Last month the first Democratic Primary debates where held on two nights. Twenty Democratic candidates were split among the nights which were held in Miami. Candidates are qualified to participate in the debate through polling and or fundraising. The debate can be a defining factor throughout this election. What happens in that two hours of debating can be remembered forever and, leaves lasting impressions on voters. This is also why these debates can feel overwhelming and become lost on viewers. As college students and young people we want information quickly and summarized in a digestible format. The debates are important for us as young voters because its the first time we get see the candidates possibly answer questions in a realistic and honest manner. Obviously, candidates prepare but there are moments where there true ideals on policy and issues of this country surface. Those are the moments we have to really notice to make sure the best person ends up in the White House. If you did miss the debates or still processing what you watched here's an overview of the debates.
First, let's answer the important question of who was in the debates? Its been known that there are a lot of Democratic candidates and in this case exactly 20 in the debate. Candidates were split into two groups for each night. The first night was Booker, Warren, O'Rourke, Klobuchar, Delaney, Gabbard, Castro, Ryan, de Blasio, and Inslee. The second night was Sanders, Harris, Bennet, Yang, Biden, Buttigieg, Williamson, Swalwell, Gillibrand, Hickenlooper. All of these candidates met the requirements to participate in the debates.
What topics were covered in the debates?
The first night covered a range of topics which candidates were prompted about through questions. Castro introduced the issue of immigration when asked what his first priority would be as president. Section 1325 within the U.S code identifies improper entry into the country as a criminal offense. This allows families to be separated at the border which was a strong debate between Castro and O'Rourke. Both have different immigration plans on whether to repeal the section. Gun control was discussed considering it has become an issue demanded attention by young Americans. The discrepancies in the economy became a budding issue. This opened up to Warrens plan to tax the wealthy. This led to what the candidates could do for the healthcare system and citizens access to resources such as abortions.
As mentioned Castro and O'Rourke battled it out over immigration policies. Both are from Texas and have been vocal about immigration in relation to their state and country. The two differ in how they want to deal with section 1325. Castro clearly called out O'Rourke on his position that he would not decriminalize crossing the border. This implies that O'Rourke's immigration plan would continue the separation of families at the border. O'Rourke left the debate still unclear on his position. Abortion has been a top hitting topic considering the lack of women involved in decisions around it. Inslee claimed to be the only candidate on stage to work for and actually pass laws protecting women's rights. Contextually there were obviously female candidates on stage. Klobuchar pointed this out as well that they have been working hard for women's rights to choose. There wasn't a clear winner of the debate but was enlightening as ever.
Similar topics from night one transferred to night two. Immigration was a top topic for candidates especially with the separation of families as the border. Climate change was touched upon during the debate was one of the less attentive topics. Race came up as a prominent issue especially with the interaction between Harris and Biden. President Trump came up frequently as well during this night of the debate. This has been a significant observation considering on the first night the current president was never explicitly mentioned. This debate was a change from the first night in its aggressive tone surrounding topics and the candidates.
Race was the rawest issue to grace the stage. It is an issue that seems to fall apart in political fields. Buttigieg up the stage with his acknowledgment of Indiana's handling of the shooting death Eric Logan by police. He stood out based on the fact that he admitted to his failure with the case and easing relations between police and the black community. It is uncommon for candidates to expose this let alone own up to it. This prompted Harris to confront Biden about comments he made weeks earlier. Biden essentially praised work he did with segregationist senators on busing which would allow local governments to decide whether to provide buses for integration. Harris called out the hurtful and problematic consequences of Biden words. Harris revealed she was a child who integrated her school with the help of busing. This questioned Biden's true intentions on what he can do in a racially agitated country. Biden struggled to defend himself or apologize which hurt his position. Candidates also clashed on health care. When asked who would eliminate private insurance, only Harris and Sanders raised their hands. Sanders plan is to raises taxes for the middle class and then have them pay less for health care.
These debates give viewers an insight into what the candidates could do for this country. Many brought up compelling arguments and rebuttals. The clashes between candidates are always interesting to view because they can influence how we see candidates after the debate. For night two Biden slipped in his popularity while Harris continued to be a favorite of viewers. These candidates hold many prospects of being presidents that represent a more accurate America. While there is a ways to go before the final leg of this election, these debates have proven an exuberant group of candidates each wanting to change America.
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