Democratic candidates debate healthcare, social issues

2 months ago Triangle 0

Written by: Jake Love, staff writer

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HOUSTON, Texas – Ten democratic presidential primary candidates met for the third round of debates on Sept. 19 at Texas Southern University in Houston. 

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), businessman Andrew Yang, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro were present. 

The debate began with unorthodox opening statements from Yang and Harris. Yang used his statement to announce that his campaign was giving a “freedom dividend” of $1,000 to ten families per year if they went to his website and applied. Harris, on the other hand, addressed her statement to President Donald Trump, accusing him of using “hate, intimidation, fear and lies to distract from [his] failed policies and broken promises.” 

Healthcare was the first and most discussed issue of the night. Each candidate gave their case for why their plan (each of which places much emphasis on government-funded healthcare) was best, with Biden specifically stating that his plan would cost $740 billion over the course of ten years. Sanders was the only candidate who addressed how his plan would raise middle-class taxes, while his colleagues avoided saying such. 

Some of the night’s exchanges were heated. Biden, Warren and Sanders clashed over healthcare plans early-on. 

The biggest argument of the debate took place between Biden and Castro. Castro criticized Biden’s healthcare plan, stating, “You require [people] to opt in. I would not require them to opt in, they would automatically be enrolled.” 

“That’s not true,” Biden responded. 

Castro retaliated and said, “You just said that. You said they would have to buy in. Have you forgotten what you said two minutes ago?” 

The transcript later showed that Biden had actually said, “You’ll be able to buy in. Anyone who can’t afford gets automatically enrolled in the Medicare option.” 

Some of the other topics discussed were gun control, immigration, economic policies and racial tensions in America. The common themes among the candidates were criticisms of the health insurance industry, President Trump’s economic policies and the 2nd Amendment. 

Another of the night’s major conflicts happened between Buttigieg, Castro and Klobuchar. 

It started when Buttigieg said, “Presidential debates are becoming unwatchable. [They remind] everybody about what they can’t stand about Washington – scoring points against each other, pointing at each other and telling each other ‘that’s your plan, my plan…’” 

He was interrupted by Castro, who said, “That’s called the Democratic primary election.” 

But Klobuchar responded by saying, “A house divided cannot stand.” 

The newest poll from NBC/WSJ shows Biden as the remaining frontrunner, with Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg being his closest competitors. 

The next debate is set for mid-October at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. 

Jake Love is a staff writer for the Triangle. He is an English major with an emphasis on creative writing and commutes from Soddy-Daisy, Tenn. He enjoys reading and consuming large amounts of caffeine.