Democratic Presidential Debate kicks off with 10 taking the stage

Democrats go all in on attacking each other as their top 10 candidates for 2020 go head-to-head for the first time in Texas – and turn politics into a gameshow with a $120,000 giveaway by Andrew Yang

  • The 2020 Democratic Presidential Debate kicked off at Texas Southern University’s Health and PE Center in Houston, Texas, Thursday night
  • The 10 democratic presidential candidates were quick to take jabs at President Trump and one another in their opening statements 
  • Sen. Kamala Harris told Donald Trump he can ‘go back to watching Fox News’, while Bernie Sanders called Trump ‘the most dangerous president in the history of our country’ 
  • Things took a slight turn to gameshow politics when entrepreneur Andrew Yang invited viewers to go to his website to apply for a $10,000 giveaway from his campaign funds
  • Former VP Joe Biden remains the poll leader, but Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has gained
  • Ahead of the debate Trump said he  ‘respects’ all of the candidates, and talked up the three poll leaders: former Vice President Joe Biden , Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders  


Senator Amy Klobuchar 

Senator Cory Booker 

Mayor Pete Buttigieg 

Senator Bernie Sanders 

Former Vice President Joe Biden

Senator Elizabeth Warren 

Senator Kamala Harris 

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang 

Former Representative Beto O’Rourke 

Former housing secretary Julián Castro

Democrats brought their knives out early in the opening minutes of Thursday night’s debate, jabbing at each other as well as President Trump as 10 top contenders met in Houston.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota was the first to take a shot at the party’s left as well as the Republican right. She said if people were concerned with ideas they were hearing were ‘a little off track’ she had ‘a better way.’

She spoke to those ‘stuck in the middle of the extremes,’ she said. ‘You are tired of the noise and the nonsense, you’ve got a home with me.’

Businessman Andrew Yang had a new take on his pitch for a $1,000 dividend for every American – inviting viewers to go to his website to apply for a $10,000 giveaway from his campaign funds. 

The line provoked a visible smirk, followed by a smile from South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

‘It’s original, I’ll give you that,’ said the fresh-faced Midwesterner, who has been struggling to break into the upper ranks of the field.

Although it was Yang who put forth a cash-giveaway, it was Klobuchar who got in one of the night’s first laugh lines when she said: ‘Houston, we have a problem,’ and accused Trump of running the country ‘like a game show.’

Klobuchar also had a rejoinder for Sanders after he said ‘I who wrote the damn bill,’ in reference to ‘Medicare for All.’

‘You wrote the bill. I read the bill,’ Klobuchar told him, noting it would abolish private health insurance, which polls as an unpopular issue.

Sen. Kamala Harris tried to get President Trump’s goat, speaking directly to him in her opening remarks.

She told him ‘the only reason you have not been indicted’ was internal Justice Department guidelines.

‘But here’s what you don’t get,’ she tried to school him. ‘What you don’t get is that the American people are so much better than this.’

When she was done, she rapped him: ‘And now, President Trump, you can go back to watching Fox News, to applause.    

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) (L-R), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), former tech executive Andrew Yang, former Texas congressman Beto ORourke, former housing secretary Julian Castro appear on stage before the start of the Democratic Presidential Debate at Texas Southern University’s Health and PE Center on September 12, 2019 in Houston, Texas

A three-way tiff between Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and and Elizabeth Warren on healthcare was set off with the three frontrunners for the nomination snapping back and forth at one another

Vice President Joe Biden brandished the ‘socialist’ label against rival Bernie Sanders during an angry exchange at the debate 

The first question of the debate was designed to tee-off the main conflict of the night: the fight between the moderate and liberal wings of the party.

And it set off a three-way tiff between Biden, Warren and Sanders on healthcare with the three frontrunners for the nomination snapping back and forth at one another. 

Vice President Joe Biden brandished the ‘socialist’ label against rival Bernie Sanders during an angry exchange at the debate.

Biden, whose Democratic support tends to skew toward moderate voters while Sanders and Warren enjoy more support among the party’s left flank, pulled out the attack during a heated exchange over health care, after going after Sanders for his ‘Medicare for All’ bill.

‘The option I’m proposing is Medicare for All – Medicare for Choice,’ Biden said, at first stumbling over his own proposal.

‘If you notice, nobody yet said how much it’s going to cost the taxpayer,’ Biden told the audience, after Sanders had already attacked his own plan for its cost.

‘My friend from Vermont thinks that the employer is going to give back if you negotiate as a union all these years, got a cut in wages because you got insurance. They’re going to give back that money to the employee?’ Biden asked him.

‘As a matter of fact, they will,’ Sanders interjected.

‘Well, let me tell you something, for a socialist, you got a lot more confidence in corporate America than I do,’ Biden told Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist who caucuses with Senate Democrats.

Thursday marked the first time Biden and Warren were on the same debate stage and the all eyes were on how the two would handle their policy conflicts 

Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., left, and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., right, take the stage as they are introduced for the Democratic presidential primary debate

President Trump regularly brandishes the ‘socialist’ label to go after Democrats generally, as well as members of the ‘squad.’

A Trump campaign email sent minutes before the debate began: ‘The BIG GOVERNMENT SOCIALISTS are trying to take back our Nation.’

Sanders began the debate by going after Biden for attacking his plan for costing $30 trillion and ending private health insurance. 

‘Joe said that Medicare for All would cost over $30trillion. That’s right, Joe. Status quo over ten years will be $50trillion. Every study done shows that Medicare for all is the most cost-effective approach to providing health care to every man, woman and child in this country,’ he said.

‘I wrote the damn bill, if I may say so,’ he added, using one of his best attack lines. ‘I’ll tell you how absurd the system is tonight on ABC, the health care industry will be advertising, telling you how bad Medicare for all is, because they want to protect their profits.’

Biden snapped back that the middle class would pay more taxes under Medicare for All.

‘The middle class person, someone making 60 grand with three kids, they’re going to pay $5,000 more. They’re going to pay 4 per cent more on their income tax. That’s a reality. That’s not a bad idea if you like it. I don’t like it,’ he said.

Fresh issues that might lend itself to debate questions or candidate zingers are sharpie-gate, more White House staff departures, Trump’s cancelled trip to Poland, and his failed effort to buy Greenland

Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) speaks as Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) looks on during the Democratic Presidential Debate Thursday 

Things took a slight turn during opening statements to game show politics when entrepreneur Andrew Yang invited viewers to go to his website to apply for a $10,000 giveaway from his campaign funds

Sen. Kamala Harris spoke directly to Donald Trump in her opening statement, telling him he can ‘go back to watching Fox News’ 

Biden said: ‘I think the Obamacare worked. I think in the way we add to it, add a public option, guarantee that everyone will be able to have affordable insurance,’ he said defending the plan passed when he was Barack Obama’s vice president.

He then he pivoted to attacking Warren, who has gained on him in the polls for the nomination, on the costs of the plan.

‘My plan for health care costs a lot of money. It costs $740billion. It doesn’t cost $30trillion. $30trillion a year, it turns out, is twice what the entire federal budget is. That’s before – as it exists now, without interest on the debt. How are we going to pay for it? I want to hear that tonight. My distinguished friend, the senator on my left, has not indicated how she pays for it,’ he said.

Thursday marked the first time Biden and Warren were on the same debate stage and the all eyes were on how the two would handle their policy conflicts.

Warren responded by giving credit to Obama, who Biden mentions frequently on the campaign trail, and then explaining that the wealthy would pay for her plan.

‘We all owe a huge debt to President Obama, who fundamentally transformed health care in America and committed this country to healthcare for every human being. And now the question is, how best can we improve on it? And I believe the best way we can do that is we make sure that everybody gets covered by health care at the lowest possible cost. How do we pay for it? We pay for it, those at the very top, the richest individuals and the biggest corporations, are going to pay more. And middle class families are going to pay less. That’s how this is going to work,’ she said.

Warren jumped in to attack healthcare companies.

‘So, let’s be clear, I’ve actually never met anybody who likes their health insurance company. I’ve met people who like their doctors, I met people who like their nurses, I’ve met people who like their pharmacists, I met people who like their physical therapists. What they want is access to health care. And we just need to be clear about what Medicare for all is all about. Instead of paying premiums into insurance companies and then having insurance companies build their profits by saying no to coverage, we’re going to do this by saying, everyone is covered by Medicare for all, every health care provider is covered. And the only question here in terms of difference is where to send the bill,’ she said.

‘Let us be clear, Joe, in the United States of America, we have spending twice as much per capita on health care as the Canadians or any other major country on Earth,’ Sanders added.

‘This is America,’ Biden responded.

Debate moderators (L-R) David Muir of ABC News, Jorge Ramos of Univision, Linsey Davis of ABC News, and George Stephanopoulos of ABC News appear on stage before the Democratic Presidential Debate at Texas Southern University’s Health and PE Center  in Houston, Texas

Ahead of the debate, President Donald Trump weighed in on the Democratic field as leading presidential candidates prepared to face off in Houston for the first time since their clash in Detroit at the end of July. 

The president steered clear of his usual bag of insults, saying he ‘respects’ all of the candidates, and talked up the three poll leaders: former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.  

‘If you don’t make a really major mistake, he should be able to make it,’ Trump said of Biden, who for the first time shares a debate stage with Warren Thursday. 

‘I would imagine Biden would be able to make it if he doesn’t make any major mistakes, we’ll see what happens.’ the president said, giving the benefit of the doubt to the poll leader, who has persisted despite a series of gaffes. 

Biden has been persevering despite growing attacks from rivals, focusing on his ability to beat Trump. On Thursday he rolled out a new video that fully embraced the record of former President Barack Obama.  

Trump also mentioned Warren, failing to roll out his ‘Pocahontas’ slur, and said ‘certainly Bernie [Sanders] is there,’ leaving out his usual moniker of ‘crazy.’ 

‘He’s number three,’ Trump said, offering a casual assessment of the polls. 

Ahead of the debate Trump said he ‘respects’ all of the candidates, and talked up the three poll leaders: former Vice President Joe Biden , Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders

Asked by which of the candidates he doesn’t respect as he left the White House for Baltimore, a city he has characterized as rat-infested, a mellow Trump responded: ‘I respect all of them. I respect every one. Let me tell you, it takes a lot of courage to run for office. I respect all of them. See that? I’m getting much better as a politician. You never thought you’d hear that answer.’ 

This time, the contest is in Southeast Texas – in a Republican state where Democrats continue to see growth, with gains many party insiders warn will be put at risk if Democrats veer left in the primaries.

‘Texas is a liability for Republicans and the state is rapidly becoming a battleground the GOP must defend,’ the Democratic National Committee said in a press release timed to the debate.  

Even Democrats polling at one or two per cent don’t want to let go of the opportunity to vault into position to take on Trump, who has seen his public approval rating dip since last month, after a series of angry clashes and some missteps.

A Wednesday Reuters / Ipsos poll had 57 per cent of Americans say the country is on the ‘wrong track.’

Trump’s approval rating is at 39 per cent in the Gallup poll, down from 42 per cent July 31st. His disapproval rating is at 57 per cent.  

Andrew Yang unveils dramatic $120,000 giveaway at start of Democratic debate in bid to prove his ‘universal basic income’ works – to laughter from Pete Buttigieg

Democratic candidate Andrew Yang promised Thursday to give $120,000 to 10 lucky people.

During his opening statements at the third round of Democrat debates in Houston, Texas Thursday night, Yang said that ‘someone watching this at home right now’ would be able to win $1,000 per month for a year.

Yang is calling the initiative the Freedom Dividend Pilot Program, and will give money to 10 individuals from funds donated to his campaign.

In the days leading up to the third round of Democratic debates, Yang teased a ‘surprise’ that would come out on stage in Houston, Texas Thursday night.

‘In America today everything revolves around the ultimately dollar,’ Yang said as the first line of his opening statement. ‘We have to get our country working for us again, instead of the other way around.’ 

‘That’s why I’m going to do something unprecedented tonight,’ he continued. ‘My campaign will now give a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month for an entire year for 10 American families, somebody watching this at home right now.’

‘If you believe that you can solve your own problems better than any politician, go to and tell us how $1,000 a month will help you do just that,’ he promoted. ‘This is how we will get our country working for us again, the American people.’ 

Democratic 2020 candidate Andrew Yang unveiled during the debate Thursday night that his campaign would be giving $120,000 to 10 families

Yang, promising money to supporter, was a tough act to follow – but Pete Buttigieg had to do just that.

Before beginning his opening statement, Buttigieg sighed and dropped his hand on the podium in defeat.

‘It’s original, I’ll give you that,’ he said with a smile towards Yang.

Yang, who usually falls within the second-tier of the 20 candidates running in the Democratic primary, is already personally financing this program for three families – but the ten new individuals will receive money directly from his campaign.

The three current dividend recipients are Jodie Fassi of New Hampshire, Malorie Shannon of Florida and Kyle Christensen of Iowa.

His campaign advertised that those individuals claim they are already reaping the benefits of the addition funds from being able to afford healthcare, to making home improvements and fixing cars needed for work transportation.

‘The campaign is excited to work together with our supporters to help create more stories about what the Freedom Dividend means for American families. It will enable and empower citizens to pay their bills, switch jobs, take care of loved ones, and plan for the future,’ Yang’s campaign manager Zach Graumann said in a statement.

‘It will build a trickle-up economy, from our people, families, and communities up,’ he said.

The statement from his campaign also assured that the program fell within the FEC-guidelines. 



Age on Inauguration Day 2021: 56

Entered race:  May 2, 2019

Career: Currently Colorado senator.  Educated at elite St. Albans preparatory school and was a Capitol Hill page before graduating Wesleyan and Yale Law School. Was law clerk and worked in Clinton’s Department of Justice then moved to Colorado in 1997 as managing director of billionaire Philip Anschutz’s investment company. Was chief of staff to Denver mayor John Hickenlooper, then superintendent of Denver Public schools. Appointed to vacant Colorado Senate seat in 2009, held it 48.1 to 46.4 in 2010 and 50 to 44.3 in 2016

Family: Married to environmental attorney Susan Daggett, with three daughters – Halina, Anne and Caroline. Was born in New Delhi while to diplomat father Douglas Bennet, who went onto be CEO of NPR and a Clinton assistant secretary of state. His grandfather, also Douglas, was an economic adviser to FDR. Mother Susanne is retired elementary school librarian whose parents were Holocaust survivors. Brother James is editor of the New York Times opinion section

Religion: Says he was raised with Jewish and Christian heritage; no known adherence

Views on key issues: Moderate who does not endorse Medicare for all or – so far – Green New Deal. Strongly pro-choice and pro-gay rights, leading to 2010 Senate victory. Pro raising minimum wage. Wants citizenship pathway for ‘dreamers.’ 

Would make history as: First Colorado president


Age on Inauguration Day 2021: 78

Entered race: April 25, 2019

Career: No current role. A University of Delaware and Syracuse Law graduate, he was first elected to Newcastle City Council in 1969, then won upset election to Senate in 1972, aged 29. Was talked out of quitting before being sworn in when his wife and daughter died in a car crash and served total of six terms. Chaired Judiciary Committee’s notorious Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. Ran for president in 1988, pulled out after plagiarism scandal, ran again in 2008, withdrew after placing fifth in the Iowa Caucuses. Tapped by Obama as his running mate and served two terms as vice president. Contemplated third run in 2016 but decided against it after his son died of brain cancer.

Family: Eldest of four siblings born to Joe Biden Sr. and Catherine Finnegan. First wife Neilia Hunter and their one-year-old daughter Naomi died in car crash which their two sons, Joseph ‘Beau’ and Robert Hunter survived. Married Jill Jacobs in 1976, with whom he has daughter Ashley. Beau died of brain cancer in 2015. Hunter’s marriage to Kathleen Buhle, with whom he has three children, ended in 2016 when it emerged Hunter was in a relationship with Beau’s widow Hallie, mother of their two children. Hunter admitted cocaine use; his estranged wife accused him of blowing their savings on drugs and prostitutes

Religion: Catholic

Views on key issues: Ultra-moderate who will emphasize bipartisan record. Will come under fire over record, having voted: to stop desegregation bussing in 1975; to overturn Roe v Wade in 1981; for now controversial 1994 Violent Crime Act; for 2003 Iraq War; and for banking deregulation. Says he is ‘most progressive’ Democrat. New positions include free college, tax reform, $15 minimum wage. No public position yet on Green New Deal and healthcare. Pro-gun control. Has already apologized to women who say he touched them inappropriately

Would make history as: Oldest person elected president

Slogan: Working for America


Age on Inauguration Day: 51

Entered race: February 1, 2019

Career: Currently New Jersey senator. High school football star who went to Stanford or undergraduate and masters degrees before studying in Oxford as a Rhodes scholar and Yale Law School. Worked for advocacy and youth projects and successfully ran for Newark, New Jersey, city council in 1998. Narrowly lost mayoral election in 2002 facing claims he was ‘suburban’ and ‘not black enough.’ Ran again in 2006 and won landslide on radical reform platform for troubled city, including being tough on crime, cutting budget deficit, increasing affordable housing and tackling failing schools – controversially taking a huge donation from Mark Zuckerberg for the city. Ran for New Jersey senate seat in 2013 special election and won; won full term in 2014

Family: Unmarried but dating actress Rosario Dawson. Parents Cary and Carolyn were among IBM’s first black executives. Brother Cary Jr. is education adviser to New Jersey’s Democratic governor

Religion: Baptist

Views on key issues: Self-proclaimed liberal. Endorses abortion rights; affirmative action; single-payer health care; criminal justice reform; path to citizenship for ‘dreamers; federal marijuana decriminalization; $15 minimum wage; but has also spoken against tech regulation and for long-term deficit reduction

Would make history as: First unmarried president since Grover Cleveland in 1886

Slogan: Together, America, We Will Rise     


Age on Inauguration Day: 54

Entered race: May 14, 2019

Career: Currently governor of Montana. Montana native educated at Claremont McKenna College, California, and Columbia Law who worked for Montana Democratic governor and Department of Justice before failed 2000 run for state attorney general. Practiced law then ran again in 2008 and won, using it to springboard to run for governor in 2012, winning 48.9 to 47.3, then winning second term in 2016 by 50.3 to 46.4 in a state which Trump won 56.2 to 35.7. Only Democratic governor to win re-election in a Trump state

Family: Married to Lisa Downs, who was a year behind him in high school. They have three children, Caroline, Alexandria and Cameron. His parents Michael, a teacher, and Margaret, a school board trustee, divorced when he was at grade school and he has one brother, Bill

Religion: Catholic

Views on key issues: Vocal moderate. Wants Democrats to expand reach beyond the coasts and cities. Not signed up to Green New Deal or Medicare for All. Warned Hillary Clinton against attacking coal mining in 2016. Says government has to afford taxation and spending commitments. Social liberal on abortion and gay marriage. Has shifted from gun control opponent to backing universal background checks and assault weapon ban

Would make history as: First Montanan president

Slogan: To be announced 


Age on Inauguration Day: 39

Entered race: Announced formation of exploratory committee January 23, 2019. Formally entered race April 14, 2019

Career: Currently mayor of Sound Bend, Indiana. Harvard grad and Rhodes scholar who got a second degree from Oxford before working as a McKinsey management consultant and being commissioned as a Navy Reserve intelligence officer. Elected South Bend mayor in 2011 and served in combat in 2013, won re-election in 2015

Family: Came out as gay during second mayoral run and married husband Chasten Glezman, a middle school teacher in 2018. Parents were University of Notre Dame academics. Surname is pronounced BOOT-edge-edge. Would be first combat veteran since George H.W. Bush

Religion: Raised as a Catholic, now Episcopalian

Views on key issues: Has said Democratic party needs a ‘fresh start’; wrote an essay in praise of Bernie Sanders aged 17; backed paid parental leave for city employees; other policies unknown 

Would make history as: First openly gay and youngest-ever president

Slogan: To be announced


Age on Inauguration Day: 46

Entered race: January 12, 2018, at rally in his native San Antonio, TX. Had formed exploratory committee two months previously

Career: No current job. Stanford and Harvard graduate who was a San Antonio, Texas, councilman at 26 and became mayor of the city in 2009. Was Obama’s Housing and Urban Development secretary from 2014 to 2016

Family: Married with nine-year-old daughter, Carina, and four-year-old son, Cristian. His identical twin Joaquin, who is a minute younger, is Democratic congressman. Mother Maria del Rosario Castro was part of ‘radical’ third party for Mexican-Americans; father left his wife and five children for her but they never married. Would be first Hispanic-American president – announced his run in English and Spanish – and first-ever U.S. president with a twin

Religion:  Catholic

Views on key issues: Wants medicare for all; universal pre-K; action on affordable housing; will not take money from political action committees (PACs) tied to corporations or unions. Other views still to be announced

Would make history as: First Hispanic president, first to be a twin  

Slogan: One Nation, One Destiny


Age on Inauguration Day 2021: 59

Entered race: May 16, 2019

Career: Currently New York mayor. New York University and Columbia University graduate who became a ‘political organizer’ working in Nicaragua in support of the Sandanistas, then a volunteer for David Dinkins’ campaign to be New York’s first African American mayor. Bill Clinton appointee in HUD, then campaign manager of Hillary Clinton’s 2000 New York Senate campaign, running for New York City Council seat the following year. Successfully ran for Public Advocate in 2009, winning high-profile city post, then used it as springboard into packed 2013 mayoral primary which also featured Anthony Weiner. Unexpectedly won Democratic field then landslide general election, repeating it in 2016, 66.5 to 27.8. Terms both hit by corruption investigations into lobbying by donors

Family: Born Warren Wilhelm Jr. to German-American war veteran father and Italian-American mother Maria de Blasio, who divorced when he was seven. Changed his name to Warren de Blasio-Wilhelm in 1983, then Bill de Blasio in December 2001. Married since 1991 to Chirlane McCray, seven years his senior and a political campaigner and poet who says she identified as a lesbian in the 1970s and ‘met the love of my life, married him.’ They have two children: daughter Chiara, who graduated Santa Clara University in 2016 and who has said she battled drink and drugs and mental illness; and son Dante, a Yale undergraduate

Religion: Raised without religion. Now says ‘there is a Christian underpinning to a lot of what I believe.’

Views on key issues: Ultra-liberal. Trumpeted his plan for a New York Green New Deal in Trump Tower in show of support for ultra-progressive wing. Introduced universal pre-K in the city and pushed a wealth tax. Been hostile to charter schools and backed legalized marijuana. Spoken in favour of universal healthcare. Backs immigration reforms including path to citizenship for undocumented. Spoke against stop-and-frisk. Wider foreign policy and economic positions unknown

Would make history as: Tallest president at 6′ 5′, beating Abraham Lincoln by an inch

Slogan: To be announced  


Age on Inauguration Day: 57

Entered race: Filed papers July 28, 2017

Career: No current job. Columbia and Georgetown law educated financial entrepreneur. Set up publicly-traded companies lending capital to healthcare and mid-size businesses and was youngest CEO at the time of a New York Stock Exchange-listed firm. Three-time Maryland congressman, first winning election in 2012; announced run for president instead of running again in 2018

Family: Married father of four; wife April works for children’s issues nonprofit. Credits his working class father’s union for helping him through college

Religion: Catholic 

Views on key issues: Social liberal in favor of legalized pot and gun control but not single-payer healthcare; fiscally conservative

Would make history as: First president from Maryland. First openly bald president since Eisenhower

Slogan: Focus on the Future


Age on Inauguration Day: 39

Entered race: Still to formally file any papers but said she would run on January 11 2019

Career: Currently Hawaii congresswoman. Born on American Samoa, a territory. Raised largely in Hawaii, she co-founded an environmental non-profit with her father as a teenager and was elected to the State Legislature aged 21, its youngest member in history. Enlisted in the National Guard and served two tours, one in Iraq 2004-2006, then as an officer in Kuwait in 2009. Ran for Honolulu City Council in 2011, and House of Representatives in 2012

Family: Married to her second husband, Abraham Williams, a cinematographer since 2015. First marriage to childhood sweetheart Eduardo Tamayo in 2002 ended in 2006. Father Mike Gabbard is a Democratic Hawaii state senator, mother Carol Porter runs a non-profit.

Religion: Hindu

Views on key issues: Has apologized for anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage views; wants marijuana federally legalized; opposed to most U.S. foreign interventions; backs $15 minimum wage and universal health care; was the second elected Democrat to meet Trump after his 2016 victory

Would make history as: First female, Hindu and Samoan-American president; youngest president ever

Slogan: Lead with Love 


Age on Inauguration Day: 56 

Entered race: Announced she was running January 21, 2018 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day – on Good Morning America. Formally entered race January 27

Career: Currently California senator. Howard and U.C. Hunter law school grad who worked as assistant district attorney in Alameda County, CA, then in San Francisco’s DA’s office before being elected San Francisco DA in 2003 and used it as springboard to run successfully for California attorney general in 2010. Won again in 2014 and was at center of U.S. attorney general and Supreme Court speculation but also endured a series of controversies, including over police brutality allegations. Ran for Senate in 2016 and established herself on liberal wing of party

Family: Born in Berkeley, CA, to immigrant Indian Tamil mother and Jamaican father who were both academics and brought up from seven to 18  in Montreal, Canada. Dated married San Francisco mayor Willie Brown, when he was 60 and she was 29. Married attorney Douglas Emhoff in 2014 and has two stepchildren; Cole, an aspiring actor, and Ella, an art and design student. Sister Maya was a Hillary Clinton adviser and brother-in-law Tony West is Uber’s chief legal counsel

Views on key issues: Social ultra-liberal who has rejected criticisms of ‘identity politics’ and is running without a political action committee, which will make her reliant on small donors. Has shifted left on criminal justice reform; supports Medicare for all;  pro-gun control and anti-death penalty; says illegal immigration is a civil not a criminal offense

Religion: Has said she was brought up in both Baptist and Hindu tradition

Would make history as: First female and first Indian-American president

Slogan: For The People 


Age on Inauguration Day: 60

Entered race: Announced candidacy February 10, 2019 at snow-drenched rally in her native Minneapolis

Career: Currently Minnesota senator. Yale and University of Chicago law graduate who became a corporate lawyer. First ran unsuccessfully for office in 1994 as Hennepin, MI, county attorney, and won same race in 1998, then in 2002, without opposition. Ran for Senate in 2006 and won 58-38; re-elected in 2012 and 2018

Family: Married to John Bessler, law professor at University of Baltimore and expert on capital punishment. Daughter Abigail Bessler, 23, works fora Democratic member of New York City council. Father Jim, 90, was a veteran newspaper columnist who has written a memoir of how his alcoholism hurt his family; mom Rose is a retired grade school teacher

Religion: Congregationalist (United Church of Christ)

Views on key issues: Seen as a mainstream liberal: says she wants ‘universal health care’ but has not spelled out how; pro-gun control; pro-choice; backs $15 minimum wage; no public statements on federal marijuana legalization; has backed pro-Israel law banning the ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions’ movement; spoke out against abolishing ICE

Would make history as: First female president

Slogan: To be announced


Age on Inauguration day: 46

Entered race: Announced March 28, 2019, formal launch March 30, 2019

Career: Currently mayor of Miramar, Florida. Florida State University football star who played starting wide receiver, and graduated in 1997. Worked in construction industry as contractor and started his own company in 2007. Ran for City of Miramar Commission in 2011 and mayor in 2015, defeating 16-year Democratic incumbent and becoming first black mayor of the city. Won second term March 2019, days before announcing presidential bid

Family: Married to college sweetheart Angela Sands, 44, who is also his business partner. Three college-age children: son Wayne Jr. and twin daughters Kayla and Kyla. Fourth child and first American-born child of Jamaican immigrants Hubert , a sugar-cane cutter, and his wife Delsey, who are both deceased. Was president of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials in 2018

Religion: Worships at the Fountain of New Life Church in Miami Gardens where he is a deacon

Views on key issues: Says he is staunch advocate of gun control. Wants action on climate change and is opposed to off-shore oil drilling. Opposes Trump immigration policies and proposed forcing immigration officials to get a warrant before entering city property. Yet to state position on health care and foreign policy

Would make history as: First Jamaican-American and first Florida president 

Slogan: Your Champion


Age on Inauguration Day: 47

Entered race: March 14, 2019

Career: No current job. Born Robert Francis O’Rourke. Boarding-school educated Columbia grad who lived in a New York loft, playing in a punk band and doing desultory jobs and setting up an internet firm. Ran for El Paso city council in 2005, winning re-election and serving until 2012. Ran for Congress in 2012, defeating eight-term Democratic incumbent in primary. Gave up seat to run for Senate against Ted Cruz in 2018, losing 51-48

Family: Married to wife Amy Sanders, nine years his junior, with sons Ulysses and Henry, and daughter Molly. Father Pat was long-time El Paso politician who switched from Democrat to Republican; mom Melissa ran family-owned store in city until selling it after IRS probe. Melissa’s stepfather Fred Korth was one of JFK’s secretaries of the Navy. Father-in-law William Saunders is real estate developer estimated to be worth $500 million

Religion: Catholic

Views on key issues: Wants comprehensive immigration reform to give citizenship to ‘dreamers’ and a path to it for their parents, and vehemently opposes Trump’s wall. Supports federal marijuana legalization. Pro-gun control including an assault rifle ban and universal background checks. Supports single-payer health care but with co-pays and has backed Medicaid expansion. Strongly pro-choice. Has hinted at backing breaking up tech giants. Said he would have voted for impeachment in Congress if he had had the chance

Would make history as: No clear claims 

Slogan: To be announced  


Age on Inauguration Day: 46

Entered race: April 4, 2019

Career: Currently Ohio congressman. High school football star who got a scholarship to Youngstown State, Ohio, but transferred to nearby Bowling Green University when his career ended in injury. Became a congressional aide, picked up a law degree, then served in the Ohio Senate and when his former House boss Jim Traficant went to prison for fraud ran for his seat in 2002 and won. Has held district – first Ohio 13th then the 17th when Youngstown was redistricted – since with little opposition since. Released book on meditation in 2012 and considered running against Nancy Pelosi for minority leader

Family: Married first grade schoolteacher Andrea Zetts in 2013. Couple had a son, Brady, the following year. Zetts has a daughter, Bella, and a son, Mason, from her first marriage who Ryan says he ‘loves like his own.’ Ryan’s first marriage ended in divorce. He was brought up by his mom Rochelle after she and his father Allen divorced when he was seven

Religion: Catholic

Views on key issues: Moderate who backs Medicare for all. Flipped from anti-abortion to pro-choice in dramatic fashion in 2015. Does not appear to back the Green New Deal but suggests a carbon tax. Spoken up for capitalism but is also pro-union. Advocated for mindfulness teaching in classrooms. Also flipped on gun control from A rating by NRA to strong support of anti-gun measures

Would make history as: Only second sitting congressman elected president – first was James Garfield, also from Ohio, in 1880 

Slogan: To be announced


Age on Inauguration Day: 79

Entered race: Sources said on January 25, 2019, that he would form exploratory committee. Officially announced February 19

Career: Currently Vermont senator. Student civil rights and anti-Vietnam activist who moved to Vermont and worked as a carpenter and radical film-maker. Serial failed political candidate in the 1970s, he ran as a socialist for mayor of Burlington in 1980 and served two terms ending in 1989, and win a seat in Congress as an independent in 1990. Ran for Senate in 2006 elections as an independent with Democratic endorsement and won third term in 2018. Challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016 but lost. Campaign has since been hit by allegations of sexual harassment  – for which he has apologized – and criticized for its ‘Bernie bro’ culture

Family: Born to a Jewish immigrant father and the daughter of Jewish immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York. First marriage to college sweetheart Deboarah Shiling Messing in 1964 ended in divorce in 1966; had son Levi in 1969 with then girlfriend Susan Cambell Mott. Married Jone O’Meara in 1988 and considers her three children, all adults, his own. The couple have seven grandchildren. His older brother Larry is a former Green Party councilor in Oxfordshire, England. Would be first Jewish president

Religion: Secular Jewish 

Views on key issues: Openly socialist and standard bearer for the Democratic party’s left-turn. Wants federal $15 minimum wage; banks broken up; union membership encouraged; free college tuition; universal health care; re-distributive taxation; he opposed Iraq War and also U.S. leading the fight against ISIS and wants troops largely out of Afghanistan and the Middle East

Would make history as: Oldest person elected president

Slogan: Not me. Us.


Age on Inauguration Day: 69

Entered race: June 23, 2019

Career: U.S. Naval Academy graduate who rose to three-star admiral with assignments including commanding the USS George Washington aircraft carrier battle group and Bill Clinton’s National Security Council’s director for defense policy but clashed with Donald Rumsfeld. Retired and ran as Democrat in Pennsylvania’s 7th district 2006, won and held it until he ran for Pennsylvania’s Senate seat in 2010, losing 51-49 with a margin of 80,229 votes. Ran again in 2016 but lost in primary

Family: Married to wife Susan Clark, a defense and environmental analyst he met on a trip to the then Soviet Union. Daughter Alexandra, born 2004, survived a brain tumor aged four but cancer returned this year. Father Joe Sr. was decorated Navy officer in World War II and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery

Religion: Catholic

Views on key issues: Wants $1 trillion public infrastructure plan; says there is a ‘climate crisis’ and wants green jobs; attacks China for ‘intellectual property theft’ but wants U.S. back in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trump pulled out of; wants Medicare to compete as a ‘public option’ rather than universal health care; also wants back into Iran deal and Paris accord

Would make history as: First veteran president since George H.W. Bush

Slogan: Accountability to America    


Age on Inauguration Day 2021: 63

Entered race: July 9, 2019

Career: Currently retired. New York-born to wealthy family, he was educated at elite Phillips Exeter Academy, same as rival Andrew Yang, and Yale, then Stanford Business School. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs banker who founded his own hedge fund in 1986 and made himself a billionaire; investments included subprime lenders, private prisons and coal mines. Stepped down in 2012 to focus on advocating for alternative energy. Longtime Democratic activist and donor who started campaign to impeach Trump in October 2017. Net worth of $1.6 billion has made him one of the Democrats’ biggest single donors

Family: Married Kathryn Taylor in 1986; they have four adult children who have been told they will not inherit the bulk of his fortune. Announced last November he and his wife would live apart. Father Roy was a Nuremberg trials prosecutor

Religion: Episcopalian

Views on key issues: On the left of the field despite being a hedge fund tycoon. Backs single-payer health care, minimum wage rises and free public college. Previously spoke in favor of Bernie Sanders’ agenda. Aggressive backer of climate change action, including ditching fossil fuels

Would make history as: Richest Democratic president ever   


Age on Inauguration Day: 71

Entered race:  Set up exploratory committee December 31, 2018

Career: Currently Massachusetts senator. Law lecturer and academic who became an expert on bankruptcy law and tenured Harvard professor. Ran for Senate and won in 2012, defeating sitting Republican Scott Brown, held it in 2018 60% to 36%. Was short-listed to be Hillary’s running mate and campaigned hard for her in 2016

Family: Twice-married mother of two and grandmother of three. First husband and father of her children was her high-school sweetheart. Second husband Bruce Mann is Harvard law professor. Daughter Amelia Tyagi and son Alex Warren have both been involved in her campaigns. Has controversially claimed Native American roots; DNA test suggested she is as little as 1,064th Native American

Religion: Raised Methodist, now described as Christian with no fixed church

Views on key issues: Was a registered Republican who voted for the party but registered as a Democrat in 1996. Pro: higher taxes on rich; banking regulation; Dream Act path to citizenship for ‘dreamers’; abortion and gay rights; campaign finance restrictions; and expansion of public provision of healthcare – although still to spell out exactly how that would happen. Against: U.S. presence in Afghanistan and Syria; liberalization of gambling

Would make history as: First female president 

Slogan: To be announced 


Age on Inauguration Day: 68

Entered race: Announced exploratory committee November 15, 2018. Formally entered January 28, 2019

Career: Currently an author, Dropped out of Pomona College, California, became part of the counter culture and anti-war movement and ran a ‘metaphysical bookstore’ before publishing spiritual guide A Return to Love and being praised by Oprah, sending it to number one. Published series of follow-ups and founded AIDS charity and subsequently more non-profits including a peace movement. Ran for Congress in 2014 and lost

Family: Born to immigration attorney father Sam and housewife mother Sophie in Houston, Texas. Married for ‘a minute and a half’ to unnamed man; daughter India was born in 1990 but Williamson declines to name her father

Religion: Jewish

Views on key issues: Wants vast expansion of physical and mental healthcare; and nutrition and lifestyle reforms including ban on marketing processed and sugary foods to children; universal pre-K; much of the Green New Deal’s proposals including a de-carbonized economy, electric cars and rebuilding mass transit; gun control through licensing; wants more vacation time; pro decriminalizing all drugs

Would make history as: First female president 

Slogan: Join the Evolution


Age on Inauguration Day: 46

Entered race: Filed papers November 6, 2018

Career: No current job. Went to public school in New York where he describes being bullied with racial slurs, then elite Phillips Exeter Academy boarding school – same as rival Tom Steyer. Brown and Columbia Law graduate who abandoned career as an attorney then started a dotcom flop then become healthcare and education tech executive who set up nonprofit Venture for America

Family: Married to wife Evelyn with two sons, one of whom he has said is on the autism spectrum. His parents were both immigrants from Taiwan who met at the University of California, Berkeley, as grad students

Religion: Reformed Church

Views on key issues: Warns of rise of robots and artificial intelligence, wants $1,000 a month universal basic income and social media regulated. Spoke out against male circumcision. Wants a state monitor to crack down on ‘fake news.’

Would make history as: First Asian-American president 

Slogan: Humanity First


MIKE GRAVEL. Former Alaska governor

Entered race: April 2,2019. Quit: August 2, 2019


Entered race: January 16, 2019. Quit: August 28, 2019

JOHN HICKENLOOPER: Former Colorado governor

Entered race: March 4, 2019. Quit: August 15, 2019 

JAY INSLEE: Washington state governor 

Entered race: March 1, 2019. Quit: August 21, 2019

SETH MOULTON: Massachusetts Congressman

Entered race:  April 22,2019. Quit: August 23, 2019

RICHARD OJEDA. West Virginia ex-state senator and paratrooper veteran

Entered race: November 12, 2018. Quit: January 25, 2019 

ERIC SWALWELL. California Congressman

Entered race: April 8, 2019. Quit July 8, 2019 


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