Second Democratic Debate

The debate stage heated up once again, this time with two more candidates for a whopping total of twelve podiums.

Last week the fourth Democratic debate for the 2020 presidential election was held at Otterbein University in Ohio. The record-breaking twelve candidates had a lot to say over the three-hour debate, particularly towards Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. She took hits all night mainly because she’s in the lead and towards her policy of Medicare for All, which she never gave a clear answer to how she plans on funding it. Peter Buttigieg, or Mayor Pete, supports Medicare for All Who Want It, allowing Americans to keep their private insurance plans if they prefer to. I appreciated his transparency and his ability to answer yes or no questions with an actual yes or no. Amy Klobuchar spoke up on the topic as well, saying Warren’s plan was nothing but a pipe dream. 

Obviously, a hot topic was the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The first questions centered around this, omitting the opening statements because quite frankly we would’ve been there for an extra hour if those were allowed. Despite the disagreements that ensued for the rest of the debate, all of the candidates agreed that impeachment was correct and necessary. Bernie Sanders continued his finger-wagging and labeled Trump as the “most corrupt” president ever, and Mayor Pete said there really was no other choice but to pursue this impeachment.

Reproductive rights were brought up unlike the previous debate, championed by Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. Biden was questioned about his son’s involvement with Ukraine, giving a vague answer on how he respected his son’s decisions. Yet ultimately he did his best to evade the question of why it was okay for Hunter to be involved in foreign business with his father in the White House.

Tom Steyer, billionaire and founder of the “Need to Impeach” movement, and Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaiian Representative, took to the stage for the first time. Steyer was the wealthiest on stage while Gabbard was the youngest, and although their performances were short-lived I found them to be well done. Gabbard spoke more and even sparred with Mayor Pete on U.S. involvement in Syria, both being veterans with strong opinions on the matter. I will be interested to see how far she makes it in this race as well as the next debate, and the same for Tom Steyer.

One of the most controversial questions concluded the debate, inspired by Ellen Degeneres’ statement about being unlikely friends with George W. Bush. The candidates were asked if they had their own surprising friendship stories, which all revolved around forming bonds with people with opposing political views. I understand why this question irked many viewers, as there are countless other pressing questions to get to in such a high-volume debate. But at the end of a long three hours of rebuttals and policy talk, I found it a nice way to end. In a nation that grows more polarized by the day, it is vital to find common ground with those on opposite party lines. To me, it served as a reminder of the humanity that we see so little of today when it comes to politics.

The fifth debate will be held in less than a month on November 20th, and the final one of 2019 in December. After that, we have six more debates in 2020 leading up the election, so we all better buckle up.