For many newly eligible voters, the 2020 presidential election will be the first opportunity to vote. This election marks a record number of female candidates—Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Marianne Williamson (D-TX). Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was also in the running, but she ended her campaign in August. Similarly, Kamala Harris (D-CA), who was also running, very recently ended her campaign. Here is a guide to the four remaining women, any of whom could become the first female president of the United States, with a specific focus on their stances on women’s issues.
- Tulsi Gabbard
This Hawaii native was the first Samoan-American and first practicing Hindu to be elected to Congress in 2012. Gabbard served in the military for two tours in the Middle East, and is also a major in the U.S. Army National Guard. Her time in the military has led her to criticize American involvement in the Middle East. Gabbard is the first female veteran to run for president.
Women’s Issues: Gabbard has been an active women’s rights advocate, specifically with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America. Although she now believes in women’s right to legal and accessible abortion, Gabbard held the opposite opinion before becoming a politician at age 21. Gabbard was criticized after the October Democratic Debate for stigmatizing abortion by agreeing with Hillary Clinton’s stance in the 90s – that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” The Washington Examiner even called Gabbard an “abortion radical.” Regardless, she recognizes the need for access to contraception and women’s healthcare, and believes that women should have more autonomy in decisions about their healthcare. Furthermore, she co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act for women’s equal pay.
- Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar was born and raised in Minnesota, which she credits for shaping her values. In 2006, Klobuchar was elected as the first female state senator and has been serving ever since. She is a moderate and stresses that bipartisanship is key to winning the presidency. Some of Klobuchar’s main goals include voting rights, universal healthcare, job creation, and climate change. She recently unveiled a plan with over one hundred points for her first hundred days in office.
Women’s Issues: On her website, Klobuchar addresses only one issue specific to women—reproductive rights. In the section on “Shared Prosperity and Economic Justice,” she doesn’t specifically address the pay gap. Regardless, Klobuchar is an avid advocate for women’s reproductive rights, with a one hundred percent rating from both Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America; she is also a co-sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act. In the June Democratic Debate, Klobuchar received extensive press coverage for interrupting Jay Inslee (D-WA)— who dropped out of the race in August — during his discussion of abortion rights. Inslee claimed to be the best advocate for the right to abortion, to which Klobuchar responded, “I just want to say there’s three women up here that have fought pretty hard for a women’s right to choose, I’ll start with that.”
- Elizabeth Warren
Warren was raised in a middle class family in Oklahoma. She became a law professor in the late 1970s, Massachusetts Senator in 2012, and, now, a presidential candidate. Warren is dedicated to the middle class. If elected, her main goal is to “tackle the corruption in Washington that makes our government work for the wealthy and well-connected, but kicks dirt on everyone else, and put economic and political power back in the hands of the people.” Warren’s latest plans include providing affordable housing and accessible healthcare and ending white nationalism.
Women’s Issues: The four main women’s issues Warren addresses on her website are maternal mortality, women of color in the workforce, the right to choose, and universal child care. Warren attributes the epidemic of maternal mortality to racism and discrimination in the healthcare system; she plans to reform the system. She also recognizes that women of color earn lower wages in comparison to men and white women and face racial discrimination in the workplace. Furthermore, Warren outlines a plan to ensure access to abortion and protect reproductive rights — specifically by fighting against the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Warren also wants to establish free or affordable childcare for children from birth to when they start school. This past week in Atlanta, Warren shared a plan to gain support from black women in Atlanta — “their priorities became hers.”
- Marianne Williamson
Williamson grew up in a liberal household in Texas and became interested in non-denominational spirituality, which led to her career as a spiritual leader. She is also an author, politician, and activist. According to her website, Williamson thinks her political inexperience is a strength, and identifies the “deepest problem” in the country as “the disengagement of the American heart from the values we purport to hold most dear, and the failure of too many of our citizens to vitally participate in the expression of those values.”
Women’s Issues: Under “Reproductive Rights,” Williamson emphasizes: “Regarding abortion rights, I am one hundred per cent pro-choice.” She does not believe the government should have any say in the choices women make about their bodies and lists the ways in which her administration will protect reproductive rights. Among these goals are funding Planned Parenthood, protecting doctors and staff who perform abortions, and upholding Roe v. Wade. The section “Women’s Rights” covers everything from the #metoo movement and female leadership to maternity leave. In the past, Williamson has been criticized for suggesting a reflection period before pursuing an abortion, but has stayed consistent on her pro-choice stance.
These four candidates are women advocating for women. Although there are some differences between their stances, they all support women’s rights to choose regarding reproductive rights, equal pay for women, and more comprehensive healthcare. Use this information to inform your vote in the 2020 election, and together we could make history by putting a woman in the Oval Office.