The fourth Democratic debate, co-hosted by CNN and The New York Times, was held in Westerville, Ohio. With only 12 qualifying candidates the field has narrowed still from the earlier debates that had to be held on two nights due to the plethora of politicians and businesspeople crowding the stage with their big ideas and often even bigger personalities. At this debate, the candidates consisted of: Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer and Tulsi Gabbard. Post Bernie Sanders’ heart attack and with impeachment inquiries swirling with former Vice President Joe Biden’s name in the mix, this was bound to be an interesting debate. Here are the 4 things you need to know!
- Elizabeth Warren faces criticism
According to the New York Times, this debate was the first time Elizabeth Warren was specifically called out by other candidates. Her specific plans and policies that she has laid out over the course of her campaign were criticised with Amy Klobuchar calling them “pipe dreams” and Joe Biden calling her Medicare-for-All plan “vague.” Unfortunately, Warren did not answer if her healthcare plan would raise taxes on the middle class or why she did not petition Twitter to ban President Trump, like Kamala Harris. While avoiding these pointed questions was not a good look, Warren still had an impressive showing. Fivethirtyeight.com stated that their polls found Warren had the highest debate grade, and she did well amongst Democrats who care about issues and the best of any candidate with Democrats who care about defeating Trump. Also, it is clear that Warren is being seen as a frontrunner in the election after having to be on the defense from her fellow candidates.
- Bernie Sanders has still got it
As Fivethirtyeight.com found, Bernie Sanders is highly liked by Democrats who are concerned with issues and Democrats concerned with defeating Trump. This is unsurprising watching his performance on October 15th in Westerville. Despite recovering from a recent heart attack, Sanders was high energy, joking with Cory Booker, debating with Biden and announcing an upcoming rally in New York City. This may have been an exuberant performance, but as NBC points out, this did not set Sanders apart from Warren who is rising in the polls.
- Mayor Pete and Senator Klobuchar bring their game
Pete Buttigieg exceeded expectations in the debate as reported by Fivethirtyeight.com’s polls and analytics and that was clear watching his performance. Channeling centrist energy, Buttigieg sparred with Warren over her Medicare-for-all plan and bringing up his own plan of Medicare-for-all-who-want-it (now that’s a mouthful). Buttigieg also battled it out with Tulsi Gabbard and Beto O’Rourke, calling O’Rourke out by saying, “I don’t need lessons from you on courage,” referencing his military service. We will have to see if this affects Buttigieg’s current single-digit polling. Klobuchar also had an impressive night despite polling as low as Buttigieg. She is positioning herself as a centrist like Buttigieg and also exceeded expectations. Klobuchar might not have had the same one-liners as Buttigieg but this was her best showing according to NBC.
- Biden fails to bring his game
Biden faltered in this debate, according to multiple sources. The New York Times said this was a sign of his “diminished status”, NBC discussed that Biden “stumbled over his words” and “dodged a question about son Hunter”, and Fivethirtyeight.com’s poll found his debate performance “neutral”. Compared to Warren, Biden was relatively unchallenged showing that Warren appears to be the candidate to beat at the moment. Two memorable exchanges from the night came from Biden claiming he was the only candidate who had created big changes. First, Bernie Sanders replied, “You got the disastrous war in Iraq done!” Then, Warren thanked former President Barack Obama when Biden tried to say that he helped Warren pass her landmark bill to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. All hope is not lost. Biden is still a front runner in the race, polling high and is doing almost as well as Warren with Democrats who are focused on defeating Trump.