford a home. It's time for us to get back on track. The teacher in Texas, the nurse in New Hampshire, the waitress in Wisconsin, all of us coming together playing an offense that lifts everybody up. I will only promise you one thing, when I walk into that oval office every morning, you will not be forgotten. Your voice will be heard.

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

It is time for big structural change in America. The time for small ideas is over. It's time for big plans, and yeah, I've got some big plans.

Source: South Carolina Democratic Convention (June 2019)

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Spiritual teacher and author Marianne Williamson of California

Donald Trump won by touching the inner life. He harnessed fear. He harnessed hate. The only antidote to that, the only thing that can override that, is if you harness love for political purposes. There are public issues that have just as much moral significance as private issues do. And it has been to the detriment of the Democratic Party that the Democrats have seemed to have forgotten that in the last few decades. America is in need of a “moral and spiritual awakening

Source: PBS

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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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