A Breakdown of the Democratic Debates

The October Democratic Presidential Debate took place last Tuesday night, on October 15. The debate was held at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. There were 12 candidates in attendance, and they all had the ability to voice their opinions on various different topics. 

One unusual thing that happened was the criticism of Elizabeth Warren by her fellow candidates. Former Vice President Biden said that her health care plans for “vague” and claimed that she had no set plan for how to carry out her health care policies. When asked to respond to this criticism she had no clear response for exactly how she would implement her policies once in office. 

Mayor Buttigieg swayed away from his normal friendly self and put some of his candidates on the defensive when probing them about various things. For example, Buttigieg was one of the candidates that was most critical of Warren’s healthcare plans. He expressed his frustration at the fact that she was declining to say how her plan would affect middle-class taxes. He also challenged Representative Beto O’Rourke’s views on guns and Representative Tulsi Gabbard’s views on foreign policy. Buttigieg really made it clear that he isn’t afraid to challenge his opponents. 

Biden was called out by the moderators for his son’s work in Ukraine. They asked him why it was okay for his son to do foreign business while he was vice president but why it is not okay for President Trump’s son to be doing foreign business. Biden did not have a clear response to this question and delivered a very vague answer. None of the candidates brought up this topic so the discussion did not last long.

Bernie Sanders made it clear that his recent heart attack has had no effect on his debating abilities. He was his normal self as he passionately spoke about Medicare for all his future campaign plans. About two hours into the debate he said, “I’m healthy, I’m feeling great”, reassuring voters that he is more than capable of taking office.

Two candidates that played it safe throughout most of the debate were Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Cory Booker. They both attacked Trump multiple times throughout the debate, and both vocalized the need for women’s access to health care. Neither of these topics are very controversial among democrats, making it difficult to find fault with their arguments. 

This debate really exposed some of the strengths and weaknesses of all the candidates, while making it more clear who will ultimately end up surging ahead of the others.