Day one of the Democratic Presidential Debate took place on Tuesday, July 30 at the Fox Theatre in Detroit.
Front-runners Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren were introduced first. Author Marianne Willamson, who had the largest amount of fans outside of the theatre, entered with applause from the audience.
The topic of healthcare started the debate and led to a heated conversation between Sen. Sanders and former Rep. John Delaney. The bill introduced in April by Sen. Sanders, called Medicare for All, is co-sponsored by Sen. Warren, Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Kamala Harris.
CNN’s Jake Tapper started with Sen. Sanders, bringing up the fact that Rep. Delaney said that Medicare for All is a “political suicide that will just get President Trump re-elected.”
“You’re wrong,” Sanders responded. He then said that the healthcare system is dysfunctional and talked about how many Americans are uninsured. Sen. Sanders proceeded to compare the American healthcare system to Canada’s, where universal health care guarantees service to every citizen.
It is known that if this bill takes place, private insurance would no longer exist. This would include union members’ insurance, who often have better insurance than government-funded could offer.
Some candidates, including Gov. Bullock, Rep. Delaney, Gov. Hickenlooper, Sen. Klobuchar and Rep. Beto O’Rourke, oppose this idea. Instead, they want to offer other tier options of government-funded healthcare. In this case, union members would not have to lower their coverage.
The other topic that ushered a disagreement was border control, including undocumented persons and providing services to immigrants.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg has a future goal to decide whether border crossing should be handled by civil law or criminal law. He has, since the last debate, changed his stance on what he believes about decriminalizing immigration; he now says only fraud should be charged criminally and the crisis needs to stop.
“It’s not just a crisis of immigration; it’s a crisis of cruelty and incompetence that has created a humanitarian disaster on our southern border,” said Buttigieg.
Coming from El Paso, Texas, Rep. O’Rourke has first-hand experience with immigration. He said the border crossing should remain criminalized with different circumstances. He plans to assist people in becoming successful immigrants in this country, but said that they must follow the laws in the United States while under his administration.
“After we [waive] citizenship fees for green card holders, more than nine million of our fellow Americans [will be] freed from any fear of deportation,” said Rep. O’Rourke. There is also a goal to stop “criminally prosecuting families and children seeking asylum and refuge.”
Following these steps, O’Rourke plans to set an end to “for-profit detention in this country, and then assist those countries in Central America, so that no family ever has to make that 2,000-mile journey,” said O’Rourke.
Sen. Warren responded with, “right now, the criminalization statute is what gives Donald Trump the ability to take children away from their parents.”
This continues to be a topic that divides the candidates. Many news outlets and people of high status, such as Rep. Rashida Tlaib, have been to the border and reported people, specifically babies, in cages. They say this crisis tarnishes the name of the United States and does not align with the country’s values.
Another claimed crisis during the debate is the fight with climate change and the introduction of new bills that would assist with lowering carbon in the atmosphere. The current debate is about the Green New Deal and if it will work in this country.
Sen. Delaney said he has a plan to get the U.S. to net-zero emissions by 2050 to prepare for the future.
”I put a price on carbon, take all the money, give it back to the American people in a dividend. That was introduced by me on a bipartisan basis,” Sen. Delaney said about the plan.
He is the only candidate to introduce a bipartisan plan for climate concerns.
The Flint Water Crisis was mentioned and Williamson said, “Flint is just the tip of the iceberg.” She also said the U.S. has an administration that has avoided the Clean Water Act, and that disadvantaged communities and communities of color are struggling to receive justice in the environment they live in.
“I lived in Grosse Pointe — what happened in Flint would not have happened in Grosse Pointe,” said Williamson.
Sen. Warren has created an educational plan in an effort to help those disadvantaged communities that are affected by racism.
“My plan has universal, tuition-free college for all of our kids, but also increases the Pell Grants and levels the playing field by putting $50 billion into historically black colleges and universities,” said Sen. Warren.
In addition to helping the schools financially, Amy Klobuchar plans to focus on African American communities, but also other communities, by supplying equal economic opportunity.
“Yes, we help the African-American community and we must, because they have been the ones that have been most hurt by what we’ve seen in the last decades, but we help everyone,” said Klobuchar.
The idea of giving reparations from slavery is still being debated on, especially the topic of how much the African American community should receive.