The 6 Women Running for President Have Answers

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“The opportunities for the next president are enormous. We can show worldwide leadership.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren, on whether it’s possible for the next president to help stop climate change

There are a lot of Democrats running for president of the United States. And as someone with a middling understanding of politics (especially around this newsroom), I often languish somewhere between glazed over and confused during election seasons. This time around is no different, except my frustrations are worse than usual.

Why? Because with multiple women as serious contenders for the first time, I want to understand what’s happening in a way I never have. And I know I’m not alone.

That’s why The New York Times tracked down 21 of the 22 candidates (Joe Biden was the only one to decline) and asked them the same 18 questions. Questions like: In an ideal world, would anyone own handguns? Do you think President Trump has committed crimes in office? It was like a job interview — on camera — to learn why each one of them believes they should lead the country.

Before the candidates face off next week in their first debates, here are some of the main takeaways about the country’s most pressing issues from the six women running — in their words.

[MORE: 21 Democrats, 18 questions. Here’s what they said.]


  • Where would you go on your first international trip as president?

    “I think I’d go to Central America. I think I’d go down to where there are such terrible problems that cause people to flee, and to meet with people in that region, and talk about how we can help them there so their lives are more secure and more stable.”

  • Do you think President Trump has committed crimes in office?

    “I don’t know how anybody reads the 448 pages of the Mueller report and arrives at any conclusion other than we need to start impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. And let me just say on this, it’s not politics. This is a matter of the relationship between the president of the United States and Congress. It’s a matter of protecting the Constitution of the United States.”

[MORE from Senator Warren]


  • Would your focus be improving the Affordable Care Act or replacing it with single-payer?

    “My goal, and I think the best place that we could be, is to have ‘Medicare for all.’ Public health should be an issue that is not a political issue. We should know that access to health care should be a right.”

  • Should tech giants like Facebook, Amazon and Google be broken up?

    “My first priority is going to be that we ensure that privacy is something that is intact, and that consumers have the power to make decisions about what happens with their personal information, and that it is not being made for them.”

[MORE from Senator Harris]

  • In an ideal world, would anyone own handguns?

    “I’m not opposed to gun ownership. What I am opposed to is gun violence. The problem we have is an N.R.A. that is dominated by greed. The N.R.A. does not represent law-abiding gun owners anymore. They represent gun manufacturers.”

  • Do you think it’s possible for the next president to stop climate change?

    “It is the greatest threat to humanity that exists, and so I think global climate change should be a moon shot for this generation to say we are going to have a green economy in the next 10 years, not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.”

[MORE from Senator Gillibrand]


  • Do you think Israel meets international standards of human rights?

    “Israel under Prime Minister Netanyahu has been doing things that are not helpful to bringing peace to the Middle East: the way that he has come out in favor of annexing the Golan Heights, what he has done when it comes to the settlements, the fact that we’re not engaging in serious discussions for a two-state solution. I think that this is setting us back.”

  • Do you think illegal immigration is a major problem in the United States?

    “We have problems with immigration in this country, but it is a problem really of our own making because we have so many people here that want to be part of our economy, and I think we need to have a path to citizenship and allow them to take part in that economy.”

[MORE from Senator Klobuchar]


  • Do you support or oppose the death penalty?

    “I oppose the death penalty. Unfortunately, we still have a broken criminal justice system that wrongly convicts innocent people, issuing them the death penalty. Even one of those wrong convictions, taking an innocent life, is wrong.”

  • Does anyone deserve to have a billion dollars?

    “Those who work and earn money in this country, it’s not a bad thing. I think the fact that we have had such an imbalance in our country with vast income inequality, where our laws benefit the very few, making it easy for the richest to get even richer while the middle class and the poor continue to struggle is what’s wrong. ”

[MORE from Representative Gabbard]


  • Are you open to expanding the size of the Supreme Court?

    “I’m not convinced that expanding the size of the Supreme Court is going to fix anything. And also, I think the same drama will play out, the same kinds of proportionality issues will play out.”

  • Would there be American troops in Afghanistan at the end of your first term?

    “I would make no move in Afghanistan until first I spoke to Afghan women. I want to hear from the Afghani women. I’m very aware of the history of the Taliban in relationship to women, and so, nothing happens until first I talk to them.”

[MORE from Williamson]


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