Democratic Debates Highlights: Day 1 & 2 Recap
For the second round of the Democratic Presidential Debates on Tuesday and Wednesday, candidates discussed prison reform, healthcare, climate change and the economy. Recap:
The second round of Democratic Presidential Debates kicked off Tuesday night in the Motor City. Before the debate, voters wondered if Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders would take any shots at each other, the way Kamala Harris went after Joe Biden in the first round.
The two progressive candidates Sanders and Warren did not attack each other, as both candidates stood apart from the centrists/moderates candidates like Tim Ryan, John Delaney, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar.
Sanders and Warren both defended their “Medicare For All” stance , and one of the highlights from the debate was Ryan going after Sanders on union workers and medicare, and Sanders responses “I wrote the damn bill.”
Steve Bullock, the Montana governor made his debate debut on Tuesday night after failing to qualify for the first round.
“Twenty-five to 30 percent of my voters voted for Donald Trump, I know that we do have to win back some of those places we lost,” said Bullock during the debate.
Polling between zero and one percent, Marianne Williamson did make some noise on the debate stage Tuesday.
“Conventional politics will not solve this problem because conventional politics is part of the problem, we the American people must rise up and do what we do best and create a new possibility, say no to what we don’t want and yes to what we know can be true,” said WIlliamson in her opening statement.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Williamson’s name was googled more than any other candidate in 49 states.
Delaney started his opening statement going immediately after Sanders and Warren.
“We can go down the road that Senator Sanders and Senator Warren want to take us, which is with bad policies like Medicare for all, free everything and impossible promises that will turn off independent voters and get Trump re-elected,” said Delaney.
“We should stop using Republican talking points in order to talk with each other about how to best provide that health care,” responded Warren, as she defended ‘Medicare For All’ throughout the night.”The basic profit model of an insurance company is taking as much money as you can in premiums and pay out as little as possible in health care coverage.”
Pete Buttigieg offered his medicare proposal with a public option.
“My Medicare for All Who Want It proposal, if people like me are right that the public alternative is going to be not only more comprehensive, but more affordable than any of the corporate options around there,” said Buttigieg.
Former U.S. Representative Beto O’ Rourke offered his healthcare solution:
“I think we’re being offered a false choice, some who want to improve the Affordable Care Act at the margins, others who want a Medicare for All program that will force people off of private insurance, I have a better path,” said Rourke.”Medicare for America, everyone who is uninsured is enrolled in Medicare tomorrow.”
Warren finished the debate with the most talking time, 15 minutes and 35 seconds, with Sanders trailing behind her with a time of 14 minutes and 56 seconds. Williamson finished with the lowest talking time out of all the candidates at 5 minutes and 49 seconds. The first night finished with a clear difference between the moderate candidates and the progressives.
Concluding the second round, many viewers and mainstream news outlets named former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris losers of night two. Baltimore Rep. Cory Booker, Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard bo had strong performances, according to viewers and analysts.
“Go easy on me, kid,” Biden told Harris at the start of the debate.
In an attempt to place Harris on defense, Biden criticized Kamala’s “Medicare for All” policy she released earlier this week, which would force Americans to assimilate into her version of universal healthcare. The policy would allow citizens to keep their private health insurance under new rules.
Biden stated that “the senator’s had several plans so far, and anytime someone tells you you’re going to get something good in 10 years you should wonder why it takes 10 years.”
He added that Harris’s plan would “in 10 years will cost $3 trillion.”
Harris defended her healthcare plan and stated that Biden was “inaccurate” in his interpretation and that “under our plan, we will ensure that everyone has access to health care.”
“Your plan, by contrast, leaves out almost 10 million Americans … be reflective and understand that the people of America want access to health care and do not want costs to be their barrier to getting it,” Harris rebutted.
Harris also faced heavy scrutiny from Gabbard for her record as prosecutor when she served as the District Attorney of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011 and Attorney General of California from 2011 to 2017.
Gabbard remarked that “Senator Harris says she’s proud of her record as a prosecutor and that she’ll be a prosecutor president, but I’m deeply concerned about this record,” Gabbard continued. “There are too many examples to cite but she put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.”
Harris fired back and stated that she is “proud of making a decision to not just give fancy speeches, or be in a legislative body and give speeches on a floor, but actually do the work of being in the position to use the power that I had to reform a system that is badly in need of reform.”
She also added that Harris “blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so,” and that “she kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California.”
Many social media users praised Gabbard for bringing attention to Harris’s record.
The next Democratic debate will take place Sept. 12 in Houston, Texas. The DNC mandates presidential hopefuls to meet polling and grassroots funding thresholds before they are able to qualify for the next round of debates.