2020 Democratic Candidates' Plans for Office

Decide for Yourself Which Candidate Has the Best Plan

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The 2020 presidential candidates are Republican President Donald Trump, Republican William Weld, Democrat Joe Biden and Democrat Bernie Sanders. Their affiliations help you understand their economic plans.

Republican and Democrat Policies in a Nutshell

Democrats promote the Keynesian theory. It advocates government spending and tax cuts toward low- and middle-income families, where the extra will be spent on food, medicine, and shelter. That drives demand causing businesses to produce and hire more. Democrats offset this deficit spending with higher taxes on investments, corporations, and high-income families. 

Republicans promote the supply-side theory, supporting tax cuts for businesses. They use the extra money to hire more workers. But that only works if tax rates are in the prohibitive zone. Otherwise, companies use the extra money to buy back stocks and purchase U.S. Treasurys. 

Donald Trump was elected by people who were frustrated with the traditional parties. As a result, he doesn't support many conventional Republican views. For example, he is opposed to free trade agreements, he has raised tariffs to lower the trade deficit with China and to stop companies from outsourcing jobs, and he also announced the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement which will occur in 2020, ensuring the climate crisis will be a major campaign issue.

An April 2019 CNN poll found that 96% of Democratic voters thought candidates must take aggressive action to slow the effects of climate change.

William Weld is a traditional conservative on economic issues. He supports rejoining the Paris agreement. Joe Walsh is a tea party republican, a former congressman and radio host, known for his brazen statements on social media.

Democratic Candidates

Below is a review of the Democratic candidates' social, economic, immigration, and climate policies. There are two issues that all seven top Democratic candidates agree on: the climate crisis and immigration reform.

Climate Crisis: An April 2019 New York Times survey found all candidates would recommit to the Paris agreement, fund clean energy research, and restore President Barack Obama's environmental regulations. Both support the Green New Deal. They pledged to not accept donations from fossil fuel companies.

They agree the electric grid, transportation, and housing sectors must become carbon neutral, which would also improve air quality and decrease health costs, a large part of the federal budget.

Zero emissions is a necessary first step, but it's not enough to stop global warming. Candidates must add carbon sequestration strategies to truly stop global warming.

Immigration: Both candidates want to undo aspects of Trump's immigration policies. They hope to reunite families separated at the border and award visas based on family unity.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden

Biden was vice-president under President Barack Obama and claims that he would restore many of those policies. He argues that his return to the ideals of the Obama Administration gives him the best chance to beat Trump.

Climate Crisis: His goals to combat the climate crisis include:

  • Achieving net-zero emissions by 2050
  • Declaring climate change a national security priority
  • Making sure emitters bear the full cost of carbon emissions
  • Investing $1.7 trillion over 10 years
  • Creating 10 million jobs
  • Spending $40 billion annually on clean energy research
  • Creating ARPA-C to target clean energy technologies (these include energy storage, small nuclear reactors, hydrogen power, and decarbonized construction materials)
  • Using agriculture to put carbon in the ground
  • Carbon capturing at power plants which would make natural gas OK
  • Ending subsidies for fossil fuels
  • Helping coal workers transition
  • Restoring methane limits for oil and gas
  • Conserving 30% of America's land and waters by 2030
  • Banning new fossil fuel permitting on public lands
  • Banning offshore drilling in the Arctic
  • Doubling offshore wind by 2030
  • Setting fuel economy standards to support electric vehicles
  • Adding 500,000 public charging stations by 2030
  • Restoring the EV tax credit
  • Requiring the federal government to only purchase zero-emission vehicles
  • Creating a hi-speed rail between DC/NY and between LA/SF

Healthcare: Biden’s plans for healthcare include: 

  • Providing Medicare for all who want it 
  • Strengthening Obamacare for those who don't
  • Expanding Medicaid to all states

Education: Biden’s plans for education include:

  • Tripling Title I funding to raise teachers' pay and reduce the minority achievement gap
  • Funding pre-kindergarten and early childhood development experts for all community health centers
  • Increasing federal funding to rebuild schools
  • Keeping schools safe by banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines

Jobs: To strengthen the job force, Biden hopes to create stronger labor laws.

Taxes: Biden’s tax plan entails reversing the Trump tax cuts and making the tax code more progressive.

Immigration: His plans on immigration are minimal: don't deport veterans, even if they aren't citizens.

Representative Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Sanders garnered popular support during the 2016 presidential race against Hillary Clinton. In 2020, he stands as a Democratic Socialist who vows to change the economy more than the middle-of-the-road Biden.

Climate Crisis: Bernie Sanders’s climate plan includes the following initiatives:

  • Becoming 100% dependent on sustainable energy
  • Building out high-speed passenger rail, electric vehicles, and public transit
  • Banning fracking and new fossil fuel infrastructure
  • Banning gas and oil leases on public lands
  • Ending exports of coal, natural gas, and oil
  • Phasing-out nuclear energy
  • Ending tax breaks for fossil fuel companies

Healthcare: Bernie’s healthcare plan includes:

  • Sponsoring the Medicare for All Act
  • Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices
  • Ending the ban on Canadian prescription drugs
  • Pegging drug prices to those in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan

Education: Bernie’s education plans entail:

  • Tripling Title I funding
  • Making public higher-level education free
  • Lowering interest rates on student loans
  • Increasing funding for public magnet schools to $1 billion annually
  • Banning for-profit charter schools and not using public funds for new charter schools
  • Establishing a national per-pupil spending floor
  • Providing $5 billion annually for career education, summer, and after-school programs
  • Including healthcare
  • Providing free school meals year-round

Jobs: To improve the job force, Sanders hopes to invest in infrastructure to boost jobs and revenue, and reduce defense spending to lower the deficit.

Taxes: Bernie’s tax plan is as follows: 

  • Raise estate taxes on multi-millionaires
  • End the income tax cap on Social Security payroll taxes
  • Increase marginal tax rates on income above $10 million

Immigration: Bernie’s immigration plan works to undo Trump’s current initiatives. He hopes to:

  • Enact comprehensive immigration reform, including a path towards citizenship
  • Expand DACA and DAPA
  • Provide immediate legal status for young people eligible for the DACA program
  • Develop a humane policy for those seeking asylum
  • Restructure ICE
  • End the practice of family separation and detention of children
  • Dismantle cruel and inhumane deportation programs and detention centers
  • Establish standards for independent oversight of relevant agencies within DHS

Bank Reform: Bernie’s plans for bank reform are as follows:

  • Reinstate Glass Steagall
  • Allow post offices to offer banking
  • Audit the Federal Reserve
  • Impose a financial transactions tax
  • Cap credit card interest rates

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