2020 Democratic Candidates Oppose Trump’s Dangerous Iran Policies. So Do the American People.

Noa Nir
on January 14, 2020

As six presidential candidates prepare to take the debate stage in Iowa tonight, the recent escalation between the United States and Iran will likely be thrust into the spotlight.

Last week, the Trump administration brought the US to the brink of war with Iran through the targeted assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander. This reckless move, taken without congressional authorization, was a disastrous step in President Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Iran after he unilaterally violated the JCPOA nuclear deal in 2018.

The six candidates debating tonight — Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and Senator Elizabeth Warren — have condemned President Trump’s provocations against Iran, spoken out in support of the Iran nuclear deal and urged a return to diplomatic negotiations.

Recent polling suggests that the candidates’ opposition toward Trump’s handling of Iran reflects American popular opinion:

  • A Reuters/Ipsos poll released last Tuesday shows that 53% of adults in the US disapprove of Trump’s handling of Iran — an increase of about nine percentage points from a similar mid-December poll.
  • A USA Today/Ipsos poll conducted in the wake of the assassination shows that 55 percent of Americans believe that the killing of General Qassem Soleimani has made the US less safe.

Additional polling indicates that the majority of Americans support re-entering the JCPOA nuclear deal:

  • A J Street poll conducted last May shows that 72% of Democratic voters support reentering the Iran nuclear agreement.
  • A CNN poll released in 2018 shows that 63% of Americans believe that the US should stick with the JCPOA, with only 29% in favor of abandoning the agreement.

More broadly, Americans favor a diplomacy-first approach:

  • A Pew poll released in December 2019 shows that 73% of Americans believe that diplomacy, not military force, is the best way to ensure peace.
  • A Eurasia Group Foundation poll released in February 2019 found that over 80% of Americans support diplomacy with Iran over military action. Only 8% were in favor of a preemptive strike.

We at J Street will be watching tonight’s debate closely. We hope that the candidates take the opportunity to amplify the voices of the American people and state their opposition to another disastrous war of choice in the Middle East.


Call your senators and tell them to support war powers legislation and oppose another disastrous war of choice in the Middle East.

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