Everybody Running for President in 2020

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The night that Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, 2020 felt like a world away. Nobody had thought much about the next presidential election (remember how 2016 felt like it lasted a decade?). More than two years later, we've just about recovered from our collective shock—right in time for the announcements for the 2020 presidential race to come flooding in.

This election, a nationwide referendum of sorts on President Donald Trump, could be even more divisive and politically charged than 2016. We already know that the president doesn't hold back from critiquing his opponents in ways sexist, racist, and otherwise discriminatory, and we know that Republicans emboldened by Trump's win are happy to echo him. We know that the Democratic field has never been more diverse, blunt, and straight-up angry, charging towards their one shot to overthrow Trump and his ever-changing band of merry men. It's only February, and we already have people dropping out of the race.

So, are you ready for the political showdown that will be 2019-2020? No, me neither, but let's take a look anyway?


Confirmed To Be Running

Amy Klobuchar (D)

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Who?

The longtime senator from Minnesota who boasts a reputation of working well with both sides of the aisle.

How do I know her?

She's framed herself as a symbol of Midwestern grit, even announcing her decision to run for president in the middle of a snowstorm. "I did this announcement speech in the middle of a blizzard and I think we need people with grit—I have that grit," she told CNN afterwards. But Klobuchar's campaign has been undermined by reports that her staff has disliked working with her (a criticism derided by some observers for being sexist), to which she's responded, "I can be tough."

What are her key issues?

Klobuchar looks poised to frame herself as the bipartisan underdog who can use her Midwestern "grit" to take on the most formidable of opponents: Trump. "I would have liked to seen him sitting here in the snow for an hour giving this speech," she told assembled press after her announcement.


Elizabeth Warren (D)

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Who?

The economic scholar and senior senator from Massachusetts, a.k.a. the only person Trump appears to see as a credible threat to his presidency.

How do I know her?

For a start, you've probably seen Trump's increasingly agitated tweets about her. You'll have heard about her ascent to higher office after the 2008 financial crisis, and how eminently well-qualified she is when it comes to the economy. And you've definitely heard about the "Pocahontas" controversy.

What are her key issues?

Warren leaned on her background in economic policy during her announcement speech, decrying the "rigged system that props up the rich and powerful and kicks dirt on everyone else." President Trump's team immediately called her a "fraud" after she announced her much-anticipated candidacy—a sign of how much of a threat Trump believes Warren to be.


Cory Booker (D)

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Who?

The former Newark mayor and the first black senator to represent New Jersey.

How do I know him?

You've probably heard mention of Booker as one of the fresh faces of the Democratic Party—at 49, Booker is considered to have a long and illustrious political career ahead of him. He was in the final three to be the vice presidential pick for Clinton in 2016, but no dice.

What are his key issues?

In these politically turbulent times, Booker will most likely present himself as the candidate who can bring Americans back together. In his campaign announcement video, Booker leaned hard into that theme, saying: "Together, we will channel our common pain back into our common purpose. Together, America, we will rise."


Kamala Harris (D)

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Who?

The former attorney general of California and the first senator ever elected of either Indian or Jamaican descent (her mom is originally from Chennai, an Indian state, and her dad Jamaica).

How do I know her?

The popular ex-prosecutor took over Sen. Barbara Boxer's Senate seat in 2016, and has been solidly in the political spotlight ever since. As far back as 2008, she was tipped to be the next Democratic star, thanks to her high approval ratings with vastly different groups of Democrats.

What are her key issues?

Harris has earned a reputation for standing up against injustice, a theme she touched on when she announced her presidential run. "Justice. Decency. Equality. Freedom. Democracy...They're the values we as Americans cherish. And they're all on the line now," she said in a video released in late January. She'll likely lean into this "speaking truth to power" message during her run.


Marianne Williamson (D)

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Who?

She's often described as Oprah's spiritual guru, so, yeah. She's also a bestselling self-help author.

How do I know her?

You've probably seen at least one of her quotes on Pinterest and Instagram. Maybe this sounds familiar: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." Nope, not Buddha, but Marianne Williamson.

What are her key issues?

To quote from her 2020 website: "The future of our country is far too serious to be left in the hands of traditional politicians...In order to have a moral and spiritual awakening in America, we need a leader who is a moral and spiritual awakener. I believe I am that person."


Kirsten Gillibrand (D)

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Who?

The longtime senator from New York who has vehemently spoken out against Trump from day one.

How do I know her?

She's a fierce advocate for victims of sexual harassment and assault, particularly when it comes to sexual assault in the military, and has passionately opposed Don't Ask, Don't Tell. She's also fought Trump on multiple fronts over the course of his presidency, imploring him to resign after allegations of sexual assault and opposing his nominees for numerous administration positions.

What are her key issues?

She's expected to make women's rights a key part of her platform. Expect her to be grilled by opponents on her shifting policies over the years, which have seen her transform from a pro-gun conservative to one of the most vocal Democratic voices in the nation.

"I'm going to run for president of the United States because as a young mom, I'm going to fight for other people's kids as hard as I would fight for my own," she told Stephen Colbert.


Julian Castro (D)

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Who?

He’s the former Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, and was the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama.

How do I know him?

He’s part of a political twin! His brother Joaquin is a congressman representing Texas’ 20th. Julian has been something of a darling to the Democrats for years—there was even speculation that he might get Hillary Clinton's VP slot in 2016.

What are his key issues?

He’s the proud grandson of immigrants and, as the New York Times put it, “one of the most high-profile Latino Democrats to ever seek the nomination”—so chances are good he’s going to come after Trump on immigration.


Tulsi Gabbard (D)

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Who?

The 37-year-old woman who’s served as Hawaii’s 2nd district representative since 2013. She’s an Iraq war veteran and also the first Hindu ever sworn into Congress.

How do I know her?

She’s long been considered a rising Democratic star, known for reaching across the aisle and for speaking her mind. That last part got her into some trouble in 2016, when she publicly backed Bernie Sanders, despite the DNC’s urging that everyone in Congress get into lockstep with Hillary Clinton. Now, though, that move makes her look like a progressive ahead of her time.

What are her key issues?

Naturally, she wants to make sure our veterans are treated properly, and for her that includes speaking out against hasty military intervention. She has also said that combating climate change will be a big part of her platform.


John Delaney (D)

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Who?

Former three-term Congressional representative from Maryland’s 6th district.

How do I know him?

He was the first to announce his presidential bid, though speculation swirled about what he was up to way back in May 2017. It only got louder when he declared he wouldn't seek reelection last year—now we know it was to focus on the campaign.

What are his key issues?

He’s a centrist, so he holds pretty classic Democrat views on things like jobs, immigration, and veterans, but argues that change only occurs with bipartisan support. As President, he says he wants to be a unifier.


Andrew Yang (D)

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Andrew Yang For President
Andrew Yang For President

Who?

A Columbia grad and lawyer who has spent several years working in Silicon Valley. He also started the Venture for America nonprofit, which helps young entrepreneurs start businesses.

How do I know him?

You probably don't, since he doesn't have political experience, but his interesting platform is starting to get him noticed.

What are his key issues?

Yang has observed that the only way to prevent more Trump-like electoral upsets in the future is to replace the income of people whose jobs that are being zapped up by automation (so everyone, basically). His solution is to give every citizen $1,000 a month to stimulate the economy. It would be paid for by a Value Added Tax on every transaction, similar to how some European countries tax transactions. It's a radical idea at a time when people just might be interested in radical ideas.


Donald Trump (R)

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Who?

The current POTUS.

How do I know him?

He’s probably the reason your therapy bills went up a couple years ago.

What are his key issues?

At the time of publication, the government was shut down over funding for his Mexican border wall. Immigration is clearly a big issue, specifically how he thinks there should be less of it. (Remember the Muslim ban, which quietly remains a huge issue?) He’s also tried to reshape the U.S.’s foreign policy, including how the military handles foreign disputes in places like Syria and Afghanistan, how our diplomats deal with former adversaries like Russia and North Korea, and how our businesses handle trade deals with China.


Rumored To Be Running

Howard Schultz (I)

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Who?

The former CEO of Starbucks. Also the 232rd richest person in America.

How do I know him?

Schultz' name is synonymous with Starbucks, the company he's been running on and off since 1986. But Schultz is a gazillionare even without Starbucks' help, having founded a venture capital firm in 1998. He doesn't have any experience in politics, but he's long been considered an influential Democrat—which is why it's slightly unexpected that he now says he's planning to run as an independent.

Will he run?

In late January, Schultz said he was "seriously considering" it, and doubled down on this being an independent run rather than a Democratic one.


Bernie Sanders (D)

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Who?

The Democrat challenger to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

How do I know him?

Sanders lost to Clinton in the Democrat primaries, but gained more support than anybody expected. The senator from Vermont inspired a legion of "Bernie bros," among other supporters, and brought the term "Democratic socialist" into the mainstream. His passionate grassroots campaign is credited with pushing the Democratic Party to the left.

Will he run?

According to some reports, Sanders is poised to announce he's planning to run for president any day now, emboldened by both his runaway success in the 2016 race and recent polls that show consistent support for him among several demographics. His team say that nothing has been confirmed, and that Sanders hasn't made up his mind yet.


Joe Biden (D)

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Who?

Former VP. One-half of the love story and political double act that is Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

How do I know him?

Well, he was vice president, so there's that. He's also a respected voice when it comes to cancer care and prevention, sexual assault, and bipartisanship. Also, he has a Presidential Medal of Freedom and has run for president twice before.

Will he run?

Biden ran in both 1988 and 2008, and he's rumored to have considered running again in 2016 (his son, Beau Biden, had just passed away). Nobody really knows whether he'll decide to run this time around. Some reports say he's "95 percent in," however.


Michael Bloomberg (D)

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Who?

You know, the former New York mayor and tech gazillionaire who has poured money into environmental and gun-control groups in recent years.

How do I know him?

You know Bloomberg News, the media conglomerate, and the Bloomberg Terminal, the financial software mainstay? Yeah, that's him. He also served as mayor of New York City for 11 years. He's one of the richest people in the world, to the tune of $51.8 billion.

Will he run?

The jury's out on this one. Although Bloomberg has been generally liberal his entire career, he served as Mayor as a Republican, and has previously mulled running as an independent. This time around, he says he'd run as a Democrat, but simply hasn't decided yet.


Pete Buttigieg (D)

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Who?

The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who at 37 is just scraping the requirement to run for president (you have to be at least 35).

How do I know him?

Most likely, you don't—he's deeply embedded in local politics through his time as mayor of South Bend (which has a population of 100,000), and this will be his first time on the national stage. He was elected at 29, making him one of the youngest mayors in history. He would the first openly gay candidate for president in 2020.

Will he run?

Buttigieg has said he's forming a presidential exploratory committee to investigate the possibility. "Right now, our country needs a fresh start," he said in an introductory video.


Dropped Out of the Running

Richard Ojeda (D)

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Who?

Former West Virginia Senator and retired Army Major.

How do I know him?

He voted for Trump in 2016, but then sided with educators in the big 2018 West Virginia teachers’ strike over low pay and high healthcare. He announced in November that he would be running in opposition to Trump.

What happened?

Less than two months after announcing he'd be running for president, Ojeda abruptly left the race—becoming the first 2020 candidate to do so. His reason was simple: He didn't think he was going to win.

"The last thing I want to do is accept money from people who are struggling for a campaign that does not have the ability to compete," he said in a video announcement.


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