Democratic Primary Candidate Guide

Your Local Election HQ

What you need to know before heading to the polls

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – With the Democratic primary just days away, many are preparing to cast their ballots.

If you still are not sure which candidate aligns best with your ideals, we’ve got you covered.

You can take our quick candidate match quiz, and you can read our candidate guide for a slightly more in-depth look.

We want to emphasize that this is by no means a comprehensive analysis of the issues, or the candidates. Instead, it is a to the point list of some issues important to S.C. voters, and where each of the major candidates stand. We identified ‘major candidates’ as those who qualified for the most recent debate AND are on the S.C. ballot.

To find out more about each candidate, we encourage everyone to visit the campaign websites.


1.) Healthcare:

Biden:

  • Expand on Affordable Care Act
  • Offer public option to those who want it 
  • Allow people to keep private insurance if they want it

Buttigieg:

  • Medicare for all who want it 
  • Public option could create a “glide path” to Medicare for all because if the public option functions as it should, everyone will eventually choose to move over. 

Klobuchar:

  • Expand on existing plan, like Medicare or Medicaid
  • Expanding on an option that is already in place is more realistic and could set a path to universal healthcare in motion 

Sanders:

  • Medicare for All 
  • Relatively short transition period
  • Would end private insurance but would not reduce quality of health care. 
  • Has multiple proposals for funding, many of which have been criticized as they would require tax raises on middle-class Americans

Steyer:

  • Improve public option so that it serves as a competitor for private insurance and drives costs down 

Warren:

  • Medicare for All 
  • Transition over a matter of years 
  • Funding would not raise taxes on middle-class Americans

2.) Climate

Biden:

  • Continue using nuclear energy, but study it and improve it
  • Net-zero emissions by 2050 
  • Invest $1.7 trillion in clean energy over 10 years

Buttigieg:

  • Continue using nuclear energy for the short to medium term 
  • Net-zero emissions by 2050
  • Invest over $1 trillion in clean energy over 10 years

Klobuchar:

  • Continue using nuclear energy, but focus on developing and improving homegrown renewable energy sources
  • Net-zero emissions by 2050
  • Invest $1 trillion in energy infrastructure 

Sanders:

  • Stop nuclear energy 
  • Net-zero emissions by 2050
  • Invest $16.3 trillion over 10 years

Steyer:

  • Current cost benefit analysis doesn’t support continued use of nuclear energy. There are safer and less costly options.
  • Net-zero emissions by 2045
  • Invest $2 trillion over 10 years

Warren:

  • Not going to build any new nuclear power plants, but not going to immediately stop using existing plants. Nuclear power should be phased out and replaced with other sources of renewable, clean energy
  • Net-zero emissions by 2030
  • Invest over $3 trillion over 10 years

3.) Gun Control:

Biden:

  • Supports assault weapons ban
  • Supports universal background checks
  • Supports closing the “Charleston Loophole”
  • Raising minimum age/ wait time: Unclear

Buttigieg:

  • Supports assault weapons ban
  • Supports universal background checks
  • Supports closing the “Charleston Loophole”
  • Raising minimum age/ wait time: No

Klobuchar:

  • Supports assault weapons ban
  • Supports universal background checks
  • Supports closing the “Charleston Loophole”
  • Raising minimum age/ wait time: Yes
    • Minimum age 21
    • Wait time 10 days

Sanders:

  • Supports assault weapons ban
  • Supports universal background checks
  • Supports closing the “Charleston Loophole”
  • Raising minimum age/ wait time: Yes
    • Minimum age: 21
    • Wait time: unclear, but background check should be complete at the very least

Steyer:

  • Supports assault weapons ban
  • Supports universal background checks
  • Supports closing the “Charleston Loophole”
  • Raising minimum age/ wait time: Yes
    • Minimum age: 21
    • Wait time: 10 days

Warren:

  • Supports assault weapons ban
  • Supports universal background checks
  • Supports closing the “Charleston Loophole”
  • Raising minimum age/ wait time: Yes
    • Minimum age: 21
    • Wait time: One week

4.) Immigration:

Biden:

  • Keep illegal border crossing a criminal offense, but ensure that immigration law is enforced humanely
  • Increase legal immigration levels

Buttigieg:

  • Decriminalize illegal border crossing
    • Make civil, not criminal, offense
    • Except for repeat offenders or those who commit fraud or put Americans at risk
  • Increase legal immigration levels

Klobuchar:

  • Keep illegal border crossing criminal offense, but immediately end family separation
    • Change enforcement priorities to focus on those who are real threats
  • Increase legal immigration levels

Sanders:

  • Decriminalize illegal border crossing
  • Unclear on whether he would raise/maintain/lower status of legal immigration levels

Steyer:

  • Decriminalize illegal border crossing
  • Unclear on whether he would raise/maintain/lower status of legal immigration levels

Warren:

  • Decriminalize illegal border crossing
  • Increase legal immigration levels

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