- Joe Biden, who represented Delaware in the Senate from 1973 to 2009 and served as Vice President of the United States from 2009 to 2017 under Barack Obama, currently leads the Democratic field with a national polling average of 28.7%. However, in the recent Iowa Democratic Caucus, Biden came in fourth place, receiving 15.8% of the vote and six of the forty-one delegates for the Democratic National Convention. Some of Biden’s policy positions include the federal decriminalization but not legalization of marijuana, building upon the Affordable Care Act for healthcare which would provide both a private and public option for health insurance and support for the Green New Deal, a comprehensive plan that aims to help battle climate change.
- Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic-socialist who campaigned for the Democratic nomination in 2016 and currently represents Vermont in the Senate as an independent, is in second place in the democratic field and has a polling average of 23.3%. In the Iowa Caucus, Sanders won the popular vote by 1.6% with 26.6% of the vote but received the second most delegates at 12 due to the caucus system. Some of Sanders’s key policies include a wealth tax on those who have net-worths above 32 million dollars, canceling student loan debt, making public universities, colleges, and trade schools free for all, support for the Green New Deal which Sanders himself co-wrote, and support for the Medicare for All plan which would essentially get rid of private insurance in favor of a public option.
- Currently representing Massachusetts in the Senate, Elizabeth Warren sits in third place in the democratic field with a polling average of 14.9%. Warren came in third in the Iowa Caucus, earning 20.2% of the popular vote and eight of the forty-one delegates. Some of Warren’s key policies include support for the Green New Deal to help with climate change, a 2% tax on wealth over fifty million dollars and a 6% tax on wealth over one billion dollars, support for the Medicare for All plan, the elimination of the electoral college, and the elimination of private prisons.
- Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire who served as mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013, is currently in fourth place in the polls with a polling average of 8%. Despite spending 300 million dollars on ads for his campaign, Bloomberg only received 0.1% of the popular vote in Iowa, earning him no delegates; however, his campaign is planning to double its ad spending even after his disappointing performance. Some of Bloomberg’s main policies include the federal decriminalization but not legalization of marijuana, support for the Green New Deal, expansion of health care coverage by building on the Affordable Care Act, adjusting taxes on capital gains, and implementing a 5% surtax on individuals making over 5 million dollars a year.
- Pete Buttigieg, a 38-year-old veteran who served as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana from 2012 to 2020 and the first major presidential candidate to be openly gay, is currently in fifth place in the democratic field with a polling average of 6.7%. Despite his national polling numbers, he had an excellent performance in the Iowa Caucus, earning the most delegates out of all the candidates at thirteen and coming in second place in the popular vote, with 25% of caucus-goers supporting him. Buttigieg, or “Mayor Pete” as he is affectionately referred to in South Bend, attended Harvard University and was a Rhodes Scholar. Some of Buttigieg’s policies include a Medicare for All Who Want it Plan which would create a public option to compete with existing private health insurance, support for the Green New Deal, raising the federal minimum wage to fifteen dollars, and political representation for Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.
- Andrew Yang, who was named a Champion of Change in 2012 and a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship in 2015 by President Obama, ran a non-profit called Venture for America that created thousands of jobs and helped many businesses start-up before launching his campaign and currently sits in sixth place in the polls, with a polling average of 4.7%. Despite earning only 1% of the popular vote in Iowa and no delegates, Yang views his performance in the state as a success as he beat senators, billionaires, and former governors. Many of Yang’s innovative policies are focused on solving the problems that automation and artificial intelligence are creating, such as the loss of over four million manufacturing jobs in America, and include a universal basic income of one thousand dollars per month to every United States citizen, human-centered capitalism, which would prioritize the wellbeing of Americans rather than the profits of companies, and a Medicare For All plan, which would create a public option in addition to existing private insurance and would aim to lower healthcare costs by controlling the prices of prescription drugs, investing in new technology, and focusing on preventative care. Yang’s website also includes other unique policies such as giving Americans one hundred “Democracy Dollars” per year specifically for use in elections to drown out lobbying money by a ratio of four to one, ranked-choice voting, the decriminalization but not legalization of opiates (which would make it a crime to deal these drugs but not to possess or use them) to encourage treatment for addicts rather than imprisonment, safe injection sites, and an environmental plan that would include investment into research for climate solutions such as geoengineering and the expansion of nuclear power.
- Amy Klobuchar, who represents Minnesota in the Senate and was the first elected female senator in her state’s history, is currently in seventh place in the polls, with a polling average of 3.9%. A Yale University graduate, she obtained a Law degree from UChicago and was elected as the county prosecutor for Minnesota’s most populous county. Klobuchar came in fifth place in the Iowa Caucus, earning one delegate and 12.3% of the popular vote. On the 2020 campaign trail, some of her key policies include support for the Green New Deal, the expansion of health care coverage through a public option in addition to private insurance, the federal legalization of marijuana, and a federal assaults weapon ban with a buyback program.