The 2020 Missouri Democratic primary is one week away. Do you know the candidates, and more important, do you know where they stand on important issues such as education, gun control, health care, labor and the military?
By Caleb Sprous
On Tuesday, March 10, Missouri voters will be able to cast their votes for the Democratic nominee for president, with voting across the state to take place from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
A poll of Missouri voters conducted Jan. 20 to 21 by Remington Research Group, which has an average margin of error of 4.9 points, showed former Vice President Joe Biden leading at 39%, followed by former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg at 14%, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 9%, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 7%. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar who had a slight lead over Sanders at 8% and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who was trailing closely behind Sanders at 6%, both announced on March 1 that they were suspending their campaigns, both promptly throwing their support behind Biden. Still, this year’s slate of candidates is in stark contrast to the one in 2016, in which Missouri democrats cast votes between only two contenders: Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. So, who are the candidates?
Biden, no stranger to presidential campaigns, has run for president on two previous occasions, in 1988 and 2008. Due to his centrist platform, many have contended that the former vice president has the greatest chance of defeating Republican incumbent Donald J. Trump in the November general election.
Warren, who often proclaims, “I have a plan for that,” has a broad progressive platform with many detailed plans for a variety of voter issues.
Sanders, the Independent from Vermont, is a prominent political figure who is noted for his Democratic Socialist ideology, which has drastically grown in popularity since he last ran for president four years ago.
Bloomberg, the billionaire businessman and former mayor of New York, has experienced ongoing backlash over the city’s “stop and frisk” policies, enforced under his administration. He is currently spending millions of his own fortune on political advertising. However, because his is a late-entry campaign for president, his position on a range of issues remains unknown.
Biden has stated support for two years of free community college and student debt relief for teachers through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
Warren supports tuition-free public college debt relief and forgiveness for student loans. She also wants to see universal child care, a form of socialized child care, and universal pre-kindergarten.
Sanders supports tuition-free public college, debt relief and forgiveness for student loans. He also has proposals for universal child care and universal-pre-kindergarten.
On Climate Change
Biden partially supports the Green New Deal, a comprehensive bill that would drastically transform the infrastructure of the United States to eliminate carbon emissions by switching to a combination of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power. The deadline set by the Green New Deal is 2030, but Biden proposes extending the deadline to 2050. He also supports the U.S. rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, a deal among most nations (except Iran and Turkey) to combat climate change.
Warren fully supports the Green New Deal and rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement. Warren has also stated support for a carbon emissions tax, as well as a complete ban on fracking.
Like Warren, Sanders supports the Green New Deal, rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and bans on fracking.
Bloomberg does not support The Green New Deal, but does support a tax on carbon emissions. He has stated he would not ban fracking.
On Gun Control
Biden supports universal background checks and a ban on assault-style weapons to be enforced through voluntary gun buybacks. However, the former Vice President does not support requiring licenses for firearms.
Like Biden, Warren supports universal background checks, a ban on assault-style weapons, and voluntary gun buybacks. However, Warren supports licenses for firearms.
Sanders supports universalbackground checks, bans on assault-style weapons, and voluntary gun buybacks. Notably, Sanders only supports requiring gun licenses for assault weapons.
Bloomberg supports universal background checks, bans on assault-style weapons, voluntary gun buybacks, and licensing for firearms.
On Health Care
On healthcare, Biden does not support eliminating private insurance, nor does he support a single-payer health care system, typically referred to as Medicare for All. Instead, Biden proposes a public health insurance option, which would allow individuals to pay to be enrolled in a version of Medicare. Biden has called this “Medicare for those who want it.”
When it comes to health care, Warren has been a strong supporter of a single-payer system. Her version of Medicare for All includes wealth tax on the richest 1% to finance the system. Warren has stated that she would move toward the single-payer system progressively through her presidency, starting with an expansive public option buy-in, much like what Biden has proposed, but moving toward the single-payer system in her third year of her presidency.
Sanders is a strong advocate for universal health care. The Vermont Independent proposes expansive health care reform through his version of Medicare for All. Sanders is calling for a health care system financed by increases on the current income tax rates of certain income brackets, but contends that costs will ultimately decrease for households since his proposal will eliminate premiums, deductibles and nearly all health care-related costs.
Bloomberg supports a public health insurance option, via a single-payer health care system. He has stated he is open to importing prescription drugs from Canada.
When it comes to labor, Biden supports raising the federal minimum wage to $15, paid sick and family leave, and limiting right-to-work laws.
Warren also wants to see the federal minimum wage increase to $15, paid family and sick leave, as well as limit right-to-work laws. She partially supports a federal job guarantee; and is open to a universal basic income, which is the redistribution of wealth to lower-income households, or as proposed by former presidential contender Andrew Yang, a monthly payment of $1,000 to all households.
Sanders supports raising the minimum wage to $15, paid family and sick leave, and a comprehensive federal jobs guarantee provided through the Green New Deal. Sanders has stated he does not support universal basic income.
Bloomberg supports raising the federal minimum wage to $15, as well as paid family leave. However, he does not support paid sick leave.
On the Military
Biden, a Gold Star father, has pledged to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by the end of his first term, but supports military intervention in Syria, as well as drone strikes. Biden has stated he does not support decreasing the annual military defense budget.
Warren has stated she would withdraw troops from Afghanistan by the end of her first term. However, she has not disclosed whether she supports military intervention in Syria, and has proposed cutting the current defense budget.
Sanders has stated he would withdraw troops from Afghanistan by the end of his first term, but does not support military intervention in Syria. Sanders has proposed cuts to the defense budget.
There are many online resources for Missouri voters to access in order to prepare for this Tuesday’s Presidential Primary. In addition to each candidate’s official campaign websites and other online sources, voters can go to isidewith.com to complete surveys that claim to match each participant’s beliefs to the candidate who reflects their views the most.