Third Democratic Debate Exposes Candidates’ Policy Positions

By Aishwarya Rai
Editor in Chief

The ten candidates at the third Democratic Debate for this election cycle (Photo courtesy of Vox)

On Thursday, September 12, 10 Democratic Presidential Candidates gathered on a stage in Texas Southern University, Houston, TX, to hash out their policies and set the tone for the next election. The candidates were (from right to left in the picture): Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang, Beto O’Rourke, and Julian Castro. Of the candidates, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden were in the lead.

The number of candidates between the second and third debate dropped by 10; Tulsi Gabbard, Tim Ryan, Michael Bennet, Steve Bullock, Bill de Blasio, Marianne Williamson, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jay Inslee, John Hickenlooper, and John Delaney did not qualify for the most recent debate, according to NBC News.

One of the main topics of debate was healthcare. Sanders and Warren both showed their adamance to bring “Medicare for All,” while Biden pointed out that there is a missing framework for such a plan, according to NPR. The former vice-president said, “How are we going to pay for it? I want to hear about that tonight,” piling pressure on the other two candidates to offer more than an idea. Klobuchar pointed out that the ‘Medicare for All’ Bill Sanders had written included a clause that essentially meant that private health insurance would cease to exist in its current state, risking loss of healthcare coverage for 149 million people, as quoted by ABC News. Biden’s ideal healthcare, on the other hand, was a public option plan, based on Obamacare; the idea was not taken well when the Affordable Care Act was being discussed, but in light of more progressive policy proposals, this is perhaps more neutral.

Ex-Vice President Joe Biden came under fire by Bernie Sanders and Julian Castro, for his healthcare policies from the former and for his supposed verbal flippancy by the latter, which did not end well for the former Secretary of Housing.

Andrew Yang, perhaps the most peculiar candidate, gave an opening speech that left many concerned; he offered to provide 10 random families a “freedom dividend” of $1,000 per month, for a year. The stunt made Mayor Buttigieg pause before beginning his opening speech, ending the silence with, “It’s original, I’ll give you that.” Some were concerned about the effect this can have on the fairness of the election.

One of the more sensitive topics for the night was about gun control. Beto O’Rourke, whose hometown of El Paso, was one of the latest victims of mass shootings, was questioned about his view of gun control. While most candidates propose a government buy-back program, O’Rourke suggested that owners would have to sell their AR-15s and AK-47s to the government, which is synonymous to confiscation. Citing the military purpose of such guns and their sheer destructive power, O’Rourke ended his affirmative response with, “hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”

Surprisingly, one of the sustained themes of the night was gratitude to President Obama for his work. Previously, Obama had been criticized for “not doing enough,” but during this debate, his name was mentioned in gratitude by almost every candidate. This seemingly showed that the candidates had an understanding of how well Obama still polls with younger voters. However, this became one of the root causes for attacks on Biden, who was accused of embracing Obama only when it seemed convenient. However, Biden’s response showed that he was in support of the former president through the entirety of his tenure, “(the) good, bad, and indifferent.”

The next debate is scheduled for October 15-16.


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