The 2020 presidential campaign field is guaranteed to be a crowded one, as several contenders have already formally announced that they will be running. Trump is currently the only Republican that is confirmed to be running, and it is unclear who will run against him in the primary– former Ohio governor John Kasich has hinted that he will run, though he has not confirmed anything. Nine Democrats, however, have declared their candidacies.
Cory Booker, 49, is a senator from New Jersey and the former mayor of Newark. Similarly to Kamala Harris, Booker is a career politician and one of the more popular Democrats in Congress. He gained a lot of attention during the Kavanaugh Senate trials when he threatened to release confidential documents from Judge Kavanaugh’s past to the public. His website describes him as an “innovative and bipartisan problem-solver committed to developing collaborative solutions that address some of our most complex challenges”. As a member of Congress, Booker has focused on criminal justice reform as well as worked to increase investment for small businesses. His campaign message centers on unifying the country, a concept that appeals to advocates of bipartisanship as well as moderate voters.
Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, IN, entered the race for president on January 23. According to CNN, Buttigieg will become the first nominee of a major political party who publicly identifies as gay, which is sure to make for a historic campaign. While he isn’t very well-known outside of Indiana, Buttigieg gained some attention during his candidacy for chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). A few months after Trump’s election in 2016, Buttigieg published an emotional essay titled “A letter from flyover country” that advised Democrats on how to move forward after their defeats. He is known to emphasize issues like economic opportunity and climate change.
44-year-old Julian Castro served as the mayor of San Antonio from 2009 to 2014 and then as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014 to 2017. He announced his candidacy on January 12, saying “I am running for president because it’s time for new leadership, because it’s time for new energy.” According to his campaign website, as Secretary of HUD Castro worked to make housing more accessible, to lessen homelessness among veterans, and to provide internet access in public housing. Castro has expressed that he would pursue universal prekindergarten as one of his first policy proposals. He also cares about issues like immigrants’ rights, healthcare access, and climate change.
John Delaney is a 55-year-old former congressman and businessman from Maryland. He’s one of the more moderate Democrats in the lineup; he describes himself as a bipartisan problem solver, saying “I’m running on unity and common purpose. Solving problems and getting things done and working towards some big things to prepare our country for the future.” He doesn’t back “Medicare for all”, but he does support basic coverage for all Americans. He is firm in his economic policy, saying that the United States “has to engage globally” and that “nationalism and isolationism are the wrong answer to every question.”
The 37-year-old congresswoman from Hawaii and National Guard veteran is most known for her opposition to US intervention overseas. Her key issues include affordable housing, campaign finance reform, criminal justice reform, and ending the war in Syria. She will, however, face challenges due to her anti-gay past; she spent much of her early career fighting against gay rights. For example, she helped pass an amendment to the Hawaii State Constitution that would enable the legislature to ban same-sex marriage. In addition, she has worked with the Alliance for Traditional Marriage, saying in 2002 that fighting to protect “traditional marriage” showed her that “real leaders are willing to make personal sacrifices for the common good”. She has since apologized for her actions, saying that her views have changed immensely over the years. From the viewpoint of progressives, though, it’s unlikely that she will be able to move past this.
Kirsten Gillibrand, 52, is a New York senator and former congresswoman. Earlier in her career she positioned herself as a centrist Democrat, holding especially conservative views on immigration– she opposed New York state’s proposal to allow undocumented immigrants to have driver’s licenses, and according to NBC, her 2006 House campaign website expressed the need for more border security funding in order to “catch illegal immigrants, human traffickers, and drug smugglers”. Similarly to Gabbard, she has since evolved in her views and is commonly identified as a progressive. She now boasts progressive views on immigration and is in favor of the “Abolish ICE” movement. Her policy agenda primarily focuses on women’s equality, as she is known for her support for the #MeToo movement and for speaking out against sexual assault in the military.
Kamala Harris, 54, is a California senator. She is the former attorney general of California, as well as the former San Francisco district attorney. Harris has made quite the name for herself in the Democratic party, becoming a symbol of the party’s changing dynamic. Harris has co-sponsored legislation to support Medicare for All, reform the cash bail system, and give tax cuts to the middle class. She is commonly challenged by progressives for her past as a prosecutor, so it’s likely that she will continue to face controversy around this. Despite currently emphasizing criminal justice reform on her policy agenda, Harris was known to defend malpractice by her teams of prosecutors in order to get convictions. Progressives argue that Harris never did anything to fix mass incarceration in San Francisco, nor did she speak out against police brutality and racial profiling.
Amy Klobuchar, 58, is a senator from Minnesota and the former attorney for Hennepin County, Minnesota. Her primary focus in terms of legislation has been the opioid crisis as well as addressing the increasingly high costs of prescription drugs. She has been known to crack down on big tech companies, bringing attention to antitrust issues. Klobuchar is also known to work well with Republicans. She received national attention during the Kavanaugh hearing, when a clip of her calmly questioning and responding to Kavanaugh went viral. She will face challenges, though, as several of her former staff members have reported poor treatment while working for her.
69-year-old Elizabeth Warren is a senator from Massachusetts and former Harvard professor. She is one of the more widely-known progressives in Congress, championing legislation regarding civil liberties, reproductive justice, criminal justice reform, and income inequality. She also supports taxing the wealthy. She introduced a bill called the Accountable Capitalism Act, which would redistribute money from the extremely rich to the middle class. She has been under fire from fellow progressives, however, for her attempt at rebutting Trump’s mockery of Native Americans. She tweeted out her genetic ancestry report showing that one of her ancestors from around 10 generations ago was Native American, which many people found to be pretty problematic.
Andrew Yang, 44, is an entrepreneur and former tech executive from New York. He takes a liberal stance on most issues, focusing mostly on economic policy reform. He also emphasizes tech issues, such as regulating AI, that many other candidates don’t tend to highlight. His signature proposal is a universal basic income of $1000 per month for every American, which he would implement as a solution for Americans losing jobs to new technologies. While his campaign is a long-shot, he is precise and purposeful in his plans and could gain attention for his unique approach.