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Where They Stand: Five Top Issues for Democratic Candidates

(Pictured) Sen. Bernie Sanders at a Myrtle Beach rally Aug. 28, 2019

The current polling numbers show Joe Biden with a HUGE lead in the South Carolina Democratic Presidential primary. There are five MAJOR issues that primary voters are concerned with as they prepare to head to the polls next month. These issues are Healthcare, the Environment, Gun Control Legislation, Free College Tuition and finally, Who Can Beat Donald Trump.

Where do the candidates stand? Let’s take a look at these issues and where the candidates stand on each.


As you can see, most Democratic candidates support some kind of public option, which would permit government subsidized healthcare while allowing individuals to keep their current healthcare plan if they want to do so.   This is especially appealing to those employed in the healthcare industry because it presumably would affect their employment status.

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren support a Medicare for All plan that would increase taxes to provide this type of healthcare, placing this burden on upper income taxpayers. This has resulted in harsh criticism by Republicans and even some Democratic candidates who feel it would overburden taxpayers.

The Environment

Most Democratic voters cite Climate change as a top priority. At issue is just how much in financial resources we should put towards making this a priority.

While all of the top tier Democratic candidates have expressed support for the Green New Deal, only Bernie Sanders has proposed significant ($15 billion over 10 years) government spending to support this. Other candidates have purposed a more modest $1-4 trillion over this same time period.

Each candidate also supports re-joining the Paris Climate Accords as a means of combating Climate Change on a global scale.

Gun Control Reform

Getting guns off the street has become a priority for Democratic candidates.   And while Republicans will push the NRA lie that “ ______ is coming for your guns”, many candidates are proposing common sense gun reform which would eliminate assault style weapons, close gun show loopholes and offer buyback programs that would get more guns off the street.

Of those currently running, Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer admit to owning some kind of firearm. None of these could be classified as an assault weapon, thereby negating the NRA talking point.

Among the proposals for gun reform are Universal Background Checks, Federal licensing of firearms (Opposed by Michael Bennet), enforcing Red Flag Laws for those accused of domestic violence, and using an Executive Order to mandate Gun Control if Congress fails to act.

Each of the candidates has gone on record as supporting this.

Free College Education

While all of the candidates support some form of free college education, they disagree as to the extent. While Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren support free education for all, the other candidates feel that it should be restricted to the economically disadvantaged, and only limited to two-year college degrees.

Sanders also splits when it comes to erasing college debt. His proposal would eliminate all debt, regardless of income while Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Marianne Williamson would limit it to only low- and middle-income families.

The other candidates, including current front-runner Joe Biden are proposing varying types of legislation aimed at reducing student debt and making college more affordable.

Beating Donald Trump

The four top-tier Democratic candidates, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg are each polling higher than Donald Trump should the election be held today. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, a recent entry into the race, has also seen his numbers pull to within the margin of error.

That being said, the candidates with the best chance of winning are Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. This will likely embolden the Bernie-backers who felt slighted during the 2016 campaign, and could result in a similar situation where they used their write-in option, or simply stayed home.

Trump supporters are no doubt hoping for this situation, because it was one of the key components in his 2016 “victory”.

So, there you have it. Now, it’s up to you to Take a Stand and vote in the Democratic Presidential Primary Saturday, Feb. 29. Registration deadline is January 30.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg                         

Above Photos from 2019: Pete Buttigieg in Conway Sept 16, Sen. Cory Booker in Bucksport Aug 5, Marianne Williamson in Conway July 25, Former Vice President Joe Biden at the Gallivants Ferry Stump Sept 15
CJ Waldron is an adjunct professor at Horry Georgetown Technical College and a contributing Writer for the Horry County Democratic Party where he covers a variety of Democratic issues, news, and commentary. Opinions and viewpoints expressed in his articles are solely his own.
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