WHERE DO YOU STAND? — Refinery29 readers told us which issues they care most about for 2020, and we listened. Here’s your guide to where the candidates stand on climate change, reproductive rights, healthcare, gun reform, women’s economic security, and immigration.
Age 77, Former Vice President
SCORPIO | DISPLAYS A STRATEGIC MIND
Joe Biden served as the U.S. Senator from Delaware from 1972 until 2009, when he became President Barack Obama's second-in-command for eight years. He has ran for president twice before, and he briefly worked as an attorney before becoming a politician. He has framed himself as a moderate Democrat who is able to challenge Trump on all the major issues, calling his fight "the battle for the soul of America." Biden has consistently been on top of primary polls, despite criticism of inappropriate behavior and questions on his past views on busing.
Age 70, U.S. Senator, Massachusetts
CANCER | TENACIOUS
Elizabeth Warren is a former teacher who began serving in the U.S. Senate in 2013. Before that, she helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the Obama administration. An unapologetic progressive, Warren has a plan for everything from banking to childcare, and one of her signature issues is the 2% wealth tax, which she says can pay for many of her initiatives. Her overarching philosophy: "We need to tackle the corruption in Washington that makes our government work for the wealthy and well-connected, but kicks dirt on everyone else, and put economic and political power back in the hands of the people." She has consistently stayed near the top of the polls.
Age 78, U.S. Senator, Vermont
VIRGO | GETS TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER
Bernie Sanders was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006, and was previously the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Before running for office, he worked as a union carpenter and freelance journalist, and was active in the anti-Vietnam War movement. The self-described Democratic socialist's signature issues are income inequality and Medicare for All, and many in his young supporter base say they love him because he stays true to his ideals. He has consistently been near the top of the polls.
Age 38, Former Mayor, South Bend, Indiana
CAPRICORN | FINDS COMFORT AND JOY IN WORK
The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg has also served in the U.S. Navy Reserve, and was deployed to Afghanistan. During the campaign, he has taken a middle ground with policies like "Medicare for All Who Want It," and has had to answer questions about his handling of the police force and racial issues as mayor. If elected, he would be both the youngest and the first openly gay president in U.S. history.
Age 59, U.S. Senator, Minnesota
GEMINI | VERY INTELLIGENT
After working as a prosecutor and corporate lawyer, Amy Klobuchar decided to enter politics when her newborn daughter suffered a health condition and the hospital asked her to leave after 24 hours. She was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006. Colleagues view her as a pragmatist who works with Republicans to get things done, although some have questioned her leadership style after stories of employee mistreatment.
Age 45, Entrepreneur & Philanthropist
CAPRICORN | DISCIPLINED
Andrew Yang is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and lawyer who founded the nonprofit Venture for America, which connects young professionals to startup companies in economically challenged communities. His signature proposal is universal basic income, which promises every American $1,000 a month. He's built a strong online presence with his followers, who call themselves the #YangGang.
Age 77, Former Mayor of New York
AQUARIUS | FORWARD-THINKING
Michael Bloomberg served as mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013. Currently the eighth-wealthiest American, the billionaire cofounded financial information and media company Bloomberg LP in 1981. An avid philanthropist, he helped found and financed the anti-gun violence group Everytown for Gun Safety and has contributed to many other causes.
STORIES ABOUT MICHAEL BLOOMBERG
Age 38, U.S. House of Representatives, Hawaii
ARIES | ACTION-DRIVEN
Tulsi Gabbard has served as a U.S. Representative since 2013. Before that, she was a member of the Honolulu City Council and Hawaii House of Representatives. She also served in the Army National Guard and was deployed to Iraq. As a candidate, she speaks out against U.S. involvement in "wasteful regime-change wars," and has ruffled feathers with her "safe, legal, and rare" stance on abortion.
Age 73, Current President
GEMINI | IMPULSIVE
Donald Trump is the 45th president of the U.S. Before running for president, he made a name for himself as a real estate developer with high-profile projects like Trump Tower in New York City. He also hosted hit reality TV show The Apprentice. He has changed his party affiliation several times, but during his presidency has called himself a "nationalist" and aligns with conservative Republicans on issues such as abortion and immigration.
Environment and Climate Change
Women’s Economic Security
Former Vice President
U.S. Senator, Massachusetts
U.S. Senator, Vermont
Former Mayor, South Bend, Indiana
U.S. Senator, Minnesota
Entrepreneur & Philanthropist
Former Mayor of New York
U.S. House of Representatives, Hawaii
Environment and Climate Change
Biden considers the Green New Deal a “crucial framework” but has issued his own plan, calling for a $1.7 trillion investment in clean energy over 10 years.
Sanders has called for a more ambitious plan. “We are fighting for the survival of the planet Earth, our only planet.”
Buttigieg says it’s “the right beginning.”
Klobuchar says, “I see it as aspirational.”
Yang thinks it’s a great start. Goofed when he said it would “do away with commercial travel.” (Wrong.)
Gabbard “Has some concerns.”
Trump has openly mocked it. (But some don’t believe he has read it.)
Biden supports developing new, safer nuclear reactors.
Warren wants to phase it out by 2035.
Sanders wants to phase it out in favor of solar, wind, and geothermal.
Buttigieg says, “Building new nuclear plants in the U.S. is not a sustainable long-term answer to fighting climate change, but nuclear will remain a significant source of carbon-free power in the short to medium term.”
Klobuchar says, “I would look at those plants and make sure they’re safe and figure out what upgrades we have to make...but I wouldn't expand nuclear unless we can find safe storage.”
Yang says nuclear gets a “bad rap” but it’s actually environmentally friendly.
Bloomberg doesn’t have a “hard stance.”
Gabbard says, “I do not support ‘leaving the door open’ to nuclear power unless and until there is a permanent solution to the problem of nuclear waste.”
Oil and Gas Drilling
Biden wants to end new oil and gas leases on federal land, and end offshore drilling.
Sanders wants to ban fracking nationwide.
Buttigieg wants to end new oil and gas leases on federal land, and end offshore drilling.
Klobuchar wants to end new oil and gas leases on federal land, and end offshore drilling.
Yang wants to end new oil and gas leases on federal land, and end offshore drilling.
Bloomberg supports regulations on fracking.
Gabbard voted yes to ban offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
Trump says, Drill, baby, drill.
Reducing Carbon Emissions
Biden wants a carbon tax.
Warren wants to aggressively curb carbon emissions, including with government regulations.
Sanders wants to reduce emissions by 71% by 2030. Wants government regulations on emissions.
Klobuchar wants net zero emissions by 2050, hasn’t specified if it’s through a tax or something else.
Yand has proposed a $5 trillion plan to reduce emissions. Backs a carbon tax. Wants zero emissions by 2040. Also, giant space mirrors.
Bloomberg wants to halve carbon emissions in 10 years by tightening pollution standards and replacing coal with cleaner energy sources.
Gabbard says, “I support the carbon-neutrality goals of the Green New Deal.”
Creating Green Jobs
Biden says, “We have to get rid of the old way of thinking that the clean economy and jobs don’t go together. They do.”
Warren's ambitious green-manufacturing plan would create over 1 million jobs.
Sanders' version of the Green New Deal calls for 20 million new clean-energy jobs.
Buttigieg expects his plan to create 3 million new clean-energy jobs.
Klobuchar says, “In the first 100 days of my administration, I will reinstate the clean-power rules and the gas-mileage standards and put forth sweeping legislation to invest in green jobs and infrastructure.”
Yang wants to give $4 billion a year to vocational and apprenticeship programs for clean-energy jobs.
Bloomberg has pledged $500 million to combat climate change, which includes job-creation.
Gabbard says the U.S. should be “creating renewable-energy jobs that cannot be outsourced.”
Trump has promised to add 400,000 new jobs...to the fossil-fuel industry.
Warren has called abortion both a human and economic right.
Sanders believes in a woman’s right to choose, but wouldn’t rule out supporting anti-abortion Democrats.
Buttigieg says, “I trust women to draw the line.”
During a Fox News town hall, Klobuchar said, "there are limits there in the third trimester that are very important.”
Yang says, “I personally don’t think male legislators should be weighing in on women’s reproductive rights and freedoms.”
Bloomberg says, "Reproductive choice is a fundamental human right and we can never take it for granted. On this issue, you're either with us or against us."
Gabbard says abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare,” and forbidden during the third trimester “unless the life or severe health consequences of a woman are at risk.”
Trump has falsely said that legislation increasing access to abortion “would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth."
Making Roe v. Wade federal law
Biden supports it.
Warren supports it, and has put out a detailed reproductive rights plan.
Sanders supports it, and supports a Roe litmus test for judges.
Klobuchar supports it.
Yang supports it.
Bloomberg has not specifically said so, but supports abortion rights in general.
Gabbard supports it.
Trump has promised to appoint judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade. (Anti-choice Brett Kavanaugh is already on the Supreme Court.)
Abolishing Hyde Amendment
Biden supported Hyde, which prohibits use of federal funds for abortion, before coming out against it in 2019. "If I believe healthcare is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's zip code."
Warren says yes.
Sanders says yes.
Buttigieg says yes.
Klobuchar says yes.
Yang says yes.
Bloomberg is currently unclear, but he’s a top Planned Parenthood donor.
Gabbard says yes.
Trump has called for Hyde to become permanent law.
Biden says, “We don't have to go that route. All we have to do is go back, restore Obamacare...provide a public option... My plan will cost about $750 billion over 10 years. We can pay for that.”
Sanders popularized M4A during his 2016 campaign. His plan would make all services and procedures, including dental and vision, free.
Buttigieg's plan is “Medicare for all who want it”; a public option without ending private insurance. Has criticized Sanders and Warren for not showing “enough regard for the American people to make their own decisions,” but says he’d be tougher on insurance providers than Biden.
Klobuchar says, “I have a better way, a way that will insure more people and bring premiums down. And that's with the nonprofit public option.”
Bloomberg's policy: “The first step is to create a Medicare-like public option — health insurance that would be administered by the federal government but paid for by customer premiums.”
Gabbard supports it, but thinks people should have the option of private insurance if they want it.
Trump issued an executive order decrying Medicare for All.
Biden supports linking drug prices to the typically cheaper ones paid overseas, as well as importing cheaper drugs from other countries.
Sanders has proposed a bill that would create a government agency to set drug prices based on those of countries like Canada and the U.K.
Buttigieg's sweeping plan lets the government negotiate prices, starting with the most expensive and crucial meds. And, he wants to boost investment in drug research and manufacturing.
Bloomberg's plan involves authorizing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharma companies, and “reforming the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit to encourage greater competition.”
Biden is “committed to addressing this epidemic and believes we must invest significant resources, including by gathering critical data, investigating the deaths of those lives lost, and increasing funding and access to services.”
"Medical providers should pay for the high rates of Black maternal mortality in our country — and keep paying until they fix it," Warren told Refinery29.
Making sure all women are insured under his Medicare for All plan would address the maternal-health crisis and close the maternal-mortality racial gap, says Sanders.
Buttigieg wants to expand Medicaid coverage for new mothers, institute implicit-bias and discrimination training in the medical field, and broaden maternal-health options in rural areas.
As one of Klobuchar's first actions as president, she said she would “immediately implement a new law that tackles the shortage of maternity-care health professionals...in underserved areas.”
Yang mentions the high U.S. maternal mortality rate on his website, but hasn’t proposed a specific plan to address it.
Bloomberg hasn’t issued a plan, but Bloomberg Philanthropies has spent millions to combat maternal mortality in Tanzania.
Gabbard hasn’t specifically addressed maternal health in her platform.
Biden supports universal background checks.
Warren supports universal background checks.
Sanders supports universal background checks.
Buttigieg supports universal background checks.
Klobuchar supports universal background checks.
Yang supports universal background checks.
Bloomberg supports universal background checks.
Gabbard supports universal background checks.
Domestic Violence and Firearms
Biden supports a federal red-flag law and closing the “boyfriend loophole,” which would expand convicted domestic abusers banned from buying guns to include dating partners.
Warren supports a federal red-flag law and closing the “boyfriend loophole.”
Sanders supports a federal red-flag law and closing the “boyfriend loophole.”
Yang supports a federal red-flag law, unclear if he supports closing the “boyfriend loophole.”
Guns on Campus
“If teachers determine that a child is a danger, the school should be able to take them off the campus,” Biden said after the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.
Sander supports raising the federal minimum age to buy a gun to 21, “except for long guns and shotguns with fixed-capacity magazines that are primarily intended for hunting”
Trump has proposed bonuses for teachers who get gun training.
Biden supports a federal assault weapons ban with a voluntary buyback program.
Buttigieg supports a federal assault weapons ban with a voluntary buyback program.
Bloomberg supports a federal assault weapons ban.
Gabbard supports a federal assault weapons ban.
Women’s Economic Security
Biden says, “Equal pay for equal work. It's common sense. It's also overdue. Let's close the gap & let's do it now.”
Buttigieg has called for signing the Paycheck Fairness Act into law.
Klobuchar co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Bloomberg says, “Closing the gender pay gap is good for people and good for business.”
Workplace Gender Discrimination
“Biden will spearhead legislation to completely eliminate mandatory individual arbitration, including for claims of workplace sexual harassment.”
Buttigieg's women’s rights agenda includes investing $10 billion to combat workplace sexual harassment and discrimination against women.
Klobuchar co-sponsored the BE HEARD In the Workplace Act.
A woman claims Yang discriminated against her when she pressed him about pay disparity at his tutoring company.
Bloomberg created the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index to help companies measure progress. Stories of disparaging comments and a sexist work environment at his company have continued to haunt him.
Gabbard says she is “fighting against discrimination in all forms” in Congress.
With one executive order, Trump undid years of discrimination protections.
Paid Family Leave
Biden has said, “When I lost my first wife and baby daughter in a car accident, I became a single parent to my two young sons... I believe the United States should guarantee 12 weeks of paid sick and family leave for workers.”
Yang's campaign calls for “at least nine months of paid family leave, distributed between parents however they see fit; or six months of paid leave for a single parent.”
In 2019, Bloomberg's company extended gender-neutral paid family leave from 18 to 26 weeks.
Biden supports citizenship for Dreamers.
Warren supports citizenship for Dreamers.
Sanders supports citizenship for Dreamers.
Buttigieg supports citizenship for Dreamers.
Klobuchar supports citizenship for Dreamers.
Bloomberg says, “To argue that a child carried here in his or her parents’ arms broke the law defies logic, and reason, and any comprehensible interpretation of what the Founding Fathers would have thought anyone’s definition of lawbreaking was. Not to mention, it lacks any sense of decency and compassion.”
Gabbard supports citizenship for Dreamers and would take executive action to help them obtain legal status.
Trump is attempting to end DACA.
Biden says, “If you cross the border illegally, you should be able to be sent back. It's a crime.”
Warren says, “We should not be criminalizing mamas and babies trying to flee violence at home or trying to build a better future.”
Sanders supports decriminalizing border crossings.
Buttigieg supports decriminalizing border crossings.
Klobuchar supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Yang supports decriminalizing border crossings.
Trump has proposed “[shoot]ing migrants in the legs” and building an alligator moat.
Biden says, “Building a wall will do little to deter criminals and cartels seeking to exploit our borders.”
Warren supports no new wall funding. “It’s a monument to hate and division.”
Buttigieg says, “Secure borders and a well-managed immigration system are critical to national security. We shouldn't fall into the trap of defining border security by a 'wall' or security barriers alone, but by a more complete set of tools and evolving technology.”
Bloomberg says, "I think a wall is not very practical. Number one, it would be almost impossible to build."
Gabbard only supports extending the wall “if experts recommend it.”
Trump says, "A WALL is a WALL!" (Although his rhetoric has changed over time.)
*Based on MadChatter survey of approximately 400 readers