The Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential candidates have called for a number of changes to the rules of American democracy, backing plans to abolish the electoral college, eliminate the Senate filibuster and lower the voting age to 16, among other far-reaching proposals.
The push to reform U.S. democracy comes amid frustration among liberals about losing multiple presidential elections in which Democrats won the popular vote, as well as the successful effort by congressional Republicans to block President Barack Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court.
Republicans have assailed these ideas as attempts to tilt the playing field in Democrats’ favor, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) calling a House proposal to make Election Day a federal holiday a “power grab.” But activists have pushed these questions to the forefront of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.
Where the candidates stand
Here’s where the candidates stand on changes to the rules of U.S. democracy, based on their statements, voting records and answers to a questionnaire that was sent to every campaign.
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How candidate positions were compiled
The Washington Post sent a detailed questionnaire to every Democratic campaign asking whether it supports various changes to the Senate filibuster, U.S. elections and courts. Candidates with similar stances were organized into groups using a combination of those answers, legislative records, action taken in an executive role and other public comments, such as policy discussion on campaign websites, social media posts, interviews, town hall meetings and other news reports. See something we missed? Let us know.
We expect candidates to develop more detailed policy positions throughout the campaign, and this page will update as we learn more about their plans. We also will note if candidates change their position on an issue. At initial publication, this page included major candidates who had announced a run for president or an exploratory committee. The Post will contact additional candidates as they enter the race and include them here.
Recent changes on this page
July 21 Included Sanders' support for abolishing the electoral college, following his tweet endorsing the idea.
July 8 Swalwell dropped out of presidential race.
June 21 Updated Gabbard’s position on lowering the voting age to 16 from “yes” to “open to it” based on a response from her campaign.
June 20 Updated O’Rourke’s position on packing the Supreme Court from “no” to “open to it.” Updated Gabbard’s position on eliminating the electoral college, which was previously “open to eliminating.” Added Bullock and de Blasio’s positions based on surveys returned from their campaigns. Added Gabbard’s position on packing the Supreme Court and Hickenlooper’s position on several issues.
June 17 Added Bennet's positions on Election Day holiday and Puerto Rico statehood.
June 17 Updated explanation for O'Rourke on Puerto Rico statehood.
June 11 Updated explanations for Buttigieg on voting rights and an Election Day holiday.
June 7 Added references to O'Rourke's voting rights plan, including an explanation of his Supreme Court term limit proposal.
May 14 Updated Moulton's stance on lowering the voting age, correcting an error in how he voted on an amendment. Also moved Booker to 'Open to it' on eliminating the filibuster and packing the Supreme Court based on a statement on the campaign trail.
May 9 Added Ryan positions based on survey returned from his campaign.
May 8 Added stances for four recent entrants (Bennet, Biden, Moulton and Ryan) based on public statements and legislative records.
May 6 Added Swalwell positions based on survey returned from his campaign.
April 11 Added Messam positions based on survey returned from his campaign.
April 5 Changed the following after additional information from Buttigieg's campaign: He is "open to" adding justices to the Supreme Court and supports voting rights for all formerly incarcerated people.
April 5 Adjusted Warren’s stance on the Senate filibuster after she announced that she supports eliminating it.
April 1 Updated with Klobuchar positions on the electoral college, eliminating the filibuster, statehood for Puerto Rico and voting for formerly incarcerated people.
April 1 Updated Gabbard's position on voting rights for formerly incarcerated people given additional information from her campaign.
April 1 Updated Warren's position on voting rights for previously incarcerated people after a clarification from the campaign. Also updated Williamson's position on eliminating the electoral college, a change sent from her campaign.
April 1 Page published.