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Joe Biden is listed in the Progressive Voters Guide below. The Fuse Progressive Voters Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about the races on your ballot, based on your values. Our presidential primary guide does not make a recommendation or endorsement for any candidate. Rather, the guide is aimed at providing information and a side-by-side comparison to help voters choose a candidate who represents their values.

The Washington State Democratic Party recently replaced the caucus nomination system with a primary. Like all other elections, this primary will be a vote-by-mail system. In addition, the party moved the primary two months earlier, giving Washington voters greater influence in the overall candidate selection process. Voters can vote for only one party and they must identify which party's primary they are participating in on the envelope for their ballot.

The candidates on the ballot are Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang. Out of these candidates, only Biden, Gabbard, and Sanders are still actively running as of March 45 This guide provides information on the top four active candidates as determined by aggregated national polling and our own member poll.

Joe Biden photo
Democrat
Joe Biden


Former Vice President Joe Biden has a long track record of public service dating back to his first election to the U.S. Senate in 1972 at the age of 29. His current political positioning is somewhat more moderate than candidates like Sens. Warren and Sanders, though many of his policy proposals are still progressive relative to those of Democratic presidential candidates in recent years. Biden's experience separates him from other candidates, though his long record also opens him up for criticism on past positions. His proposed $3.2 trillion in spending on climate, health care, infrastructure, and higher education is far less than other candidates have proposed.

Backed by more moderate Democrats, Biden is more willing to work across the aisle to build bipartisan coalitions than many of his colleagues. However, he has struggled to build momentum with younger, more progressive voters, which his opponents say is a sign of a too-moderate platform. Biden's supporters say he has the experience, diverse base of support, and ability to work across the aisle necessary to beat Trump and enact a Democratic agenda as president.

 

Candidates are broadly in favor of repealing Trump's rollbacks to the Clean Water Rule and other environmental protections, as well as rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and increasing U.S. investments abroad in the global climate fight.

Washington state is already on track to reach 100 percent clean electricity generation by 2045 thanks to the clean energy law passed last year. Most of the presidential candidates' clean energy goals aim for clean electricity even sooner than our state standard.

In a move that surprised some Democrats, Biden appears to have been pushed leftwards by progressive sentiment and embraced the Green New Deal, with some additions of his own. Biden is calling for a $1.7 trillion dollar investment from Congress in clean energy research, as well as a requirement that public companies disclose climate-incurred costs. He intends to create a series of executive orders that would require any federal permitting decision to consider the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. He wants the U.S. to reach a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.

He has a longer record than other candidates on energy issues, which also leaves room for missed votes and contradictions. For example, Obama's 2009 energy strategy allowed for the growth of renewable energy, but also fracking and natural gas production. In the CNN September climate debate, Biden said that he would not try to ban fracking nationally but would ban new wells on public land (presidents cannot act unilaterally on private lands).

Broadly, Democratic candidates are on board with tackling popular reforms like protections against surprise billing and fighting back against rising drug costs. The biggest discussion this election centers on the possibility of implementing Medicare for All. It's unclear what the cost or savings of the Medicare for All proposal would be. However, the United States currently spends more than any other country in the world on healthcare, a total of $3.5 trillion in 2017 - twice what other industrialized countries spend. Competent health care reform could mean life-saving, complete, accessible coverage for the nation for much less than we currently pay.

Overall, Washington state generally ranks in the top ten for its overall health. One of the most-cited areas where needs still need to be met is mental health care.

While not as far-reaching as plans of other candidates, Biden's health care reform would substantially affect American health care and build on the foundations of the Affordable Care Act. Biden is proposing the creation of a public option that would allow everyone the choice of buying into a public health insurance option like Medicare. Because the government has much higher purchasing and bargaining power than private insurance companies, such an option would likely be much cheaper for patients. His plan also aims to tackle surprise costs from emergency room bills when patients don't have the option of choosing an in-network provider and measures to reduce the pharmaceutical costs.

All of the featured candidates support raising the federal minimum wage to $15. 

Washington state recently became the fifth state to offer workers paid family leave - up to 12 weeks of it for taking care of a sick family member or themselves, or for welcoming a new child.

Biden's plan for workers allows for 12 weeks guaranteed paid sick and family leave. As of February 2020, Biden has not released a comprehensive childcare plan, but he has called for universal pre-K with open enrollment at 3 years old.

Some unions have already declared their support for the former vice president, including those representing firefighters, ironworkers, and electrical workers. Biden's labor plans include support of secondary boycotts, expansion of farmworker and domestic worker protections, and a ban on permanent replacement of striking workers, policies that he shares with the more progressive candidates seeking nomination.

Democratic candidates this year will need to raise a large amount of revenue to power their ambitious agendas on health care, climate action, education, and more. Candidates are considering some combination of higher corporate taxes, higher taxes on capital gains, repealing Trump's tax plan for the wealthy, or a wealth tax.

Biden would pay for $3.2 trillion in policy proposals with increased taxes on corporations, closing loopholes that allow companies like Netflix and Amazon to avoid paying federal income tax, and taxing capital gains as income. Biden's plans would lower taxes on middle- and lower-income families while raising taxes on capital owners. He would tax capital gains as normal income, raise the corporate rate to 28 percent, revert 2009 real estate tax rates, and cap the value of tax breaks at 28 percent for the wealthiest earners. Biden would also reverse Trump's tax cut for the wealthy and corporations.

Housing policy and homelessness ranked as the number one concern of residents across Washington in a recent Crosscut/Elway poll. Though the state Legislature and local governments are trying to tackle the issue, a lack of affordable housing exacerbated by income inequality has left many in our region without consistent, reliable, inclusive, and accessible services that would help our communities thrive.

As of February 14, 2020, Biden is the only candidate without a housing platform, though in the same month he made a statement to the Sacramento Bee that he plans to "fully fund housing," make sure that everyone has access to Section 8 housing, and ensure that no one should pay more than 30 percent of their income to housing. Of particular note is Biden's proposal to ensure that 100% of formerly incarcerated individuals have housing upon re-entry.

Not confined to a single category of policies, overturning centuries of segregation, systematic harm, and intentional destabilization of communities of color requires a tremendous amount of awareness, political will, time, and funding. Many candidates have woven racial justice into their plans, but still need to address past issues or build current platforms.

There are several aspects of Biden's record on racial justice that he must acknowledge and address. His past support for the war on drugs, his "predators" comments about African American men, his failure to call witnesses for or support Anita Hill, and his sponsorship of a 1975 bill that made it more difficult to mandate desegregation by bus are just a few past examples. Biden is also behind his opponents when it comes to a lack of a platform for Indigenous communities and his refusal to repeal Section 1325, the section of U.S. immigration law that makes unauthorized entry a criminal rather than a civil offense. Some of the more successful areas of Biden's racial justice platform include his support of ending cash bail, eliminating mandatory minimums, and addressing "green gentrification" to keep families of color in their homes after climate improvements have been made. 

Biden is on the more moderate end of the spectrum when it comes to addressing student loan debt. He is calling for a fix to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, an existing program that cancels the debt of those who work in service jobs for ten years. Outside of higher education, the former vice president is proposing a tripling of federal funding for Title I low-income school districts, totaling about $48 billion, as well as increased pay for teachers and an unspecified amount of increase for mental health care in schools.

Every candidate in the Democratic primary has made commitments to fix the country's aging infrastructure. While Washington state has a C grade for infrastructure from the American Society of Civil Engineers, we can also expect that Eyman's disastrous I-976 will drastically cut the transportation budgets for many Washington cities, making presidential infrastructure plans more important than ever.

The former vice president is calling for major investments in transit in high-poverty areas ($10 billion over 10 years), as well as in high-speed rail, biking, transit, and $50 billion on bridge and road repair. Biden is ascribing to the "complete streets" model of transportation that is lauded by experts for accommodating many different types of transportation. He states that he will pay for his $1.3 trillion dollar plan through a combination of measures like reversing Trump's tax cuts, increasing taxes on the very wealthy and corporations, and ending fossil fuel subsidies.

All of the current major candidates have said that they would extend citizenship to Dreamers, immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children. In addition, the candidates are in sync about stopping family separation, though their methods differ.

Washington state currently has a patchwork of protections for immigrants in the form of sanctuary cities. However, deportations, ICE raids, and other incursions by federal law enforcement remain a problem in many communities, especially in agricultural regions of the state.

Biden has taken some heat from Democrats on his immigration record as vice president. Additionally, Biden is the only remaining major candidate who would leave Section 1325, the policy that makes unauthorized entry a criminal offense rather than a civil one, in place. During a debate exchange with Julian Castro, the former vice president stated, "If you cross the border illegally, you should be able to be sent back. It's a crime."

The rest of Biden's immigration plans fall mostly in line with the current Democratic platform - a rollback of the Trump administration's most hostile policies, including ending the "national emergency" that Trump is using to siphon money for a border wall, stopping the breakup of families, lifting asylum restrictions, and more.

All of the featured candidates support the Equality Act, as well as rolling back Trump's erosion of LGBTQ+ rights, such as the transgender military ban and religious exemption policies that allow LGTBQ+ discrimination on religious grounds.

Unless otherwise mentioned, candidates are also pledging to limit Title IX exemptions for religious schools. These regulations allow a recipient institution to exclude, separate, deny benefits to, or otherwise treat students differently on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation in enrollment or education programs.

Biden points to the accomplishments of the Obama administration as benchmarks of his success protecting and expanding LGBTQ+ rights, including the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. In June of 2019, he stated that the Equality Act would be his top legislative priority as president, which if passed would grant federal protection against discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. The act would amend existing civil rights laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as federally protected characteristics in public spaces, federally funded programs, and services.



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Bernie Sanders photo
Democrat


Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders broke into the national consciousness on a powerful far-left platform in 2016. Sanders founded the Congressional Progressive Caucus in 1991. He draws urgency on issues like income inequality and workers' rights from his jobs as a union carpenter and his participation in the Civil Rights Movement while he was a student at the University of Chicago. As a senator, Sanders is an Independent but caucuses with the Democrats.

One of the most important aspects of Sanders' candidacy for his supporters is the consistency of his positions and beliefs. His long tenure in the capitol is marked by a loyalty to the progressive policies he has advocated for for decades. While he began as the only advocate for some of them, many of Sanders' policies and ideas have been assimilated into the mainstream Democratic platform, like Medicare for All and free college tuition.

Sanders' opponents say his sweeping policies lack funding and are too ambitious in light of the political climate. However, he believes that the big challenges facing the country require proposals at the scale necessary to solve them, especially the dire threat of the climate crisis, health care, and income inequality.

Sanders' supporters say he can build the broadest coalition through his populist message and ability to bring new people into the political process - especially young people - who don't often vote.

 

Candidates are broadly in favor of repealing Trump's rollbacks to the Clean Water Rule and other environmental protections, as well as rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and increasing U.S. investments abroad in the global climate fight.

Washington state is already on track to reach 100 percent clean electricity generation by 2045, thanks to the clean energy law passed last year. Most of the presidential candidates' clean energy goals aim for clean electricity even sooner than our standard.

Among all the candidates, Sanders has one of the most ambitious climate plans. He is aiming for 100 percent renewable energy for transportation and electricity no later than 2030, with complete decarbonization by 2050. His $16.3 trillion plan is the costliest, but his campaign estimates that it would provide 20 million jobs and cover nearly every aspect of the climate crisis.

Sanders is promising to create a $40 billion Climate Justice Resiliency Fund that would help frontline communities, including communities of color, Native communities, the elderly, people with disabilities, and other underserved groups. The fund would help communities navigate an energy revolution with access to jobs and economic development. Another $2.18 trillion would go towards grant assistance for families with low and moderate incomes to weatherize and retrofit their homes. Major national investments would include conservation efforts, research and development, and transit and drinking water system renovations.

Sanders and Warren are the only major candidates who have pledged to ban fracking outright, with Buttigieg seeking to ban new fracking permits and phase out current fracking sites.

Broadly, Democratic candidates are on board with tackling popular reforms like protections against surprise billing and fighting back against rising drug costs. The biggest discussion this election centers on the possibility of implementing Medicare for All. It's unclear what the cost or savings of the Medicare for All proposal would be. However, the United States currently spends more than any other country in the world on health care, a total of $3.5 trillion in 2017 - twice what other industrialized countries spend. Competent health care reform could mean life-saving, complete, accessible coverage for the nation for much less than we currently pay.

Overall, Washington state generally ranks in the top ten for its overall health. One of the most-cited areas where needs still need to be met is mental health care.

Sanders introduced and originally wrote the Medicare for All legislation, a single-payer plan that would largely get rid of private health care options. He contrasts his version of Medicare for All with Warren's by saying that if he is elected, he would implement the policy in his first week in office with a phased roll-out over four years.

In single-payer programs, the government pays for and provides everyone insurance, as opposed to the current model where payment may come from a state, private insurance companies, or federal Medicare. With Medicare for All, all Americans would be automatically enrolled into the healthcare plan; healthcare providers and facilities would remain independent and would be paid by the healthcare plan. Sanders' health care program as proposed would cover every American and be free at the point of service, and would include vision and dental care as well.

All of the featured candidates support raising the federal minimum wage to $15. 

Washington state recently became the fifth state to offer workers paid family leave - up to 12 weeks of it for taking care of a sick family member or themselves, or for welcoming a new child.

Sanders is a co-sponsor of the FAMILY Act, but beyond that would guarantee 6 months of family leave as recommended by World Health Organization. His pre-K plan starts at 3 years old, and his Foundations for Success Act would allow all children to receive child care and early education access from 6 weeks old to kindergarten.

Sanders' labor platform is very extensive. Like Warren, he supports sectoral bargaining, ending worker misclassification, extension of labor laws to domestic and farm workers, and allowing government workers to strike. He also wants to give workers ownership in their companies. He has proposed allowing those working for companies with at least $100 million in annual revenue, as well as publicly traded companies, to have ownership. Most notably, Sanders' plan calls for an end to at-will employment. If this legislation were to pass, employers could only terminate workers with "just cause" based on their performance at their job.

Democratic candidates this year will need to raise a large amount of revenue to power their ambitious agendas on health care, climate action, education, and more. Candidates are considering some combination of higher corporate taxes, higher taxes on capital gains, repealing Trump's tax plan for the wealthy, or a wealth tax.

Sanders is proposing an "Extreme Wealth Tax," a tax on top 0.1 of wealthiest Americans with a net worth of over $32 million. He also wants to establish a federal jobs guarantee and would raise taxes on businesses whose CEOs make at least 50 times that of their median worker. In October 2019, Sanders declared that he does not plan to release a detailed plan of how he'll pay for Medicare for All, opting instead to publish a list of options of how to pay for it. Though he says that the middle class will pay more taxes, Sanders also asserts that savings on from Medicare for All will ultimately mean paying less.

Housing policy and homelessness ranked as the number one concerns of residents across Washington in a recent Crosscut/Elway poll. Though the state Legislature and local governments are trying to tackle the issue, a lack of affordable housing exacerbated by income inequality have left many in our region without consistent, reliable, inclusive, and accessible services that would help our communities thrive.

Sanders' Green New Deal for Public Housing exemplifies his strong belief that affordable homes are a fundamental right, and that public housing is a national asset that we should improve and expand upon. Like Warren, he would work to stop the criminalization of the homeless and would spend $32 billion over five years to end homelessness, including doubling grants for permanent supportive housing.

He is aiming to repeal the Faircloth Amendment to allow the construction of new public housing units, make a $70 billion investment into repairing and modernizing our current public housing stock with energy retrofits, high-quality community spaces, and high-speed internet.

His administration would also expand the National Housing Trust Fund, which builds homes for people with low incomes and fully fund Section 8 housing.

Not confined to a single category of policies, overturning centuries of segregation, systematic harm, and intentional destabilization of communities of color requires a tremendous amount of awareness, political will, time, and funding. Many candidates have woven racial justice into their plans, but still need to address past issues or build current platforms.

Sanders' racial justice policies are woven throughout his platforms. Some of the biggest reforms include re-enfranchising the formerly incarcerated with the right to vote, ending private prisons and mandatory minimums, guaranteeing a job to every American, ending healthcare disparities, and addressing gentrification.

Sanders supports the use of the 10-20-30 approach to federal investments, which focuses "at least 10 percent of total investments to counties where at least 20 percent of the population has lived under the federal poverty line for at least 30 years."

 

For K-12 education, Sanders is proposing a slate of policies aimed at bringing American education up from its global ranking in the 11th spot. Sanders' plan to triple Title I funding for low-income schools is similar to Biden's, but goes much further by investing in a more complete educational revamp. He would enforce school desegregation and fund teacher-training programs to increase educator diversity, ban for-profit charters and stop charter school construction until a national audit is complete, raise teacher salaries and triple educator's tax deductions for out-of-pocket classroom expenses, provide free universal meals in schools, and much more.

Sanders would forgive all $1.6 trillion in student debt for 45 million Americans in addition to making public colleges and universities, trade schools, minority serving institutions, and historically black colleges and universities free.

Every candidate in the Democratic primary has made commitments to fix the country's aging infrastructure. While Washington state has a C grade for infrastructure from the American Society of Civil Engineers, we can also expect that Eyman's disastrous I-976 will drastically cut the transportation budgets for many Washington cities, making presidential infrastructure plans more important than ever.

Sanders is calling for a $1 trillion investment into American infrastructure, noting that the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the United States a cumulative grade of D+ for the current state of our infrastructure. As part of his Green New Deal plan, he plans to make investments into bridge and road repair, water systems, railways, and more. Much of the funds for these infrastructure plans would come from closing a corporate loophole that allows multinational U.S. companies to stash profits in overseas banks.

All of the current major candidates have said that they would extend citizenship to Dreamers, immigrants who arrived to the U.S. as children. In addition, the candidates are in sync about stopping family separation, though their methods differ.

Washington state currently has a patchwork of protections for immigrants in the form of sanctuary cities. However, deportations, ICE raids, and other incursions by federal law enforcement remain a problem in many communities, especially in agricultural regions of the state.

Sanders would break up ICE and Customs and Border Patrol and redistribute their roles to other organizations such as the Department of Justice. In addition, he would go a step further by calling for a moratorium on deportations until his administration completed an audit of current and past immigration policies.

Sanders' health care plan would cover undocumented residents as well as citizens. He also has extensive plans for racial equity, including strengthening labor laws for immigrant workers, including a $15 minimum wage for agricultural workers and a bill of rights for domestic workers. Sanders would provide a path to legal permanent status and citizenship within five years for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the country.

All of the featured candidates support the Equality Act, as well as rolling back Trump's erosion of LGBTQ+ rights, such as the transgender military ban and religious exemption policies that allow LGTBQ discrimination on religious grounds.

Unless otherwise mentioned, candidates are also pledging to limit Title IX exemptions for religious schools. These regulations allow a recipient institution to exclude, separate, deny benefits to, or otherwise treat students differently on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation in enrollment or education programs.

In his implementation of Medicare for all, Sanders vows to confront the health disparities across the LGBTQ populations. He would work to ensure available mental health care, access to PrEP, a highly effective daily medication for prevention of HIV, gender affirming health care. On education, he also states that he will help LGBTQ students by passing the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

Abroad, he pledges to assist in the worldwide protection of LGTBQ people with "strong and binding" human rights standards.



Joe Biden photo
Democrat


Former Vice President Joe Biden has a long track record of public service dating back to his first election to the U.S. Senate in 1972 at the age of 29. His current political positioning is somewhat more moderate than candidates like Sens. Warren and Sanders, though many of his policy proposals are still progressive relative to those of Democratic presidential candidates in recent years. Biden's experience separates him from other candidates, though his long record also opens him up for criticism on past positions. His proposed $3.2 trillion in spending on climate, health care, infrastructure, and higher education is far less than other candidates have proposed.

Backed by more moderate Democrats, Biden is more willing to work across the aisle to build bipartisan coalitions than many of his colleagues. However, he has struggled to build momentum with younger, more progressive voters, which his opponents say is a sign of a too-moderate platform. Biden's supporters say he has the experience, diverse base of support, and ability to work across the aisle necessary to beat Trump and enact a Democratic agenda as president.

 

Candidates are broadly in favor of repealing Trump's rollbacks to the Clean Water Rule and other environmental protections, as well as rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and increasing U.S. investments abroad in the global climate fight.

Washington state is already on track to reach 100 percent clean electricity generation by 2045 thanks to the clean energy law passed last year. Most of the presidential candidates' clean energy goals aim for clean electricity even sooner than our state standard.

In a move that surprised some Democrats, Biden appears to have been pushed leftwards by progressive sentiment and embraced the Green New Deal, with some additions of his own. Biden is calling for a $1.7 trillion dollar investment from Congress in clean energy research, as well as a requirement that public companies disclose climate-incurred costs. He intends to create a series of executive orders that would require any federal permitting decision to consider the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. He wants the U.S. to reach a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.

He has a longer record than other candidates on energy issues, which also leaves room for missed votes and contradictions. For example, Obama's 2009 energy strategy allowed for the growth of renewable energy, but also fracking and natural gas production. In the CNN September climate debate, Biden said that he would not try to ban fracking nationally but would ban new wells on public land (presidents cannot act unilaterally on private lands).

Broadly, Democratic candidates are on board with tackling popular reforms like protections against surprise billing and fighting back against rising drug costs. The biggest discussion this election centers on the possibility of implementing Medicare for All. It's unclear what the cost or savings of the Medicare for All proposal would be. However, the United States currently spends more than any other country in the world on healthcare, a total of $3.5 trillion in 2017 - twice what other industrialized countries spend. Competent health care reform could mean life-saving, complete, accessible coverage for the nation for much less than we currently pay.

Overall, Washington state generally ranks in the top ten for its overall health. One of the most-cited areas where needs still need to be met is mental health care.

While not as far-reaching as plans of other candidates, Biden's health care reform would substantially affect American health care and build on the foundations of the Affordable Care Act. Biden is proposing the creation of a public option that would allow everyone the choice of buying into a public health insurance option like Medicare. Because the government has much higher purchasing and bargaining power than private insurance companies, such an option would likely be much cheaper for patients. His plan also aims to tackle surprise costs from emergency room bills when patients don't have the option of choosing an in-network provider and measures to reduce the pharmaceutical costs.

All of the featured candidates support raising the federal minimum wage to $15. 

Washington state recently became the fifth state to offer workers paid family leave - up to 12 weeks of it for taking care of a sick family member or themselves, or for welcoming a new child.

Biden's plan for workers allows for 12 weeks guaranteed paid sick and family leave. As of February 2020, Biden has not released a comprehensive childcare plan, but he has called for universal pre-K with open enrollment at 3 years old.

Some unions have already declared their support for the former vice president, including those representing firefighters, ironworkers, and electrical workers. Biden's labor plans include support of secondary boycotts, expansion of farmworker and domestic worker protections, and a ban on permanent replacement of striking workers, policies that he shares with the more progressive candidates seeking nomination.

Democratic candidates this year will need to raise a large amount of revenue to power their ambitious agendas on health care, climate action, education, and more. Candidates are considering some combination of higher corporate taxes, higher taxes on capital gains, repealing Trump's tax plan for the wealthy, or a wealth tax.

Biden would pay for $3.2 trillion in policy proposals with increased taxes on corporations, closing loopholes that allow companies like Netflix and Amazon to avoid paying federal income tax, and taxing capital gains as income. Biden's plans would lower taxes on middle- and lower-income families while raising taxes on capital owners. He would tax capital gains as normal income, raise the corporate rate to 28 percent, revert 2009 real estate tax rates, and cap the value of tax breaks at 28 percent for the wealthiest earners. Biden would also reverse Trump's tax cut for the wealthy and corporations.

Housing policy and homelessness ranked as the number one concern of residents across Washington in a recent Crosscut/Elway poll. Though the state Legislature and local governments are trying to tackle the issue, a lack of affordable housing exacerbated by income inequality has left many in our region without consistent, reliable, inclusive, and accessible services that would help our communities thrive.

As of February 14, 2020, Biden is the only candidate without a housing platform, though in the same month he made a statement to the Sacramento Bee that he plans to "fully fund housing," make sure that everyone has access to Section 8 housing, and ensure that no one should pay more than 30 percent of their income to housing. Of particular note is Biden's proposal to ensure that 100% of formerly incarcerated individuals have housing upon re-entry.

Not confined to a single category of policies, overturning centuries of segregation, systematic harm, and intentional destabilization of communities of color requires a tremendous amount of awareness, political will, time, and funding. Many candidates have woven racial justice into their plans, but still need to address past issues or build current platforms.

There are several aspects of Biden's record on racial justice that he must acknowledge and address. His past support for the war on drugs, his "predators" comments about African American men, his failure to call witnesses for or support Anita Hill, and his sponsorship of a 1975 bill that made it more difficult to mandate desegregation by bus are just a few past examples. Biden is also behind his opponents when it comes to a lack of a platform for Indigenous communities and his refusal to repeal Section 1325, the section of U.S. immigration law that makes unauthorized entry a criminal rather than a civil offense. Some of the more successful areas of Biden's racial justice platform include his support of ending cash bail, eliminating mandatory minimums, and addressing "green gentrification" to keep families of color in their homes after climate improvements have been made. 

Biden is on the more moderate end of the spectrum when it comes to addressing student loan debt. He is calling for a fix to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, an existing program that cancels the debt of those who work in service jobs for ten years. Outside of higher education, the former vice president is proposing a tripling of federal funding for Title I low-income school districts, totaling about $48 billion, as well as increased pay for teachers and an unspecified amount of increase for mental health care in schools.

Every candidate in the Democratic primary has made commitments to fix the country's aging infrastructure. While Washington state has a C grade for infrastructure from the American Society of Civil Engineers, we can also expect that Eyman's disastrous I-976 will drastically cut the transportation budgets for many Washington cities, making presidential infrastructure plans more important than ever.

The former vice president is calling for major investments in transit in high-poverty areas ($10 billion over 10 years), as well as in high-speed rail, biking, transit, and $50 billion on bridge and road repair. Biden is ascribing to the "complete streets" model of transportation that is lauded by experts for accommodating many different types of transportation. He states that he will pay for his $1.3 trillion dollar plan through a combination of measures like reversing Trump's tax cuts, increasing taxes on the very wealthy and corporations, and ending fossil fuel subsidies.

All of the current major candidates have said that they would extend citizenship to Dreamers, immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children. In addition, the candidates are in sync about stopping family separation, though their methods differ.

Washington state currently has a patchwork of protections for immigrants in the form of sanctuary cities. However, deportations, ICE raids, and other incursions by federal law enforcement remain a problem in many communities, especially in agricultural regions of the state.

Biden has taken some heat from Democrats on his immigration record as vice president. Additionally, Biden is the only remaining major candidate who would leave Section 1325, the policy that makes unauthorized entry a criminal offense rather than a civil one, in place. During a debate exchange with Julian Castro, the former vice president stated, "If you cross the border illegally, you should be able to be sent back. It's a crime."

The rest of Biden's immigration plans fall mostly in line with the current Democratic platform - a rollback of the Trump administration's most hostile policies, including ending the "national emergency" that Trump is using to siphon money for a border wall, stopping the breakup of families, lifting asylum restrictions, and more.

All of the featured candidates support the Equality Act, as well as rolling back Trump's erosion of LGBTQ+ rights, such as the transgender military ban and religious exemption policies that allow LGTBQ+ discrimination on religious grounds.

Unless otherwise mentioned, candidates are also pledging to limit Title IX exemptions for religious schools. These regulations allow a recipient institution to exclude, separate, deny benefits to, or otherwise treat students differently on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation in enrollment or education programs.

Biden points to the accomplishments of the Obama administration as benchmarks of his success protecting and expanding LGBTQ+ rights, including the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. In June of 2019, he stated that the Equality Act would be his top legislative priority as president, which if passed would grant federal protection against discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. The act would amend existing civil rights laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as federally protected characteristics in public spaces, federally funded programs, and services.