Kaitlyn Luckow

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Democratic Candidates 2020: Proposed and Past Policies

We have arguably one of the most important elections of our time coming up in 2020. With now 21 candidates vowing for the Democratic nominee, it can be really hard to navigate through everyone’s positions and beliefs.

So many times in elections, people win based on their reputation. This can be good and bad. It can be easy to just look at social media and the news and say, “well, everyone has nice things to say about _______, so that’s who I’m going to vote for.”

But I urge you to approach this election and every election differently. I hope that you vote. But I also hope that you are an informed voter. I hope that you take the time to research and look at each candidate’s past and their proposal for the future.

Because that can be hard to navigate, I wanted to create something for you that outlines candidate’s policy history and their proposed policies for the future.

I have taken the current top 6 democratic nominees: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg.

I researched their political backgrounds and proposals for the future for weeks on 7 key issues that are important to American voters: women’s rights, environment, immigration, race & justice, gun control, healthcare, and international relations.

Below, I have compiled the policy history for each candidate and what they have outlined for the future if they are elected. Some candidates have lengthier histories which are representative of their time as public servants. You will also see that some “Proposed” categories are currently blank. This is because they have set no clear policy regarding these issues. They may have stated their opinions, but no policies.

All of my sources are hyperlinked within the text and many will take you directly to the policy that is referenced in case you wish to read more on the topic.

I want this to be a living document, so I will update it as things change and as candidates reveal more of their policy plans. If you see something that I have missed, I urge you to let me know and I will update it immediately.

Let’s help us make informed votes and vote for the candidate that truly represents our political beliefs.

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Bernie Sanders

Past

Proposed

Elizabeth Warren

Past

Proposed

  • Proposed plan to address maternal mortality rates of Black women.


Kamala Harris

Past

Proposed


Joe Biden

Past

  • Roe v Wade-”went too far” said that he did not believe that “a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body.”

  • Hyde Amendment 1976- voted to forbid government-funded insurance programs to fund abortion

  • Biden Amendment 1981- proposed to prohibit foreign aid to be used in research related to abortion.

  • Against Clarence Thomas’ hearing in the 1991 Supreme Court Hearing

  • Violence Against Women Act (1994)-Provided funding towards investigations of domestic violence and mandatory restitution for those convicted

Proposed

  • Strengthen Violence Against Women Act




Pete Buttigieg

Past

Proposed

Beto O’Rourke

Past

Proposed

  • Paid family leave

  • Equal pay for women

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Bernie Sanders

Past

Proposed  

  • Pass Green New Deal

Elizabeth Warren

Past

  • Clean Power Plan-Supports and heads effort to encourage these efforts

  • Against the withdrawal of the Paris Agreement

  • Climate Risk Disclosure Act (2018)- Proposed act to require companies to disclose information related to their greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel holdings, etc.

  • Green New Deal-Supports program to address climate change and economic inequality.  

Proposed

  • Bill for no more drilling on public land


Kamala Harris

Past


Proposed

  • Pass the Green New Deal

  • End exports of coal, natural gas, and crude oil

  • Ban fracking and new fossil fuel infrastructure

Joe Biden

Past


Proposed

Pete Buttigieg

Past

Proposed

Beto O’Rourke

Past

Proposed

  • Re-enter Paris Agreement

  • “Buy Clean” program for steel, glass, and cement

  • Establish National Parks and monuments

  • $5 trillion investment into stopping climate change

  • Enforce laws to make polluters responsible

  • Expand federal crop insurance program


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Bernie Sanders

Past

  • Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (2001)-voted for what is now seen as a  legal justification for military actions

  • Supports Obama’s agreement with Iran in order to encourage negotiations and not war.

  • Supported sanctions on Russia after the 2016 election.

  • Opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq in order to lower the number of civilian casualties.

  • Doesn’t believe that the U.S. should lead the fight against ISIS

  • New START (2010) voted for the ratification of treaty between the US and Russia for the reduction of nuclear arms

  • Prevention of Arms Race Act (2018)- cosponsored bill to prohibit US funding for a ballistic missile.

Proposed

  • Against U.S. military intervention in Venezuela

Elizabeth Warren

Past

  • Opposed to the War In Afghanistan

  • Introduced legislation to punish China over human rights violations.

  • Anti-Boycott Act-Opposed act that was pro-Israel

  • Prevention of Arms Race Act (2018)- cosponsored bill to prohibit US funding for a ballistic missile.

  • 2017- Voted for a bill that gave $700 billion to defense funds


Proposed

  • Oppose Trump’s “NAFTA 2.0”

  • Cut defense budget

  • Provide debt relief to Puerto Rico

Kamala Harris

Past

  • Signed a letter stating that Trump did not have the power to launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea without Congress’ permission.

  • Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action-against Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement with Iran.

  • Supported the Iran Nuclear Deal.

  • Voted in favor of a $675 million budget for defense.


Proposed

  • Supports standing with Israel.

  • Distinguish Islam from extreme terrorists

Joe Biden

Past

  • Voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement (1993).

  • Voted against the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement

  • Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee calling for hard diplomacy with Iran

  • Supported resolution to authorize military action in Iraq only after the exhaustion of diplomatic efforts

  • But also, voted in favor of the invasion of Iraq


Proposed

Pete Buttigieg

Past

  • Served in Afghanistan under the Afghan Threat Finance Cell

  • Supports Israel


Proposed


Beto O’Rourke

Past

Proposed


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Bernie Sanders

Past

Proposed

  • Expand background checks

  • Ban the sale of assault weapons

  • Ban high-capacity ammunition magazines

Elizabeth Warren

Past

  • Fights for universal background checks

  • Wishes to extend magazine long rifle weapons ban and more background screenings

Proposed

Kamala Harris

Past

  • Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence-endorsed by the campaign to lessen gun violence.

  • District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) Said that the District of Colombia’s handgun ban did not violate the second amendment.

Proposed

  • Executive order to create mandatory background checks and ban assault rifle sales.

Joe Biden

Past

Proposed

Pete Buttigieg

Past

  • Supports universal background checks for firearm purchases.

  • Joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns to support universal background checks and prohibits guns in schools.

Proposed

Beto O’Rourke

Past

  • Participated in a sit-in at the House of Representatives in an effort to force a vote on gun control legislation.

  • Supports universal background checks for firearm purchases.

Proposed



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Bernie Sanders

Past

  • First Step Act (2018)-to increase job training and steps to modify minimum sentences for drug offenders

  • Civil rights organizer at the University of Chicago

  • Supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement

Proposed

  • Voting Rights Act-restore

  • Felon voting rights

  • Get rid of voter ID laws

  • Make election day a national holiday

  • End the war on drugs

  • Eliminate private prisons

  • Abolish death penalty

  • End cash bail

  • Major police department reform

  • Raise minimum wage to $15

Elizabeth Warren

Past


Proposed

  • Investment in housing to bring the price of ren down by 10%

  • Banning private prisons

  • Demilitarizing local police

  • Decriminalize marijuana


Kamala Harris

Past

  • Argued against the death penalty as district attorney in the case of Isaac Espinoza (2014)

  • Back on Track Program to get first-time drug offenders a high-school diploma instead of prison time.

  • Voted against judge’s decision that the death penalty was unconstitutional (2014)

Proposed

Joe Biden

Past


Proposed

Pete Buttigieg

Past

  • Called for the eradication of racial bias in the police force after firing police chief Darryl Boykins for violating the Federal Wiretap Act.

  • Headed a “Street Smarts” urban development program (2015) to improve economic development in urban areas.


Proposed

Beto O’Rourke

Past

  • Sponsored a resolution to examine the the War on Drugs and  repeal “ineffective” marijuana laws.

  • Called for the arrest records of people sentenced for possession of marijuana (small amounts) to be expunged.


Proposed

  • Decriminalize marijuana and expunge past records of possession.

  • End cash bail

  • Get rid of for-profit prisons


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Bernie Sanders

Past

  • Favors providing legal protection for Dreamers

  • Community Protection Act (2006)- voted for bill that would have permitted indefinite detention of illegal immigrants under orders of removal who can’t be removed

  • Dreamer Confidentiality Act (2019)-sponsor of act to impose a ban on Homeland Security from passing information collected from DACA recipients.

  • Voted to block Trump’s national emergency declaration


Proposed

  • Expand DACA and DAPA

  • Restructure ICE

  • Get rid of detention centers

Elizabeth Warren

Past


Proposed

Kamala Harris

Past

  • Condemned Trump’s “Muslim ban”.

  • Supports San Francisco becoming a sanctuary city.

Proposed


Joe Biden

Past

Proposed

Pete Buttigieg

Past

  • Supports DACA and a path to citizenship.


Proposed


Beto O’Rourke

Past

Proposed

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Bernie Sanders

Past

Proposed

  • Medicare for All Bill to replace private healthcare with government-run plan that covers primary care, hospital stays and prescription drugs for all Americans



Elizabeth Warren

Past

  • Affordable Care Act-Supports act, but wishes to add a single-payer plan.

  • Supports Sanders’ single-payer plan to provide medicare to all seniors

Proposed

  • Universal childcare



Kamala Harris

Past

  • Co-sponsored Sanders’ “Medicare for All” bill for single-payer healthcare for seniors

  • Choose Medicare Act (2018)-Sponsored act that increased options for health insurance, ObamaCare subsidies, and made individuals with a higher income eligible.

Proposed

Joe Biden

Past

  • Increased access to mental health services by $100 million as VP.

Proposed

  • Extend and build on the Affordable Care Act



Pete Buttigieg

Past

  • Favors Universal Healthcare with retention of private insurance



Proposed

Beto O’Rourke

Past

  • Opposes repealing the Affordable Care Act (2012).

  • Include public options in ObamaCare.



Proposed

  • Universal Healthcare for primary and mental health care

  • Business a choice to enroll in medicare



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