With climate catastrophe, nuclear holocaust, runaway inequality, and the collapse of democracy breathing down our necks, only the most progressive candidates offer solutions that ascend to the challenge. So, here’s my comprehensive revolutionary Progressive Candidates 2020 list, beginning with progressive presidential candidates. All contenders within the pages of this list are ultimate progressives. With no fooling around, they meet BOTH the following criteria:
- No corporate money or favors (e.g., no Wall Street consultations)
- Supports single-payer Medicare for All (e.g., no private insurance options for duplicate services)
Last updated on October 12, 2020
No Corporate Money… At All
It’s vital for American voters to elect public servants who accept NO corporate money. Our representatives must be free of conflicts of interest. They must be free to serve the public, without obligation to wealthy donors. Our best bet is to elect political contenders from the Progressive Candidates 2020 list.
But how may we discern a candidate’s genuine freedom from Big Money? First, he or she refuses to accept corporate PAC money. They also abstain from fund-raising dinners and events that target wealthy individuals or special interest groups (a practice called “bundling”). Nor do they consult with Wall Street executives before launching a political campaign. And their fund-raising record is consistent with a “No Big Money” policy — for at least one previous election cycle if an incumbent. (See OpenSecrets.)
Single-Payer Medicare for All or Bust!
Full support of single-payer Medicare for All is the “litmus test” for genuine progressive politicians. Many (so-called) progressives claim they support it, but how can we tell if they’re sincere?
First, take note of the difference in meaning between phrases like “healthcare for all,” “healthcare is a human right,” “access to affordable healthcare,” “pubic option,” “protecting the ACA,” or making incremental “steps toward” some kind of universal healthcare — compared to a clear-cut, declarative statement that supports single-payer Medicare for All. The substitute phrases always indicate a watered-down version of Medicare for All.
Second, single-payer Medicare for All eliminates the need for private insurance companies. For-profit healthcare insurance providers may offer supplemental insurance coverage for cosmetic surgery or private hospital rooms, however, they cannot offer duplicate coverage. Most Americans will not need, or want, to purchase a supplemental insurance plan. Medicare for All makes great improvements on the current Medicare that people are familiar with. Medicare for All includes dental, vision, hearing, mental health, drug prescriptions, and nursing care facilities.
Healthcare cannot be considered a human right unless the government guarantees it. The best means to provide that is through single-payer. Any kind of insurance (auto, property, etc.) depends on a “risk pool,” the larger, the better. The many policy holders who do not need a payout, pay for the smaller group of policy holders who do. Therefore, we cannot allow private insurance companies to target a highly profitable young and healthy market demographic — while leaving American taxpayers to foot the bill for the healthcare of the oldest and sickest people in the country. Any government guaranteed healthcare plan with a “public option” or “choice” cannot be cost-effective.
Because healthcare IS a human right, its provision is incompatible with a free-market business model. What choice does the healthcare customer really have? You need to buy insurance; without it, you face far greater risk of permanent disability and/or premature death. In truth, the private, for-profit health insurance industry serves a captive market, not a free market.
In addition, a truly “universal” healthcare coverage eliminates class distinction, which aligns with the great American principle of democracy. In fact, the United States was called the “Great American Experiment” precisely because it aimed to build a classless democracy, right from the very beginning. A Single-payer Medicare for All, that benefits every American equally, honors the American spirit of democracy.
By the way, “private, for-profit” doesn’t mean “better.” According to presidential candidate Michael Bennet, Medicare for All is the “Cadillac” healthcare plan. (Although, he doesn’t support it.) Medicare for All includes prescriptions, dental, vision, and hearing. You may see any doctor you wish, and use any hospital you like; HMO network restrictions are over. For the majority of citizens, the tax increase will be appreciably less than what they currently pay for health insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles.
Medicare for All Opponent Admits It’s “Awesome” Insurance
If Bennet’s remarks don’t make your head shake in wonder, then consider the results of a July, 2018 research study published at the Koch-funded Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Presumably, the study set out to prove the hypothesis that Medicare for All is too expensive. However…
A report that was supposed to discredit the single-payer solution found that, even after the benefits of a Medicare for All program are realized — ‘additional healthcare demand that arises from eliminating copayments, providing additional categories of benefits, and covering the currently uninsured’ — the potential cost of the plan would still be less than “potential savings associated with cutting provider payments and achieving lower drug costs.”~ John Nichols, The Nation
Bernie Sanders responded to the Mercatus Center report with a “thank you.”
The question begs to be asked: Why is there opposition to Medicare for All, when it’s so good? Sadly, the answer points to the corrupting influence of Big Money in politics. Over the last 20 years, the pharmaceutical and health product industries have spent nearly $4 billion to lobby U.S. government officials. Modern Healthcare reported that the six largest health insurance companies spent a combined $6.2 million during the first quarter of 2017, when Republican efforts to dismantle the ACA were at their peak.
Imagine if those millions and billions of dollars had been directed toward cancer research. Today, we might be praising private pharmaceutical and insurance companies, instead of feeling like chumps. “We the People” need to elect principled, unbought, uncompromised leaders who can withstand the pressure involved with confronting corporate power and greed. You’ll find such leaders on the pages of this “Progressive Candidates 2020” list.
Industry Secrets From a Private Insurance Insider
Wendell Potter formerly served as CEO of communications at Cigna and Humana, and is author of the 2011 book Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans. In the 2019 article cited below, Potter briefly outlines the deceptive public relations campaign employed by private heath care insurance companies. These industry PR talking points continue to dominate our current debate on single-payer Medicare for All.
Our propaganda duped Americans into believing that the free market can work in health care and that progressives want a government-run system…
After watching the first three Democratic debates and accompanying media coverage, I find that the industry strategy has been more effective in manipulating journalists and pollsters than I could have ever predicted. I feel compelled to speak up and help set the record straight when so many politicians and journalists are using talking points that come straight from health insurance central casting scripts.~ Wendell Potter, President of BusinessForMedicareForAll.org
Nationwide Progressive Candidates 2020; a Multi-Page List
Revolutionary, unbought, progressive presidential candidates are featured right here, on this hub page of the 2020 candidates list. To see progressives running for U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives, scroll to the state links below.
Each candidate entry allows you quickly grasp which policies are top-priority. For more details, simply click on a candidate’s name in order to link to his or her campaign website.
This Progressive Candidates 2020 list is a living document. Until the 2020 election takes place, it will be frequently updated.
The following Progressive Candidates 2020 are running for the office of U.S. President. Their campaigns are divorced from corporate money, and they fully support Medicare for All.
EDITOR’S NOTE: With disappointment, I removed several presidential candidates from the list: Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson, Andrew Yang, and Kirsten Gillibrand. I really like them and appreciate their exceptional gifts, but they revealed a weakening stance on Medicare for All and/or dipped a toe into the alluring waters of Big Money. I fear the powerful American Oligarchy (corporate elites and billionaires) may easily manipulate such candidates. The Progressive Candidates 2020 list is reserved for leaders who can accomplish the “political revolution” that will get Big Money out of politics.
Bill de Blasio (D) for President – Ends Campaign 9/20/19.
Bill de Blasio (D) – “Working people first.” Bill de Blasio’s campaign website does not display his priorities. However, based on de Blasio’s New York City record as Mayor, and his campaign ad, we may anticipate that he supports… Climate Action • $15 minimum wage • Guaranteed Healthcare (??? – I will remove de Blasio from list if this does not translate to Medicare for All) • Universal Pre-K • Accepts No Corporate Money (I think.) ~ Editor, May 16, 2019
Tulsi Gabbard (D) for President – Pulls Back Support for Single-Payer Healthcare
EDITOR’S NOTE: September 27, 2019 – I have confirmed that candidate Tulsi Gabbard does not fully support single-payer Medicare for All. Here’s why full support is important:
- A benefit like Medicare for All needs to be universal. Otherwise, those who do not partake of the benefit resent those who do, promoting class division.
- If private insurance companies are allowed to offer duplicate healthcare services, they will target the young and healthy market — leaving Medicare for All, and American tax dollars, to pay for the much more expensive healthcare of the sick and elderly. (See point 1.) “The pooling of risk is fundamental to the concept of insurance.“
Here’s what Tulsi Gabbard recently said about healthcare:
Yes I support [Medicare for All]. I prefer to call it ‘Medicare Choice,’ where we are ensuring quality health care for all people regardless of how little they may have in their pocket or their bank account, while maintaining their freedom of choice. If they’ve got an employer-sponsored plan or a union-sponsored plan that they’re happy with, they should have the opportunity to do so.~ Tulsi Gabbard, WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station
I still love Tulsi, but she no longer meets the criteria to belong on the “Revolutionary Progressive Candidates” list.
Tulsi Gabbard (D) – “Love and Service to Unite Our Country.” Medicare for All • Foreign Policy of Prosperity Through Peace • Reaffirm Only Congress Can Declare War • Criminal Justice Reform • End War on Drugs • Equality for All • Hold Wall Street Accountable • Honor and Empower Veterans • Public Education • Climate Action • Environmental Protections • Civil Liberty Protections • Paper Ballots • Racial Justice • Immigration Reform • Gun Safety • Women’s Rights • Social Security Expansion • Accepts No Corporate Money
Mike Gravel (D) for President – Ends Campaign 8/5/19. Endorses Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard.
Mike Gravel (D) – “Ending all wars.” Mike Gravel plans to drop out of the race after the Democratic debates, and endorse Bernie Sanders. He supports… Medicare for All • Foreign Policy of Peace • Ending Nuclear Threat • Non-Aggression Abroad • Departments of Peace and War • Military Spending Cuts • International Justice • Ending Support for Saudi Arabia • Economic Equality • American National Fund • $15 Minimum Wage • Antitrust Enforcement • National Reparations Trust Fund • Sex Workers Protections • Public Education • Free Pre-K • Free College Tuition • Student Debt Jubilee • Parental Leave • Free Child Care • Guaranteed Jobs Program • Labor Unions • Corporate Law Reform • Green New Deal • Public Banking • Worker Cooperatives • Progressive Tax Reform • Ending War on Drugs • Death Penalty Abolishment • Police Accountability • Prison Reform • Immigration Reform • Americans with Disabilities • Whistleblowers Amnesty • Free Public-Owned Internet • Electoral College Abolishment • Overturning Citizens United • Ranked Choice Voting • Term Limits for Federal Judges • Self-Determination for D.C., Puerto Rico, and Other Territories • Big Money out of politics • Accepts No Corporate Money
Mark Charles (I) for U.S. President
Mark Charles (I) – “For All the People.” Universal Healthcare (e.g., Medicare for All) • Abolish Slavery • Honor Treaties • Remove Racism, Sexism and White Supremacy from the Constitution • Gender Equality • Climate Action • Environmental Protections • Voting Reform • Remove Doctrine of Discovery as Legal Precedent for Land Titles • Election Reform • Campaign Finance Reform • Corporate Accountability • Accepts No Corporate Money
Howie Hawkens (G) for U.S. President
Howie Hawkens (G) – “Green for President.” Medicare for All • Nationalize Federal Reserve • Socialize Big Banks • 100% Clean Energy • Arms Industry Converted to Nonprofit Public Enterprises • Public Broadband and Net Neutrality • Online Platforms Antitrust Action • Racial Justice • LGBTQIA Justice • Ecosocialist Green New Deal • Agriculture and Rural Reconstruction • Peace Policies • Immigration Reform • Civil Liberties • Democracy Reform • Media Reform • Accepts No Corporate Money
Bernie Sanders (I) for President – Suspended Campaign 4/8/2020 (Still on the Ballot of Upcoming Democratic Primaries)
Bernie Sanders (I) – “Not me. Us.” Bernie Sanders is running as a Democrat, and stands for… Medicare for All • Free College Tuition • Student Loan Debt Forgiveness • $15 Minimum Wage • Universal Childcare and Pre-K • Equal Pay • Pro-Choice • Unions and Collective Bargaining • Employee Ownership • Green Jobs Program • Guaranteed Jobs Program • Social Security Expansion • Green New Deal • Climate Action • Veteran Benefits Expansion • Diplomacy First Foreign Policy • Stop Endless Wars • Military Spending Reductions • Disability Persons Protections • LBGQT Equality • Rebuild Puerto Rico • Wealthy Pay Fair Share Taxes • Commonsense Gun Reform • Criminal Justice Reform • Racial Justice • Immigration Reform • Empower Tribal Nations • Wall Street Reform • Investment in Rural America • Fair Trade Policies that Support Workers • Workplace Democracy • Reinvest in Public Education and Teachers • Big Money Out of Politics • Restoration of Democracy • Legalize Marijuana • Housing for All • Eliminate Medical Debt • Fair Banking for All • Accepts No Corporate Money
Corporate media maintains a blackout on Bernie Sanders. When they do report on him, the coverage is minimal, dismissive, or outright disparaging. Such a state of affairs inspired videographer Matt Orfalea to create the “Rising Up!” video. It went viral.
Progressive Candidates 2020 by State
Progressive Candidates 2020 are also running for U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, as well as State Senate and State House or Assembly. Find them all, organized by state. Click on any state link below, to learn more about Progressive Candidates 2020 running in that state.
Democratic Primary Debates
In addition to a candidate’s policies and past record, we also assess how she or he debates an opponent. There will be twelve presidential candidate debates during the Democratic Primary process. They begin in June of 2019 and continue through April of 2020. The debate schedule is filling in as follows:
- June 26 & 27, 2019 – 9 PM ET – Miami
- July 30 & 31, 2019 – Detroit
- September 12 & 13, 2019 – Houston
- October 15, 2019 – Westerville, Ohio
- November 20, 2019 – Georgia
- December 19, 2019 – Los Angeles
- January 14, 2020 – Des Moines, Iowa
- January/February, 2020
- February, 2020
- February, 2020
- March, 2020
Further Candidate Research
The following resources are helpful for further research on Progressive Candidates 2020 and their policies.
- 350 Action – Endorsements of candidates running as progressive climate champions.
- Bold Progressives – Progressives and nice Democrats
- Brand New Congress – Progressives and nice Democrats
- Congressional Progressive Caucus – Candidate endorsements
- Democracy for America – Progressives and some nice Democrats
- Flip the Senate – Building a 50 state campaign to flip the Senate from conservatives.
- GovTrack.us – Track federal legislation by subject or member of Congress
- Green Party U.S. – Green candidates not listed, particularly for down-ballot races and write-in candidates (all Greens are progressive)
- The Green Papers – Up-to-date fact-gathering on the American political process
- Green Party Green New Deal – Includes climate action, Medicare for All, and getting big money out of politics (all Greens are progressive)
- H.R.1 – For the People Act of 2019 – Sponsor/Co-Sponsors
- H.R.1384 – Medicare for All Act of 2019 – Sponsor/Co-Sponsors
- H.Res.109 – Recognizing Duty of Federal Gov’t to Create a Green New Deal – Sponsor/Co-Sponsors
- Indivisible – Grassroots progressive policies, Candidates and Campaigns
- Justice Democrats – Strong progressives!
- On the Issues – Every political leader on every issue
- Open Secrets – Campaign funding sources of national candidates
- Our Revolution – Strong progressives!
- Progressive Democrats of America – Stand Up. Take Action. Vote. Resist.
- Progressive Rising – Aims to endorse Progressives across the nation to unseat Republicans, Neoliberal, and Establishment Democrats.
- Rebellion PAC – Clean PAC fighting for progressive, working class values across the country.
- Rose Caucus – Democratic Socialists for a People’s Movement
- Run for Something – Young progressives running in down-ballot races
- S.1129 – Medicare for All National Health Insurance Program – Sponsor/Co-Sponsors
- Vote Smart – Factual, unbiased information on candidates and elected officials.
- Working Families Party – Progressives and nice Democrats
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14 thoughts on “Revolutionary Progressive Candidates 2020: Medicare 4 All & No Corp Money!”
Thanks for the update, JoAnn. Warren has proved to be a disappointment. I haven’t given up yet on Bernie.
I think Bernie will hold fast. Tulsi Gabbard would make a brilliant VP with Bernie. If anything happened to him, she could carry on. She’s strong and courageous. (Just thoughts, with fingers crossed for progressive wins in 2020.)
Will keep an eye on her.
Excellent post and opinions. However, I submit that, even though Elizabeth Warren is not advocating for Medicare For All (MFA), she is advocating for no corporate/private money in politics. Since this problem is the actually the root cause of most government corruption, dysfunction, and corporate dominance that, I believe, will suppress any attempt to enact universal healthcare, I place Warren in with the progressives that qualify for President. She could certainly be persuaded to go for MFA if she were president and had the Congress to back her.
But MFA will never happen so long as corporate money dictates policy and has the most control over elections and legislation.
Hi, Max. Thanks for the comment. I like Warren, too, and hated taking her off the list. If President, I think Warren, Gillibrand, Harris, etc., could be persuaded to go for MFA. The People must demand, likewise with climate action. And, yes, all politicians will better attend to voters, rather than donors, when we get Big Money out of politics. Warren is very good on that issue. We have some great 2020 Democrat candidates. I just hope the DNC doesn’t try to force Biden down our throats.
Great work JoAnn. I would find it invaluable If I were a US citizen.
Thanks, Animalista. We’re grateful the UK called a Climate Emergency.
Holy smokes! Thanks very much for the mention! It’s very gratifying when someone else realizes: if you want change, you’ve got to change things.
My pleasure, Alan. Good luck with your campaign! We need a foundational change.
Right on, Renee! #Bernie2020
Great summary, Joanne. Thanks.
To be fair I’m not against Tulsi’s stance on healthcare. The UK has a similar system. The NHS is funded by a tax (NI , which many seem to not be aware also funds the social security old age pension) but people are still able to pay for private healthcare if they wish. Seems perfectly sensible. I would also add that for everyone wanting to see the 1st woman president you should want her to be a good one. That’s not HRC or Harris- but I still believe Tulsi would be a great one.
Valid point. I’ve heard Tulsi’s healthcare plan compared to Australia’s. For the record, Bernie’s single-payer Medicare for All plan is more comprehensive than, say, Canada’s national healthcare. (Canadian progressive commentator David Doel verifies that.) Remember, too, that Bernie’s plan also allows people to purchase private insurance for anything NOT covered by M4A (i.e., private hospital rooms, cosmetic surgery, etc). In the UK, are people able to purchase private healthcare insurance for the SAME coverage that NHS provides (like our public option proposals), or is private insurance coverage on top of, a unique addition to, the basic coverage?
Back to Tulsi. She is one strong and courageous woman! I would feel secure & confident with her in the White House some day. Regarding my candidate lists… I use 2 easily identifiable criteria, and stick to them — for the sake of consistency and objectivity. Some decent candidates don’t make the list, and some who aren’t quite ready do. People should use the lists as discovery tools for their own candidate research.
Thanks for adding a meaningful viewpoint to the discussion.