so you want to be president

So Who Is Still Running for President?

Candidates running for president.
Which candidates are left? Photo: Getty Images

With just over a year until the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the overwhelmingly crowded field of Democratic candidates has slowly started to winnow down. In the past two months, Washington governor Jay Inslee, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, Massachusetts representative Seth Moulton, and New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand have all dropped out. On Friday, September 20, New York mayor Bill de Blasio officially ended his campaign — a decision celebrated by groundhogs across the country.

And yet, so many — too many — candidates are still in the race. In total, there are 19 Democrats still running, several of whom look like the exact same white guy copied and pasted over and over. There are also two Republicans who have made the bold decision to seek their party’s nomination over Donald Trump.

If you can remember more than 15 candidates off the top of your head, that’s impressive. If you can’t, here’s a guide to who’s still in the running.

Joe Biden

Current role: Former vice president to that guy whose name escapes him
And? Despite his burgeoning reputation as an inappropriately handsy man who makes frequent gaffes, Biden has remained at the top of most polls since he entered the race in April. His campaign relies on nostalgia for Obama’s tenure and record players (which, despite his assertion during the third debate, do not solve systemic racism).
Did he qualify for the fourth debate? Yes.

Bernie Sanders

Current role: Senator of Vermont
And? Bernie is a lifelong progressive who popularized many of the big issues on which progressives are running today — perhaps most notably Medicare-for-all. While most polls currently show him in second place behind Biden, one recent poll showed him eclipsing the former veep.
Did he qualify for the fourth debate? Yes.

Elizabeth Warren

Current role: Senator of Massachusetts
And? The student-debt crisis, relentless attacks on abortion rights, and the rising costs of child care? Warren’s got a plan to fix all of that. Along with Sanders, Warren is one of the more progressive candidates running.
Did she qualify for the fourth debate? Yes.

Kamala Harris

Current role: U.S. Senator of California
And? Though Kamala Harris had a breakthrough moment in the first debate when she sparred with Biden, the former California Attorney General has had difficulty standing ever since. While she at first courted progressives, it appears she has since shifted her focus toward winning over Biden supporters, as evidenced by her recent reversal on whether she thinks private health insurance should be abolished.
Did she qualify for the fourth debate? Yes.

Pete Buttiegieg

Current role: Mayor of South Bend, Indiana
And? Although Mayor Pete has lost some of the momentum he had after announcing his bid for presidency, the wholesome Midwestern boy is still beloved by celebrities. Also, have you heard he plays the didgeridoo?
Did he qualify for the fourth debate? Yes.

Julián Castro

Current role: Former U.S. secretary of housing and urban development
And? During the first debate, Julián Castro gave strong answers to questions regarding immigration and abortion rights, and he came out at the end of the night with high rankings. And yet, he has failed to catch up to the more progressive candidates (and Biden) in the polls, and was the tenth and final candidate to qualify for the third debate.
Did he qualify for the fourth debate? Yes.

Cory Booker

Current role: Senator of New Jersey
And? The issue most central to Booker’s political career is criminal-justice reform, and in June, he announced a plan that would grant early releases to as many as 20,000 people being held in federal prison for drug offenses. He loves love and Rosario Dawson and coffee.
Did he qualify for the fourth debate? Yes.

Andrew Yang

Current role: Entrepreneur
And? Have you heard? If elected, Yang wants to give you $1,000 a month. (Universal basic income is the cornerstone of his campaign.) He also has a rabid fanbase who call themselves the #YangGang.
Did he qualify for the fourth debate? Yes.

Beto O’Rourke

Current role: Former Texas representative
And? After O’Rourke came inspiringly close to unseating Texas senator Ted Cruz last year, he decided to try to parlay his near-success into an equally inspiring presidential run. He’s in a little over his head.
Did he qualify for the fourth debate? Yes.

Amy Klobuchar

Current role: Minnesota senator
And? Not long after she launched her presidential bid in February, Klobuchar was hit with numerous damning allegations that she mistreats her staff. (Also, that she once furiously ate a salad with a comb.) In March, she unveiled a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, which she called her “top budget priority.”
Did she qualify for the fourth debate? Yes.

Tom Steyer

Current role: Billionaire
And? He’s a wildly wealthy man who nearly bought his way into qualifying for the third debate. He wasn’t successful in that attempt, but now…
Did he qualify for the fourth debate? Yes.

Marianne Williamson

Current role: Spiritual guru
And? Williamson, the orb emoji come to life, impressed the nation during the second debate when she concisely vocalized the need for reparations. However, the New York Times best-selling author and spiritual guru to celebs has also touted in the past some more controversial views on everything from eating disorders to HIV. (For the record, she’s sorry for calling vaccines “Orwellian.”) She recently compared herself to a detained migrant.
Did she qualify for the fourth debate? She has met the donor requirement, but not the polling threshold.

Tulsi Gabbard

Current role: Hawaii representative
And? In January, when Gabbard announced her intent to run for president on CNN, the Iraq war veteran said the main issue of her platform would be “war and peace.” Despite having a few impressive moments on the debate stage — notably, when she attacked Harris over her criminal-justice record during the second debate — Gabbard hasn’t been polling so well. Her suit game is still top-notch, though.
Did she qualify for the fourth debate? Like Williamson, she has met the donor requirement, but not the polling threshold.

Michael Bennet

Current role: Colorado senator
And? He sounds like a cross between Mr. Mackey on South Park and a Charlie Brown character. (Oh, and his political platform? He’s a moderate who’s a big proponent of bipartisanship. That’s all you really need to know.)
Did he qualify for the fourth debate? No.

Tim Ryan

Current role: Ohio representative
And? I honestly don’t know.
Did he qualify for the fourth debate? No.

John Delaney

Current role: Former Maryland representative
And? If the name John Delaney sounds familiar but you don’t why, it’s likely you remember him as the guy who Warren skewered during the second debate. (He’s one of the moderate candidates who accuses progressives of introducing ambitious proposals that are “dead on arrival.”)
Did he qualify for the fourth debate? No.

Steve Bullock

Current role: Montana governor
And? According to the website for his presidential campaign, if elected, Bullock will “make taking on the toxic influence of money in politics a national priority.” He used to be a paper boy.
Did he qualify for the fourth debate? No.

John Sestak

Current role: Former Pennsylvania representative
And? He’s a retired Navy vice admiral who has not yet appeared on a debate stage. And yet, he’s hanging on.
Did he qualify for the fourth debate? No.

Wayne Messam

Current role: Mayor of Miramar, Florida
And? In 2015, Messam defeated a longtime incumbent to become the first black mayor of Miramar. His goal as president would be to “restore the American dream.” He has yet to really garner any attention for his presidential bid; recently, though, he made headlines when campaign workers told BuzzFeed News that Messam mistreated his staff.
Did he qualify for the fourth debate? No.

Donald Trump

Current role: President
And: Donald Trump is [signal cuts out.]

Joe Walsh

Current role: Conservative radio host
And? He’s a former tea party congressman who has said a lot of racist things on Twitter. (And yet, he maintains that he is not racist.)

Bill Weld

Current role: Former Massachusetts governor
And? I have never heard this man’s name in my life.

This post has been updated.

So Who Is Still Running for President?