explainer

Sanders, Warren and Biden: Your cheat sheet to the US Democratic presidential candidates.

After four long years, it’s finally time for the Democrats to select who they’re going to put up against US President Donald Trump in the 2020 United States presidential election.

At the start of the year, there were 25 Democratic presidential candidates vying to challenge President Trump.

Now, at the time of publishing, there are just five candidates left in the race.

By the end of today (Super Tuesday) – the election day when nine US states hold primary elections and caucuses – we could know the Democratic presidential candidate.

Until then, however, it’s pretty much anybody’s game.

Mamamia’s daily news podcast, The Quicky, spoke to John Barron to find out who has the best chance of beating Donald Trump. Post continues below.

Mamamia’s daily news podcast, The Quicky, spoke to the host of ABC TV’s Planet America, John Barron, to find out who has the best chance of beating Donald Trump.

At the moment, Bernie Sanders, who has previously run for the Democratic candidacy, has emerged as the frontrunner.

But while Sanders is performing best in the polls, Barron pointed out that the 78-year-old is often seen as a polarising figure among the Democratic candidates.

“All these Democrats agree that their number one objective is to find somebody in this field who is capable of beating Donald Trump,” Barron said.

“But right now, the frontrunner, Bernie Sanders, is seen by some as the least likely [to beat Trump] because he is seen as being almost the Democrat equivalent of Donald Trump – he’s an extreme character who will polarise a lot of voters and concern a lot of moderates so that they don’t vote for him or they stay at home.”

As the field narrows in the race for the Democratic candidacy, here’s everything you need to know about the current Democratic presidential hopefuls.

Who is running for President in 2020?

Joe Biden

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Age: 76

Years in politics: 49

Is he still running? Yes.

Who is he?

Joe Biden was former president Barack Obama's vice president from 2009 to 2017. Biden also represented Delaware in the US Senate from 1973 to 2009. He has previously run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and 2008.

Why does he want to run?

Biden has been vying for the US presidency for decades. In fact, he has spent his entire professional life in public office. So far in his campaign, Biden has released two policy proposals including tripling federal funding for low-income schools and a new climate action plan. Unlike other candidates, Biden's ideology is more populist-focused.

What else do we know?

Biden's first bid for the Democratic presidential nomination ended after a plagiarism scandal, following claims that Biden had lifted phrases from a British Labour Party politician.

President Trump reportedly believes that Biden is the most likely to defeat him in 2020.

Michael Bloomberg

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Age: 76

Years in politics: 18

Is he still running? Yes.

Who is he?

Michael Bloomberg was the mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013.

Between 2001 and 2007, Bloomberg identified with the Republican Party. From 2007 to 2018, Bloomberg identified as Independent before returning to the Democratic Party.

Why does he want to run?

As a successful businessman, Michael Bloomberg believes he can run the US government more efficiently than any other president.

On the big issues, Bloomberg supports same-sex marriage, would rescind President Trump's travel ban and supports universal background checks for gun control. He has also previously put forward a portion of his huge fortune towards action on climate change.

What else do we know?

Michael Bloomberg is worth US$60 billion. He has funded his own campaign, spending more than $500 million on campaign advertising.

Many have criticised Bloomberg for trying to "buy" the presidency, leading some candidates to support banning unlimited spending when it comes to campaigning.

As the ninth richest man in the world, Bloomberg has stated that he would not take a salary if he was elected president.

Pete Buttigieg

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Age: 37

Years in politics: 17

Is he still running? No. Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race on March 1. "I will no longer seek to be the 2020 Democratic nominee for president, but I will do everything in my power to ensure that we have a new Democratic president come January," he told supporters.

Who is he?

Pete Buttigieg is the openly gay former mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He is an Afghanistan war veteran and a millennial.

Why does he want to run?

Buttigieg is a young, fresh face and a new representative for millennial voters. Buttigieg has endorsed a single-payer health care system, called for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, and has released a plan to combat climate change by building a clean economy and investing in disaster relief and prevention.

What else do we know?

Pete Buttigieg's surname is pronounced: "Boot-edge-edge". If elected, Buttigieg would be the first gay president.

Bernie Sanders

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Age: 78

Years in politics: 38

Is he still running? Yes.

Who is he?

Self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders was the runner-up in the 2016 Democratic primary, losing to Hillary Clinton. He has been the junior United States Senator from Vermont since 2007. Sanders is the current frontrunner. Sanders is the longest-serving independent senator in US history.

Why does he want to run?

Sanders is incredibly passionate about redistributing wealth and fighting inequality. His other main policy proposals include universal healthcare, a $15 minimum hourly wage and free tuition at public colleges. He also supports an ambitious Green New Deal to create jobs addressing climate change.

What else do we know?

Supporters of Sanders are often referred to as 'Bernie Bros'. Over the past five years, 75 per cent of Sanders' campaign donations have come from 'Bernie Bros' in amounts less than $200. He has raised more money than any other candidate, besides self-funded billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer.

Elizabeth Warren

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Age: 69

Years in politics: 10

Is she still running? Yes.

Who is she?

Elizabeth Warren is a former Harvard law professor. She is the senior senator from Massachusetts.

Why does she want to run?

Warren's campaign is largely focused on inequality, which she has been focused on since before she even entered politics. She wants to fight the "rigged economic system", which she believes favours the wealthy.

Warren has proposed an "ultra-millionaire tax" on people worth more than $50 million, and a further tax on people worth over $1 billion.

She also has policies relating to the cancellation of student debt for millions of US citizens and free college tuition at two and four-year institutions.

What else do we know?

Warren gained viral fame earlier this week after attacking Michael Bloomberg during last week's Democratic debate.

“Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another,” Warren said.

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While Warren has been considered a frontrunner, she came third place in the Iowa caucuses and fourth in the Nevada caucuses.

Other Candidates:

Tom Steyer

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Is he still running? No. He ended his campaign on February 29 following poor performances in the first four voting contests.

Tom Steyer is a 62-year-old billionaire and retired California hedge-funder. Steyer was a staunch supporter of the need to impeach President Trump. While he has poured a lot of his money into advocacy around climate change, Steyer is not expected to win the nomination.

Tulsi Gabbard

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Is she still running? Yes.

Tulsi Gabbard, 37, has represented Hawaii in the US House of Representatives since 2013. Gabbard's central issues are "war and peace" and cutting taxes on small businesses and farmers by raising them on corporations. Gabbard, who previously served in Iraq, would be the first Hindu president if elected.

Amy Klobuchar

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Is she still running? No. Amy Klobuchar ended her campaign on March 2. She plans to endorse Joe Biden.

Former corporate lawyer Amy Klobuchar became the first woman to be elected a Minnesota senator in 2007. The 58-year-old, who has established herself as a centrist, generally focuses on policies relating to middle-class issues, such as drug pricing.

Feature Image: Getty.

This post was originally published on February 25, 2020, and updated on March 4, 2020.


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