The first Democratic debate - what happened and what you need to know

20 candidates' platforms broken down.

By Penny De La Cruz - Intern

Election season has officially begun, and with 20 democratic candidates, there's a lot to look at. 

The first Democratic debate was split in half, with 10 candidates debating on Wednesday and 10 on Thursday, and was collaboratively four hours long. 

If you decided that was too much for you and you didn't watch it, that's totally understandable so we broke down what every candidate said on both nights of the debates so you know who's who going into the 2020 presidential race. 

The candidates will be listed in alphabetical order, and they were all asked different questions, so different aspects of their campaign will be highlighted depending on their debate answers. 


Michael Bennet 

Senator, Colorado

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Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) 

Michael Bennet is a senator from Colorado, and has been since 2009.

He believes that Obamacare is the best way to transition the United States into a system of universal healthcare, but he also believes that private health care providers should exist as an option. 

He believes the greatest threat to the U.S. is Russia. 

Bennet wants to end political gerrymandering and wants to overturn Citizens United. 

When asked if there was only one thing he could achieve throughout his presidency what it would be, he answered making progress in fixing climate change. 

He also said he would like to restore the United State's relationship with European and Latin American countries. 

Joe Biden 

Vice President to Barack Obama 

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Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally at Teamsters Local 249 Union Hall April 29, 2019, in Pittsburgh.

Joe Biden served as vice president to President Barack Obama from 2008-2016.

He believes that Congress needs to build on Obamacare so that it can be an option that all Americans have the ability to buy into. 

If elected, Biden says one of his first tasks would be to unite children seperated from their parents at the border, keeping children only until officials can locate their parents. 

Also if elected, he would reenter the Paris Agreement on climate, and would invest money into scientists to develop new, green technologies. 

When asked if there was only one thing he could achieve throughout his presidency what it would be, he answered defeating President Trump. 

Biden would like to ban the import of assault weapons, and buy back these weapons from Americans that already own them. 

He also wants to work to restore the United States' relationship with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and wants to take troops out of Afghanistan. 

Cory Booker 

Senator, New Jersey

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Sen. Cory Booker

Cory Booker is a senator from New Jersey, and he has been since 2013.

Booker wants to reform the American economy, as he believes it hurts small businesses. 

Booker believes that pharmaceutical companies need to be held criminally responsible for the American opioid epidemic. 

If elected, he plans to reinstate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and create another agreement with Iran, similar to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action made in 2015, regarding nuclear weapons. 

When asked what is the greatest threat to the American people, Booker answered climate change and the threat of nuclear war. 

Pete Buttigieg 

Mayor of South Bend, Indiana

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Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg is the current mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and has been since 2012.

He believes in student debt relief, and free college for the lower and middle classes. He also believes in a $15 an hour minimum wage. 

Buttigieg believes that when Medicare for All is made available, those who want it will take it, and that will lead to a single-payer healthcare system. He also believes that undocumented immigrants should be able to have access to health care. 

Furthermore, he plans on creating a better pathway to citizenship for those who enter the country. 

In regards to climate change reform, Buttigieg believes that there be a tax on carbon that would then be redistributed to the American people. 

When asked if there was only one thing he could achieve throughout his presidency what it would be, he answered that he hopes to fix democracy. He also wants to work to fix all of the United States' global relationships. 

Julián Castro 

Former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. 

Julián Castro served as the 16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014 - 2017. He was also the mayor of San Antonio from 2009 - 2014. 

Castro said, if elected, he would pass the Equal Rights Amendment, and work towards passing equal pay, equal work legislation. 

He has put together a plan for immigration reform, that would include getting rid of section 1325 that criminalizes entering the country illegally. Castro believes illegal entry to the United States should be treated as a civil issue and not a criminal one. 

When asked what is the greatest threat to the American people, he answered China and climate change. 

Bill de Blasio

Mayor of New York City, New York

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

Bill de Blasio is the mayor of New York City and has been since 2014. 

He said he has overseen a lot of change in the Big Apple since he has been mayor, and believes he can bring just as much as president of the United States. 

When asked what is the greatest threat to the American people, he answered Russia. 

John Delaney 

Former U.S. Representative, Maryland District 6

U.S. Congress via Wikimedia Commons

6. Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) -- $68.4 million

John Delaney served as U.S. representative for the 6th district of Maryland from 2013 to 2019. 

Delaney is outspokenly against the idea of Medicare for All, and in regards to climate change, believes that the United States should charge for carbon creation. 

When asked what is the greatest threat to the American people, he answered with the threat of nuclear war.

Tulsi Gabbard 

U.S. Representative, Hawaii District 2 

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Tulsi Gabbard is the U.S. Representative for the 2nd district of Hawaii and has been since 2013. 

Gabbard wants to avoid war with Iran at all costs, unless there is a direct attack on U.S. troops, and rejoin the Iran nuke deal. She also wants to pull all troops out of Afghanistan. 

When asked what is the greatest threat to the American people, she said the threat of nuclear war. 

Kirsten Gillibrand 

Senator, New York

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Kirsten Gillibrand is a senator from the state of New York, and has been since 2009. 

When discussing the divide in the democratic party over socialism, Gillibrand answered that the issue isn't capitalism, but greed from companies putting profits above the well-being of people. 

She believes in immigration reform, including nominating immigration judges for life and community-based programs for immigrants. 

Her main goal is to take the money out of politics and get corporate lobbyists out of Washington D.C., along with making it to where all elections are publicly funded, not funded by corporate donors. 

When asked if there was only one thing she could achieve throughout her presidency, Gillibrand answered with creating a "Family Bill of Rights".

She also hopes to fix the United States' relationship with Iran. 

Jay Inslee 

Governor of Washington

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Presidential candidate Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA)

Jay Inslee currently serves as the governor of Washington, and has since 2013. 

The main focus of Inslee's campaign is addressing the issue of climate change. 

He wants to secure abortion access across the United States, and when asked what was the greatest threat to the American people, he answered President Donald Trump. 

Kamala Harris 

Senator, California 

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California Democrat Sen. Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris is a senator from California, and has been since 2017. 

Harris proposes to change U.S. tax code to benefit the lower and middle class, and believes that the current economy is not working for everyone. 

If elected, she plans to reinstate DACA along with restoring protections to parents of DACA recipients and undocumented veterans. She also plans to pass the ERA and reenter the Paris Agreement. 

Furthermore, Harris plans to give Congress 100 days to come up with a solution to gun violence or else she plans to issue an executive order addressing the issue. 

When asked if there was only one thing she could achieve throughout her presidency, Harris said a tax cut for the middle class. 

John Hickenlooper

Former Governor of Colorado

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John Hickenlooper

John Hickenlooper served as governor of Colorado from 2011 to 2019. 

Hickenlooper believes too many government programs will damage the country, along with the Democratic party. 

When asked if there was only one thing he could achieve throughout his presidency, he said addressing climate change. 

Amy Klobuchar 

Senator, Minnesota

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.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) addresses voters and answers questions while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination at the Pizza Ranch restaurant March 16, 2019 in Independence, Iowa.

Amy Klobuchar currently serves as senator for the state of Minnesota and has since 2007. 

Klobuchar is against the idea of Medicare for All and believes that people should have the choice of a private insurer. 

If elected president, she would like to make community college free and reenter the Iran Nuclear Deal. 

Klobuchar believes the greatest threat to the American people is Iran. 

Beto O'Rourke 

Former U.S. Representatve, Texas district 13

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Beto O'Rourke

Beto O'Rourke formerly served as U.S. representative for the 16th district of Texas. 

O'Rourke believes that all people should have access to health care, but would not get rid of private insurance. 

He believes the greatest threat to the American people is climate change. 

Tim Ryan

U.S. Representatve, Ohio district 13

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Tim Ryan is U.S. representative for the 13th district of Ohio and have been since 2003. 

Ryan believes there needs to be trauma therapy and other mental health resources in American public schools. 

He also believes that the Democratic party has to change its perception from a party for elitists to a party for the working class. 

Ryan believes the greatest threat to the American people is China. 

Bernie Sanders

Senator, Vermont

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Bernie Sanders is a senator from Vermont and has been since 2007. 

Sanders believes in Medicare for All, which would guarantee healthcare to everyone in the United States and would also get rid of private health insurance. This would also raise taxes for the middle class, but Sanders says this would be offset by lowering insurance premiums. 

In regards to immigration, he plans to meet with the leaders of countries in Central and Latin America to address the issues causing people to want to migrate to the United States. 

He has a similar approach to climate change, as he said he would gather other world leaders to discuss possible action. 

Sanders plans on creating comprehensive gun legislation, including universal background checks and getting rid of the gun show loophole. 

He also says he would do everything to avoid war with Iran. 

Eric Swalwell 

U.S. Representative, California district 15

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Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.

Eric Swalwell is the representative for the 15th district of California and has been since 2013. 

Swalwell urged Vice President Biden to "pass the torch" in the debate on Thursday, and believes that this generation will be the generation that demands action. 

He wants to reunite families separated at the border and address issues with gun violence in America. 

Elizabeth Warren

Senator, Massachusetts

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

Elizabeth Warren is a senator from the state of Massachusetts and has been since 2013. 

Warren suggests that the United States "go all out" in research into green tech, and then develop the technology in the USA. 

She is for Medicare for All, and is against private health insurance companies. 

Warren believes the greatest threat to the American people is climate change. 

Marianne Williamson

Author

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Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson is an author. 

In the debate, Williamson stressed on finding the source behind American health issues instead of just treating them, and fighting President Trump with love. 

Andrew Yang 

Founder of Venture for America 

Courtesy of Andrew Yang campaign.

Andrew Yang founded Venture for America. 

Yang's goal is to create a "Trickle-Up Economy", that would involve giving every American the age of 18 $1,000 a month. 

Yang also believes that the U.S. needs to improve its relationship with China. 

 

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