Impeachment and President Trump were the first topics discussed and amounted to about half the debate time. Unsurprisingly, every candidate on the stage supported the ongoing inquiry, while most — but not all — declared support for conviction.
The proverbial candidate punching bag of the evening was projected to be South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg since recent polling showed him on top in Iowa — the first primary state. However, Buttigieg made it through most of the debate before having to dodge a few punches from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).
The other notable punching bag of the night was America’s wealthy, just as in each earlier debate installment.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) touted her “wealth tax” which would tax every dollar above $50 million an additional two cents. Once an individual hits a billion dollars, they would, according to Warren, “have to pay a few cents more.”
As a contrast, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) called Warren’s plan “cumbersome” and not optimal, although he did support the idea of having a “fair” system of taxation.
Healthcare-wise, many of the candidates discussed the rising cost of healthcare and their own strategies for lowering it — all of which consisted of expanding Obamacare at minimum to truly socializing the system with full government control.
Iowa frontrunner Buttigieg touted his “Medicare for All-who-want-it” which, necessarily, would expand Medicare exponentially but still permit a “choice” for consumers. The plan is similar to former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s “Medicare for America” proposal, which was dinged by some healthcare experts as a plan that would effectively abolish private insurance, just at a slower pace.
After months of pushing a “Medicare for All” plan that would supplant Obamacare, Warren stated she wants to “preserve” Obamacare while also implementing her “Medicare for All” plan.
She offered no specifics for how one would have those programs operating simultaneously.
Former Vice President Joe Biden dug his heels in on keeping Obamacare mostly as-is, preserving private insurance, and expanding Medicaid to cover more uninsured.
Tulsi Gabbard took televised aim right at Hillary Clinton to revive their recent feud, calling the Democratic party’s foreign policy the “Bush-Clinton-Trump foreign policy that unnecessarily sends my brothers and sisters in uniform to die for regime change.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) used a portion of her time to condemn the Citizens United decision and “dark money in politics.” In the same breath, she claimed that without voter suppression and other “nefarious” malefactors “Stacey Abrams would be governor of Georgia right now.”
Georgia governor Brian Kemp won his election by more than 50,000 votes. There has been little in the way of actual evidence to suggest voter fraud played any role in Abrams’ loss.
In a unique twist of events, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) declared the need to make elections publicly financed — taxpayer-financed with government oversight.
Tech tycoon Andrew Yang endorsed federally mandated paid family leave while then plugging his “Freedom Dividend” — a plan to increase taxes and then redistribute taxpayer money with installments of $1,000 a month to every American adult.
Billionaire Tom Steyer stressed the importance of improving housing affordability and his strategy is to build “millions of sustainable units” that will not exacerbate “climate change.” He also emphasized he would “use the emergency powers of the presidency” and declare a state of emergency to “address climate change.”
Jumping in on that topic, Sanders warned that in eight or nine years “cities will be underwater…and there will be hundreds of million climate refugees.” He also added, “The fossil fuel industry is probably criminally liable.”
Booker stated he wants to implement a tax credit who spend one-third of their paychecks on rent.
On abortion, Klobuchar stated, “We should codify in law, Roe v. Wade.” Warren added that “Abortion rights are human and economic rights.”
Other things candidates took stands on were the trade war with China, border policies, declaring “white supremacy” a terrorist designation, implementing widespread student loan debt forgiveness, and rethinking Middle East strategy.
In other words, this debate looked similar to the other debates, focusing heavily on appealing to progressives and the hard left of the Democratic party.
For those watching, it was déjà vu all over again.
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.