Have you ever looked at your Google search history? It’s a remarkable/embarrassing catalogue of all of the random things that popped into your head for which you were either unable or unwilling to get more information independently.
This also holds true, of course, for politics. If you are curious about the presidential candidacy of, say, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), you are not going to trudge up to the address bar in your browser and try random dot-com-binations of “gillibrand,” “2020” and “foramerica” like some cave man from the 1990s. You’re going to go to Google and you’re going to type “kirstne gilliubrand” or whatever is fastest, and Google’s going to guide you to your destination like a kindergarten teacher on the first day of school.
The result is that Google captures a lot of information about what people want to know about potential presidential candidates. If you search for something like “What is Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) position on Medicaid expansion?” your query will be added to the totals of searches for Booker without the computer even judging you for bizarrely including his party identification and state.
And that question about a policy issue will rank about 6 millionth in Booker’s queries because mostly all anyone ever wants to know is how tall people are.
Regardless. As a public service, and in order that you might get all of your pressing height-related questions answered at once, we asked Google to give us the five most commonly asked questions about declared and likely 2020 Democratic candidates so that we could answer them. As a bonus, Google also gave us the most common questions from early primary states and, when those states cared enough about the candidates to actually ask Google questions, we picked the most interesting/funniest of those questions to answer as a bonus.
And we’re off.
Former vice president Joe Biden
1. How old is Joe Biden?
Biden is 76 years old. If elected in 2020, he’d be the oldest person ever inaugurated by more than seven years.
2. Is Joe Biden running for president?
Well, this is sort of subjective. In one sense, Biden has been running for president since before he ran for the Senate. Politicians plot paths forward like Indiana Jones trying to steal a golden idol, trying to predict pitfalls and dodge traps as they move up the ladder. That’s perhaps more true of Biden than anyone.
But Biden hasn’t yet declared that he’s running for president in 2020. Mind you, there’s some gray area even on this: Some candidates form exploratory committees, which means that they’re not running for president from a legal standpoint but that they are in all practical terms. For our purposes, we’ll use the colloquial understanding of running for president: They are doing the things that candidates for the presidency normally do.
So for Biden: No, not yet.
3. Who is Joe Biden?
You got to this third?
He’s a former senator from Delaware who served as Barack Obama’s vice president from 2009 to 2017.
4. When will Joe Biden announce?
This is a good question that even Google can’t answer. This week Biden told an interviewer that his family was encouraging him to run, which suggests that he might announce a bid soon. But who knows.
5. How old is Joe Biden’s wife?
Jill Biden is 67.
Bonus from Iowa: Who would Joe Biden pick as vice president?
He would pick Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.)
1. Is Cory Booker married?
No. If elected, Booker would be the first bachelor to serve as president since Grover Cleveland.
2. Who is Cory Booker dating?
According to the New York Post, which one would think would know, Booker is dating “Men in Black 2” star Rosario Dawson.
3. How old is Cory Booker?
He is 49 years old, making him part of Generation X, the best generation.
4. Who is Cory Booker?
He is former vice president Joe Biden.
5. Is Cory Booker vegan?
He is! For those who can’t keep the terms straight, a vegan is generally someone who eats no meat or dairy products. That’s in contrast to a vegetarian, who is someone who eats no meat. Also, fish counts as meat in this context; someone who eats no meat except fish is called a pescatarian. Someone who eats no meat except for eagle is called an aquilitarian.
Bonus from New Hampshire: Is Cory Booker going to ban meat?
People are made of meat, so no.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
1. Is Sherrod Brown a Democrat?
Yes, that’s what the (D) above means.
2. Who is Sherrod Brown?
This has a sort of Beat, Jack Kerouacky vibe to it, doesn’t it? Who is Sherrod Brown, man? He’s, like, this cat from Mansfield, Ohio, but we aren’t where we’re from, you dig?
On the third person and I’m already slap-happy.
Anyway, he’s a progressive Democrat from Ohio who is seen as having a good shot at appealing to the sort of working-class white voters that President Trump won over in 2016.
3. Is Sherrod Brown running for president?
4. Who is Sherrod Brown’s wife?
Brown’s wife is journalist Connie Schultz, who used to work at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Politico had a good profile of her in December.
5. How old is Sherrod Brown?
What even is “age,” man? We are as old as we feel. (Brown feels 66.)
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg
1. How to pronounce Buttigieg.
2. How old is Pete Buttigieg?
He is 37, making this the first presidential election in which he could legally run. He is a millennial.
3. Is Pete Buttigieg running for president?
4. Who is Pete Buttigieg?
He is the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., who is running for president as a Democrat in 2020. Not only would he be the youngest person ever elected president, he would also be both the first gay president and the first president who liked University of Notre Dame athletics.
5. Is Pete Buttigieg gay?
I just said he was.
Former HUD secretary Julián Castro
1. Who is Julián Castro?
Castro served as secretary of housing and urban development under Obama. Before that he was the mayor of San Antonio. It’s expected that if he runs, he will keep on fighting until he’s overrun.
2. Is Julián Castro a Democrat?
3. How tall is Julián Castro?
This is often a much harder question to answer than you’d think. After all, it’s not the sort of thing that we all share with each other all the time. If you’re tall, everyone else is “shorter than me.” If you’re short, everyone is “taller than me.” If you’re average, everyone is “about my height.”
Castro appears to be somewhere in the “about my height” to “everyone is taller than me” range.
4. Where was Julián Castro born?
He was born in San Antonio.
5. Where did Julián Castro go to high school?
He went to Jefferson High School in San Antonio, if you care about San Antonio high school rivalries. That article also says that he “collected trading cards,” which presumably means baseball cards. But it is funnier to think that he collected Pokémon cards.
Bonus from Nevada: Is Julián Castro a twin?
He is! Thank you, Nevadans, for getting around to this. His brother is Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.).
Former Maryland representative John Delaney
1. Who is John Delaney?
John Delaney was in Congress until he decided not to run again so that he could focus on his presidential bid.
2. What are some facts about John Delaney?
This is, by far, my favorite question of the bunch.
John Delaney is from New Jersey. John Delaney is the son of an electrician. John Delaney went to Georgetown. John Delaney is balding. John Delaney was a business executive before getting into politics. John Delaney’s middle name is Kevin, which is disqualifying. John Delaney’s campaign website is running on Nginx.
Those were all the questions people had about John Kevin Delaney.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii)
1. Who is Tulsi Gabbard?
She is 50 percent of Hawaii’s House delegation and 25 percent of its total delegation. Before that, she served on the Honolulu City Council until she decided she really wanted to spend more of her life in D.C.
2. How old is Tulsi Gabbard?
She’s slightly younger than Buttigieg, actually. Making her also a millennial.
3. Where was Tulsi Gabbard born?
She was born in American Samoa. She’d be the first president to have been born in Samoa and the first since the 1800s to have been born outside the U.S. (Many of the early presidents were not born in the U.S. because the U.S. didn’t exist, which is a mediocre excuse.)
4. Is Tulsi Gabbard a Democrat?
5. Is Tulsi Gabbard running?
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)
1. How old is Kirsten Gillibrand?
She is 52 — among the oldest Gen Xers.
2. Who is Kirsten Gillibrand?
Primarily known as one of America’s oldest Gen Xers, Gillibrand is also a former New York representative. She was appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton when Clinton became secretary of state. Who appointed her? Why, only New York’s most famous governor, David Paterson.
Hm? Oh you haven’t? Well, Paterson took over once former governor Eliot Spitzer resigned from his position after sock-related revelations. Paterson’s choice of Gillibrand was considered controversial at the time, but she’s easily won reelection repeatedly since.
3. Where is Kirsten Gillibrand from?
4. What party is Kirsten Gillibrand?
Political? Democratic. Summer? Pool. College? Keg.
5. How tall is Kirsten Gillibrand?
“About my height.”
Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.)
1. How old is Kamala Harris?
She is 54, one of the youngest of the baby boomers.
2. Is Kamala Harris married?
She is. Her husband’s name is Doug, as emails from the campaign have made clear.
He’s an attorney.
3. Is Kamala Harris black?
People paying close attention to the 2020 race will not be surprised to see this question so prominently included. She is, but there has been discussion about her heritage (her mother and father were Indian and Jamaican, respectively) that centers on her race.
4. Who is Kamala Harris?
She was born in Oakland and later (obviously) served as district attorney across the Bay in San Francisco. Later still, she was California’s attorney general. She is one of the youngest baby boomers.
5. What nationality is Kamala Harris?
Perhaps you are aware of a person called “Jacob Wohl.” Mr. Wohl decided that he would be clever and try to raise doubt about Harris’s nativity because he thinks such things are clever.
She is American.
Bonus from New Hampshire: Who is Kamala Harris’s sister?
Her sister is Maya Harris, a former adviser to the 2016 campaign of Hillary Clinton who now acts as a political analyst for MSNBC.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
1. How old is Amy Klobuchar?
Another boomer: 58.
2. Who is Amy Klobuchar?
Klobuchar is, above all else, a Minnesotan. She was born in the state and served as county attorney before winning election to the Senate in 2006. While at Yale, she was in an improv troupe called “Suddenly Susan.”
This should be a debate question.
3. Is Amy Klobuchar Jewish?
She is not, but apparently it comes up a lot. At one time, she was explaining former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura to former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and had to explain what a feather boa was.
4. Is Amy Klobuchar married?
Yes. Her husband is John Bessler, who is a college professor.
5. Is Amy Klobuchar running in 2020?
Did you not see the blizzard footage?
Bonus from Nevada: What year did Amy Klobuchar graduate college?
This is such an oddly specific question! Not how old she is but the year she graduated from college. Given that this originates from Nevada, I have to assume that Klobuchar was trying to get on the floor of a casino and, while checking her driver’s license, a bouncer tested her by asking the year she graduated.
The answer is 1982. Let her gamble.
Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke
1. Who is Beto O’Rourke?
O’Rourke is a former member of the band Foss, whose album “The El Paso Pussycats” can be heard online. He went on to have a career in politics.
2. How tall is Beto O’Rourke?
“Everyone is shorter than me.”
3. How old is Beto O’Rourke?
He is 44. Generation X, which explains the band.
4. Is Beto O’Rourke running for president?
Not as of writing, but who knows when I’ll be done with this article. By then, maybe!
5. Is Beto O’Rourke Hispanic?
He’s not. During his 2018 campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Cruz suggested that he adopted the name “Beto” to seem more Hispanic.
That led to a now-famous Post headline: “Rafael ‘Ted’ Cruz accuses his Democratic opponent of changing his name to appeal to voters.”
Bonus from South Carolina: Who is Beto O’Rourke’s wife?
Rock and roll, man. Rock and roll.
Or, more accurately, Amy Hoover Sanders. That’s the last time you’ll hear that last name, I bet!
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
1. How old is Bernie Sanders?
Sanders is 77. If he and Biden each won the presidency in two different dimensions, Sanders would be the oldest American president in history across those two dimensions. But depending on your theory of dimensions, that fact would be known only by those beings able to see across dimensions or people who were going to get the vacuum and fell into an interdimensional wormhole in their closets.
2. Is Bernie Sanders running for president in 2020?
He is. He announced this month.
3. Is Bernie Sanders Jewish?
4. Is Bernie Sanders a socialist?
He is not! Sanders is a democratic socialist.
What does that mean? Here’s how Sanders explained it during the 2016 election:
“It means what Franklin Delano Roosevelt said when he fought for guaranteed economic rights for all Americans. And it builds on what Martin Luther King, Jr. said in 1968 when he stated that ‘this country has socialism for the rich, and rugged individualism for the poor.' . . . Democratic socialism means that we must reform a political system that is corrupt, that we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy.”
5. Is Bernie Sanders running as a Democrat?
He is. Why? Because — as Trump learned in 2016 — leveraging the existing apparatus of a political party for a presidential bid means a much clearer runway than running as an independent. Independents have to fight to get on ballots in all 50 states or to get into debates. For the Democratic nominees, it’s much, much easier.
But Sanders also caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate, so it’s not like Democrats don’t know who he is. Especially since 160 percent of the Democratic Senate caucus is running for president. (See below.)
Bonus from Iowa: Is Bernie Sanders speaking tonight?
Probably, unless he has laryngitis.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
1. How old is Elizabeth Warren?
Warren is 69 years old. (Boomer.)
2. Who is Elizabeth Warren?
Warren came to politics later than most of her competitors. Before winning her Senate seat in 2012, she was an academic and economist. When the recession hit a decade ago, she was tapped to first lead a panel overseeing the financial bailout and, later, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the creation of which she had advocated.
3. Is Elizabeth Warren Native American?
Before launching her campaign this year, she sought to put to rest a long-standing controversy over having, in the past, identified herself as Native American. That attempt, involving a DNA test, itself kicked up controversy with Native American tribes rejecting the test as definitive.
While the Boston Globe last year reported that Warren, an Oklahoma native, had never used her belief that she was Native American to get ahead, The Post reported that she’d also used that identification on a registration card for the state bar of Texas in 1986.
You’ll notice that I didn’t answer the question directly!
4. How much is Elizabeth Warren worth?
More than you might expect. Her most recent financial disclosures put her net worth in the range of $4 million to $11 million. That includes her husband’s assets, since she is married. Her husband is named Bruce Mann. They’ve been married since 1980. He’s her second husband.
5. Is Elizabeth Warren married?
Bonus from South Carolina: What did Elizabeth Warren’s parents do?
Had a baby girl in 1949.
More to the point: He was a salesman before being temporarily disabled by a heart attack. To help make ends meet, her mother went to work answering phones at Sears.
1. Who is Andrew Yang?
A gentleman who is running for president as a Democrat.