The Major Issues In The 2020 Democratic Primary

The Major Issues In The 2020 Democratic Primary

There are 22 candidates officially running at the moment, here are their most well-known positions.


The Democratic Party is searching far and wide for a presidential candidate that can beat Trump in the 2020 election. While we know Trump's major focuses: immigration reform, tax reform, militaristic international policy, etc. it's anyone's guess how the Democratic candidate will choose to strategize. Bernie focused on free college, healthcare, and the minimum wage, while Hillary emphasized women's issues among other typical Democratic platforms.

Many candidates have taken up the signature democratic platform of Medicare for all. With Bernie Sanders running again, this is, of course, a focus of his campaign. Julián Castro, former housing secretary and mayor of San Antonio, is also focused on Medicare for all, as is John Delaney, a former congressman from Maryland. John Hickenlooper, a former governor and mayor from Colorado is emphasizing Medicaid. Also in the medical realm is Amy Klobuchar, a Senator from Minnesota, who is tackling the opioid crisis and drug addiction as well as the cost of prescription drugs. A former congressman from Texas, famous for his run in 2018, Beto O'Rourke is tackling the specific issue of rural hospital access. Eric Swalwell, a Congressman from California, is additionally running on increasing funding for medical research

Another common issue on the democratic agenda, improving income inequality is on the mind of several candidates. Former Vice President Joe Biden is focusing on empowering low-income workers, while Steve Bullock, former Governor of Montana, as well as Pete Buttigieg, a military veteran and former Mayor from Indiana, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, a Senator from Massachusetts, are running on shrinking the income inequality gap. Tim Ryan, a Congressman from Ohio, is focusing on workplace and union development to help the middle class, while Bernie Sanders is taking his well-known approach of free college for all. Wayne Messam, a Mayor from Florida, is also looking at addressing student debt. Andrew Yang, who has never had a career in politics, is prioritizing a universal basic income, an option being discussed by no other candidate. Kamala Harris, a Senator from California, is specifically focused on tax cuts for middle-class families.

On the social front, John Hickenlooper has worked on gay rights in the past, while Kamala Harris is focused on an overall liberal social agenda. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Senator from New York and the founder of #metoo, is running on her longstanding platform of gender equality and women's rights.

Immigration reform is also a focus, with Julián Castro, Wayne Messam and Beto O'Rourke making it central to their platforms. Biden is running on improving international relations as is Tulsi Gabbard, a Congresswoman from Hawaii, who is emphasizing opposition to military involvement overseas. Seth Moulton, a Congressman from Massachusetts, is also making foreign policy a big part of his campaign, but rather in terms of national defense and security.

Michael Bennett, a Senator from Colorado, played a role in creating a bipartisan immigration reform bill in 2013 and is running on the support of bipartisan communication. Also calling for unification across party lines is Cory Booker, a Senator from New Jersey, as is John Delaney and John Hickenlooper. Several candidates are focused on gun reform, including Steve Bullock, John Hickenlooper, Wayne Messam, and Eric Swalwell, specifically including a ban on assault weapons.

In terms of climate change legislation, Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington state, is running on creating more jobs in renewable energy. Pete Buttigieg is also speaking about climate change reform, trying to appeal to younger voters based on his own generational standing. Wayne Messam is also focusing on environmental issues.

Smaller focus areas for certain candidates include infrastructure, a focus of Michael Bennett, as well as improving trade deals, emphasized by Tim Ryan. Steve Bullock and Julián Castro are emphasizing federally funded early childhood education. Michael Bennett is also focusing on expanding the job force, specifically in up and coming areas such as artificial intelligence. Cory Booker is running on criminal justice reform, while Steve Bullock and Elizabeth Warren are tackling political corruption and campaign finance reform. Beto O'Rourke wants to legalize Marijuana, while Marianne Williamson, a non-politician, is running on the fascinating platform of putting federal money towards economic and education projects to repair damages from slavery.

While many candidates are focused on various aspects of the typical democratic platform, some interesting new ideas will potentially be brought into the primary cycle. It is anyone's guess who will win the democratic ticket, but as we get ready to declare our support and eventually place our vote, make sure you know the issues at hand. For an easy and comprehensive quiz to take to see who's policy you might support visit

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.


Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?


This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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