The Competition Thickens

The Democratic Primary Debate Continues

By Henry Hittle

Staff Debate Moderator

On Wednesday the 20th, the Democratic National Committee and MSNBC hosted the fifth Democratic presidential debate. It was held in Atlanta, Georgia, in a state that is now seen as a potential swing state after Democrat Stacey Abrams narrowly lost election to the governorship in 2018. Going into the debate, former Vice President Joe Biden held a significant lead in the polls, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren narrowly held the second place position ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Those who were eligible to participate in the debate were Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer, and Andrew Yang. The candidates tackled questions from a variety of different topics, including voter’s rights, health care, reproductive rights, climate change, foreign policy, and many others. Of course, one of the biggest issues of the night was the impeachment hearings. Almost every candidate on the stage expressed the belief that Trump had committed an impeachable offense, and they will support an effort to remove him from office. One topic which notably was not discussed heavily in the debate was gun violence and gun control, a hot button issue in America which the Democratic Party has included as a top issue in its platform.

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, representing the more progressive wing of the party, made the case for their respective “wealth tax” proposals in the form of taxes on assets over a certain threshold in order to combat income inequality. Warren said “when you make it really big, you make the top tenth of the one percent big, pitch in $0.02 so everybody else gets a chance to make it.” Joe Biden touted his record as a Senator and Vice President. The Former VP, however, made a gaffe when he erroneously said that he, speaking of former Sen. Carol Moseley, is supported “by the only black woman ever elected to the Senate.” Kamala Harris, noting this error, humorously pointed out that the she is also a black woman serving in the U.S. Senate. Tulsi Gabbard took aim at the Democratic Party, claiming that they have been “influenced by the foreign policy establishment in Washington represented by Hillary Clinton and others in foreign policy, by the military industrial complex, and other greedy corporate interests.” Kamala Harris responded by attacking Gabbard’s record in the government, noting events such as her criticizing President Obama on national television, having private meetings with President-elect Donald Trump, and refusing to label Bashar Al-Assad, the dictatorial ruler of Syria, as a war criminal. Amy Klobuchar, Senator from Minnesota, touted her wealth of experience in the senate, discussing the progressive bills she introduced in the senate in areas such as voting rights. However, some viewers found her apparent shakiness unnerving, with one viewer writing “Klobuchar is literally shaking. I’m worried about her health.” Finally, at the end of the night, Andrew Yang, following his campaign theme of a changing global economy, gave and impassioned speech about the future of the American dream which can be summed up in his words “our kids are not all right.”

With a crowded field of 17 candidates, each person hoping to be elected to the nation’s highest office has the difficult task of creating name recognition and differentiating themselves. The polls show a tightening race, meaning things will only intensify from now until the Iowa caucuses in early February.


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