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The Third Democratic Debate

Updated: Dec 12, 2019

by Eloise Lubsen


The third Democratic Debate was hosted in Houston, Texas on September 12th. During this round of debates, there was a conciliatory atmosphere, differing from the debate prior where candidates attacked each other on policy differences. This month, however, candidates really stressed political unity, reminding each other of their common goal to replace Trump in office.


Bernie Sanders stated, “It goes without saying that we must and will defeat Trump - the most dangerous president in the history of this country.”


Candidates, like Sanders, were trying to appeal to the many Democrats who have a favorable view of many candidates - but don’t have one specific favorite - by addressing how they plan to beat Trump in 2020. For any of those who didn’t know, there are no Republican debates at this moment. President Trump administration’s re-election campaign does not want him to engage with the democratic debates over social media or any platform overall. This strategy to not draw attention to the Democratic candidates, is designed specifically to avoid guiding Trump’s haters towards one specific candidate and giving him/her some of the President’s influential power.


Speaking of strategies, one specific candidate, Julian Castro, stood out when he took the aggressive approach when addressing Joe Biden’s mix up when describing one of his policies: “Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?” Biden was an easy target in this moment, for he has the stigma of being a “forgetful old man.” We saw Kamala Harris do this in the past, and she had an initial rise in primary votes, however they declined shortly after. Although this strays from the idea of “party unity” that everyone was supporting, Castro chose to be the aggressor as a way to challenge Biden, who is one of the top three candidates at this moment. At the end of the day, even though the Democrats often agree on many topics, it is still a competition to the top. As the primary votes for this Democratic debate were released, many kept an eye out to see if Castro’s aggression affected his overall status as a candidate, but we saw no such change.


Despite Castro’s aggressive tone and approaches, we saw a lot of moments of humanity and compassion between candidates, which was a result of many candidates often agreeing on a majority of the issues discussed; once again reinstating the ideal of party unity and the primary goal of defeating Trump. We saw this with former Vice President Biden, when he and Senator Sanders were discussing their health care plans, specifically in terms of fatal diseases. For those who did not know, Joe Biden’s son, Beau Biden, died of brain cancer at age forty-six in 2015. It was a touchy subject for Biden to address, but he assured Sanders that he would prioritize those with fatal diseases and cancers - which obviously doesn’t line up with Sanders goal of equal healthcare for all, but it is great that another candidate is in support of provided health care.


We also saw another moment of humanity when Beto O’Rourke, illustrated the bloody horror that assault weapons can paint: “In Odessa, I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15, and that mother watched her bleed to death. ... 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.” This was a huge moment for O’Rourke and the Democratic party as a whole. We have yet to hear a candidate speak with such moral conviction, especially about the issue of guns we have in our country. I personally think O’Rourke’s proposal would be quite effective. It would still allow personal handguns to be used (in respect to the Second Amendment), but all weapons designed to kill mass populations within minutes would be confiscated.


As we await for the fourth democratic debate on October 15th/16th, keep your eyes out for updates on the top three candidates: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. For those of you that haven’t, I cannot stress enough how necessary it is for you to register to vote! We must use our rights to better our lives, we have the power to make a change. We are the youth, we are the future of America, and it’s important that we start acting like it!

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