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

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

We need Washington to look more like our best run cities and towns, not the other way around. And we need a new generation of leadership to step up at the highest levels in our country. Values like freedom, and security, and democracy are not conservative values, they are American values. And this is the year we break the Republican monopoly on talking about freedom.

Source: South Carolina Democratic Convention (June 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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