Overview of the 2020 Presidential Candidates

Overview of the 2020 Presidential Candidates

Kavya Weaver '20, News Editor

Disclaimer: At the time this article was written, a total of 23 elected government officials and public figures have filed to run for president. This number is subject to change and may not be current by the time of publication.


The great American leader Abraham Lincoln once said that “The ballot is stronger than the bullet.” This powerful assertion serves as a reminder to the American people that it is our civic duty as citizens of a democracy to remain politically active and, for those who are eligible, to exercise their right to vote. As the United States begins to enter the frenzy of the presidential campaign season, it is imperative that the American people resist falling prey to identity politics by remaining knowledgeable about the policies and values of each candidate in order to make informed and wise decisions regarding who to support and vote for. Provided in this article are brief descriptions of some of the most promising and influential presidential candidates running for the 2020 election. Because this overview only covers 6 of the 23 candidates who have filed to run for president, hopefully this overview will serve as the impetus for further research and motivation to remain politically active.


Democratic Candidates (21 total):


  1. Bernie Sanders – Sanders is a senator from Vermont. His popularity leading up to the 2016 campaign has already distinguished him as a front-runner among Democrats for the 2020 election – in fact, his campaign raised over 18 million dollars from supporters within weeks of announcing his decision to run. Sanders has been credited with setting a trend of advocating for more socialist policies among the Democratic party, his once-distinctive proposals of Medicare for All and tuition-free college garnering wide-spread support. Sanders advocates for government-financed health care for all, a $15 minimum wage, drastically reforming the U.S. economy to resist climate change, and free public college.


  1. Kamala Harris – Former prosecutor and California senator Harris has founded her campaign on promoting diversity in politics and advocating for policies that will help vulnerable communities. Harris supports a tax plan that will benefit middle and working class families, legislation that will lower the cost of rent in cities, Medicare for All, and reform of the current cash-bail system. The senator, who is the daughter of an Indian mother and Jamaican father, has gained recognition for her initiative to hire mostly women of color to run her campaign.


  1. Elizabeth Warren – Warren is a senator from Massachusetts who previously worked as a professor at Harvard Law School. She helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency that works to prevent financial companies from exploiting consumers. Warren has sought to appeal to the middle class, promising to promote legislation that would minimize income inequality, including higher taxes on the rich. She has proposed low-cost childcare, massive student debt relief, and the elimination of the electoral college. Although Warren’s chances of winning the nomination are solid, she has received widespread criticism over her decision to release a DNA test tracing her Native American ancestry, a choice that has been condemned by the Cherokee Nation.


  1. Pete Buttigieg – Buttigieg, a Harvard graduate and Afghanistan veteran, has served as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana since 2012. The politician is the youngest of the Democratic candidates and would be the first openly gay president if he won the 2020 election. Although Buttigieg joined the candidacy without a substantial national profile, his support base has grown rapidly in the polls, raising over 7 million dollars in donations since his announcement to run. Buttigieg supports universal background checks, placing a ban on guns in school, providing more resources for Dreamers to become citizens, and abolishing the electoral college.


  1. Joe Biden – Although Biden was initially expected to lead the polls of the 2020 Democratic field, scandals that emerged before his announcement to run have tarnished the reputation of the widely-known former Vice President, threatening his chances to win the nomination. After Lucy Flores accused Biden of inappropriately kissing her on the back of the head at campaign event in 2014, he received widespread criticism, causing him to delay the launch of his campaign until April 25th. However, polls show that Biden is still one of the top contenders for the Democratic nomination, reflecting the loyalty of his supporters and the power of an established political reputation. Biden identifies as more of a centrist Democrat, advocating for capital punishment, workers rights, the reduction of wealth inequality, and the Affordable Care Act.


Republican Candidates (2 total):



  • Donald Trump: Although current president Donald Trump has been mired in numerous scandals and has received national and international backlash for his more controversial policies, his chances of being reelected are still formidable. Trump’s support base has remained loyal to him over the past two years, and he poses the greatest threat to the Democratic candidates. Trump’s core policies remain consistent with what he proposed in the months leading up to the 2016 election. These positions include enforcing tighter border security, ending most environmental conservation efforts, lowering taxes, and restricting access to abortion services.



One exciting aspect of this upcoming election is the promising influence of the newest generation of voters, a group that includes many of this newspaper’s readers. These young people have the opportunity and responsibility to create positive change in this country, a movement that will only gain momentum if they strive to be active in their communities, both at the local and national level. The United States is entering an unprecedented era of American political history, one characterized by hyper partisanship and high level of civic engagement. It is our duty as young people to assert the voice of our generation into politics, a feat that is only possible if we remain politically active and set our sights on a brighter, better vision of this country, one that will serve the needs of all Americans.


Works Cited: