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Your Guide to Picking the Right Presidential Candidate

If you don’t live under a rock, you probably know that we have a general election coming up in the next year (November 5, 2020.) This means that (hopefully) you’ll be voting. All of you who are planning on voting are probably overwhelmed with the number of choices there are, especially for the Democratic Party. Currently, there are 24 (yes, 24) candidates competing for the Democratic nomination and that means 24 different platforms, 24 beliefs and 24 different individuals who want your vote. I’m here to inform you on the platforms of the top six out of these candidates so that come November, your ballot box isn’t empty and you feel confident in who you voted for. 


Joe Biden

You may know him as former President Barack Obama’s vice president, or more recently as the man in the middle of the Trump/Ukraine love triangle. Regardless, Biden’s name recognition is through the roof, placing him at the top of this and many other lists and polls. However, what’s less known is where he stands on some of the biggest issues, so let’s get into it, shall we? Biden is adamant that at least two years of college should be free for everyone but also doesn’t believe in Medicare for all. He wants to keep the troops deployed worldwide, specifically the Middle East and also wants to pay farmers across the country to adopt climate-friendly agricultural practices. These are just a few of the policies that Biden hopes to work on passing if elected in 2020. 

Elizabeth Warren

One of Massachusetts’s well-known senators, Elizabeth Warren is winning student votes by the millions. This may be because of her radically progressive ideas or her ability to relate to the struggles many Americans face. Warren has continually pushed for free college which is another reason she is loved and supported by many students. However, her other platform ideologies such as abolishing the electoral college, legalizing marijuana and banning all assault weapons isolate her from those who aren’t extremely progressive. She also supports bringing the deployed troops home from their current assignments, raising taxes on the 1%, and increasing federal spending on housing for low-income families—all of which are very progressive beliefs. These can be a good or bad things depending on which side of the aisle you’re on. 

Bernie Sanders

Warren’s most similar counterpart is arguably Bernie Sanders. Straight out of Vermont, Sanders made a name for himself running in the Democratic primary in the 2016 election. Sanders and Warren split the student vote due to their similar platforms including free college, eliminating the electoral college and legalizing marijuana. However, Sanders also demands free meals for all schools nationwide and wants to give those with felonies or criminal records voting rights after they serve their sentences. Canceling all student debt, voluntary gun buyback programs and Medicare for all are just a few more of the policies that Sanders will work to put in place if elected. 

Pete Buttigieg

Known as an LGTBQ+ icon and mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg literally came out of nowhere and is now one of the top contenders for the DNC nomination. He has built up a loyal fanbase who recognizes the reality of changing this country and who understand the grueling task before the next president. Many assume that just because Buttigieg advocates heavily for LGTBQ+ rights that he is extremely progressive, which is not the case. Buttigieg is in favor of creating a completely new health insurance system that does not include Medicare or Medicaid. He also believes in mandatory gun licensing programs rather than fully outlawing guns along with canceling portions of student debt and ending offshore drilling. Finally, the South Bend native wants to increase aid for college students so debt is preventable.

Kamala Harris

Known for her decades of work in the federal government along with her distinguished law career, Kamala Harris has a real shot at becoming the first female president (if she beats Warren that is). However, Harris has always received backlash from African-Americans for always leaning too right in the left aisle on social issues. Here’s what she really thinks: subsidies for low-income renters and homeowners, bans on assault weapons, endorses less consumption of meat and better tax benefits for the lower and middle class. Harris also advocates for repealing corporate income taxes, boosting teacher pay and expanding the college debt relief program. So, to those thinking that Harris is too moderate for this election, think again.

Beto O’Rourke

Last but not least, the Texas representative who went viral on Twitter, Beto O’Rourke. Last year, O’Rourke became the poster boy of gun control after delivering a speech calling out Congress and President Trump for their inability to prevent the Majorie Stoneman Douglass High School shooting. After receiving huge amounts of praise and support, O’Rourke launched his presidential campaign speaking on controversial and hard-hitting issues. For example, he believes that felons should have voting rights in prison, wants to begin to tear down the wall that Trump began building, hopes to legalize marijuana and believes that our nation’s infrastructure should be paid through the taxes of the 1%. O’Rourke is passionate that if elected to office he can be moderate enough to pass laws that usually take years to be decided on.

I know that was a lot of reading but I hope you feel less overwhelmed by the ridiculous amount of Democratic candidates running to govern our country in 2020! More importantly, I hope that by reading this, you feel more empowered and confident in order to vote. The most important thing you need to remember is to vote! No matter for who or for what just vote, because if you don’t, then you won’t feel represented or heard for four years, and who would want that? 

Merry is a third-year political science & economics double major at Boston University. She is a former fashion merchandising major and hopes to work in editorial fashion, PR, or social media post-graduation while also focusing on the journalistic aspects of both her majors. She currently contributes to a number of publications while simultaneously working as an editor at Her Campus BU. Merry was also previously the managing editor of Her Campus at VCU and worked as an editorial intern for Her Campus Media. Contact her at mariamgnebiyu@gmail.com & @merry.nebiyu on Instagram.
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