As primary elections round nearer, the third democratic debate stirs up national excitement for the upcoming presidential election.
To watch the full debate click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UWVO0Trd1c
With only ten candidates who qualifying, the competition is becoming more fierce to see who can be the most outlandish, who can be the most progressive and who can attract the attention of the DNC just enough to become the presidential nominee.
Since there are not many opportunities to hear directly from the candidates, the presidential primary debates provide a unique opportunity for candidates to explain their policy proposals to the public. Here is a brief synopsis of that information, with a bit of my opinion interjected.
For some background, the candidates include Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Julián Castro and Andrew Yang. Candidates had approximately 75 seconds to answer direct questions and 45 seconds for a response to a question.
After one minute opening statements from each candidate, the debate began.
Biden – “I think the Obamacare worked.” He went on to describe everything that he would change about it. He claimed that Bernie has been more transparent about funding Healthcare through taxes than Warren, and yet neither had a plan for how to fund their systems.
Warren – “We pay for it… Those at the very top, the richest individuals and biggest corporations are going to pay more, and middle class families are going to pay less.” When asked if middle class taxes would go up, she said “what families have to deal with is total cost,” leaving the question about where the money is going to come from unanswered. “I’ve never met anybody who likes their health insurance company,” she said. This whole speech seemed to make little sense, because if the middle class pay less, where is the money going to come from?
Bernie – He said he intends to get rid of all out of pocket expenses. “We need a healthcare system that guarantees healthcare to all people as every other major country does.”
Buttigeig – “Medicare for all who want it.”
Harris – “I support Medicare for all, I always have.” She continued by saying she also agrees with having a private option. She also brought up President Donald Trump because, for some reason, she thinks this will help her win (this was an occurrence for her throughout the night, her main pitch being that Donald Trump is bad).
It seems the only two people on the stage who wanted absolute Medicare for all were Bernie and Warren, whereas most other high polling candidates seemed to advocate for a system with an “opt-in” option, with both private and public insurance, although both ways leave millions without the coverage they want.
Julian Castro – “I am fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama, and you are not,” to Biden after misrepresenting his healthcare system. Castro seemed to be feisty the majority of the night, but came out looking a little weak still.
Beto – “Racism is endemic, it is foundational.”
Most candidates attempted to pin the most recent shootings on the racism of the president. On the other hand, however, they are hesitant to place any blame on themselves when an attack occurs and the manifesto supports a fellow democrat. This makes their claims quite insincere.
Booker wants to create an office in the White House to deal with the problem of White supremacy and hate crimes to ensure that he deals with systemic racism.
Criminal Justice Reform
The moderators asked Harris why she did not attack systemic racism when she was in power. She claimed she was trying to take on the system from the inside, and listed many of her accomplishments, without addressing her criminalization of marijuana.
Biden said no one should be in jail for a drug problem or any non-violent crime.
Most candidates wanted people who have been convicted of felonies to be able to vote.
Booker said white privilege is the reason for inequality in the justice system, making sure to hit those buzzwords.
Biden – He is for the buyback of assault weapons, getting them off the streets.
Harris – “Instead of saying no we can’t, let’s say yes we can.” This quote was her response when asked about whether or not Biden’s statement regarding use of executive orders was correct, that Democrats cannot use executive orders any more than Trump can. Harris said it’s crazy to wait for Congress, of which she is a part, to do something and she wants to do something now. “He [Trump] didn’t pull the trigger but he’s certainly been tweeting the ammunition.”
Beto – He said he is okay with confiscating guns and mandatory gun buybacks. “Hell yes we are going to take your AR-15, your AK47.”
Warren – She said we have to go against the industry because corruption is why there are gun problems in the nation. Warren also wants to get rid of the filibuster. This is a proposition that even Trump has supported. It is a terrible idea and would be detrimental to both parties.
Most candidates went to an entirely emotional appeal about children passing away, without much, if any, actual policy proposal. They all favor an assault weapon ban, and many of them support licensing.
Biden- He said we had DACA and we did not lock children up in cages or separate families. This is entirely false. According to The Hill “the Obama administration did not separate families as a matter of policy, as the Trump administration did as part of its “zero tolerance” border policy in 2018, but separations occurred on a case-by-case basis for parents being prosecuted on more serious charges than illegally crossing the border.” Biden was then strongly attacked for his record during the Obama era by both candidates and moderators.
Warren said we need to intervene in Central America to prevent people from even needing to flee.
During this section, in an attempt to hear what individual candidates proposals for immigration reform are, a moderator blatantly asked, “President Trump has called Mexican immigrants rapists and killers … his supporters have chanted ‘build a wall’ and ‘send her back,’ do you think that people who support Trump and his policies are racist?” How this question would have resulted in learning about any candidates imigration policy is beyond me.
Most candidates seemed to come to the consensus that they didn’t like what Trump is doing and they want to reach a deal with China. No one said they wanted to repeal the tariffs or had a way to accomplish this.
These next few sections dealt a lot less with actual policies and a lot more with how poorly they believe the current administration is doing. There was much addressing of problems, but very little actual policy proposal.
Candidates said a lot about the world needing help and wanting to re-enter the Paris Climate Accords. The issue that was definitely missed was how much other nations are causing pollution, besides just the U.S.
Again, corporate greed and corruption in Washington were the main issues addressed.
Yang – About the only memorable thing he said last night (other than wanting to give citizens money to donate to political campaigns) is that teachers deserve to be paid more and kids deserve better opportunity.
Overall this debate proved very little. The frontrunners seem to still be Biden, Warren and Sanders, maybe even Harris. However, the main issue revealed that every single one of these candidates looked like members of the institution. They all had their buzzwords, key phrases, and the stories they wanted to share. They all felt like pandering politicians who just wanted to complain about Trump. None of these candidates would do well in a debate against Trump.
Unless they start standing for something, instead of against everything Trump does, this party stands little chance at the presidency.
The biggest winner of the night was, by far, Trump.