Leading 2020 Democratic candidates: where they stand on three big issues

Tonight ABC is hosting the third Democratic Debate from 8 to 11 p.m. in Houston, Texas.  The format will be different than the previous two debates as the top ten candidates share the stage instead of being split across two nights. In preparation for the debate, here are the leading five candidates.

Graphic by Jackie Wright

According to a CNN Poll released yesterday, Joe Biden is the leading candidate with 24% support from Democrats. With 36 years in the Senate and eight years as Vice President, Biden is politically experienced. 

Healthcare

As Vice President, Biden worked with President Obama to pass the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Now, if elected, Biden will build on the ACA. Instead of implementing Medicare for All like some of his fellow candidates, Biden plans to reduce healthcare costs, make the system easier to navigate, offer the choice of buying public healthcare, and lower the cost of prescription drugs while protecting the ACA. 

Education

Biden plans to triple Title I funding to raise teachers’ salaries and fill the needs of individual communities. Biden wants to improve school environments by increasing the number of school psychologists, investing in school infrastructure, and reinstating the ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines. 

Immigration

Biden supports shutting down private detention centers. He calls for a change in immigration enforcement. However unlike other candidates, he does not support decriminalizing crossing the border without papers.

Graphic by Jackie Wright

As of yesterday, Elizabeth Warren was close behind Biden in the polls with 18% Democratic support. She was a law professor at several schools including University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law Schools, specializing in bankruptcy. 

Healthcare

Warren believes healthcare is a right. She would implement Medicare for All to provide all Americans with healthcare and get rid of private healthcare companies. She supports Bernie Sanders’ plan. 

Education

Warren plans to cancel all student debt for 75% of Americans with student debt. She also has a plan for providing all Americans with free college education. These plans’ costs would be paid by her Ultra-Millionaire Tax. Warren’s Ultra-Millionaire Tax would place a 2% annual tax on households making $50 million to $1 billion and a 3% annual tax on households making over $1 billion. 

Immigration

Warren plans to decriminalize crossing the border without papers and eliminate private detention centers. She would increase funding for aid in Central America to address issues that prompt emigration. Warren also plans to reform ICE and CBP. 

Graphic by Jackie Wright

Bernie Sanders is currently polling at 17% support from Democrats. Sanders began his political career as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont from 1981 to 1989. Two years later he was elected to the House of Representatives as an independent and served from 1991 until 2007. He has served on the Senate from 2007 to now. 

Healthcare

Sanders wrote the first Medicare for All bill and will push for it if elected. He also supports the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act and the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act.

Education

Sanders plans to cancel all student debt and provide free college to all Americans. The College for All Act would provide all Americans with equal access to higher education. Cancelling all debt and covering tuition will cost $2.2 trillion. Sanders plans to pay for this by placing a .5% tax on Wall Street trade. 

Immigration

Sanders plans to end family separation by reforming ICE, closing private detention centers, and decriminalizing crossing the border without papers. 

Graphic by Jackie Wright

Kamala Harris is ranked fourth with 8% support from Democrats. Having served as the District Attorney of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011 and the Attorney General of California from 2011 to 2017, Harris’ background is in law. She was elected to the US Senate in 2017. 

Harris supports Medicare for All, but plans to phase into the system through ten years to provide time for the economy to adjust. In the meantime, Americans can choose between public and private healthcare companies. 

Harris plans to help relieve student debts, make community college debt free, and four-year college debt free. She will allow debt-holders to refinance and use income based repayment. She will also increase teacher pay by $13,500. 

“I am running to declare education is a fundamental right, and we will guarantee that right with universal pre-K and debt-free college,” Harris said at a rally in Oakland, California. 

Immigration

Harris plans to reinstate DACA immediately after election. She will close private detention centers, decriminalize entering the United States without papers, and carefully oversee border protection. 

Graphic by Jackie Wright

Buttigieg has 6% support from Democrats in current polls and is ranked fifth among the candidates. Buttigieg served in Afghanistan in 2014 as a Naval intelligence officer. 

Healthcare

Buttigieg will use “Medicare for All Who Want It” to phase into Medicare for All. “Medicare for All Who Want It” allows the economy and healthcare companies to adjust to the change before a completely public healthcare system. Buttigieg aims to lower the cost of prescription drugs and make healthcare more widely accessible. 

Education

Buttigieg plans to cancel college debt through a state-federal partnership. States will carry some of the financial weight. His plan would allow debt holders to refinance and would cancel debt for lower income debt holders. 

Immigration

Buttigieg plans reinstate DACA and pass legislation to clear the way for youth to gain citizenship. He also wants to end family separation through immigration reform and decriminalization of crossing the border without papers. 

More Information

Click here to watch the livestream of the debate tonight. Here are all of the candidates on all the issues.