What should the candidates debate tonight? Here’s what you told us

On the economy, readers frequently asked about Democrats’ various proposals to tackle income inequality:

What happens in 5 or 10 years when a $15 minimum wage is no longer considered enough? Do we stage a political battle for a $20 minimum wage and start all over again?

My girlfriend’s parents own a local business in their town. A $15 minimum wage would mean a few of their workers will have to lose hours, and new hires will be more infrequent in order for them to stay on-budget. The end result will be workers often having to finish the same tasks, but in less time. I suspect this will be the case in small businesses all over the country. I’m not saying people shouldn’t earn a living wage, but wouldn’t a UBI [Universal Basic Income] that raises everyone’s income accomplish the same thing without hurting my girlfriend’s parents’ business?


– Andrew Ma in Las Vegas, Nevada

Don’t just stick to policy. Readers also want a sense of candidates’ personal character and values.

It’s not just about picking the candidate with the best policy proposals. Readers told us they want to know whether candidates are aligned with their values and have the right level of emotional intelligence to unite the country.

No candidate is perfect, and humility is a rare trait in a politician. Tell us the best reason why you should not be president.




– Liam Sigaud in Rockland, Maine

Readers want to go deeper on environment and climate change.

Nine percent of all questions were about this policy area. Sixty-three percent of registered voters say they’re concerned about climate change and its impact on the environment, according to our latest poll with Morning Consult. While the 2020 Democrats broadly agree that climate change is an emergency that needs to be addressed with government intervention, that doesn’t mean there’s no need for further discussion on the debate stage. For example, all of the candidates have embraced a target of “net-zero” emissions by 2050 or earlier, but their plans are fuzzy on how to get there.

Would you pass an economy-wide carbon tax on all fossil fuels within your first 100 days? As a member of Gen Z, I’m going to face the consequences of climate change but I also want to ensure a prosperous economy into the future. We need to tackle the systemic issue of climate change, but need to do so efficiently by creating jobs and real economic opportunity.




– Tim Cronin in Weymouth, Massachusetts

Readers want to know about electability and governing plans.

More than a fifth of our readers had questions that were not about specific policy. Concerns over electability are lingering in some Democratic voters’ minds. Our latest poll with Morning Consult shows 30 percent of them would support the most electable candidate over the candidate who best represents their beliefs.

Of all the reader submissions for Democratic candidates, 17 percent mentioned Donald Trump.

What’s your sales pitch to sway someone from a swing state who passionately voted for Trump into voting for you?




– Dylan McCollum in Tucson, Arizona

Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Andrew Yang were the most-mentioned candidates.

Sanders was the most frequently mentioned candidate. Readers who submitted questions for the senator most commonly asked about health care, particularly concerning “Medicare for All.” But not everyone had a direct question for Sanders. His name often came up when readers mentioned concerns over equal speaking time and media coverage.

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