Here’s what 2020 presidential candidates looked like at the beginning of their careers and how they look today

  • There are now 11 candidates competing for the Democratic nomination to take on President Donald Trump in 2020.
  • All the candidates took markedly different paths to their careers in public service.
  • Here’s what the 2020 presidential candidates looked like at the beginning of their careers compared to now.

Donald Trump endeavored on a mission to build a “Television City” for NBC and other networks in the 1980s, but he didn’t get $700 million in tax breaks he requested from New York. Now, he’s trying to secure funding for a wall on the southern border.

Source: Crain’s New York Business


Back in 2004, Kamala Harris worked as district attorney for San Francisco, back when Gavin Newsom was mayor. Newsom is now California’s governor and Harris is a US senator and a presidential candidate.

Source: Politico


Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York was once captain of the squash team at Dartmouth College — and now plays for the women’s congressional softball team.

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Gillibrand with the Dartmouth 1987-88 squash team, left, and playing softball in 2011
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Dartmouth Squash, Tom Williams/Roll Call

Source: Vanity Fair


Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii first worked as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill between her first and second deployments in the US Army in 2006. She is now a member of Congress herself.

Source: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard


In the early 1990s, Marianne Williamson first came onto the public scene as a motivational speaker. Now, she’s the preferred spiritual guru of the Hollywood elite and a New York Times best-selling author.

Source: Business Insider


Cory Booker lost his first run for mayor of Newark in 2002, but was elected to the position in 2006, then appointed to the US Senate in 2013. He announced his presidential campaign in the front yard of his Newark home.

Source: NPR


Elizabeth Warren’s decades of experience lecturing students as a law professor helped prepare her for life as a US senator from Massachusetts. She’s now a presidential candidate speaking to crowds around the country.

Source: Warren for President


Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota’s first foray into public service was helping pass a law in Minnesota allowing mothers to stay with their newborns in the hospital for 48 hours. Klobuchar’s daughter Abigail had to stay in the NICU after birth, but her insurance only covered a 24-hour stay.

Source: PBS Washington Week


Rep. John Delaney of Michigan was raised by a blue-collar family in New Jersey, and went onto to become a businessman and congressman.

Source: John Delaney


For Julian Castro and his twin brother Joaquin, politics is the family business. Their mother Rosie was a political activist in the 1970s and 80s, and saw both her sons become elected officials in Texas.

Source: Dallas Morning News


Andrew Yang studied political science at Brown University and worked in business for most of his career. He’s now returning to his roots in politics with a long-shot presidential bid.

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Andrew Yang and his family at his 1996 graduation from Brown University, left, and Yang speaking in Iowa, right
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Friends of Andrew Yang, KC McGinnis/Reuters

Source:Andrew Yang


Pete Buttigieg has never been one to shy away from competition or a challenge. He rowed for Pembroke College while a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University in 2005. He’s now South Bend, Indiana’s youngest mayor, and still serving in the Navy Reserves.

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Pete Buttigieg rowing in a regatta in 2005, second from left, and Buttigieg speaking at the National Conference of Mayors in 2019, right.
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The North American Pembrokian, Yuri Gripas/Reuters

Source: The North American Pembrokian