2020 Democratic Candidates for President

Sources: New York Times, QZ, candidate websites and facebook pages. 
Listed alphabetically by last name.

Michael Bennet

AGE: 54
STATE: Colorado

BASIC INFO: Bennet may be best-known outside his state for his January 2019 excoriation of Ted Cruz in Congress, where he criticized the Texas Republican senator’s “crocodile tears” during the national government shutdown, noting that Cruz pushed a shutdown in 2013 when Colorado was “under water.” The two-term senator is credited with helping Democrats pass the Affordable Care Act, and has been speaking out against Trump’s attacks on the bill.

QUOTE: On a recent trip to Iowa, he told voters that Americans “don’t have to settle” for being as “terrible” as Trump, or for the “tyrants” of the Freedom Caucus.

Who gives him money:The finance and legal industry gave Bennet the most money in recent elections; he hasn’t indicated any 2020 strategy yet.

Biggest idea for the economy: Medicare X, which he calls a “true public option” for healthcare, that bridges the gap between Sanders’ “Medicare for all” plan (which he calls unrealistic) and private healthcare.
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Joe Biden

AGE: 76
STATE: Delaware

BASIC INFO: Obama’s vice president and right-hand man, Biden has additional decades of federal experience as a senator from Delaware and a centrist appeal that could sway moderate Republicans and independents.

QUOTE: Our country is being put to the test …but I’ve never been more optimistic about America.

Who gives him money: Traditionally law firms, the insurance industry, and rich folk; Hollywood insiders recently gave $100,000 to his Democratic PAC.

Biggest idea for the economy: His Biden Institute is pushing tech education and increased bargaining power for American workers as a solution to the left-behind working and middle class.
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Steve Bullock

AGE: 53
STATE: Montana

BASIC INFO: Montana’s governor and former state attorney general Steve Bullock made national headlines by fighting for strong campaign finance laws. A Democratic governor who was re-elected the same day that Trump won his state by a shocking 20% margin, Bullock is building his campaign on his ability to find common ground with conservative voters while implementing progressive policies.

QUOTE: Washington has been so thoroughly corrupted by Big Money that it has been unable to tackle our biggest challenges. Millionaires get huge tax cuts, while average Americans are left behind and income inequality hit record highs. Big Pharma spends millions to influence our government, yet we pay more for healthcare than any other industrialized nation — with nothing to show for it. And as Big Oil reaps huge profits and takes over our public lands, our politicians stand by and do literally nothing to deal with the climate crisis. We have to do more than just win this election — we have to make Washington work for us. Not for Big Money, not for the special interests, but for each one of us in the communities we call home.

Who gives him money: The donations for his latest gubernatorial campaign came primarily from individuals; he had several unions among his supporters, most of which donated exactly $10,610 each.

Biggest idea for the economy: Reform campaign finance laws so that representatives don’t answer to donors, they answer to voters. Bullock pledges to force every company that wants government contracts to disclose every campaign donation, outlaw superPACs and overturn Citizens United.
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South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg

AGE: 37
STATE: Indiana

BASIC INFO: Known locally in South Bend, Indiana, as “Mayor Pete,” Buttigieg served as a naval officer in Afghanistan. Buttigieg, though a long shot, would be the youngest and first openly gay president if elected.

QUOTE: video, in his own words.

Who gives him money: Local businesses and CEOs supported his mayoral campaign. He created a PAC for megadonors to support Democrats in 2017 that may be used to fund his 2020 run.

Biggest idea for the economy: Increase public protections of jobs and benefits to help make the employment market more dynamic without the fear of personal debt tied to college loans and medical bills.
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Former Secretary of Housing Julián Castro

Julian Castro

AGE: 44
STATE: Texas

BASIC INFO:  After growing up in a poor San Antonio neighborhood, Castro—and twin brother Joaquín—went on to earn Ivy League degrees and take on careers in national politics. Onetime mayor of San Antonio, Castro was US secretary of housing and urban development under Barack Obama. That experience, along with his mother’s activism with Latino groups, is a central part of the narrative.

QUOTE: If we want to see change, we don’t wait for it, we work toward it. Today, more than ever, we must work together to build an America where everyone—no matter who we are or where we come from—can thrive.

Who gives him money: He’s pledged not to take “a dime” from political action committees. There are no public records about who contributed to his runs for mayor, because San Antonio is only required to keep campaign-finance documents for two years. The PAC he created to support new Democratic candidates in the 2018 election, Opportunity First, has vowed not to take donations from corporate PACs.

Biggest idea for the economy: Though he hasn’t released many details of his platform, he’s been a strong advocate of free trade, which has benefited his hometown. He’s defended free trade deals, arguing that instead of scrapping them, they should be reworked to strengthen protections for workers and the environment.
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Bill de Blasio– “My presidential campaign may be over, but I am going to keep fighting for working people — and ensuring that New York City remains the vanguard of progressivism.”

AGE: 58
STATE: New York

BASIC INFO: De Blasio is steeped in local politics, having served as the city’s public advocate and on Hillary Clinton’s winning Senate campaign, but his time as mayor has been rocky. Still, he’s expected to emphasize his achievements there to progressive voters, including $15 minimum wage, universal pre-Kindergarten, and a drop in crime.

QUOTE:  Video, in his own words.

Biggest idea for the economy: As mayor, de Blasio has presided over healthy economic expansion, but struggled to fix growing inequality. He’s expected to focus on progressive ideas to close that gap nationwide, including nationalizing his universal successful pre-Kindergarten program and increasing affordable housing.

Who gives him money: Donors for his mayoral campaign included workers’ unions and Democratic PACs.
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Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney

John Delaney

AGE: 55
STATE: Maryland

BASIC INFO:  A self-made businessman, Delaney at one point was the youngest CEO on the New York Stock Exchange. Delaney has been running the longest — he declared his candidacy in July 2017 — but is still working to gain name recognition.

QUOTE:  For too long, the conversation in politics has been about trying to return to the past instead of focusing on the most important thing — the future.

Biggest idea for the economy: Build a public and private international coalition against China’s intellectual property theft, and compete against China in Asia with a TPP-style trade deal.

Who gives him money: Funded by banks, housing, and construction companies in his congressional race. Independently wealthy, funding himself now.
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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Tulsi Gabbard

AGE: 37
STATE: Hawaii

BASIC INFO:  Gabbard is the first American Samoan and the first Hindu member of Congress, and brings her experience as an Iraq War veteran to the House Armed Services Committee.

QUOTE:  When we listen to each other with a clear mind and an open heart, we will heal the divide and build a majority coalition around our common values of service above self, freedom, justice, love for country, prosperity and peace.

Who gives her money: Health professionals, real-estate interest groups. Most donors are individuals, though her second-largest contribution ($36,400) between 2011 and 2018 came from the National Automobile Dealers Association’s PAC.

Biggest idea for the economy: Cut taxes on small businesses and farmers, raise them on corporations; lower military spending by ending regime-change wars and reducing the acquisition of nuclear weapons.
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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand– dropped out on Aug. 28, having failed to qualify for the televised debates.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

AGE: 52
STATE: New York

BASIC INFO:  Gillibrand campaigned as a child with her grandmother Dorthea Noonan, a longtime president of the Albany Democratic Women’s Club. The New York Democrat called for former Sen. Al Franken to resign and has acknowledged her increasingly progressive stances on immigration and gun reform running counter to previous positions she held running for the House.

QUOTE: video, in her own words

Who gives her money: Law firms, Wall Street institutions.

Biggest idea for the economy: Gillibrand has been pushing the US to require that companies adopt a universal paid parental leave policy.
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Mike Gravel– dropped out on Aug. 28 , 2019

AGE: 88
STATE: Alaska

BASIC INFO:  Former US senator from Alaska and one-time pot industry executive.
He says his current bid is not to win, but to challenge centrist Democrats’ views on the economy, the environment, and US foreign policy during the presidential debates. “It’s time to make some waves for change,” he says in a YouTube video, a remake of his 2008 campaign viral hit. It’s unclear whether his team, made up of a group of teenagers, can amass the 65,000 donations needed to earn Gravel a spot. 

QUOTE:The time has come to fundamentally shift the dialogue of American politics. I’m running for president to force the tough conversation about the costs of endless wars of choice.

Who gives him money: Individual contributors, some who donate in bitcoin. He’s also using some of his own money.

Biggest idea for the economy: A $1,000 monthly check sent to every American over 18, so they can pay their bills as robots take over jobs.
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Sen. Kamala Harris

Sen. Kamala Harris

AGE: 54
STATE: California

BASIC INFO:  Harris is the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants and grew up attending both a Baptist church and a Hindu temple. Kamala Harris became a prosecutor in Oakland, the San Francisco District Attorney, and California’s Attorney General before winning her US Senate seat in California. 

QUOTE: video, in her own words

Who gives her money: In the past five years, 35% of Harris’ campaign funds have come from small donors, according to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis of Federal Election Commission data. Her top sources of funding include attorneys, retirees, financiers, and the entertainment industry. Her biggest contributors by employer were WarnerMedia, the University of California, Google-parent Alphabet, Inc., 21st Century Fox and the law firm Venable. Her presidential campaign won’t accept donations from corporate PACs.

Biggest idea for the economy: The LIFT Act, a working- and middle-class tax cut akin to the Earned Income Tax Credit that she says will provide up to $500 a month to families. To pay for it, she wants to reverse Trump’s 2017 tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy—but it’s not clear if she’ll tackle the radical structural changes that bill made in how US multinationals operate.
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Former Gov. John Hickenlooper – dropped out, running for Senate

John Hickenlooper

AGE: 67
STATE: Colorado

BASIC INFO: A geologist and businessman, John Hickenlooper served two terms as Denver mayor before being elected Colorado governor in 2010.  As the head of Colorado from 2011 to 2019, Hickenlooper helped steer the state through several tragedies, including the 2012 shooting in a movie theater in Aurora that left 12 people dead and catastrophic wildfires and floods in 2013. Before his two terms as governor, he served as Denver’s mayor for eight years, after opening a large brewpub there in 1988 that went on to help reinvigorate the LoDo area of Denver.

QUOTE: video, in his own words

Who gives him money: Government workers, lawyers and lobbyists, and real-estate firms funded his gubernatorial races. He also received contributions from energy and telecom companies.

Biggest idea for the economy: Cutting red tape to reduce the cost of doing business and increase compliance with regulations.
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Gov. Jay Inslee – dropped out, will run for governor

Jay Inslee

AGE: 68
STATE: Washington

BASIC INFO: Inslee, who has held elected office for much of the last three decades, has been an outspoken progressive executive since he became governor in 2013. He has been a vocal opponent of President Donald Trump, including suing the President after he tried to ban immigration from several Muslim-majority countries. Now, Inslee is running as the climate change candidate.

We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change and the last who can do something about it. As president, Governor Inslee will build a new economy based on clean energy and justice.

QUOTE: We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change and the last who can do something about it. As president, I will build a new economy based on clean energy and justice.

Who gives him money: A new super-PAC, Act Now on Climate, was formed in February to support Inslee’s run. It won’t accept corporate donations, and Inslee’s campaign says it will shun money from the fossil-fuel industry. In the past, he’s been funded by the electronics and tech industry and affiliated unions, particularly Microsoft, which is headquartered in his state.

Biggest idea for the economy: Stopping climate change can boost economic growth, and create millions of new jobs as the US transitions to “100% clean energy and net-zero greenhouse gas pollution,” Inslee says. He proposes removing subsidies and tax breaks for the fossil-fuel industry, and supports the Green New Deal.
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Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Sen. Amy Klobuchar

AGE: 58
STATE: Minnesota

BASIC INFO:  Klobuchar announced her run outdoors as it snowed, which she tied to her commitment to a “homegrown” campaign with “grit.” The Minnesota moderate is looking to work across the aisle and win back fellow working class midwesterners.

QUOTE: video, in her own words

Who gives her money: Traditionally law firms and the food and dairy industry. Klobuchar is pledging to get “dark money” out of politics, and said she won’t take corporate PAC money for the 2020 race.

Biggest idea for the economy: New measures to make it easier for small and mid-sized US businesses to export goods worldwide.
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Wayne Messam

Wayne Messam

AGE: 44
STATE: Florida

BASIC INFO:   Mayor of Miramar, Fla.,  former college football champion. Has taken progressive stances on guns, immigration and environmental issues. Has proposed canceling the more than $1.5 trillion in student debt owed by 44 million Americans.

QUOTE: The gun violence epidemic continues to take far too many lives, climate change damages more homes and devastates more communities each year, skyrocketing healthcare costs cut off many Americans from the possibility of their American Dream, and crippling student loan debt leaves people of all ages with little hope for the future. These big issues need fresh eyes and bold ideas from someone closer to the people, so our voice can be heard. Together, we can fundamentally change our country for the better and tackle these challenges with actions that match the scale and urgency of this moment.

Who gives him money: Messam is expected to rely heavily on small donors, and kicked off his campaign asking for $3 contributions. His latest mayoral campaign took in just over $80,000, half of which was from contributors who gave from $20 to $1,000. He personally contributed the remaining half through a loan.

Biggest idea for the economy: Messam proposes cancelling the US’s $1.5 trillion in student debt, calling it a “moral issue,” and a hurdle that prevents economic mobility in the country. He would also rescind Trump’s tax cut on corporations and the wealthy.
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Seth Moulton– dropped out

Seth Moulton

AGE: 40
STATE: Massachusetts 

BASIC INFO: Seth Moulton is a father, husband, Iraq War Veteran, and Congressman. He now serves the 6th District of Massachusetts. 9/11 happened a few months after his graduation, and little more than a year later, Seth was an infantry platoon commander in the first company of Marines to enter Baghdad in 2003. Despite his disagreements with the war, he insisted on returning for a total of four combat deployments “so nobody would have to go in my place.” Serving in Iraq while feeling let down and left behind by the politicians in Washington who sent them there inspired Seth to run for Congress in 2014. He took on a nine-term incumbent backed by the party establishment, calling for a new generation of leadership in Congress, and overcame a 54-point deficit to win.

QUOTE: The greatest generation saved our country from tyranny, it’s time for our generation to step up and do the same,” Moulton said in a video, explaining that he’s running because “we have to beat Donald Trump.”

Who gives him money: Moulton has raised money from a diverse pool of donors in the past that included Harvard University (he’s a Harvard grad) and weapons-maker Northrop Grumman. Unlike many of his Democratic competitors, Moulton hasn’t pledged not to take corporate PAC money ahead of the primaries.

Biggest idea for the economy: Moulton is backing the Green New Deal as a genesis of new “green jobs” in America.
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Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke

Beto O'Rourke

AGE: 46
STATE: Texas

BASIC INFO:  O’Rourke, a rising star in the Democratic Party, ran unsuccessfully against Ted Cruz for a Senate seat in 2018 while serving his third term in the House. With roots in El Paso, O’Rourke gained national attention during his Senate race when a video of him answering a question about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem went viral. He made an off-the-cuff riff about the civil rights movement as he defended players for making their case “nonviolently, peacefully, while the eyes of this country are watching.”

QUOTE: The challenges we face are the greatest in living memory. We can only meet them if we build a movement that includes all of us.

Who gives him money: His race against Cruz was mainly funded by individual contributors but he took PAC money in previous elections.

Biggest idea for the economy: His economic proposals during his Senate run last year were focused on reducing inequality, though they were rather vague. They included stronger anti-trust regulations to break up monopolies and encouraging companies to invest profits in their employees and communities.
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Rep Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan

AGE: 45
STATE: Ohio

BASIC INFO:  Ryan is a classic Rust Belt Democrat and friend of labor, and he’s concerned about the fate of manufacturing. He is also an outspoken critic of Democratic leadership, mounting a quixotic challenge to Nancy Pelosi in 2017. Ryan comes from a part of Ohio,
Youngstown and Akron, that traditionally votes Democratic but swung to Trump, and he’d have supporters there.

QUOTE: As a congressman from Youngstown, Ohio for almost 20 years, I’ve watched the American Dream slip through the fingers of many Americans. It’s time for us to start building the America we deserve. An America that invests in public education, affordable health care and an economy that works for all of us. An America united by a shared vision for our future.

Who gives him money: About 38% of Ryan’s donations over his House career have come from labor unions; lawyers and law firms have historically been his biggest supporters. Ryan relies mostly on large single donations, as 92% of all contributions to his campaign during the 2018 cycle were amounts above $200.

Biggest idea for the economy: Ryan has talked about creating jobs in electric-vehicle manufacturing and other green industries. He is pro-business and pro-fracking, and cautions against Democrats moving too far to the left. “We can’t green the economy without the power of the free-market system,” he said.
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Sen. Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders

AGE: 77
STATE: Vermont

BASIC INFO:  Sanders’ democratic socialist platform gained significant traction during the 2016 primaries, when the independent senator who caucuses with Democrats ran against Hillary Clinton. His policy agenda includes various progressive proposals, many of which have been embraced by the Democratic Party, like expanding health care, broadening the social safety net and making higher education free.

QUOTE: Change never takes place from the top down, it comes from the bottom up. Because millions of people came together to fight for change, ideas that were considered radical a few years ago are mainstream today. And if we stand together, we can turn those ideas into reality.

Who gives him money: Over the past five years, 75% of Sanders’ campaign funds have come from small donors in amounts of less than $200, according to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis of FEC data. His top sources of funding include liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org, University of California employees, two postal-employee unions, and the Communication Workers of America. Just $177,000 of $12.7 million raised during that period came from PACs.

Biggest idea for the economy: Sanders would like to make public colleges tuition-free, increase Social Security benefits, and make corporate America more union-friendly. Sanders has proposed paying for the tuition costs by taxing financial transactions and the Social Security expansion by subjecting all incomes above $250,000 to the 6.2% payroll tax.
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Joe Sestak


AGE: 67

STATE: Pennsylvania

BASIC INFO: A retired Navy officer and former National Security Council director of defense policy under Bill Clinton, Sestak represented a deep-red district of Pennsylvania as a Democratic congressman between 2007 and 2011.

QUOTE: T

Who gives him money: His 2010 campaign was primarily powered by individual contributions, small and large. Amongst the top contributors are the University of Pennsylvania, liberal advocacy group J Street, and law firm Blank Rome.

Biggest idea for the economy: Cut taxes for the middle class, raise corporate tax.
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Tom Steyer

Tom Steyer

AGE: 62
STATE: California

BASIC INFO: Steyer has been involved in politics since working on Walter Mondale’s presidential campaign in 1983, but never held or ran for office. The billionaire Democratic mega-donor, who is pushing to impeach Trump, confirmed his intention to run for president on July 9, 2019. Steyer, who made his money building hedge fund Farallon Capital, has morphed into an environmental activist and philanthropist in recent years. The 62-year old donated more than any other American to political campaigns in 2016. He was expected to run for Senate in 2016 and governor of California in 2018, but did not enter those races. His platform is primarily concerned with fighting corporate influence on politics. QZ

QUOTE: There’s nothing more powerful than the unified voice of the American people.

Video, in his own words.

Who gives him money: No one. He gives people money.

Biggest idea for the economy: Steyer is likely to advocate for higher taxes for the wealthy, and a focus on economic growth through green jobs.
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren

AGE: 69
STATE: Massachusetts

BASIC INFO:  Warren was appointed as assistant to President Barack Obama and special adviser to the Treasury secretary in order to launch the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She was also appointed to a congressional oversight panel overseeing the $700 billion Trouble Assets Relief Program that was passed in response to the 2008 financial crisis. Currently the senior senator from Massachusetts.

QUOTE: This is the fight of our lives. The fight to build an America that works for everyone, not just the wealthy and the well-connected. It won’t be easy. But united by our values, we can make big, structural change. We can raise our voices together until this fight is won. Video, in her own words.

Who gives her money: The education industry, women’s PACs, and the legal profession in the past; she’s pledged to take no money from billionaires or billionaire PACS in 2020.

Biggest idea for the economy: A “wealth tax” of 2% on net worth over $50 million and 3% over $1 billion designed to raise $2.75 trillion over a decade.
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Spiritual author Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson

AGE: 66
STATE: Texas

BASIC INFO:  Williamson is best known for being a spiritual counselor to Oprah Winfrey and has written several best-selling books, including her debut “A Return to Love.” She is calling for “a moral and spiritual awakening in the country” with her campaign.

QUOTE: Our task is to generate a massive wave of energy, fueled and navigated by we the people, so powerful as to override all threats to our democracy. Where fear has been harnessed for political purposes, our task is to harness love. May all of us rise to a higher level of participation in the life of this country. In order to make America better, all of us must be better now: more educated, more involved, and more conscious citizens of the United States. Videos

Who gives her money: Unclear so far; Williamson is independently wealthy.

Biggest idea for the economy: Pay $10 billion in slavery reparations every year for 10 years to the African American community.
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Businessman Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang

AGE: 44
STATE: New York

BASIC INFO:  Yang is an entrepreneur who launched Venture for America, a fellowship program that aims to connect recent grads with startups. Yang entered the race Nov. 6, 2018 on essentially a single issue: protecting Americans from job-stealing robots. The son of Taiwanese immigrants, he sells himself as the opposite of Trump—an ego-free Asian man who likes math. He wants to give all Americans a universal basic income of $1,000 per month to address economic inequality.

QUOTE: I’m running because I fear for the future of our country. New technologies – robots, software, artificial intelligence – have already destroyed more than 4 million US jobs, and in the next 5-10 years, they will eliminate millions more. A third of all American workers are at risk of permanent unemployment. And this time, the jobs will not come back. I’m an entrepreneur who understands the economy. It’s clear to me, and to many of the nation’s best job creators, that we need to make an unprecedented change, and we need to make it now. As president, my first priority will be to implement Universal Basic Income for every American adult over the age of 18: $1,000 a month, no strings attached, paid for by a new tax on the companies benefiting most from automation. UBI is just the beginning. A crisis is underway—we have to work together to stop it, or risk losing the heart of our country.

Who gives him money: Individual contributors, some who donate in bitcoin. He’s also using some of his own money.

Biggest idea for the economy: A $1,000 monthly check sent to every American over 18, so they can pay their bills as robots take over jobs.
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