Policy, Plans and Proposals:
More than any other race, be it for city council or governor, the campaign for president focuses on character. The candidates' positions on issues can be lost amid questions about electability or who is up and who is down in the polls. The positions of current and former elected officials are a matter of public record, but a presidential campaign provides an opportunity to introduce, re-frame and advance ideas to a broad audience. Drawing distinctions on policy can help a candidate emerge from the field. At the center of the discussion is the role of the federal government; candidates approach these issues with varying mixes of ideology and pragmatism. One could also add realism. In this era of divided government and an ever escalating national debt, it is not enough just to introduce policy proposals, candidates should address if they could be adopted and how they would be paid for. Some of the candidates are offering bold, ambitious and specific plans, while others have been very cautious or outlined only broad themes. In this sense a candidate's approach on policy does provide insights on his or her character.
The process of developing and presenting policy is also worth considering. Current officials may have sizable policy staffs and advisors, and can introduce actual legislation or sign actual bills, but they still need to translate those activities to the campaign trail. Depending upon its resources, a campaign's policy team may be tiny or in some cases even relegated to consultants, or it may have a robust operation. Not infrequently a candidate may roll out a policy in the days leading up to or coinciding with an issue specific forum, for example on gun violence or with a labor group. The candidate may deliver a speech before a think tank or interest group or in a key state or take a lower key approach such as an op-ed. Several candidates have taken to posting policy on Medium. Policy rollouts are often accompanied by emailed ICYMIs (in case you missed it) and WTASs (what they are saying) and sometimes tied to fundraising appeals. The candidates' websites show a range of approaches to presenting policy; most have in-depth issues section or a more general vision section, but on some policy appears as an afterthought.
Below is a fairly thorough list of policy plans and
proposals by subject. It is limited to rollouts from the campaign
trail and does not survey the policy sections on the candidaates'
websites. (This approach does shortchange a candidate like
Andrew Yang who has mostly presented his numerous policy proposals
without fanfare on his website). This page does not cover
legislative announcements from
congressional/Senate offices (+).
op-ed. Nonetheless, the list does give
a good sense of the areas of discussion in the Democratic primary
campaign. One can see the heavy emphasis on domestic
policy. The highest profile area of discussion focused on health
care and the division between candidates favoring Medicare for All and
those advocating more incremental steps. A major theme, stressed
by most of the Democratic candidates, is justice. Although the
2016 primary included
discussion of race in America, influenced by the Black Lives Matter
movement, the discussion in 2019 has delved deeper into specific policy
solutions for addressing structural injustice and achieving racial
equality than perhaps any previous presidential campaign.
Noticeably absent from the discussion thus far are federal deficits and
the debt. See the candidates' websites (bottom of page) for
more information on candidates' policies and positions.
Policy Plans and Proposals by Subject
Note to campaigns and supporters: If you see a policy or plan I've missed please call or email: action08 @ gmail
- as of Jan. 27, 2020 -
Biden (violence against wormen) | Bloomberg (Jewish values) | Booker (end exploitation in sports) | Buttigieg (Latino community) | Castro (animals and wildlife, foster care) | Delaney (Cities Fair Deal plan, digital privacy and technology) | Gillibrand (family bill of rights) | Harris (children's agenda) | Sestak (social and racial justice) | Williamson (Department of Children and Youth, animal protection)
Black America: Bloomberg | Buttigieg | Delaney | Harris | Patrick | Williamson | ...plus much more interwoven through economy and education proposals below and more broadly proposals geared toward people of color
Criminal Justice: Biden | Bloomberg | Booker | Buttigieg | Castro (policing, criminal justice) | Gillibrand | Harris | O'Rourke | Sanders (criminal justice, marijuana) | Warren (criminal justice, prisons)
Gun Violence, Domestic Terror, Hate Crimes: Biden | Bloomberg | Buttigieg | Booker (gun violence, hate) | Castro | Harris (gun violence, hate) | Klobuchar | O'Rourke | Steyer | Swalwell | Warren (gun violence, white nationalist violence)
LGBTQ+: Bullock | Buttigieg | Gillibrand | Harris | O'Rourke | Warren | Williamson
National Service: Buttigieg | Delaney, 2 | Klobuchar | Moulton | Steyer
People with Disablilities: Bullock | Buttigieg | Harris | Klobuchar | Warren
Seniors: Biden | Buttigieg (2) | Gillibrand (expand Social Security, aging with dignity) | Klobuchar | O'Rourke | Sanders
Tribal Nations and Indigeneous Peoples: Buttigieg | Castro | Harris | Sestak | Warren
Women's Equality: Bullock | Buttigieg | Harris | O'Rourke
DEFENSE, NAT'L SECURITY AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Sanders | Warren | Moulton || Bennet (election security) | Biden (foreign policy, Central America) | Buttigieg | Castro | Delaney | Gillibrand | Klobuchar | Patrick | Sestak (Israel) | Warren (corporate influence at the Pentagon, rebuild the State Department) | Williamson (foreign policy, Department of Peace)
Veterans: Biden | Bloomberg | Bullock | Buttigieg | Klobuchar | O'Rourke | Sanders | Warren (housing, promises to servicemembers, veterans and military families)
Bennet (poverty) | Biden (middle class competitiveness-infrastructure) | Bloomberg (EITC, small business and entrepreneurship, all-in economy, Puerto Rico) | Booker (EITC expansion, economic justice and opportunity to every community) | Bullock (economic inclusion, corporate tax) | Buttigieg (disaster preparedness, an economic agenda, infrastructure) | Castro (end hunger) | de Blasio (tax plan, automation ("robot tax") | Delaney (entrepreneurship czar, living wage) | Harris (equal pay) | Hickenlooper (National Strategy for a Working America) | Inslee (clean energy economy) | Klobuchar (future of work and a changing economy) | Moulton (tax reform) | O'Rourke (women and minority owned businesses, trade) | Patrick (opportunity agenda) | Ryan (industrial plan) | Sanders (21st Century Economic Bill of Rights, income inequality tax, corporate greed and corruption, high-speed internet) | Steyer (economic framework, revitalize the middle class/taxes) | Warren (ultra-millionaire tax, child care, corporate profits tax, tech reform, debt relief for Puerto Rico, economic patriotism, Small Business Equity Fund, value the work of women of color, financial sector, averting economic crash, trade, Social Security, part-time workers, financial corruption, bankruptcy system) | Williamson (poverty, economic justice)
Agriculture and Rural America: Bennet | Biden | Booker | Buttigieg | Bullock | Delaney | Gillibrand | Harris | Inslee | Hickenlooper | Klobuchar, 2 | O'Rourke | Sanders | Sestak | Steyer | Warren, 2
Housing: Bennet | Bloomberg | Booker | Castro | Delaney | Harris | Klobuchar, 2 | O'Rourke | Sanders | Steyer | Warren (housing, protect and empower renters)
Infrastructure: Biden | Bloomberg | Bullock | Delaney | Klobuchar
Labor: Bennet | Biden | Booker | Bullock | Buttigieg | Castro | de Blasio | Inslee | Klobuchar | O'Rourke | Sanders | Warren
- Unionizing Campaign Staff: Castro | Sanders | Swalwell | Warren | Booker | Buttigieg | Biden | Klobuchar
Bennet | Biden (public education, education after high school) | Booker (HBCUs) | Buttigieg (affordable college and workforce development, pre-K/public education) | Bullock | Castro | de Blasio | Harris (teacher pay, HBCUs) | Inslee | Klobuchar (federal-state partnerships, post-secondary) | O'Rourke | Patrick | Ryan | Sanders + | Sestak | Steyer (HBCUs) | Warren (student debt, early childhood, public education, student debt, ii) | Williamson
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Climate Change: Bennet | Biden | Bloomberg (1, 2, 3, 4) | Booker | Buttigieg | Castro | Delaney 2 | Harris | Inslee (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) | Gillibrand | Klobuchar | O'Rourke | Sanders | Steyer (1, 2) | Warren | Williamson | Yang
More: Booker (strengthen EPA) | Bullock (public lands) | Castro (invest in renewable energy) | Warren (public lands, green manufacturing, environmental justice, Blue New Deal/oceans)
Bennet (rural health care) | Biden (protect and build on the ACA) | Bloomberg (health coverage, maternal health) | Buttigieg (rural health, Medicare for All Who Want It, cost of prescription drugs, health equity) | Castro (lead exposure) | Delaney (framework, drug prices) | Harris (prescription drug costs, Medicare for All) | Sanders (Medicare for All, medical debt) | Steyer | Warren (financing Medicare for all, reduce health care costs and transition to Medicare for All) | Williamson | Yang
Mental Health and Addiction: Bloomberg (opioid crisis, nicotine addiction) | Bullock | Buttigieg | Delaney (mental health, opioid epidemic) | Gillibrand | Harris | Klobuchar | Moulton | Warren (opioid crisis, financing Medicare for All)
Reproductive Rights: Booker | Gillibrand | Harris | O'Rourke | Warren
Biden | Booker | Bullock | Buttigieg | Castro | Harris | Inslee | O'Rourke | Sanders | Steyer | Warren | Williamson
POLITICS IS BROKEN
Bennet (clean up corruption and strengthen our democracy) | Biden (government works for the people) | Bloomberg (voting rights) | Bullock (shorten campaigns/restore our democracy) | Gillibrand (Clean Elections, restore our democracy) | Hickenlooper (protect voting rights) | Klobuchar (reform our democracy, safeguard our elections) | O'Rourke (cabinet town halls, voting rights and democracy reform) | Patrick (Democracy Agenda) | Sanders (media reform, corporate money out of politics) | Steyer (fix the broken political system) | Swalwell (transparency and free press) | Warren (no president is above the law, strengthen our democracy, end Washington corruption, congressional independence from corporate lobbyists, tax on excessive lobbying, restore trust in the federal judiciary, big money out of politics, political influence of market-dominant companies, end corporate perjury, restore integrity and competence in government) | Yang (voter access)
Ed. note: One point of this section, in addition to allowing for comparision of the plans, is to present them in a uniform style without fancy formatting and images.
However, removing formatting can also take out external links which contain interesting citations and references. See the campaign pages for those links.
|Donald J. Trump
Former Gov. Mark Sanford
|Former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh
Former Gov. Bill Weld