20 Books Written By 2020 Presidential Candidates, Because You Can Judge A Candidate By Their Book
The race is on, and it's a packed field. There are more than 20 registered 2020 presidential candidates already, so you're probably still trying to figure out where they all stand on important issues. Luckily, they’ve given you help: Almost every candidate has published a book that shares insight into their background and beliefs.
While you’ll find the most up-to-date policy information on their campaign websites, the candidates have also written books that make for a great resource. Their writings offer unique looks at the experiences that have shaped them, their world view, and how they think. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a candidate (at least in part) by their book.
Writing a book before running for president is nothing new. Former President Barack Obama was a published author long before he ever inhabited the White House. The same is true of the current president. You might not be able to predict who will win the race in 2020, but based on how many of the contenders have written their own tomes, it’s a safe bet that the eventual winner will have an author’s credit. In the meantime, you can learn about almost all of them via their books:
‘The Truths We Hold’ by Kamala Harris
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have both written children’s books, but they have also written for adults. Most recently, Harris released The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, which details her experience growing up as the daughter of immigrants in Oakland, California, her work as Attorney General for the state of California, and, most recently, her political career in Congress.
‘The Right Answer’ by John K. Delaney
Former Rep. John K. Delaney (D-Md.) was the first Democrat to formally announce his bid for the presidency. The move shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone who read 2018’s The Right Answer: How We Can Unify Our Divided Nation. In it, he shares his background and values, and lays out his vision for a united America.
‘The War on Normal People’ by Andrew Yang
Entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrew Yang hasn’t held public office, but the Democratic presidential candidate shared many of his views in his 2018 book, The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future. Yang looks at the ways in which the world is changing, what that means for the economy, and what we must do to stabilize it.
‘This Fight Is Our Fight’ by Elizabeth Warren
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has written several books already, the most recent being This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class. Warren makes it clear that she thinks the current administration has us on the wrong path and offers a new direction in this book.
‘An Unlikely Journey’ by Julián Castro
Former U.S. Secretary of House and Urban Development Julián Castro published a memoir in 2018. Called An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream, it’s an inspiring story that follows Castro, now a Democratic presidential hopeful, and his twin brother, Joaquin, from their childhood in a low-income part of San Antonio, Texas, to the upper echelons of government.
‘Off the Sidelines’ by Kirsten Gillibrand
Off the Sidelines: Speak Up, Be Fearless, and Change Your World reflects on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's (D-N.Y.) journey in public service and serves as a guide for other women who want to step up.
‘Shortest Way Home’ by Pete Buttigieg
Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, shares his story in Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future. He delves into both his coming of age, his military service, and his time as mayor.
‘United’ by Cory Booker
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) highlights the values that are important to him and his vision for America in United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good. He touches on issues such as race, crime, the economy, and environmental justice. The memoir also revisits the route Booker took to get where he is now and the experiences that shaped him.
‘The Senator Next Door’ by Amy Klobuchar
The Senator Next Door: A Memoir from the Heartland is written by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). It chronicles the politician’s life, starting with her upbringing in suburban Minnesota. Through her stories, she reveals why she got into politics and how she believes it can still work.
‘Where We Go From Here’ by Bernie Sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is again pursuing the Democratic Party nomination. He makes no secret of his concerns about the Trump administration in Where We Go from Here: Two Years in the Resistance.
‘Apollo’s Fire’ by Jay Inslee, Bracken Hendricks
Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) wrote 2007’s Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy with Bracken Hendricks. Like Inslee’s campaign platform, the book focuses on the environmental threats to our planet and how America can achieve both economic growth and clean energy.
‘Is Today the Day?’ by Tulsi Gabbard (Aug. 20, 2019)
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has a book, Is Today the Day?: Not Another Political Memoir, due out later this year. It will share the lessons Gabbard has learned while serving the country, both in the armed forces and in Congress.
‘The Opposite of Woe’ by John Hickenlooper, with Maximillian Potter
The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics comes from former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), co-written with Maximillian Potter. The memoir brings readers through Hickenlooper’s years as a geologist, brew pub entrepreneur, and then governor.
‘Dealing Death and Drugs’ by Beto O'Rourke and Susie Byrd
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) is just one of the candidates who support the legalization of marijuana, but he’s written an entire book on the subject. Before he hit the national political stage, he wrote Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico with Susie Byrd. It tackles how marijuana prohibition has made drug control all but impossible and argues for an alternative solution.
‘Healing America’ by Tim Ryan
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) wrote Healing America: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Recapture the American Spirit. Previously titled A Mindful Nation, the book looks at the stress Americans are under and shares scientific findings about the benefits of mindfulness. He shares his vision of how the practice can revitalize the American dream.
‘Promise Me, Dad’ by Joe Biden
‘A Political Odyssey’ by Mike Gravel and Joe Lauria
After decades in public service, former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) wrote 2008’s A Political Odyssey: The Rise of American Militarism and One Man’s Fight to Stop It with Joe Lauria. It’s a look at both his private life and his time in politics, with a particular focus on the military industrial complex.
‘Called to Serve’ by Seth Moulton (Dec. 25, 2020; St. Martin’s Press)
Called to Serve: Learning to Lead in War and Peace by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) isn’t expected to hit shelves before the 2020 election. It will revisit his past, including his time serving in the Marines and working on Capitol Hill. Along the way, Moulton will share his belief in the value of public service.
‘A Return to Love’ by Marianne Williamson
Author, activist, and spiritual guide Marianne Williamson has written a number of books, but considering that she’s running on a platform of love, there’s one that is particularly relevant. Called A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles,” the book is about how practicing love has the power to make our lives more fulfilling.
‘Crippled America’ by Donald Trump
Ahead of the 2016 election now-President Donald Trump published his most recent book Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again. In it, he paints a picture of the world as “a terrible mess” and lays out an action plan. Now that he’s actually president, you can decide how he's doing.
This list inludes every candidate who has registered at the time of publishing, except for three: Gov. Bill Weld (R-Mass.); Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Florida; and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). None of the three have written a nonfiction book.