2020 Presidential Candidates By the Book

The surest sign a politico will run? They release an uplifting memoir.

There are what feel like a million Democrats vying for the chance to represent their party in this upcoming election. How can you possibly pick who will be best to run the country based on TV soundbites alone? You may know the basics about each candidate (which is still a lot, so we applaud you!), but as the presidential race starts to heat up, it’s time to really dive deep. Decide who you’re backing after spending quality time with each candidate via these memoirs and more:

Promises to Keep by Joe Biden

Former vice president Joe Biden currently leads the packed Democratic field, despite many controversies regarding policies and actions around race and gender. As the right-hand man to President Barack Obama for eight years, Biden has the highest level of experience of the current candidates, and styles himself as a moderate who knows how to get the government to work. Promises to Keep chronicles Biden’s time in politics in the lead-up to his time as Obama’s VP.

Where We Go from Here by Bernie Sanders

The senator from Vermont is one of the highest-profile candidates in the race, having been Hillary Clinton’s primary opponent in the 2016 presidential election. Those feeling the Bern support raising the minimum wage, extending Medicare to all, making public higher education tuition-free, raising taxes on the wealthy, and fighting climate change. Sanders has faced criticism for his ideas being too radical, for not connecting well to African-American voters, and for poor management skills during his previous campaign that led to the harassment of many female staffers.

This Fight Is Our Fight by Elizabeth Warren

Another extremely high-profile candidate, Elizabeth Warren has drawn liberal accolades ever since she stood up to the big banks following the recession. A former economics professor, she’s noted for her laser-focus on income inequality and as a champion for liberal policies like increasing taxes on the top 1% and breaking up the big banks. Warren has been mired in a controversy generated by President Trump over her Native American heritage, drawing outrage from native tribes and mocking from conservatives over her attempts to address the issue.

Also available as an audiobook.

The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris is — somewhat surprisingly, given how new she is to the national stage — one of the more high-profile Democrats to have announced her candidacy. Her strong interviewing tactics — honed over years as the California Attorney General — won her accolades from the left during the Kavanaugh hearings, but her record as AG has left some questioning her commitment to criminal justice reform.

United by Cory Booker

The senator from New Jersey and former mayor of Newark has made uniting an increasingly divided citizenry the cornerstone of his campaign rhetoric. With a hopeful message and impressive skills as an orator, he seems to be taking a page from the Barack Obama playbook. His passion and eloquence have sometimes come across as too smooth to be authentic, however, sparking concerns about his sincerity.

Off the Sidelines by Kirsten Gillibrand

Kirsten Gillibrand is a senator from New York and previous member of the House of Representatives. A strong supporter of family-friendly policies including paid family leave and Medicare-for-all, she’s also noted for being a strong proponent of #MeToo. She has been criticized for previously conservative beliefs on gun control and immigration policies, but has said that her former stances now “embarrass” her.

The Senator Next Door by Amy Klobuchar

The Minnesota senator has styled herself as a moderate among the Democratic candidates. Klobuchar supports universal healthcare (though not through Medicare for All), and wants to expand the federal Pell Grant program and make community college tuition-free. She’s been criticized for her harsh treatment of staffers, and her staff has one of the highest turnover rates in the Senate as a consequence.

Shortest Way Home by Pete Buttigieg

The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is the first openly gay Democratic candidate to run for the highest office in the United States. Buttigieg is also the youngest presidential candidate, and is running to address issues that primarily affect younger Americans, like tax reform, gun control, and climate change. Given his age and lack of political experience, many wonder if he has enough knowledge or name recognition to be a serious contender. (It’s pronounced “Boot-edge-edge,” according to Mayor Pete himself.)

Apollo’s Fire by Jay Inslee and Bracken Hendricks

Though Jay Inslee has one of the most robust resumés among the declared candidates so far, the governor of Washington isn’t widely known on the national stage. His platform is primarily focused on preventing the worst effects of climate change from coming to pass. This book, which he co-wrote with Bracken Hendricks years ago, details how America’s economy could run on clean energy.

Smart People Should Build Things by Andrew Yang

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang entered the Democratic pool of candidates early, all the way back in 2017. Those who consider themselves part of the YangGang support initiatives like Universal Basic Income and Medicare for All. Yang founded Venture for America, a nonprofit bolstering American entrepreneurship, but he has little to no political experience outside of this presidential run. His book discusses his entrepreneurial philosophies.

The Land of Flickering Lights by Michael Bennet

The Colorado Senator caught everyone’s attention back in January 2019, when his speech regarding the government shutdown became the most-watched Senate floor speech in the history of C-SPAN. Government reform is the heart of Bennet’s presidential campaign, and in his book, he takes you behind the scenes of his time in politics to explain the consequences of recent policy changes and growing dysfunction. He is one of the many long-shot candidates.

Also available as an audiobook.

A Politics of Love by Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson ran for Congress in California in 2014 as an independent. She hasn’t held an elected political position before, but she has always been a social justice activist. Williamson is most well-known for her appearances on shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show and her books about spirituality. While her book is largely about the need to strengthen America’s eroding social communities, she is also a supporter of many progressive pieces of legislation, including the Green New Deal and reparations for slavery.

See the original list on Scribd.


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