2020 Democratic Primary: Everything you should know

With the primaries getting closer and closer, JagWire staffer Tanner Smith takes a look at each candidate and how they are polling


By Joe Raedle/Getty Images/TNS

Democratic presidential candidates, from left, Sen. Cory Booker, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Sen. Amy Klobuchar , South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris, former tech executive Andrew Yang, and billionaire Tom Steyer come on stage before the start of the fifth Democratic Presidential Debate on Wednesday, Nov. 20.

Tanner Smith, JagWire editor-in-chief

The Candidates

Despite many candidates receiving lots of media attention, there are others who have been left behind. Currently the democratic race has 15 candidates who all have their signature issue.  

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Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the fifth Democratic Presidential Debate Nov. 20, 2019.

Joe Biden: Biden is 77, the former vice president and a former senator from Delaware. 

What he is known for: Biden is known for his time as Barack Obama’s vice president and has used Obama’s legacy as a stepping stone for his candidacy.

Signature Issue: Biden is hoping to restore America to the global stage in the post-Trump era and to increase bipartisanship.

Michael Bennet: Bennet is 55 and a senator from Colorado.

What he is known for: Bennet helped pass a bipartisan immigration reform bill in 2013. He is known for his willingness to work across the aisle as a moderate democrat.

Signature Issue: Bennet is hoping to increase funding for the country’s infrastructure and development of artificial intelligence.

Cory Booker: Booker is 50 and is a senator from New Jersey and the former mayor of Newark, New Jersey.

What he is known for: Booker is known for being the first African-American senator from New Jersey and for his goal of increasing bipartisanship.

Signature Issue: Booker is hoping to reduce racial inequality and pass prison reform to stop mass incarceration.

By Emily Michot/Miami Herald/TNS)
Michael Bloomberg secured a spot in the Democratic primary ballot and kicked off a massive ad campaign in Arizona on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

Michael Bloomberg: Bloomberg is 77 and is the former mayor of New York City.

What he is known for: Bloomberg is known for being the billionaire CEO of the software company Bloomberg and for his late entry into the democratic field after speculation he may run as a republican. 

Signature Issue: Bloomberg is hoping to pass sweeping gun control legislation and to reform the country’s stance on climate change. Although he has progressive views on those two issues, his views on the economy, specifically on taxes, put him further to the right than the other candidates. 

Julián Castro: Castro is 45 and is the former mayor of San Antonio along with being the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under the Obama administration.

What he is known for: Castro is known for being a second-generation immigrant and his sympathy toward border crossings.

Signature Issue: Castro is hoping to completely overhaul the immigration system, starting by decriminalizing border crossings.

John Delany: Delany is 56 and is a former congressman from Maryland and a former businessman.

What he is known for: Delany is known for his aggressive campaigning. So far, he has campaigned in every county in Iowa.

Signature Issue: Delaney is hoping to focus on bipartisanship, while supporting policies like universal healthcare. 

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Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during the fifth Democratic Presidential Debate on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019.

Pete Buttigieg: Buttigieg is 37 and is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

What he is known for: Buttigieg is known for being the first openly gay candidate to mount a presidential run from a major party.

Signature Issue: Being the youngest candidate in the race, Buttigieg has stressed the importance of fixing the world for the next generation through protective climate steps and increased economic opportunity. 

Tulsi Gabbard: Gabbard is 38 and is a congresswomen from Hawaii.

What she is known for: Gabbard is known for the controversies that have surrounded her, such as her meeting with the Syrian president and her previous anti-LGBTQ stances. 

Signature Issue: Gabbard is hoping to reform American foreign policy by stopping military interventions overseas.

Amy Klobuchar: Klobuchar is 59 and is a senator from Minnesota.

What she is known for: Klobuchar gained national recognition during her questioning of Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh during his sexual misconduct hearing.

Signature Issue: Klobuchar is hoping to reform the prescription drug industry by reducing drug prices and increasing efforts to combat the opioid crisis. 

By Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during the fifth Democratic Presidential Debate on Wednesday, Nov. 20.

Bernie Sanders: Sanders is 76 and is a senator from Vermont and is a former congressman.

What he is known for: Sanders is known for being a democratic socialist and for almost winning the democratic nomination in 2016. 

Signature Issue: Sanders is hoping to reform healthcare with his sweeping “Medicare for All” plan, along with reforming public education by making college tuition free.

Deval Patrick: Partick is 63 and is the former governor of Massachusetts.

What he is known for: Patrick was the second African-American man to be elected governor and is known for being a close friend of Barack Obama.

Signature Issue: Patrick is hoping to promote economic development specifically in the science fields.

Tom Steyer: Steyer is 62 and is a billionaire hedge fund executive.

What he is known for: Steyer is known for his attacks on Trump, specifically calling for his impeachment.

Signature Issue: Steyer is hoping to reform climate change policy by increasing funding for renewable energy.

By Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks during the fifth Democratic Presidential Debate on Wednesday, Nov. 20.

Elizabeth Warren: Warren is 70 and is a senator from Massachusetts.

What she is known for: Warren is known for having a “plan for everything” and for her policies of big structural change. 

Signature Issue: Warren is hoping to address income inequality with her billionaire tax as well as fighting political corruption. 

Marianne Williamson: Williamson is 67 and is a self-help author.

What she is known for: Williamson is known for being an unconventional candidate and her focus on “orb energy.”

Signature Issue: Williamson is hoping to address racial inequality through slavery reparations and to increase education funding. 

Andrew Yang: Yang is 44 and is an entrepreneur and founder of Venture For America.

What he is known for: Yang is known for his group of followers known as the “Yang Gang” and his focus on issues of artificial intelligence. 

Signature Issue: Yang is hoping to establish a universal basic income of $1,000 per month to help combat income inequality. 

Dropped Out: Steve Bullock, Bill de Blasio, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Wayne Messam, Seth Moulton, Richard Ojeda, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, Joe Sestak, Eric Swalwell.

National Polling

While Joe Biden has never given up his lead, the democratic primary has been a contentious race with lots of fluctuation. The data in the poll below is taken from Politico in their first poll of the month from February until December.


State Polling

In addition to having the lead in the national polls, Joe Biden has the lead in the majority of state polls. The data in the poll below is taken from FiveThirtyEight in their most recent state polls.

Head to Head Polling

Despite Trump’s high approval rating among Republicans, he is currently losing to every major democratic candidate.  The data in the poll below is taken from RealClearPolitics in their most recent head to head poll.

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