2020 Presidential Candidates

CLP Current Event: May 21, 2019

Who is running for president in 2020? What do they stand for? Start learning about the 25 who are currently running in this week’s current event!

Brought to teachers by Susie Marcus, CLP consultant, with CLP staff.

News Sources

Who’s Running for President in 2020?, by Alexander Burns, Matt Flegnheimer, Jasmine C. Lee, Lisa Lerer and Jonathan Martin, The New York Times, May 16, 2019
“It feels as if half the Democratic Party is running for the White House. In fact, it’s only 23 people officially. Below, an accounting of who’s in, who’s out and who’s somewhere in between. “

Debate Over Voting Rights For Prisoners Divides 2020 Candidates, by Ayesha Rascoe, NPR, May 9, 2019
“Currently only two states — Maine and Sanders’ home state of Vermont — permit voting while incarcerated. But, activists have had success in recent years with campaigns aimed at restoring voting rights for people convicted of felonies once they are released from prison.”

The 2020 Presidential Candidates: In Their Own Words, by James McBride, Council on Foreign Relations, May 8, 2019
“The Democratic and Republican presidential contenders have begun defining their approach to major foreign policy issues as they jockey for position in their parties’ primaries.”

In crowded field, 2020 candidates scramble more for donors than for donations, by Kimberly Adams, Marketplace, May 7, 2019
“Donor numbers say something to the Democratic party, as well. The Democratic National Committee put new debate qualifying rules in place this year. The first official debate in late June will be limited to 20 candidates. To get a spot on stage on one of two nights, candidates must have at least 65,000 individual donors or some meaningful traction in the polls.”

What Does ‘Electability’ Mean in the 2020 Race? Here Are The 5 Theories, by Lisa Lerer, The New York Times, May 6, 2019
“Ms. Harris was making a point that’s supported by political science research: When people talk about electability, it’s often code for reinforcing existing ideas about presidents — namely, that they are white males who can win white, male voters.”

The 2020 Democrats’ 1 big things, by David Nather and Alexi McCammond, Axios, May 5, 2019
“The Democratic presidential candidates all have something unique that captures their identity. It could be a signature proposal or issue, or a broad theme they’ll run on — or it could be their personality if they don’t have a substantive idea that stands out.”
CLP: At the end of the article are links for each Democratic candidate’s stance on key issues “in under 500 words”.

Questions to Consider

  • What are the requirements to run for President of the United States?
  • How might 2019 be different from previous elections?
  • Does a large number of candidates give voters a bigger choice? Does a large number of candidates make it difficult for any candidate to win the national election?
  • How are minorities and women represented in the slate of candidates?
  • How do candidates make themselves known to voters?
  • What is the role of news organizations and social media?
  • What do voters want to know about the candidates, their policies, their values, their background. What else?
  • What does electable mean?
  • How does the ability to raise money impact candidates? Is money speech?
  • What are some additional considerations that affect candidates for President of the United States?
  • How do age, experience, gender, race, and other factors affect voter preferences?

Background and More

The 2020 presidential field, by the numbers, by Steve Brusk and Devan Cole, CNN, May 4, 2019
“So far, 22 men and women — including 20 Democrats — have declared their candidacy to seek the presidency in 2020. Here’s quick look at some of their similarities by the numbers.”
CLP: Breaks down candidates by demographics like age, gender, type of experience, etc.

Presidential Elections, by Editors,, April 10, 2019
CLP: Provides a brief overview of election and popular vote/Electoral College results; only covers those who one their party’s nomination.

Also Rans: A Chronological List of Losing Presidential Candidates of the United States, Library of Congress, September 5, 2008
CLP: Only goes through the 2008 election

Lesson Plans

Creating Your Ideal Presidential Candidate, OPB, 2012
CLP: Grades 3-6

You’re the Candidate, Scholastic, 2008
CLP: Grades 6-8

Constitutional and Legal Connections

12 Ways ‘Citizens United’ Has Changed Politics, by Michael Beckel and Jared Bennett, The Center for Public Integrity, January 21, 2015

Buckley v. Valeo
Wikipedia, May 18, 2019

Oregon Connections

None this week.

Oregon State Social Science Standards

8.8 Evaluate information from a variety of sources and perspectives.
8.17 Examine the development activities of political parties and interest groups and their affect on events, issues, and ideas.
8.21 Analyze important political and ethical values such as freedom, democracy, equality and justice embodied in documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
8.26 Examine a controversial event, issue, or problem from more than one perspective.
HS.29 Examine the structures and functions of Oregon’s state, county, local and regional governments.
HS.30 Analyze the roles and activities of political parties, interest groups, and mass media and how they affect the beliefs and behaviors of local, state, and national constituencies.
HS.33 Explain the role of government in various current events.
HS.35 Examine the pluralistic realities of society (e.g., race, poverty, gender and age), recognizing issues of equity, and evaluating need for change.
HS.59 Demonstrate the skills and dispositions needed to be a critical consumer of information.
HS.60. Analyze an event, issue, problem, or phenomenon from varied or opposing perspectives or points of view.

We the People Lesson Connections

Middle School, Level 2

  • Unit 6, Lesson 29: What are the rights and responsibilities of citizenship?

High School, Level 3

  • Unit 4, Lesson 23: What is the role of the president in the American constitutional system?
  • Unit 6: What challenges might face American constitutional democracy in the Twenty-first century?