“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
(For info on the 2019 General Election, visit Student News Daily’s General Election page.)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Revised 9/13/19 – this page is a work in progress)
- The Primary Candidates
- Democratic Primary Debates – Dates
- Democratic Primary Debates – Questions (includes student worksheet)
- Primary Elections
- Candidate links
- The Candidates on the Issues (includes student worksheets – to be posted when Democratic candidate is chosen)
- Presidential Debates (includes student worksheet)
- Party Platforms (includes student worksheet)
- Conservative vs. Liberal Beliefs
- 2020 Election Maps, Polls and Editorials
- The Electoral College
- Swing States
THE PRIMARY CANDIDATES:
The following 25 Democrats, most of whom are current or former elected officials, have filed to run for president with the Federal Election Commission or announced exploratory committees.
(See the latest Democratic presidential primary polls at realclearpolitics.)
- Michael Bennet, 54, U.S. senator from Colorado
- Joe Biden, 76, former U.S. vice president under President Barack Obama
- Bill de Blasio, 58, mayor of New York City
- Cory Booker, 50, a U.S. senator from New Jersey
- Steve Bullock, 53, the governor of Montana
- Pete Buttigieg, 37, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana
- Julián Castro, 44, a former U.S. secretary of housing and urban development and San Antonio mayor
- John Delaney, 56, a former U.S. representative from Maryland
- Tulsi Gabbard, 38, a U.S. representative from Hawaii
Kirsten Gillibrand, 52, a U.S. senator from New York. Sen. Gillibrand dropped out of the race on Aug. 28, 2019 and said she would endorse someone soon, preferably a woman. Mike Gravel , 89, a former U.S. senator from Alaska. Gravel dropped out of the race on Aug. 6, 2019 and endorsed both Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard for president.
- Kamala Harris, 54, a U.S. senator from California
John Hickenlooper, 67, a former governor of Colorado, Gov. Hickenlooper dropped out of the race on Aug. 15, 2019, and said he will consider a possible run for senator Jay Inslee, 68, the governor of Washington, Gov. Inslee dropped out of the race on Aug. 21, 2019 and said he would instead seek a third term as governor
- Amy Klobuchar, 59, a U.S. senator from Minnesota
- Wayne Messam, 45, the mayor of Miramar, Florida
Seth Moulton , 40, a U.S. representative from Massachusetts. Rep. Moulton dropped out on Aug. 23, 2019. He said, “I think it’s evident that this is now a three-way race between Biden, Warren and Sanders, and really it’s a debate about how far left the party should go.”
- Beto O’Rourke, 46, former U.S. representative from Texas
- Tim Ryan, 46, a U.S. representative from Ohio
- Bernie Sanders, 77, an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats and identifies himself as a Democratic Socialist, Vermont senator
- Joe Sestak, 67, a former U.S. representative from Pennsylvania and three-star U.S. Navy admiral
- Tom Steyer, 62, founder of Farallon Capital Management
- Elizabeth Warren, 70, U.S. senator from Massachusetts
- Marianne Williamson, 67, a New Age author and lecturer
- Andrew Yang, 44, entrepreneur, attorney, and philanthropist from New York. His signature policy is a plan for universal basic income in which the government gives $1,000 a month to every American adult over age 18.
Questions (The Candidates):
1. List 3 issues you believe are important to consider in this election.
2. Visit the campaign websites and YouTube pages for Democratic and Republican candidates for president to learn where they stand on the issues. (Click on the candidate’s name above or, do an internet search for: “name of candidate official website” “name of candidate youtube page” or “name of candidate Instagram”)
What does each candidate say they would do to address each issue? (What solutions does each candidate propose?)
Read about where the Democratic candidates stand on the issues at politico.com.
3. What do you think is the best way to solve the illegal immigration crisis? Have open borders and give aid and healthcare to all who come? Close the border and enforce the laws?
Consider this: Some people vote for a candidate based on the person’s age, sex, race or religion. Some vote for a candidate because he/she is an interesting or dynamic speaker, is attractive, or looks like a leader. Before you are eligible to vote, decide that you will vote for a candidate based on his/her positions on the issues.
DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY DEBATES – Dates:
Note: There are no Republican primary debates scheduled. The incumbent, President Donald J. Trump, is the assumed nominee.
The Democratic Primary debate schedule is as follows (additional details will be posted when available):
FIRST DEBATE: June 26 & 27, 2019, Miami, Florida
NBC News Democratic Primary Debate- Aired On: NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo
Moderators: Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow and José Diaz-Balart
Night 1 – June 26, 2019
Watch Full Video
Candidates Bill de Blasio, Tim Ryan, Julian Castro, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, John Delaney
Night 2 – June 27, 2019
Watch Full Video
Candidates Marianne Williamson, John Hickenlooper, Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet, Eric Swalwell
SECOND DEBATE: July 30 & 31, 2019, Detroit, Michigan
CNN Democratic Primary Debate – Aired On: CNN, CNN International, and CNN en Español
Moderators: Dana Bash, Don Lemon, and Jake Tapper
Night 1: Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Watch the 5 parts of night one’s debate at CNN
Candidates: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Steve Bullock, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan, and Marianne Williamson
Qualifications: A candidate will need to either have at least 1 percent support in three qualifying polls or provide evidence of at least 65,000 individual donations from a minimum of 200 different donors in at least 20 states.
Night 2: Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Watch the 5 parts of night two’s debate at CNN
Candidates: Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet, Bill de Blasio, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Gov. Jay Inslee
THIRD DEBATE: September 12
& potentially 13, 2019, Houston, TX
ABC News Democratic Primary Debate – Aired On: ABC, Univision. Watch the 3rd debate at: ABC News
Moderators: Jorge Ramos, Linsey Davis, George Stephanopoulos, and David Muir
Candidates: Vox reports: Currently, nine candidates have qualified for debate No. 3: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, and Andrew Yang. Julián Castro* qualified later and did participate.
Three more candidates — *
Julián Castro, Tom Steyer, and Tulsi Gabbard — have made some significant progress toward qualifying, though it’s not clear if they’ll make it. The rest of the field is not close to qualifying. The deadline to qualify is Wednesday, August 28.
However, candidates who narrowly fail to qualify for September’s third debate might get another chance in October. The DNC is using the same qualification rules for both events, but candidates will have an extra month or so to get more donations or show improvement in polls, as Politico’s Zach Montellaro reported.
Qualifications: A candidate will need to either have at least 2 percent support in three qualifying polls, AND provide evidence of at least 130,000 individual donations from a minimum of 400 different donors in at least 20 states.
FOURTH DEBATE: October 15 (and possibley October 16), 2019, Location: Ohio
Sponsors: Co-hosted by The New York Times and CNN, Aired On: CNN
Moderators: Marc Lacey of The Times, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett
Qualifications: To qualify for the debate, according to the DNC, candidates must meet a 2 percent polling threshold in at least four qualifying polls; they must also have a minimum of 130,000 unique donors, and 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 U.S. states.
Eleven candidates have qualified for the debate so far, according to The Times. They are: former Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, environmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
(Per a Sept. 13 Vox report: While the September debate put 10 of the leading Democrats in the 2020 primary on stage together for one three-hour marathon debate, already 11 Democratic candidates have qualified for the October debate, and candidates have even more time to make it in. That might mean the debates will go back to being split between two nights.)
*The numbers, dates, locations, sponsors, moderators and candidates for further Democratic presidential primary debates will be updated when information becomes available.
DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY DEBATES – Questions:
Directions: Watch a debate between the candidates. Pay attention to the questions the moderator asks. Fill in the attached “Primary Debate” chart.
1. List the candidates who took part in this debate.
2. List three questions asked by the moderator(s).
3. Which question do you think was the most important? Explain your choice.
4. For which question(s) did one or more candidates not give a direct answer, or not clearly answer the question?
5. A debate moderator’s role is to act as a neutral participant in a debate, to hold participants to time limits and to try to keep them from straying off the topic of the questions being raised in the debate. Do you think the moderator(s) in this debate fulfilled this role? Explain your answer.
6. a) Do you think the questions chosen by the moderator(s) helped viewers understand the candidates’ positions on foreign and domestic issues? Explain your answer.
b) Were the moderator’s questions fair to every candidate? Explain your answer.
Or, print the questions in a PDF worksheet “Democratic Primary Debates“:
The Democratic and Republican primary elections will be held in the states from February-June 2020. For a list of dates, go to Wikipedia:
An excellent video “Primary Elections Explained”
(produced by C. G. P. Grey and posted at YouTube — due to the fact that many school districts restrict access to YouTube, we include the full video below)
CONVENTIONS (and Brokered Conventions):
After the primary elections, party delegates officially choose the nominees at the national conventions held from July to August 2020.
The 2020 Democratic National Convention will be held July 13–16, 2020, in Milwaukee, WI.
The 2020 Republican National Convention will be held August 24-27, 2020 in Charlotte, NC.
The 2020 Libertarian Party Convention will be held on May 22-25, 2020 in Austin, TX.
What is a contested or brokered convention? Read about it in an article from 2015:
GOP Preparing for Contested Convention
What is a superdelegate? Read about it in an article from 2016:
Some superdelegates vow to back Clinton even if Sanders wins NY primary
(NOTE: The U.S. is a federal republic, so citizens do not directly elect the president and vice president. Instead, delegates (and superdelegates in the Democratic party) for each political party meet to vote on which people will become their party’s candidates.
After the presidential election is held in November, electors in the Electoral College, acting as representatives of the citizens, cast their votes for president. See “The Electoral College” section for more info.)
- Republican Donald Trump – campaign page and youtube page
- Democrat ??? – campaign page and youtube page (to be posted when known)
- Libertarian ??? – campaign page and youtube page (to be posted when known) See list of Libertarian party primary candidates at wikipedia
- Green Party ??? – campaign page and youtube page See list of Green Party primary candidates at wikipedia
***NOTE TO STUDENTS***
To really understand the candidates’ proposals/plans for how they will address the issues important to America today, you need to listen to what they say, not what the news media and political analysts say about them. Take some time to watch at least one speech by each candidate on a specific issue such as illegal immigration or job creation.
ABOUT THIRD PARTIES: The U.S. has a two-party system, which distinguishes American government from most other democracies. Most Western democracies, particularly those in Europe, have multiparty elections and parliaments, but the American government traditionally has had a two-party system. Since the Civil War the two parties have been the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.
From time to time, third parties have gained traction with the electorate, most recently the Reform Party, led by Ross Perot, who won 19% of the popular vote in the 1992 presidential election. Third parties can sometimes push the major parties to consider their position on a specific issue (generally when they believe the party is not taking a strong enough stand, or is taking a moderate position on the issue). Few third-party candidates hold elected office at the state or national level. There are dozens of “third parties” in the U.S. including the Constitution Party (conservative), the Green Party (liberal) and the Libertarian Party (in general socially liberal, fiscally conservative). Read more at wikipedia.
THE CANDIDATES ON THE ISSUES:
Some people vote for a candidate based on the person’s age, sex, race or religion. Some vote for a candidate because he/she is an interesting or dynamic speaker, is attractive, or looks like a leader.
Before you are eligible to vote, decide that you will vote for a candidate based on his/her positions on the issues, and who you think will enact policies that are best for the country, not just you personally. (e.g. many college students say they will vote for the candidate who ensures they will not have huge student loan debt – would that be enough of a reason to elect a person president? Ask a parent.)
1. Three of the top issues important to voters include: TO BE POSTED WHEN DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE IS NOMINATED. Visit the campaign website for each candidate and find the positions/issues page. Complete the charts on the candidates and the issues (posted when Democratic presidential nominee is known):
Worksheet #1: Top 3 issues most important to voters
Worksheet #2: Top 3 issues most important to you
2. Consider the candidates’ positions from the charts. Which candidate most lines up with your views?
NOTE: 2020 Party Platform links to be posted when available in Summer 2020. Until then, all questions pertain to the 2016 platforms.
A National Platform is the official statement of a political party’s position on a wide variety of issues. Each issue included in the platform is a “plank.”
Party platforms and their planks are very important to the electoral process: They give the candidates a clear political position with which they can campaign. They give voters a sense of what the candidates believe in, the issues they think are important, and how – if elected – they will address them.
Both of the nation’s major political parties create platforms in advance of national elections so that voters have a clear view of the agenda the party will pursue if its members are elected to office. (A new Platform is adopted every four years by both the Democratic and Republican parties and is generally approved during the party’s national convention.)
- 2016 Republican Party Platform
- 2016 Democratic Party Platform
- 2018 Libertarian Party platform
- 2016 Green Party platform
- 2016 Constitution Party Platform
Read a November 3rd Daily News Article “Comparison of Party Platforms Highlights Stark Differences.” View all current and previous party platforms at The American Presidency Project.
Questions (Party Platforms):
1. A preamble is an introductory and expressionary statement in a document that explains the document’s purpose and underlying philosophy. Read the Preamble to each party’s 2016 Platform. (Democratic Preamble, Republican Preamble) Based on the Preamble:
- How would you describe the main focus of each party?
- How would you describe the overall tone of each party?
Worksheet: “Party Platform Comparison.” How specific or detailed is each party on its positions regarding the issues? Complete the worksheet. Then answer a, b and c below. View the pdf worksheet.
- For each issue, explain if you believe the party was specific or vague in stating its position. Why do you think this is so?
- What role does each party believe the government should take? (What type of government action and/or legislation, if any, does each party support?)
- For these issues, which party’s position lines up with your own? Ask a parent the same question.
3. Based on each Platform, what issues do you think are most important to each party? (Economic, Social, Foreign policy, National Security…) Explain your answer.
CONSERVATIVE vs. LIBERAL BELIEFS:
Check out StudentNewsDaily’s “Conservative vs. Liberal Beliefs” chart. [NOTE: This is a general overview of the conservative and liberal positions on the issues.]
QUESTION (Conservative vs. Liberal Beliefs):
Read through the chart. For each issue, state which position best represents your beliefs and explain why.
The central focus of a debate should be to provide voters with information they need to measure the suitability of the candidates for office. The Commission on Presidential Debates was established in 1987 by the Democratic and Republican Parties and has sponsored all presidential and vice presidential general election debates since 1988.
Watch each debate. Pay attention to the questions the moderator asks. View the “Presidential Debate” PDF worksheet for the questions below:
Questions (Presidential Debates):
1. List three questions asked by the moderator.
2. Which question do you think was the most important? Explain your choice.
3. For which question(s) did one or more candidates not give a direct answer, or not clearly answer the question?
4. A debate moderator’s role is to act as a neutral participant in a debate, to hold participants to time limits and to try to keep them from straying off the topic of the questions being raised in the debate. Do you think the moderator in this debate fulfilled this role? Explain your answer.
5. Do you think the questions chosen by the moderator helped viewers understand the candidates’ positions on foreign and domestic issues? Explain your answer.
6. Do you think the moderator’s questions were fair to every candidate? Explain your answer.
The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) will sponsor the debates this fall. The formats to be announced in 2020 when scheduled.
First presidential debate and all following:
To be posted when announced.
Vice presidential debate and all following:
To be posted when announced.
2020 ELECTION MAPS, POLLS and EDITORIALS:
- Primary polls: realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latest_polls/president
Editorials posted at Student News Daily:
- Facebook Employees Asked Zuckerberg If They Should Try to Stop Trump
- Don’t Vote if You Didn’t Do Your Homework
- How Tampering with Search Engines Could Swing an Election
- GE CEO: Bernie Sanders says we’re ‘destroying the moral fabric’ of America. He’s wrong.
- The Veterans Scandal on Bernie Sanders’s Watch
THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE:
Electoral Votes: Each state has a certain number of electoral votes. The more people who live in your state, the more electoral votes your state gets. In 48 of the states, the candidate who gets the most votes gets all the electoral votes for that state. Nebraska and Maine do not follow the winner-take-all rule – there could be a split of electoral votes among candidates through a proportional allocation of votes. The first candidate to win 270 electoral votes becomes the President.
- The Electoral College was established by the U.S. Constitution (Article II, Section 1, Clause 2). It specifies how many electors each state is entitled to have and that each state’s legislature decides how its electors are to be chosen. U.S. territories are not represented in the Electoral College. From WSJ: “This Electoral College was built into the U.S. Constitution because the country’s founders were skeptical about having elections determined by direct popular will and also wanted to ensure small states had a voice in national affairs.”
- The Electoral College is the institution that officially elects the President and Vice President of the United States every four years.
- The Electoral College consists of popularly elected representatives (electors) who formally elect the President and Vice President of the United States.
- The Electoral College is an example of an indirect election.
- The total number of U.S. electoral votes is 538, which is the sum of the nation’s 435 Representatives, 100 Senators, and 3 electors given to the District of Columbia. (i.e. Each state gets one elector per member of Congress.) e.g. Alaska gets three electoral votes, because there are two senators and one representative in Congress from that state. California gets 55 electoral votes, because there are two senators and 53 representatives in Congress from that state.
- A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the presidency – it’s half of 538, plus one.
- A candidate who wins the majority of votes in a state gets all its electoral votes. The exceptions to this rule are Nebraska and Maine, where the state winner gets the two electoral votes derived from the two senators, while the candidate who wins each congressional district gets the electoral vote derived from that representative.
- Technically, the election of the president of the United States takes place during a joint session of Congress on January 6th following Election Day. That’s when members of the House and Senate meet in the House chamber to preside over the counting of electors’ votes. The Twelfth Amendment mandates that the Congress assemble in joint session to count the electoral votes and declare the winners of the election. The session is ordinarily required to take place on January 6 in the calendar year immediately following the meetings of the presidential electors. Since the Twentieth Amendment, the newly elected House declares the winner of the election. In elections before 1936, the outgoing House counted the electoral votes. (from wikipedia)
How many Presidential candidates lost the popular vote but won the election by winning the electoral college vote?
- John Quincy Adams 1824 (elected by Congress) over Andrew Jackson
- Rutherford B Hayes 1876 (declared the Electoral College winner by an Electoral Commission) over Samuel J Tilden
- Benjamin Harrison 1888 won over Grover Cleveland
- George W. Bush 2000 (After disputed Florida electors were awarded to him by Supreme Court Ruling) over Al Gore. The final recount showed that Bush won.
- NOTE: Samuel Tilden actually won more than half of the popular vote. The others only won a plurality [more votes than the other candidate, but not more than half the votes]. (from wikianswers)
A swing state, also referred to as a battleground state (or purple state because it is not majority Democratic “Blue State” or Republican “Red State”) is a state in which no single candidate or party has overwhelming support in securing that state’s electoral college votes. Such states are targets of both major political parties in presidential elections, since winning these states is the best opportunity for a party to gain electoral votes. Non-swing states are sometimes called safe states, because one candidate has strong enough support that he or she can safely assume that he or she will win the state’s votes. (from wikipedia)
- For more on the electoral college visit the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
- Visit the U.S. National Archives page “Frequently Asked Questions” regarding the Electoral College and electors.
- View a map of electoral college votes by state at: 270towin.com
- Take the “Electoral College Quiz” at: 270towin.com/quiz
Questions (The Electoral College):
1. How many electoral votes does your state have?
2. Why is your vote meaningful under the electoral college system?
Compare the cartoon posted below to several on the same topic from the 2016 primaries: