Democratic Debate Heavy Weights

Democratic Debate

The 2020 election is gearing up in full force after the first round of Democratic Debate took place. A total of 24 Democrats are in the running for their party’s nomination. On June 26th and 27th 20 of these candidates took to the stage in Florida for the first round to gain support among voters. While many of these candidates did well, a handful really stood out.

Julián Castro:

Castro was undoubtedly one of the best candidates during both nights of the debate. This came as a surprise to many people due to the minimal coverage the media gave him.

Castro was one of the only candidates to actually directly answer questions posed to him. If there was ever a time he went into an explanation without directly answering first, he’d stop mid-sentence and make his stance clear before continuing.

He reeled in voters by bringing up equal pay for women, a woman’s right over her body, the Equal Rights Amendment, and ending the harsh immigration laws and actions currently being enforced.

He was also quickly calling out Beto O’Rourke, who surprisingly wasn’t as convincing during the debate as I’d hoped, over his view on section 1325 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

“You said recently that the reason you didn’t want to repeal section 1325 was because you were concerned about human trafficking and drug trafficking.”

This is the act that our government is currently using to separate children from their families as this act criminalizes coming across the border.

Key issues for Castro:

• Rejoin the Paris Climate Treaty and work with business to rely on renewable energy voluntarily.
• Create universal pre-k and two free years of higher education
• Require a universal background check on those wanting to buy guns and ban assault weapons
• Universal health care
• Create a path to citizenship and abolish ICE.
• Keep abortion legal after 20 weeks
• Make gay marriage a protected right
• Remove policy that prevents transgender Americans from serving in the military.
• Renegotiate NAFTA
• Lessen and eventually withdraw the U.S. involvement in Syria

Kamala Harris

Unsurprisingly Harris killed it during the debate. Outside of Castro, she was the only one to bring up the Equal Rights Amendment. She too was direct with her answers and even turned one around on the current administration after being asked if democrats have a responsibility to explain how they’d pay for their proposals.

I hear that question, but where was that question when the Republicans and Donald Trump passed a tax bill that benefits the top 1 percent and the biggest corporations?”

She was also quick to point out that while she supported the Obama administration, she did not agree with their involvement with deportations.

As attorney general and the chief law officer of the state of California, I issued a directive to the sheriffs that they did not have to comply with detainers and instead should make decisions based on the best interest of public of the basis of their community. I was tracking it and saw that parents, people who had not committed a crime even by definition, were being deported.”

The most talked about portion of the debates was her exchange with Joe Biden. Biden came under scrutiny after showing support for two senators that have a strong history of supporting segregation. She criticized his praise of those senators and for opposing busing- a “federally mandated integration into public schools.” This included transporting children from one neighbored to another in an effort to support  Brown v. Board of Education.

During the debate Harris proved, as if there was ever a doubt, that she was an extremely strong candidate. She knows how to make a point and stands for issues that not only need attention but that are also a main focal point for a lot of voters

Key issues for Harris:

• Affordable health care for all
• Economic justice. This includes both fair pay and affordable housing
• Raising teacher pay
• Focus on the climate crisis
• Criminal justice reform
• Universal background checks on those trying to buy guns and an assault weapons ban.
• A fair immigration system
• LGBTQIA Equality.

Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar were two other candidates that stood out during the Democratic Debate, but may not be the strongest when compared to the former two. Both women were strong speakers. Gillibrand focused on reproductive and family rights. She also stressed her plan to end corruption by refusing PAC donations to campaign funds.

Klobuchar on the other hand had an incredible way of relating to everyday people by her choice of words alone. Her strongest moments didn’t come from her campaign platforms but her clap back on Jay Inslee after he claimed he did more than any current candidate to protect reproductive rights.

“I just want to say there’s three women up here that have fought pretty hard for a women’s right to choose, I’ll start with that.”

Andrew Yang and Tutsi Gabbard also had very strong moments but didn’t get the time they deserved. Much of the time during the Democratic Debate was given to politicians that already had a strong media presence. Andrew Yang was another candidate who was direct with his answers and had a new approach to government. Two of his big platforms are providing a universal income- one he said would would help boost the economy- and help prevent robotics and artificial intelligence from causing job loss.

Gabbard put a lot of focus on military being a veteran herself. She opposes military intervention overseas and has what she calls a ‘hawkish’ stance on terrorism.

It’s still early in the primaries process to tell who will get the nomination. Not all candidates were able to stand out during the first round of the Democratic Debate and it’s my hope they have more time the next round.

What is clear is that this will be an extremely intense election season.


Cover image courtesy of Rolling Stone

Also published on Medium.