Democratic debate shows divide in Democratic party



By Nyla Roberts, COPY EDITOR

The 2020 presidential race is underway and if you are not paying attention, you are missing out. The upcoming election is one of the biggest and most critical election in history based solely on the fact that President Donald Trump has an opportunity to get re-elected.
The third Democratic Presidential Debate took place on Sept. 12 in Houston, Texas at Texas Southern University. The candidates lined up side-by-side across the blue stage, ready to lead the party in taking on Trump.
Many Democrats have announced their candidacy for President, but only 10 qualified for the debate ahead of the primaries. To qualify, candidates must meet the polling and fundraising requirements. They must also secure at least 130,000 individual donors and need two percent of support in four qualifying polls. Among the ten candidates are three women and four people of color.
Although there are divergence of opinions on how this country should be, there is one unanimous objective in mind for Democrats: beating Trump. There is a congruence that there needs to be a change of leadership in this country.
There has been much anticipation of former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders meeting on the debate stage with millions watching. All three are emerging as frontrunners. After the debate, this still seems to be the case.
As of now, Biden is leading the Democratic field. Biden leads the polls at 32 percent, according to Politico. Sanders takes second place with 20 percent and Warren is currently in third with 18 percent.
From the get-go, the candidates were not afraid to wrestle with each over their ideological beliefs. They battled over a variety of important issues such as healthcare, gun reform, immigration and more.
ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos facilitated the first topic of debate with healthcare. Biden, who embraces President Barack Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act, clashed with Warren and Sanders, with progressive beliefs of “Medicare for all.”
Sanders and Warren each commended former President Barack Obama for his vigorous work in overhauling and revamping the healthcare system in this country with ObamaCare. However, Sanders and Warren believe we should remove Obama Care, eliminating private health insurance option for Americans, endorsing a single-player system.
Contrary to popular opinion, several other candidates such as Sen. Amy Klobuchar, (D-Minn) and South bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg believe we should expand upon what is in place, offering a public option and giving Americans the choice to keep their current private plans they have now if they want to.
“I trust you [Americans] to choose what makes the most sense for you. Not my way or the highway,” Buttigieg said in response to Sanders and Warren’s healthcare proposal. “I do think we have to go far beyond tinkering with the ACA. I propose Medicare for all that want it.”
Most notably in the debate, Julián Castro, former cabinet member, was the most aggressive candidate on stage. He took a jab at Biden, questioning his memory and accusing him of contradicting himself. He criticized Biden for the fact that under his proposal, 10 million Americans would be uninsured.
“Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?” Castro asked to Biden, regarding Biden’s change of statement about if Americans would have to buy-in into Medicare like insurance. “I can’t believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you’re saying they don’t have to.”
Many people, including some of the Democratic candidates, did not appreciate Castro’s approach towards Biden.
“This is why presidential debate are becoming unwatchable,” Buttigieg said. “This reminds everybody of what they cannot stand about Washington.”
Among the sometimes tedious arguing, there was still some unprecedented and inspiring moments.
In his opening statement, businessman Andrew Yang declared that he will give $10,000 a month to ten random families. This comes from his signature campaign plan, the “Freedom Dividend”, that will provide a universal basic income for all Americans.
Democratic candidates held their propositions on implementing gun control. Beto O’Rourke, former congressman and fellow native of Texas, in which two mass shootings occurred within the last month, delivered a passionate speech on how the government needs to buy back assault weapons.
“In Odessa, I met a mother of a 15-year old girl who was shot by an AR-15 and that mother watched her bleed to death,” O’Rourke said. “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”
The audience cheered, barely allowing O’Rourke to finish his argument. The moment O’Rourke had a chance to shine, he seized it. From watching it on a television screen, this moment was unbelievable. The earnestness in his voice solidified he deserved to be on that stage.
An apparent takeaway from this is that there is an immense divide in the Democratic Party. For a party that prides itself in diversity and a progressive future for this country, this debate underscored the point that between the contenders, they still have very contrasting opinions.