Wednesday night, the second round of Democratic candidates took the stage to debate at the Fox Theatre. Former Vice President Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Andrew Yang, and other candidates were in full attack not only of President Trump, but of each other. There was no clear winner between the candidates.
Cory Booker pointed out several times that Democrats should not be so divided on these issues because it is just what Trump wants and loves. This point is true; there is a national tension among Democrats about the right path to take if they want to defeat Donald Trump. Still, Booker is now being criticized because he pulled this statement out many times in a debate, where the mere point is to argue other candidates, and he also used it to bypass questions that he was asked.
The expenses of medical bills, drug prices and the opioid epidemic is eating away at Americans, and it is one of the most significant topics for voters. Healthcare was the most heated conversation between the candidates.
Kamala Harris was attacked hard on this topic from several candidates based on the lack of specifics in her plan. When asked several times whether employer-provided healthcare would be able to continue, she plainly stated that private insurance would be able to continue if companies comply to the new regulations she would set in place. Her plan also would not be in full-effect for ten years and would end up costing $3 trillion, so she took a hard hit from all the other candidates including Joe Biden.
Biden pointed out rightly that if private healthcare is banned, the middle class will eat the cost in taxes. Rather than throwing the Affordable Care Act out the window, Biden’s plan would instead bolster up Obamacare and improve on it. People would still have the choice to keep their private insurance.
Julián Castro would strengthen medicare and then expand it, allowing private insurance to continue. However, he wants to take a strong stance to control big pharma and absurd drug prices.
Every candidate is upset and angry about the border situation and the separation of families. Sen. Michael Bennet pointed out that not one Democrat on stage would separate a child from their parents. The Democrats mainly want to make pathways to citizenship easier for current undocumented residents and speed up the process at the border so that immigrants will not be detained for long periods of time.
Biden made the distinction between being entitled to asylum and crossing illegally. If someone crosses illegally, they will be sent back to their country. However, they will try to make it easier for people to apply and come through the right channels.
Biden was asked whether he supported Obama’s deportation initiative, and when he said he wasn’t the president and his opinion was personal, he was attacked for evoking his “Obama card.” Obama was the one who started the detention facilities and the process at the border that Trump inherited and is attacked for every day. The Obama administration was openly criticized Wednesday.
As for having full-on open borders, Castro called that “a right-wing talking point” even though progressives have started advocating for it. Booker claimed that he would allow immigrants only if they have a justifiable reason to be here, but left it at that.
Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state is running on climate change as his top priority. He was given plenty of time to speak on that issue and not one person criticized him. He said that the other candidates plans might be too little, too late, including Biden, who wants to curb fossil fuels. Inslee would get the country off coal and stop fracking. Those are two major industries in states like Pennsylvania so that will not bode well for him in those states.
A veteran and Congresswoman in Hawaii’s 2nd district, Tulsi Gabbard wants to invest in clean energy and infrastructure, as well as training. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand would immediately sign the country back into the Paris Climate Agreement and lead the way to clean energy.
After getting thrown under the bus in the previous debate by Harris, Biden was more prepared to confute criticism and fight back. Harris became the one getting thrown down by other candidates.
The candidates also discussed gender and race issues, criminal justice reform and the Mueller investigation. Their final points were to try and secure support in funding from voters watching. As the primary approaches in seven months, people will start dropping out of the race and giving their endorsements for each other.
Detroit was honored to host the debates, and the influx of people was great for businesses in the area. Woodward Avenue was lit up in red and blue between the Fox, Fillmore, Ford Field, and Comerica Park. The event was able to highlight the growth in downtown and shine a positive light on the city for the entire nation to see.