Sen. Elizabeth Warren
At the end of December 2018, the Massachusetts Democrat, 70, began her presidential bid.
The former Harvard bankruptcy law professor — who has drawn headlines for a DNA test she took to prove she has Native American heritage — is known for advocating for more regulations on Wall Street and big corporations. Before joining the Senate she was an adviser to President Obama.
“If you work hard and play by the rules, you ought to be able to take care of yourself and the people you love,” Warren said in her video announcement.
“We can make our democracy work for all of us,” she continued. “We can make our economy work for all of us.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
The 38-year-old Iraq War veteran, who represents parts of Hawaii in the House of Representatives, announced in January 2019 she was running. Gabbard is both the first American Samoan and Hindu member of Congress. An economic progressive and critic of America’s armed interventions abroad, she has faced scrutiny for being socially conservative, according to Vox, though she has reversed some of her positions and is pro-choice and now supports same-sex marriage.
“There are a lot of challenges that are facing the American people that I’m concerned about and that I want to help solve,” Gabbard said on The Van Jones Show when she made her announcement. She added that health care, criminal justice reform and climate change would be key issues in her campaign.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg
The 38-year-old Democratic former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announced his camapign in late January 2019. He enters as one of the first openly LGTBQ candidates to ever run for the presidency under a major party.
His announcement came in a tweet along with an introductory video where Buttigieg touched on his generational identity as a millennial and a campaign based on “walking away from the politics of the past.”
Though a presumptive longshot, given his low national profile, Buttigieg’s Midwestern roots have possible cache after President Trump narrowly won the 2016 election thanks to victories in Michigan, Pennsylvania nad Wisconsin.
Buttigieg is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, serving in the Navy throughout his deployment. He was born and raised in South Bend, CNN reports. He continued on to Harvard University and later became a consultant at McKinsey.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar
The Minnesota Democrat had a fatefully dramatic announcement in mid-February 2019 as snow fell all around.
A three-term senator, Klobuchar, 59, is widely popular in her state. Pundits view her candidacy as viable thanks to her Midwestern background, as Democrats lost the presidency in 2016 by razor-thin margins in a few Midwestern states
But Klobuchar has also recently stirred a larger national profile — in part thanks to her questioning last year of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing amid his sexual misconduct allegations, which he denied.
Klobuchar has said she is in support of universal health care, combatting climate change and expanding voter registration access.
“For too long, leaders in Washington have sat on the sidelines while others try to figure out what to do about our changing economy and its impact on our lives, what to do about the disruptive nature of new technologies, income inequality, the political and geographic divides, the changing climate, the tumult in our world,” she said at her announcement, continuing:
“Let’s stop seeing those obstacles as obstacles on our path. Let’s see those obstacles as our path.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders
In mid-February 2019, Sanders, 78, announced he would again seek the Democratic nomination for president having lost in 2016 to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Sanders, a longtime indepedent senator from Vermont who often votes with Democrats, re-enters a world of presidential politics vastly different than his last campaign, in large part thanks to him.
Since launching a underdog effort four years ago which quickly found national support, many of Sanders’ policies — such as universal health care and free public college — have become central liberal proposals.
“We began the political revolution in the 2016 campaign and now it’s time to move the revolution forward and make sure that vision, those ideas, are implemented into policy,” Sanders said in announcing he would run again.
Vice President Joe Biden
The longtime senator from Delaware-turned-presidential candidate-turned-running mate and vice president announced his campaign on April 25 with a video message.
“We are in the battle for the soul of this nation. I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time. But If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are, and I cannot stand by and watch that happen,” Biden, 77, said.
Biden, 77, served as former President Barack Obama‘s right-hand man for two terms and enters a crowded field of Democratic candidates as the immediate frontrunner in name recognition and most polling, even if his age and historically more moderate voting record put him at odds with the party’s progressive wing.
Though he skipped the 2016 race after the death of son Beau, Biden hasn’t hidden his weighing of a 2020 bid. But his candidacy is not without controversy after he acknowledged that some of his physical behavior, including touching women on the back or kissing their forehead without asking, left them uncomfortable.
In a subsequent video, he said, “I worked my whole life to empower women. So the idea that I can’t adjust to the fact that personal space is important, more important than it’s ever been, is just not thinkable. I will.”
Steyer, a 62-year-old billionaire investor, Democratic donor and activist, announced on July 9 that he would run for president and reportedly plans to spend $100 million — or more — on his race.
“Almost every single major intractable problem, at the back of it, you see a big money interest for whom stoping progress, stoping justice, is really important to their bottom line,” he said in his announcement video. He focused on issues of economic inequality and widespread corporate dysfunction in public life.
Before entering the race, Steyer had most recently generated headlines as a loud voice for President Trump’s impeachment
Mayor Mike Bloomberg
The former New York City mayor officially announced his presidential bid on Nov. 24, writing: “I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America. We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions.”
A three-term mayor of N.Y.C., Bloomberg, 77, has been both a Republican and Democrat and is seen as many observers as a more centrist candidate, compared to progressives such Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Bloomberg has also been a fierce advocate for reform to prevent gun violence.
He is reportedly willing to spend freely from his billion-dollar fortune, amassed as the head of an eponymous financial and media company, to support his candidacy.
Still, he faces a steep — possibly impossible — challenge to winning the nomination, given that he entered the race with only months before voting began.
President Donald Trump
In a highly unusual move, Trump, 73, actually began running for re-election before he was sworn-in for his first term. According to the Washington Post, he was spending money on 2020 efforts as early as Nov. 24, 2016.
The president’s surprising win in 2016 has made the pundit class conflicted about predictions for re-election, though the common arguments against Trump include his historically low approval rating, even though presidents are much more often re-elected than not.
As the New York Times detailed in January, Trump may yet face another unusual development: a challenger from within his own party for the Republican nomination. Candidates include former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a longtime Trump critic, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
In February, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who has campaigned as a Libertarian, confirmed he would challenge Trump as a Republican.
In January, Trump boasted to his liberal opponents: “The Democrats know they can’t win based on all of [my] achievements.”
Gov. Bill Weld
Weld, 74, governed Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997 and while he has campaigned as a libertarian — running for the vice presidency there in 2016 — he switched back to the Republican Party to challenge Trump.
“We cannot sit passively as our precious democracy slips quietly into darkness,” he said in announcing his long-shot bid in February.
“Congress must do its duty and, as citizens, we must do ours,” he said. The Boston Globe described him as an “advocate of free trade, increased immigration, and action to combat climate change,” and he is more socially liberal than many of his Republican colleagues.
An intra-party challenge to a sitting president is not completely unheard of but it is unusual — and unlikely to be successful. Still, Weld said in February the he hopes “to see the Republican Party assume once again the mantle of being the party of Lincoln.”