By Sejal Sangani and Jala Everett

As you probably know, the 2020 Presidential Election is coming up in almost one year. Seniors, this is especially exciting for us since many of us will be able to vote! If you are eligible, we urge you to go to the polls and use your voice. 

Since there are so many candidates (19 Democrats and 4 Republicans), we’ve made a guide outlining the key issues for the 5 leading Democratic candidates (as of right now) and the 4 Republican candidates:


Joe Biden (former Senator of Delaware, former Vice President of the United States) 

  • Wants to raise the minimum wage
  • Advocate for free public education (four-year and community colleges)
  • Supports the Paris Climate Accord
  • Called for the expansion of the Affordable Care Act
  • Wants a ban on assault weapons and universal background checks
  • Supports expunging marijuana convictions, restoration of voting rights to felons after serving sentence, and treatment for people with drug addictions 

Elizabeth Warren  (current Senator of Massachusetts, former Harvard professor)

  • Believes in “economic patriotism”. Called for a 2% tax on wealth exceeding $50 million and a 3% tax on wealth over $1 billion. 
  • Supports elimination of student debt, free public education, and investment into HBCUs
  • Co-sponsor of Green New Deal 
  • Co-sponsor of Sen. Sanders’ bill for Medicare for All 
  • Proposed a 10-year, $100 billion plan funding prevention and rehab for the opioid crisis; co-sponsored Sen. Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act
  • Called for a ban on assault weapons and universal background checks

Bernie Sanders (current Senator of Vermont, former congressman) 

  • Proposed Medicare for All plan 
  • Co-sponsor of Green New Deal 
  • Called for the elimination of student debt and free public education (community colleges, public colleges, and trade schools)
  • Co-sponsored  Sen. Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act
  • Believes in raising the minimum wage to $15 

Pete Buttigieg (current Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, military veteran)

  • Supports the Paris climate agreement and the Green New Deal
  • Supports universal background checks and banning of guns in schools
  • Called for the protections of the LGBTQ community to be added to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 
  • Supports expanding Medicare coverage while keeping private health insurance plans
  • Supports the Douglass Plan (designed to dismantle institutional racism in the US)

Kamala Harris. (current Senator of California, former California Attorney General)

  • Co-sponsor of the Green New Deal and wants a new “climate pollution fee” on the industry
  • Co-sponsor of  Sen. Sanders’ bill for Medicare for All 
  • Co-sponsored Sen. Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act 
  • Called for the abolishment of the death penalty at a federal level 

If you want to learn about the other 14 Democratic candidates, here is a summary of everyone who is running. 

Donald Trump (incumbent President of the United States)

  • Imposed tax cut that benefited corporations and investors
  • Does not believe in climate change; withdrew the US from the Paris climate deal
  • Does not support gun control and has spoken in favor of the NRA (National Rifle Association) 
  • Banned transgender soldiers from the military
  • Opposed to abortion but would allow limited exceptions 
  • A wall on the Mexican border, a crackdown on undocumented immigrants (deportations, strengthening of ICE) 

Mark Sanford (former congressman from South Carolina, former governor of South Carolina)

  • Biggest concern: government spending and national debt (wants to reduce the national debt and balance the budget)
  • Called for action against climate change, but has voted against various bills such as a carbon tax — he fears it will cause an economic slowdown
  • Believes in a secure border and voted to penalize sanctuary cities. Does not support family separation at the border
  • Has historically been anti-abortion, including supporting a 2007 bill that would have forced women to view an ultrasound of their fetus before completing the abortion
    • has not recently spoken on the issue

Joe Walsh (former congressman from Illinois, Conservative radio show host)

  • Wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) but will replace it with a new healthcare plan
  • Acknowledges climate change as legitimate but has not called for specific action
  • Supports building a wall; wants to devote more resources to speed up the processing of asylum cases
  • Believes in free trade and condemned Trump’s trade war
  • Opposes abortion without exception

William Weld (former governor of Massachusetts)

  • Supports tax cuts and hopes to reign in gov’t spending; opposes tariffs imposed by the Trump administration
  • Is in favor of the Paris Accord on climate change
  • Does not believe in gun control 
  • Supports abortion, LGBT rights, legal status for undocumented immigrants, and opposes the Trump administration’s immigration and deportation policies. 

To learn more in-depth about any of the presidential candidates, you can check out their websites. You can also go to Axios or PBS, which both have articles explaining each candidate’s stance on major issues. DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!