With more than 20 Democratic presidential contenders, it’s hard to keep track of what they stand for, what they champion – or even who they are. The New York Times has, as Elizabeth Warren would say, a plan for that.
In a special report called “Meet the Candidates,” the Times sat down with 21 of the presidential hopefuls in front of a camera and recorded their answers to 18 questions. The questions range from policy issues to personal preferences, including who candidates view as their personal heroes and their go-to comfort foods on the campaign trail. The interviews took place from early March to June.
The result is a fresh and engaging way to scope out the candidates, with one major exception. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is the frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, declined to participate.
The interactive report is another excellent example of reimagining newspapers in the digital era by marrying video and digital technology with traditional newspaper coverage.
The candidates were asked their views about guns, health care, climate change, foreign policy, immigration, death penalty, breaking up big technology firms and expanding the US Supreme Court.
Personal questions ranged from asking when a candidate’s family migrated to the United States, how much sleep they get, the last time they were embarrassed and how they relax. There also was a closing question that asked, “Does anyone deserve to have $1 billion?”
The report’s intent is to give viewers a face-to-face opportunity to listen to each candidate explain their views in their own words without filters or disruptions.
You can click on one or all 21 candidate profiles at your pleasure. Each profile contains the 18 questions and a candidate’s answer to each question in separate short videos. There also is brief summary of the views expressed. If you like what you hear, there is a “share” button.
Here are excerpts from Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s video profile:
Inslee touts his work as governor on fighting climate change and his plan to shift America to a clean energy economy, creating 8 million jobs.
Inslee calls for universal health care coverage and cites his leadership to create a public option for health insurance in Washington.
Inslee believes in the private right to own handguns, questions whether the current Israeli government is meeting international human rights standards and considers his wife, mother and father as his heroes.
Inslee supports legal immigration and asylum seekers and wants to protect so-called “Dreamers.”
His last embarrassment, Inslee says, was in high school when he missed a game-winning shot.
Inslee opposes the death penalty and favors criminal justice reform to address racial disparity.
Inslee favors enforcing antitrust laws when it comes to Facebook, Amazon and Google.
Inslee traces his family lineage to England and Wales. He didn’t provide answers for his go-to comfort food or how much sleep he gets on average.
Regarding adding more justices to the US Supreme Court, Inslee says he is open to any idea to protect a woman’s right to choose.
Inslee believes President Trump has committed crimes in office and the House is edging toward an impeachment inquiry.
In describing the project, the Times said Elizabeth Warren was the first candidate to sit for an interview and was invited back because more questions were added after her interview. It noted the interviews occurred at different stages of the release of Mueller special investigation report, which influenced how candidates answered the question about Trump. Most interviews occurred in New York, but some candidates sat for interviews in Washington, DC, Texas and Iowa.