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Democratic Candidates for the 2020 Presidential Election Discuss Platforms in Fourth Primary Debate

by Katrina Gluch

On Oct. 16 at 8 p.m., all 12 Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential election took to the debate stage in Westerville, Ohio, on the Otterbein College campus. The debate was co-hosted by CNN and the New York Times. All candidates had the opportunity to showcase their platforms. 

Those who appeared on stage are as follows, listed in alphabetical order by last name: Former Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Cástro, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, Senator Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang. 

All 12 candidates started the debate by agreeing that impeachment was necessary and inevitable, and Harris came out in support of banning President Trump’s Twitter account. 

The hot topics of the debate were health care, foreign policy, President Trump, and economic inequality. According to Allison McCartney with Bloomberg, these were the most discussed topics, with each one taking up about 14 percent of the discussion time.  

Warren found herself under fire for a significant amount of the debate as Buttigieg attacked her healthcare platform, claiming that “the American people deserve to know” about raised taxes under her plan. Warren denied this. 

Biden claiming to have helped Warren attain voters when she established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but Warren responded to the statement by thanking Former President Obama for his assistance. 

Harris called for a discussion about female reproductive rights, claiming that the Republican lawmakers instituting restrictive abortion bans were out of touch.  

According to Shane Goldmacher and Reid J. Epstein with New York Times, Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, and Mississippi have all recently banned abortions after six-t-o-eight weeks of pregnancy. Booker added to Harris’s agenda by stating that men in politics need to start fighting to defend women’s rights. 

Yang’s “Freedom Dividend” platform received air time for the first time during the debate. According to Eric Bradner, Dan Merica, and Gregory Kreig with CNN, the “Freedom Dividend” platform follows the idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI), in which all citizens would receive a standard stipend every month regardless of employment status. The Oct. 16 debate marks the first time that the idea of a UBI was seriously discussed by the Democratic Party.   

Only three of the 12 candidates on the debate stage are polling in double digits at the time of print: Biden, Sanders, and Warren.  

McCartney reported that Warren, Biden, and Buttigieg spoke the most words. According to Bradner and his cowriters, the candidates with the most funding are Sanders ($33.7 million), Warren ($25.7 million), and Buttigieg ($23.4 million). Biden has $9 million in funding. 

The fifth Democratic debate will occur on Nov. 20 in Atlanta. The Republican Party has not scheduled any primary debates. 

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