Health care and economy dominate debate

Throughout the Sep. 12 Democratic debate in Texas, the 10 candidates continued to state their cases on why each should become the next president of the United States.

The frontrunners — Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders — were all obviously asked the most amount of questions. Through the first 20 minutes after introductory statements, all three duked out health care before the remaining seven candidates were allowed to rebut for about 10 minutes total.

To go along with health care, the economy was one of the most pressing issues throughout the debate, specifically the newly established tariffs from the Trump Administration on foreign goods and metals and the administration’s proposed trade policy.

One specific issue that seemed to be left out was the environment. Most candidates have rolled out their own plans to end climate change. Although it is a major issue for the Democratic party, it is rarely in the mainstream news cycle because of the president’s negligence on the issue.

Another possible reason that the moderators only asked a few questions about the environment is because of the national Town Hall on the issue that aired on CNN only a week before with the same 10 candidates. It is obvious that the issue is important to the primary; the Town Hall lasted over four hours and just a few weeks ago, there was a major climate strike throughout the globe.

One of the major surprises of the debate was the insurgence of Andrew Yang. Prior to the debate, there was a lot of coverage on Twitter discussing the major news outlets not including Yang in their discussions, graphics and polls. Yang had claimed to be in a major media blackout.

But the debate proved differently. Yang was asked just as many questions as the frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden. Most questions were about the economy, likely because of his entrepreneurial background and “freedom dividend” plan to give every adult $1,000 a month. While never specifically asked during the debate, his plan of a “Value Added Tax” to tax companies that are laying off workers for automation adds up.

As the next round of debates approaches on Oct. 15, all 10 candidates who appeared in the September debate have qualified, along with Hawaii Senator Tulsi Gabbard and philanthropist and impeachment activist Tom Steyer. These debates will now be monthly until the February Iowa Caucus. They are all important to see how the candidates propose to improve our country, but the debates should not be reasoning for voting in next year’s primaries.

The debate should only add supplement the reasons for deciding how to vote. People should not vote based on a 15 second soundbite; rather they should focus on policy and ethical issues surrounding each candidate’s potential presidency.

— James Matthew Villanueva

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