Hot Topics Discussed in the Democratic Presidential Debates


1) Medicare for All

It is safe to say all Democrats feel a need to lower medical expenses for the populous, they just disagree on how to go about doing so. In the presidential debates, the stage was separated into two sides; one group demanded the government provide medicare for all via pay-in system.  This group was led by Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren. A second group believed government sourced medical insurance should simply be another option offered to consumers alongside private insurance companies, an idea championed by John Delany and Joe Biden.

2. Gun Violence 

Gun violence is another issue nearly all democrats agree on. Specifically, gun control is a major issue in Pete Buttigeig’s campaign. In the debate he voiced the urgency behind the need for common-sense gun laws. He gave a moving presentation addressing the youth of his home district in Indiana. On another note, candidate Joe Biden was attacked by his opponents for his large role in the passing of the Violence Against Women Acts and the implications it has had on gun violence.

3) Free College and Debt Forgiveness

Free college is a popular talking point amongst democrats. The idea is headed by Senators Sanders and Warren. They propose a plan in which the government pays for students to attend universities and higher education institutions. Multiple candidates, namley Pete Butigieg and author Williamson, called the two Senators out for their lack of clearly communicated plans to initiate their proposed programs by pointing out the many ways a debt forgiveness program could actually harm the economy.

3) Racism

​Racism became a main topic of the debate when many candidates labeled trump as a “racist” and “white supremicist”. Joe Biden, considered the “loser” of the first round of debates, lost support during discussion of his previous role in setting perceivably racist rules and qualifications for bussing systems under the Obama administration. Biden fired back by blaming Booker for the police brutality problem in his home state of New Jersey.

4) Decriminalizing Immigration

The idea of decriminalizing immigration was originally introduced by Julian Castro. Since then, nearly all democratic candidates have stated they plan on doing so. That being said, many candidates, including O'Rourke, Sanders, and Butigieg, made clear they would still set strict security and establish laws at the border. In addition, candidate Joe Biden took heat from opponents and commentators when he limited comment on the large amounts of deportations seen under the Obama Administration.

5) Wealth Tax

The idea of a “wealth tax” is championed by Warren, who has a detailed plan on how she would implement it, and is most notably supported by Sanders. In the first debate, John Delany criticized the tax, claiming it would hurt middle class families more so than it would help them.

6) Incarceration

Many, but not all, democratic candidates see mass incarceration and term minimums as a pressing problem. Candidate Biden was the center of a conversation regarding the 1994 Crime Bill, which Senator Booker voiced opposition for. In addition, Senator Gillibrand shamed Senator Harris for the vast number of minor drug violators she placed in jail during her time as California Attorney General.