The elevator pitch: These candidates explain why they should be president, in 90 seconds or less

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor

For decades, inventors, entrepreneurs and even job applicants have often been asked to give an “elevator pitch” — a description of their idea, product or qualifications distilled down to the length of an elevator ride. So why not presidential candidates? They are, after all, effectively applying to become the chief executive of the oldest startup in the country, the government of the United States of America.

Yahoo News asked 2020 presidential candidates to deliver their elevator pitches, explaining to voters why they should be the next president, and to date more than a half dozen have responded.

“I’m running for president for a couple of basic reasons,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a recent interview. “No. 1 in my view, Donald Trump is the most dangerous president perhaps in the history of this country, and I believe I am the strongest candidate able to defeat Trump. And the second reason is that defeating Trump is not enough. This country faces some monumental crises.”

Chief among them, for Sanders, is climate change.

“The scientists tell us we have less than a dozen years to transform our energy system and combat climate change or else there will be irreparable damage done to this country and to the entire planet,” he said before rattling off other policy proposals, including Medicare for All and free college tuition.

“So we are in an unprecedented moment in American history and we need an unprecedented response,” he added. “And that unprecedented response is for the American people to stand together, to take on Trump’s desire to divide us up.”

Sen. Cory Booker’s elevator pitch was focused on unity too.

“I’m running for president because I believe in us,” said Booker, the former mayor of Newark, N.J. “I’ve spent my whole career running in America’s toughest problems and bringing people together to solve them — from turning around New Jersey’s largest city to even getting major pieces of legislation passed through the Senate, like our first criminal justice reform bill in a generation.”

The candidates were not given a specific time limit for their elevator pitches. But entrepreneur Andrew Yang, a long-shot candidate for the Democratic nomination, gave himself one.

“Here’s why you should vote for me in one minute or less,” Yang said. “We are going through the greatest economic transformation in the history of our country, what experts are calling the fourth industrial revolution. This led directly to Donald Trump becoming our president in 2016.”

Yahoo News 2020 Elevator Pitches

• Michael Bennet: Click here to watch >>

• Cory Booker: Click here to watch >>

• John Delaney: Click here to watch >>

• Tim Ryan: Click here to watch >>

• Bernie Sanders: Click here to watch >>

• William Weld: Click here to watch >>

• Andrew Yang: Click here to watch >>


“We’d automated away 4 million manufacturing jobs in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Iowa,” Yang continued. “And now my friends in technology know we’re about to do the same thing to millions of American jobs.

“In order to help us manage this historic transition, I’m proposing a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month for every American adult starting at age 18,” he added. “This would help create 2 million new jobs throughout the economy. It would make us stronger, healthier, mentally healthier and would enable millions of Americans to better transition into the economy in the 21st century.”

Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney also gave himself a 60-second limit.

“I will get America working again,” Delaney said. “There’s a lot of issues we need to deal with. We need to deal with climate change, we need to improve public education, we need to create a form of universal health care, we need to help workers, we need to invest in communities that are left behind and we need to reestablish ourselves in the world and we need a leader who’s committed to finding common ground in getting those things done.

“That’s our fundamental responsibility to your children, to my children, to everyone’s children, and we can do it,” he added. “But we have to do it as Americans. Not as Democrats, not as Republicans, not as independents, but Americans. And I will do that as your president.”

William Weld, who is running a long-shot bid for the Republican nomination, had an unusual elevator pitch.

“Vote for me if you are not approving of Mr. Trump, and you can vote against Mr. Trump twice,” Weld said. “First in the Republican primary, where your vote will come right out of his pocket ... and then again if he’s still in the race in the final and vote for whoever you want there; it might be a Democrat at that time. But that’s the way to maximize your vote.”

Read more original 2020 coverage from Yahoo News: