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We spent hours interviewing the enormous Democratic presidential field on subjects ranging from climate change and border control to fast food and personal humiliation. And while many Democrats agree on a broad set of political ideas, there were some telling differences and disclosures that emerged from our conversations. Here are a few of our takeaways.
With few exceptions, the Democratic candidates expressed concern about the concentration of personal wealth and corporate power in the United States. But there were nuanced differences within the field, separating candidates who saw the accumulation of great fortunes as essentially offensive from candidates who said billion-dollar fortunes were not by definition problematic.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont denounced the country’s “grotesque levels of income and wealth inequality,” while Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said bluntly that “no one deserves to have a billion dollars.”
But other Democrats called the pursuit of immense wealth a vital American trait: John Hickenlooper, the former Colorado governor, said Americans had “always had these aspirational values to make a billion dollars.” Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said Americans deserve to “work hard and make money, and they can make a billion dollars.”
“When kids are struggling with a trillion and a half dollars in student loan debt, then I’ve got a problem with billionaires who are not paying their fair share,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
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