A High Schooler’s Guide to the Primaries

Kassie Araque, Feature Writer

The countdown to November has started and with the primaries less than a month away, many voters are realizing they aren’t familiar with their options. However, when selecting the best candidate to run for the 2020 presidential office, registered voters can use these descriptions as a foundation for their own research when seeking to become well informed as they cast their vote on March 3. 

Democratic Candidates

Michael Bennet, 55

WHO IS HE: Senator of Colorado, former superintendent for Colorado Public Schools. 

More moderate, known for seeking compromise. Crafted an immigration reform bill in 2013. 

SIGNATURE ISSUES: Modernizing the economy in technological fields like artificial intelligence and for increased infrastructure spending. Working towards new policies to preserve and clean the environment.




Joseph R. Biden Jr., 77

WHO IS HE: Former vice president; former senator from Delaware.

Known for down-to-earth personality and connecting with working-class citizens. Familiar and popular with voters.

SIGNATURE ISSUES: Economic protections for low-income workers in industries like manufacturing and fast food.

PLEASE NOTE: Has a reputation of questionable comments and actions towards women.



Michael R. Bloomberg, 77

WHO IS HE: Billionaire media executive; former mayor of New York City

More moderate on the Democratic spectrum. Has voiced disagreements with issues including the #MeToo movement, police tactics, and financial regulations.

SIGNATURE ISSUES: Gun control and climate change, but more moderate views on taxes.

PLEASE NOTE: Previously identified as Republican before switching over last October. Repeatedly changed platforms, views, and political parties with various elections.


Pete Buttigieg, 38

WHO IS HE: Military veteran, former mayor of South Bend, Ind.

Was the first candidate to suggest increasing the number of seats on the Supreme Court. He has taken no money from lobbyists or the fossil fuel industry.

SIGNATURE ISSUES: Focused on issues like climate change and economic opportunity.

PLEASE NOTE: Has no federal experience.



Tulsi Gabbard, 38

WHO IS SHE: Congresswoman from Hawaii; Army National Guard veteran; the youngest candidate running for the presidential office

Was also the first Hindu member and first Samoan-American voting member of Congress.

SIGNATURE ISSUES: Opposition to American military intervention overseas, including in countries like Syria.

PLEASE NOTE: Has made anti-gay statements and worked for an anti-gay advocacy group, but apologized.




Amy Klobuchar, 59

WHO IS SHE: Senator from Minnesota; former Hennepin County, Minn. attorney

Questioned Brett M. Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings. Passed more legislation than any other senator in late 2016.

SIGNATURE ISSUES: Combatted the opioid crisis and drug addiction, and addressed the high cost of prescription drugs.




Deval Patrick, 63

WHO IS HE: Former governor of Massachusetts; executive for a private investment firm

The second elected black governor. Focused on bringing people together and healing the country.

SIGNATURE ISSUES: Economic growth and innovation, fixed systems like taxes and immigration to align with the ‘American Dream’.




Bernie Sanders, 78

WHO IS HE: Senator from Vermont; former congressman

A self-described democratic socialist, runner-up in the 2016 Democratic primary.

SIGNATURE ISSUES: Universal healthcare, free college tuition





Tom Steyer, 62

WHO IS HE: Philanthropist; climate change activist 

Known for fighting for Trump’s impeachment. 

SIGNATURE ISSUES: Fighting climate change, promoting renewable energy.

PLEASE NOTE: Has no federal experience



Elizabeth Warren, 70

WHO IS SHE: Senator from Massachusetts; former Harvard professor

Passionate about the need for “big, structural change.” Has detailed plans to reshape the economy.

SIGNATURE ISSUES: Income inequality and protection of the middle class from big corporations

PLEASE NOTE: Released her DNA results to prove she had ancestry 6-10 generations ago and identified as Native American, but apologized after receiving backlash.




Republican Candidates

Donald J. Trump, 73

WHO IS HE: U.S. president; real estate developer; reality television star

Responsible for tax cuts that mostly benefited corporations and wealthy investors. Focused on undoing the policies of the Obama administration. 

SIGNATURE ISSUES: Restricting immigration and building a wall at the Mexican border; renegotiating or canceling international deals on trade, arms control, and climate change; withdrawing American troops from overseas.

PLEASE NOTE: Facing multiple legal investigations (Muller Report, Impeachment for seeking help from Ukraine to get re-elected by announcing an investigation on Biden and obstructing Congress although he was acquitted, paying off women he had affairs with such as Stormy Daniels), and repeatedly has made sexist comments toward women including his own daughter.


William F. Weld, 74

WHO IS HE: Former governor of Massachusetts; Former federal prosecutor

Ran for vice president of the Libertarian Party in 2016. Considers himself a voice for moderates and mainstream conservatives.

SIGNATURE ISSUES: Favors economic restraint, free trade, and immigration reform; endorses steps to legalize marijuana.




For more information on each candidate, click their names to be redirected to their official website. Also, please note that candidates tend to ‘change’ their views with the wants of the voters during elections.