After a shocking win in 2016, the 45th president has caused anger in many U.S. citizens and excitement in some others. Because of this controversy, the current presidential race is more crowded than ever with more than 15 U.S. presidential candidates running to take over the position in the White House.
To combat overwhelm among American voters, and to clear things up for international observers, here are the individuals running for president this time around:
Top Issues: Equity in education, immigration reform, and investing in infrastructure
A lesser-known U.S. presidential candidate compared to the others, this Colorado Senator is more pragmatic than dramatic. “If you elect me president, I promise you won’t have to think about me for 2 weeks at a time,” he said last year in a tweet. Michael Bennett promises a return to stability and normalcy if he gets in office, although that doesn’t seem to be resonating much with the Democratic base.
Former Vice President
Top Issues: Strengthening foreign policy, rebuilding the middle class, and expanding Obamacare
Consistently seen as one of the frontrunners, the former vice president to President Barack. Obama boasts of his greatest strength being his experience. “I know how to make government work,” Joe Biden said at his May kickoff rally. However, while older voters across the country have flocked to him, younger generations and progressives have not.
Former New York City Mayor
Top Issues: Gun control, climate action, and immigration
As one of the latest additions to the presidential race, Michael Bloomberg has received his fair share of criticism. The former republican and current billionaire brings baggage to the table from years of living in the public eye. He’s gone back on some issues and wavered on others, making it unclear exactly what he stands for.
South Bend, Indiana Mayor
Top Issues: Eliminating student loan debt, gun control, and climate action
As the first openly gay U.S. presidential candidate, an Afghanistan War veteran, and youngest individual in the 2020 race, Pete Buttigieg made headlines early on. The Indiana mayor runs largely on the idea of generational change, although he continues to operate through a moderate (maybe even conservative) lens.
Top Issues: Opposing military intervention overseas, healthcare reform, and tax reform
She’s the first Hindu member of congress and an Iraq War veteran. After coming under fire for being formerly linked to a gay conversion therapy facility and opposing abortion rights, Tulsi Gabbard has been forced to do some damage control. Although she’s gathered a grassroots following, her path to the nomination doesn’t seem promising.
Top Issues: Investing in infrastructure, addiction and mental health programs, and lowering prescription drug prices
Another largely moderate candidate, the Minnesota Senator argues bipartisanship is necessary to getting things done. “In my job you can’t just put your head in the sand and throw partisan bombshells. You have to get results,” she said in defense of her habit of reaching across the aisle. Many view Amy Klobuchar as a female alternative to Joe Biden.
Former Massachusetts Governor
Top Issues: Eliminating gerrymandering, healthcare reform, and climate action
As one of the last to jump in the race, the former investment fund manager lacks the “name ID” to make a splash this late in the game. Deval Patrick has so far focused on a message of unity and hope, reminiscent of his friend Barack Obama. Unfortunately, times have changed.
Hedge Fund Manager
Top Issues: Climate action, impeachment of current president, and holding corporations accountable
It seems like an oxymoron, a billionaire running on taxing the 1%, but Tom Steyer has continuously financially supported liberal agendas over the past few years. Extremely passionate about taking out Trump, he poured millions into ads calling for the current president’s impeachment. A true long shot for the nomination, the climate advocate’s dollars could best be used somewhere else.
Top Issues: Medicare for All, raising minimum wage, and free public college
Most notably the only self described democratic socialist in the race, Bernie Sanders has garnered a cult-like following as well as some skepticism. “Democratic socialism means that we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy,” the Senator once explained. As one of the other consistent frontrunners, he has the benefit of almost single-handedly moving the party to the left after his 2016 run.
Top Issues: A wealth tax, breaking up big tech companies, and Medicare for All
Elizabeth Warren, best known for creating the Consumer Protection Agency, runs this race focused on “Big Structural Change.” Bernie Sanders and she have had difficulties distinguishing themselves from each other, other than the Massachusetts Senator embracing capitalism. With drastic changes in her polling position over the last few months, it’s hard to tell what her path forward will look like.
Top Issues: Universal basic income
After years in Silicon Valley, the entrepreneur is certain that automation is coming and the only way to curb job loss lies in establishing a universal basic income. He calls this proposal the “Freedom Dividend,” a plan which would give $1,000 to every American monthly, no strings attached. Andrew Yang garnered grassroots support from the beginning and has outlasted many whose names were initially much more recognisable than his.
Top Issues: Reducing the national debt, securing the border, and beating Donald Trump
A staunch opponent of the current president, Andrew Walsh has called him Trump “an unfit con man.” His stances often waver and are mostly focused on opposing or fixing whatever issues the current president has created. Andrew Walsh served one term in congress as a representative for Illinois, though is now best known for his controversial comments on conservative radio.
Former Massachusetts Governor
Top Issues: Free trade, moderate immigration reform, and federal budget cuts
In 2016 Bill Weld ran as the Liberatarian nomiee’s vice president and has criticized President Trump from the start. Now in the Republican Party, he holds oddly progressive social stances along with conservative views on the economy and spending. Bill Weld was the first Republican candidate to announce a run against Trump and hoping to win over moderates within a divided race.
For more information on polling numbers, candidates stances on the issues, or expert analysis check out these references:
Presidential candidates, 2020, Ballotpedia
Democrats 2020: What their key issues are, BBC News
2020 Candidates, CNN
Who’s Running For President 2020? New York Times
The RS Politics 2020 Democratic Primary Leaderboard, Rolling Stone
Audrey Stanton was born and raised in the Bay Area and currently based in Los Angeles. She works as a freelance content creator and manager. Audrey is incredibly passionate about conscious fashion and hopes to continue to spread awareness of ethical consumption.