Editor’s Note: If you’re planning on voting in the 2020 Democratic Primary March 3 and have not made up your mind about who you will support, the following may help inform your decision.
Yesterday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization released our 2020 Presidential Questionnaire and responses from the leading Democratic candidates.
2020 marks the most pro-equality field of Democratic Presidential candidates in U.S. history. Each candidate has released more detailed plans for LGBTQ people and LGBTQ equality than any field in history recognizing that LGBTQ voters and our pro-equality allies are a crucial constituency to court.
The release of candidate questionnaire responses is a crucial step in the Human Rights Campaign’s endorsement process. HRC asked 16 questions on topics ranging from the Equality Act to health care, and conversion therapy to immigration reform.
For the first time, our questionnaire asks the candidates for their plans to address the epidemic of violence facing transgender and gender non-conforming people, especially Black trans women. Since 2013, over 150 transgender and gender non-conforming people, almost entirely Black transgender women, have been killed. HRC strongly believes the federal government is uniquely poised to address this national problem.
“LGBTQ people are among the most politically engaged constituencies in the country, and Democratic presidential candidates are taking notice. The more than 11 million LGBTQ voters and 57 million Equality Voters — LGBTQ voters and our allies — are crucial members of the intersectional coalition that will oust President Trump in November,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Throughout his administration, Trump has attacked LGBTQ people at every opportunity. From eliminating access to necessary health care to actively supporting discrimination in the workplace, Trump has put LGBTQ rights at risk. Our community is looking for a leader that understands the challenges we face each and every day and has substantive, realistic plans to overcome them. The Trump-Pence administration must be stopped and HRC will work nationwide through November to ensure that they are.”
HRC sent questionnaires to all Democratic presidential candidates earlier this year. We received questionnaires from Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Businessman Tom Steyer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. We did not receive responses from Representative Tulsi Gabbard ahead of publication. Should her campaign send responses, we will update the web site accordingly. Governor Deval Patrick and Businessman Andrew Yang sent responses but are not included in our public release or website because they have since suspended their campaigns.
Over the last two years, the Trump-Pence Administration has rescinded key protections for transgender students, appointed two new conservative justices to the Supreme Court, banned transgender troops from serving openly in the military, and has repeatedly sought to allow discrimination against LGBTQ people in healthcare, housing, public accommodations and other aspects of life under the guise of “religious freedom.” Despite campaigning on a promise to be a “friend” to the LGBTQ community, President Trump designated Mike Pence as his vice president, and has refused to advance bipartisan federal civil rights legislation — the Equality Act — which overwhelmingly passed through the U.S. House of Representatives this spring.
These issues are of crucial importance to LGBTQ voters and allies. Today, there are an estimated minimum of 11 million LGBTQ voters nationwide — along with millions of parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, and allies — who will play a decisive role in the 2020 election. Since 2016, HRC has identified more than 57 million “Equality Voters” nationwide who prioritize LGBTQ-inclusive policies, including marriage equality, equitable family law, and laws that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
LGBTQ voters cast ballots in higher numbers than the general population in the 2018 midterm elections. LGBTQ voters cast more than 7 million ballots in all — a turnout of roughly 70 percent, compared to a turnout of 49 percent among the general population — and comprised 6 percent of the entire electorate, despite representing 4.5 percent of the voting age population.
In the 2018 midterms, HRC helped register more than 32,000 voters and recruited more than 4,200 volunteers, who worked over 8,500 shifts and clocked more than 30,000 volunteer hours. In the critical final four days of the campaign, HRC staff and volunteers in get-out-the-vote efforts alone knocked on more than 80,000 doors, and held 36,400 conversations with voters at their doors and by phone on behalf of our endorsed candidates. HRC’s unprecedented grassroots mobilization represented an investment of approximately $26 million to recruit volunteers, mobilize constituents, register voters and grow the organization’s grassroots army in an all-out effort to pull the emergency brake on the hateful anti-LGBTQ agenda of the Trump-Pence administration and elect a Congress that would hold them accountable.