First things first: this post gives much less air time to the Republican candidates than the Democratic candidates. My argument in defense for this disparity is that a) the few Republicans running besides President Trump seem irrelevant and b) Trump seems to be pretty known already.
The names and faces that I think are less known are the Democrats running. If you’re like, “I have no clue who the candidates are but I’m interested in knowing more about them,” here are some ideas of how to. Some of the ways might be interesting and helpful and others might be horribly boring. I will do my best to describe them in a way so that you can tell which ones are which for you.
On the other hand, if you’re like, “I’m waiting until the caucuses/the presidential nominations/election day/my 18th birthday/I’m not an American,” there’s a chance all of these links fall into the second category.
1. Short Overviews of Everybody (New York Times & The Atlantic)
(Warning: Both the New York Times and Atlantic–and the Washington Post below–only offer you a limited number of free articles before you have to pay.)
Both of these guides cover everybody. Democratic and Republican, those who are running, those who’ve dropped out, and those who definitely are not running even if there was speculation they would.
While they cover the same people, the two guides differ in tone.
The New York Times one is more on the serious side. For each candidate that’s running, it lists:
1) a quote of theirs
2) their signature issue
3) some piece of relevant info–about their political career, or how they’re doing in the race, or what kind of person they’re known as
4) a link to the New York Times’ individual candidate profile which then gives you much more info
The Atlantic’s guide is more snarky and not about policy. For each candidate, it answers a few questions about them:
1) Who are they?
2) Are they running?
3) Why do they want to run?
4) Who wants them to run?
5) Can they win the nomination?
And sometimes, 6) what else do we know? For example, the answer to this question for Elizabeth Warren was that she has a cool dog.
2. Long, In-depth Interviews (New York Times)
The New York Times recently published annoted transcripts of interviews with eight of the current Democratic candidates (Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Patrick, Sanders, Steyer, Warren, Yang) and one (Booker) who has now dropped out.
The other three Democratic candidates (Bennet, Bloomberg, Gabbard) don’t have interviews, but for Bloomberg and Gabbard, that was because they declined. I think Bennet might’ve just been left out, but that’s only speculation on my part.
The interviews were around 90-minutes long and filled with very specific questions, so if you just want to know about the broader stances a candidate is taking, this is not the place to look.
3. A Buzzfeed-style Quiz but for the 2020 Democrats (Washington Post)
The actual name of this post is, “Quiz: Which of these 2020 Democrats agrees with you most?” I think this quiz was a genius move. There’s only 20 questions, so it’s simple and very not overwhelming. It tells me what a candidate believes about an issue without requiring me to read blocks of confusing text that I can’t understand.
And it’s fun! Some of the questions I’ve never thought about or would never even think to think about. They really made me think. I also sent a link to my friends, and it was interesting to do the quiz at the same time as someone and compare answers.
4. The Democratic Debates
Here’s the one way in which the Democratic Party pitches in to help people figure out who the candidates are. There’s been seven debates so far with less and less people in each one. The first one had like twenty people, and by the sixth one in December last year, there were seven: Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Yang, and Steyer. The seventh one that just happened in January was the same minus Yang. (But hopefully he’ll qualify for the one in February! Yang’s my favorite out of everybody.)
The only one I’ve watched most of is the sixth one because it was during exam week. It was actually entertaining and not dry like I expected it to be. And I know it’s not supposed to be, but I thought it was pretty comedic at times as well. The whole debate was around 3 hours though, so if that’s too long, there’s also videos of the highlights. I couldn’t find complete footage of the seventh debate, but here’s the first hour of it.
5. The Policy Compilation to Rule Them All (Politico)
Politico describes this as “The most comprehensive guide anywhere to the issues shaping the 2020 Democratic presidential primary,” and dude, I’m not arguing with them. The issues are split into 16 categories, which means there’s probably around 100 issues in total. Then when you click on each issue, it gives multiple different points of view and which candidates have publicly supported which ones. Then if you want even more info, you can see what candidates specifically believe within each point of view. There’s so much going on that my computer gives me the “this webpage is using significant memory” notification after a while.
6. Campaign Websites and Social Media Accounts
These are interesting to look at because it’s the candidates in their own words. To me, campaign websites aren’t my favorite. Sometimes navigation is clunky, and candidates just have plans for many policies. Which is good. But also overwhelming. Come on guys, why can’t you be less prepared? I like Instagram accounts more because the candidate’s personality can come through more and because photos/short videos are a good amount of whelming.
On a scale of 1-10, how interested and updated are you about the 2020 election?
Where do you get most of your news?
What do you think is the hardest question to answer on the Washington Post Quiz?