2020 Election: the first democratic debates
Democratic primary candidates took the stage Wednesday and Thursday for two nights of debate which will help determine who secures the nomination for the 2020 election and who will inevitably run against current Pres. Donald Trump.
The differences between two seeming front-runners — Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders — were made evident in their debate answers, as Biden clearly stated his first priority is defeating Trump while Sanders said he would lead a revolution to take on special interests if elected.
Sen. Kamala Harris made headlines by confronting Biden over recent comments he made about working with segregationists which she called ‘hurtful.’ Some polls showed her approval rating jump over 9% after the debate.
Pete Buttigieg made history by becoming the first openly gay candidate to make it on the debate stage for a major party. Buttigieg has emerged as a serious contender.
According to most accounts, Sen. Elizabeth Warren shined among the group of candidates on stage for the first night of debates.
Beto O’Rourke, on the other hand, may not have helped his campaign, as he appeared under-prepared while sharing the stage with Warren. Meanwhile, Julian Castro gained favor by debating O’Rourke directly on immigration policy.
Overall, the debates prompted surprisingly progressive responses — illustrating a shift in the party in recent years.
Are bolder, more progressive policies really what voters want? Or will they feel most comfortable with a centrist who has more appeal to right-leaning thinkers?
It’s still too early to say, but following the debates, Biden is ahead in most polls, with two of the more progressive candidates — Warren and Sanders — seemingly jockeying for second place.
Former Vice Pres. Joe Biden is the early front-runner with a steady and secure lead.
Biden claimed during the debate that he is the only candidate to defeat Donald Trump in next year’s election. He relied on his decades of experience to prove that point, along with the idea that a centrist will make a better candidate than someone whose ideas come off as too bold to hold America’s attention.
While having experience in the White House certainly helps, Biden’s run so far has been somewhat controversial — and that became glaringly obvious on the debate stage.
Shortly after announcing his run, he was accused of making multiple women uncomfortable with unwanted affection. He also publicly apologized to Anita Hill for his role in her mistreatment during her 1991 Senate testimony, a move which she believed to be politically motivated.
Then, he was confronted by rival Sen. Kamala Harris on the debate stage for comments he recently made calling for the kind of ‘civility’ which allowed him to work with senators who pushed for racial segregation.
Biden supported a constitutional amendment to stop mandated busing — the practice of integrating black and white children by transporting them to different schools.
Harris said she does not believe Biden is racist, but admitted being hurt by his comments as a child who was affected by racial segregation.
A top financer for Biden subsequently announced he will no longer fundraise for the candidate due to those comments.
Biden has defended his civil rights and policy records vehemently and instead used his time on stage to make it clear that his campaign wants to ‘make sure we defeat Donald Trump, period.’
When Bernie Sanders last hit the debate stage in 2016, he stood with one rival — Hillary Clinton.
His talking points have mostly remained the same since then, with a few additions.
Sanders still supports Medicare for All and creating a single payer healthcare system, which would eventually see an end to private health insurance companies. While most of the debate candidates disagreed with Sanders on how to fix it, all of the candidates agreed that the healthcare system desperately needs attention — something which many attribute to Sanders.
Sanders has stayed focused on improving the quality of life for the lower and middle classes by promising to take on income inequality — which he argues is a fuel for racial and sexual discrimination.
He is still advocating for dramatic change — or a ‘political revolution’ — which involves millions of people who ‘take on special interests and transform this country.’
While some appreciate that the message from Sanders has remained the same, others argue that his points are stale and need to be reinvented.
Others, including rival candidate John Hickenlooper, believe socialist policies, and especially socialist candidates, will turn off voters and lose the election to Trump.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren took the stage for the first night of debates and provided a consistent performance within the group.
Warren used the stage to tell voters she would implement bold policy change if elected, including elimination of private insurance companies in favor of Medicare for All.
Most accounts show Warren was consistent with her answers during the debate and came prepared with policy ideas and explanations to support them.
Pres. Trump was not impressed with the democratic debates, tweeting ‘BORING!’ and then commenting on technical issues. He also took the opportunity to attack Biden and Sanders for their performances by calling them ‘Sleepy Joe’ and ‘Crazy Bernie’.