Virtual Debates

Where do 2020 Presidential Candidates Stand on the Issues?

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Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado

I refuse to accept that our economy and our democracy are too broken to fix. For the sake of our children, we must build opportunity for every American and restore integrity to our government. We have three tasks ahead — all critical, none easy. Drive Economic Opportunity. Restore American Values. Fix our Broken Politics.

Source: Medium Article by Michael Bennet

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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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Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City

It matters. It matters for this fight for the heart and soul of our party that we nominate a candidate that has seen the face of poverty and didn't just talk about it, but gave people $15 minimum wage. It matters that we nominate a candidate that saw the destruction wrought by a broken healthcare system, and gave people universal healthcare. It matters that we nominate someone who saw the wasted potential of our children denied pre-k and gave it to every single one of them for free. These things really matter, and these are the things I've done in New York and I want to do the same for this whole country, because putting working people first, it matters. We need to be that party again. It matters. With your help we can put working people first again in America.

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 Kirsten Gillibrand of New York

My name is Kirsten Gillibrand, and I am the US Senator from New York, and I am running to be your next president. I want to tell you a little story about my first opportunity on Fox News: Not. Very. Polite. That's what the Fox News host called me during a nationally televised town hall. Why? Because I walked on stage and started to hold Fox News accountable for hours of lies they told about women's reproductive freedom. you better believe I'm not very polite. I am never going to be polite when the republican party is attacking our constitutional rights.

Source: South Carolina Democratic Convention (June 2019)

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Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska

The most progressive of any Democratic candidate. The platform is centered on a mission of ending all wars—not only our murderous wars of choice abroad, but our disastrous war on drugs, the war on crime, and the everyday war on this country’s working class. Our goal is a country defined by peace and justice—not by violence, inequality, and poverty.

Source: Candidate Website

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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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Former Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado

I'm a small business owner who brought that same scrappy spirit to make Colorado one of the most progressive states in America. We've expanded reproductive health to reduce teenage abortion by 64%. We were the first state to legalize marijuana and we transformed our justice system in the process. Passed universal background checks in a purple state. We got to near universal healthcare coverage. We attacked climate change with the toughest methane regulations in the country. And for the last 3 years we've been the number one economy in America. You don't need big government to do big things. I know that because I'm the one person up here whose actually done the big progressive things everyone else is talking about. If we turn toward socialism, we run the risk of helping to re-elect the worst president in American history.

Source: MSNBC Democratic Primary Debate #2 (June 27, 2019)

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Governor Jay Inslee of Washington

I have three grandchildren and I love them all. When I was thinking about running for president I made a decision. I decided that on my last day on earth, I wanted to look them in the eye and tell them that I did everything humanly possible to protect them from the ravages of the climate crisis. And I know to a moral certainty, if we do not have to the next president who commits to this as a top priority, this won't get done. And I am the only candidate, frankly I am surprised, I am the only candidate to make this the top priority. If you join me in that recognition of how important this is, we can have a unified national mission. We can save ourselves. We can save our children. We can save our grandchildren. And we can save literally the life on this planet. This is our moment.Source: MSNBC Democratic Primary Debate #1 (June 26, 2019)

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Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota

I come from the Heartland. I don't come from money, but I have grit. What better place to vow to revive the heart of America than in the Heartland of America? It means an optimistic economic agenda, bridging that rural-urban divide. It means investing in child care, fair housing, infrastructure, and getting our education system back on track.

Source: Iowa Democratic Hall of Fame (May 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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Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts

I'm Seth Moulton, and I want to tell you a little bit today about who I am, what I believe, and why I am running for president. I served four combat tours in Iraq, a war I spoke out against. During those years, marines asked me a lot of questions... one question that was the hardest: 'why the hell are we risking our lives for this?' They were right to ask it, because fundamentally were were fighting a war that should not have happened, started by leaders that did not live up to our values... the answer is... we are fighting to uphold the values our leaders have abandoned. We are fighting for who we are. In the past few years, Donald Trump has taken us from a country of "yes, you can" to a country of "no, you can't".

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

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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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

An Asian man, running for president, that wants to give everyone $1000/month.

Source: Iowa Democratic Hall of Fame (May 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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