The Highschooler’s Guide to the 2020 Democratic Candidates (Part One)

As the 2020 Democratic Party presidential process inches slowly towards the primaries, it can be confusing to distinguish between the twenty candidates.

So how can a Timpview student with too many classes, extracurricular activities, and homework assignments to properly research the candidates gain an understanding of what makes each one unique?

Below is a list of the major democratic candidates, alongside a summary of their key political stances.

All Candidates
#1 – Joe Biden (31%)
#2 – Elizabeth Warren (25%)
#3 – Bernie Sanders(14%)
#4 – Peter Buttigieg (7%)
#5 – Kamala Harris (5%)
#6 – Andrew Yang (4%)
#7 – Amy Klobuchar (2%)
#8 – Cory Booker (2%)
#9 – Beto O’Rourke (1%)
#15 – Julian Castro (1%)

The vast majority of the potential nominees agree on many issues, including: national laws requiring background checks to buy guns, banning the purchase of assault rifles or bump stocks, improved immigration services, increased healthcare initiatives, increased funding for education, a $15 minimum wage, taxes on carbon emissions and pollution, added measures to increase equality among different gender and racial groups, the legalization of marijuana, and even more.

To make things simpler, we’ll focus on the ten major candidates who qualified for the debate in Houston, Texas, on September 12, 2019.

Joe Biden

  • First in NBC/WSJ Polls (31%)
  • Former Vice President from Delaware
  • 76 Years Old
  • “Our best days still lie ahead”

Joe Biden has been a democratic favorite for years, with his history of working with Barack Obama being a rallying point for many supporters. His campaign has represented more moderate voters, with his big three ideas being rebuilding the middle class, demonstrating respected leadership worldwide, and making sure that democracy includes everyone. One controversial stance that separates Biden from the pack is how he would treat marijuana, as he wants to decriminalize it instead of legalizing it, as the other candidates would do. Another important fact emphasized by Biden is his “electability” against Trump.

Cory Booker

  • Eighth in Polls (2%)
  • Senator from New Jersey
  • 50 Years Old
  • “Where there is unity, there is strength”

Cory Booker has based his campaign on three broad ideals: Justice, Opportunity, and American Leadership. Uniques issues under the “Justice” category include “Animal Welfare” (the protection of endangered species and stopping animal cruelty) and “Equality for People with Disabilities.” “Opportunity” initiatives include improved “College and Workplace Training,” and “American Leadership” focuses on national Security and support for Veterans. Booker’s campaign strongly emphasizes the power of community, stressing the role of people of color in the United States.

Pete Buttigieg

  • Fourth in Polls (7%)
  • Mayor of South Bend, Indiana
  • 37 Years Old
  • “It’s time for a new generation of American leadership”

Pete Buttigieg’s campaign, similar to Booker’s, is supported by three goals: Freedom, Security, and Democracy. Many of the details of these principles are found in every candidate’s list of issues, but Buttigieg puts a special emphasis on climate change and room for economic growth. The biggest thing that distinguishes him is his focus on his age, as he’s seven years younger than the top ten’s next youngest candidate and forty years younger than the oldest candidate. Other than his age, Buttigieg sets himself apart by being the only veteran and the only openly gay candidate.

Julián Castro

Julián Castro’s campaign is focused on taking a “comprehensive” approach, emphasizing the importance of the interconnected nature of political issues. His perspective as a person of color separates him from the pack, and he uses it to support his emphasis on education and immigration. His immigration stance describes being more humane through helping families stay together, while educationally his plan outlines Universal Pre-Kindergarten, increased pay for teachers, and a revamped funding system for high schools.

Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris has made a name for herself through tough stances against Donald Trump’s cabinet and policies. She’s been an outspoken democrat in the senate since being elected in 2017, fighting against Wall Street corruption and working with the LGBTQ community towards marriage equality. Notable issues detailed on her website include tax credits for working class families, fighting pharmaceutical companies for fair drug prices, and raising pay for teachers.


To learn more, make sure to check out Part Two of this article.