The stakes of the upcoming US presidential election have rarely been so high for so many people. It’s also a crucial election for a long-overlooked group of voters: Families.
“You can’t really be a serious presidential contender this year without having a childcare plan,” says Melissa Boteach, vice president for income security and childcare at the National Women’s Law Center. “The minimum threshold that you basically have to claim to be a Democrat at this point around these issues is pretty significant,” echoes Elliot Haspel, a program officer for education policy at the Robins Foundation and author of a recent book on childcare.
The top contenders for the Democratic nomination for president—Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bloomberg, and Amy Klobuchar—have proposed an unprecedentedly progressive slate of family-friendly policies. For the first time, front-runners for a major party nomination have committed to building a national, free pre-Kindergarten system for all 3- and 4-year-olds in America. Almost every candidate has proposed specific policies to address America’s childcare crisis and to support families during children’s early years. Government intervention between birth and school age was once considered off-limits. Experts now recognize it is the most important time in a child’s development.
Below is a list of the top Democratic candidates’ positions on the major issues that affect families, from childcare to paid family leave. It also includes a non-exhaustive list of some of their policies relating to maternal and family health.
Read more from our series on Rewiring Childhood. This reporting is part of a series supported by a grant from the Bernard van Leer Foundation. The author’s views are not necessarily those of the Bernard van Leer Foundation.