By Elena Bunker
With the 2020 race for president showing no signs of slowing down, the most recent past debate was on September 12th. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) upped the requirements to be on stage, and out of a list of nearly 20 candidates, only 10 qualified. Andrew Yang, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttegieg, Amy Klobuchar, Julián Castro, and Joseph R. Biden all took the stage that night. The debate passed in a flurry of new ideas, jabs at President Trump, and discussion, but in case you missed it, here are some key moments.
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang unveiled a surprise he’d been hinting at on Twitter with the hashtag above, announcing that through his campaign site (yang2020.com), he’d be giving away $1000 a month to 10 American families, with the prizes totaling $120,000. This announcement directly correlates with one of the biggest running points of his campaign, known by his supporters as the “Freedom Dividend”, or more simply, UBI (Universal Basic Income). The idea is to help alleviate poverty and also reduce the number of separate welfare systems by giving every American adult over 18 $1000 a month.
The first topic of heated debate that came up was how to improve the American Healthcare system. While all of the candidates are proponents of universal healthcare, how best to do it was discussed heavily. Sanders reiterated quite clearly that he “wrote the damn bill” for Medicare For All, and Warren argued that M4A would be beneficial to middle-class families by allowing them to pay less. Sanders again continued that a single-payer system would be better than what we have currently. Buttegieg and Biden were on the same page, both for a system that would leave an option for private healthcare so that citizens who like their current plans could keep it and not be forced to switch over to a government-run system, with Buttegieg remarking “I trust the American people to make the right choice for them, why don’t you?”
3. Joe Biden and Deportation
One of the moderators of this debate was Jorge Ramos, who is Latino. Biden was asked about his involvement in Obama-era deportations, whether or not he was prepared to denounce/apologize for his actions then, and why Latino voters should trust and vote for him. When replying, he faltered and didn’t answer the question completely, if at all. He instead chose to divert the topic and turn the table to speaking about the human rights abuses under the Trump administration at the border, and oddly, the Violence Against Women Act.
4. Gun Control
As of late, with the stark increase in gun violence (especially in schools and at events), it makes perfect sense that this would be another topic that would surface. The shooting in Parkland, Florida at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School was a wake-up call for the nation, starting a huge conversation about what is to be done with this critical issue. The debate was held in Houston, with the nearby city of El Paso having recently been devastated by a mass shooting at a Walmart where 22 people died. A Texan himself, O’Rourke made the applause-rousing comment of “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AK-47s.”Prior to that, Harris had been discussing how better to deal with gun violence with Biden, proposing executive action, which was quickly criticized by Biden, saying “Let’s be constitutional.”Harris quickly fired back with a retort, “Hey, Joe, instead of saying, ‘No, we can’t,’ let’s say, ‘Yes, we can.’”
All in all, September’s debate was an eye-opening one for many, where people were able to see where the frontrunners stood on important issues, though not everything was addressed. Since then, more information has been released regarding the race, including how much money was raised in the third quarter for each candidate. Unexpectedly, Andrew Yang saw the most increase in funds, going from $2.8 million donated in the second quarter to $10 million donated in a third, a 257% increase. For Ohio at least, we’ve got a few more months ahead of us until the voting begins and a nominee is chosen. While most of us aren’t able to vote yet, we can, however, influence our parents’ choices. So, if you care about your future, and want to see a change in the human condition as much as me, I encourage you to stay updated and read up on some of these candidates and discuss how you feel in regards to each.