By Harry Sutton ’20
October 15, 2019 marked the night of the fourth round of Democratic candidate primary debates, and while it seems like a long time from now, the 2020 Presidential Election is right around the corner.
With only 13 months until the election, the number of candidates remaining can be overwhelming. Twelve of the candidates participated in the fourth Democratic primary debate, with a multitude of fringe candidates, such as Michael Bennett, Tim Ryan, Marriane Williamson, and Wayne Messam. With so many candidates still in the race for the Democratic nomination, their ideologies are quite diverse.
Some candidates are running with more radical policies, while others are much more moderate. Bernie Sanders, who has self-identified as a ‘socialist,’ wants to initiate acts such as free health care and free public universities; on the other side of the spectrum, Joe Biden is a more moderate Democrat.
Whether they are a supporter of more radical or more moderate views, the idea that all Democrats agree on is that they want to defeat President Donald Trump. Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang are the 10 most popular candidates in the running. These ten, along with Tom Steyer and Tulsi Gabbard, participated in the fourth round of Democratic primary debates, which aired on October 15, 2019.
As a significant number of students at The Gunnery will be 18 years old by the day that election time comes around, our school’s publication incredibly values informing the school’s student body. Political knowledge and participation are key aspects of American citizenship, but in the 21st century many teenagers might not prioritize politics. For the 2020 Presidential Election, accurate information about the candidates is extremely important for our student body. To this end, The Highlander has profiled the views and policies of the 10 most popular Democratic candidates.
Joe Biden served as the 47th Vice President of the United States and has been the frontrunner in the Democratic race for months. His policies are among the more moderate Democrats in the race. Biden is running with three main points: reviving the middle class, demonstrating America’s power on the world stage, and encouraging more political participation across all citizens of America. Biden spent eight years in the White House with Barack Obama and is one of the most experienced Washington politicians in the running, with 36 years as a Delaware senator, service in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and foreign relations experience under his belt.
Cory Booker is a progressive liberal who supports increasing educational spending, proactive action against climate change, protecting abortion rights, and universal health care. Booker is a current senator from New Jersey who has served as Mayor of Newark and once turned down an offer to work under the Obama administration as head of the White House Office of Urban Affairs. With only 2% of the Democratic party’s support, according to the New York Times’ poll on October 18, 2019, Booker is one of the candidates with the least support.
Pete Buttigieg, nicknamed ‘Mayor Pete’ due to his eight years as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is a veteran of the Navy, the youngest candidate at the age of 37, and is the only openly LGBT candidate in the 2020 race. Buttigieg describes himself as a Democratic capitalist who emphasizes issues of climate change, universal health care, and abortion rights. Buttigieg is currently polling fourth, with 5% of the primary vote supporting him.
Julian Castro was the Mayor of San Antonio for five years and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama Administration from 2014 to 2017. According to The New York Times, Castro is the lowest polling Democrat still in the race, with less than 1% of the vote. Castro supports universal pre-schooling and health care for American citizens, as well as the Green New Deal, a piece of legislation whose name is derived from FDR’s Great Depression-era New Deal, which is aimed to address climate change and economic inequality. Castro has voiced support for affirmative action, gun control, abortion rights, and the Paris Climate Accord
Kamala Harris served as a District Attorney in San Francisco from 2004 to 2011 and as the Attorney General of California from 2011 to 2017. In 2017, she was elected to her first term as Senator of California. Many Democrats considered Harris as a major frontrunner when she announced her candidacy in January of 2019, but Harris has dropped into fifth in the polls. Harris is adamant on her progressive views on abortion, environmental activism, and funding for education.
Amy Klobuchar got her start as a county attorney and has served as Senator for Minnesota for 12 years. Despite trailing in the polls, NBC and USA Today both deemed Klobuchar’s performance in the debate as impressive. Klobuchar calls herself a modern liberal who supports pro-choice, LGBT rights, and health care. Klobuchar has stated that she uses humor to distinguish herself. While Klobuchar is coming off a successful debate on October 15, she is polling eighth with 2% of the party’s support.
Beto O’Rourke spent six years as a representative of Texas’ 16th- district from 2013 to 2019, who charged into the national political scene after a close race against incumbent Texas Senator, Ted Cruz. O’Rourke is 47-years-old and has spent six years in Congress, and he is the only southern candidate in the running. O’Rourke gained major name recognition in 2018 after losing by only 2.6% of the vote in a highly Republican state, and while his stock was high, he announced his running for the 2020 Election on March 13, 2019. Since his senate race starting in March, 2017, O’Rourke has had high media coverage. He is known as a centrist liberal and is seen as one of the more bipartisan candidates, polling 7th, neck and neck with Andrew Yang, Amy Klobuchar, and Cory Booker.
Bernie Sanders is running in his second consecutive presidential primary, after a noteworthy campaign in 2016. Sanders has been a significant member of the national political sphere for decades. He spent eight years as Burlington, Vermont’s mayor in the 1980’s, served for 16 years in Congress as a representative, and has experience both in the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the Senate Budget Committee. Sanders was the runner-up in the Democratic primary in 2016, finishing second to Hillary Clinton, and is one of the race’s frontrunners.
Elizabeth Warren is one of the frontrunners in the candidate race, currently polling second and pushing on Joe Biden’s top spot; she is currently less than 2% behind Biden in the polls, as of October 18, 2019. Warren served as a Vermont senator for six years and as Vice Chair of the Democratic Senate Caucus. Since the announcement of her candidacy, she has released an extensive list of her policies, from assisting small businesses, to introducing free public university, to taxing large corporations more strictly. Warren has been an avid opponent of Trump for years, and was involved in a media controversy when she clashed heads with the president after she claimed she had Native American roots, and turned out to be less than 1%.
Since November of 2017, Andrew Yang has been campaigning for his 2020 candidacy. Yang has been seen as a longshot since the beginning of his run. Like President Trump, he has held no political office in the past; Yang is a respected attorney and entrepreneur, having attended both Brown and Columbia. Yang was never considered a candidate who would make it this far, and is polling at only 2%. As a more unconventional candidate. Yang trumpets his financial experience as he plans on implementing a new system of value-added taxes as well as a stubborn plan to combat tax avoidance.