The second democratic debate occurred on August 31st, consisting of Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Bill De Blasio, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gilibrand, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, and Andrew Yang, debating health care, immigration, criminal justice and more.
The first topic of the debate was healthcare. This mainly consisted of Biden and Harris arguing about their health care plans. Harris started the debate by talking about her Medicare-For-All plan. Harris pointed out that there are a million people without healthcare in the US and claimed she based her plan off the needs of “American Families.” Biden stepped in and argued that Senator Harris’s plan will cost 3 trillion in ten years, while building off Obama Care would be the better idea, costing 750 billion, and covering the majority of Americans.
Another topic talked about was Immigration. Harris started off the debate talking about how it is wrong to separate children at the border and how we should stop treating immigrants like criminals. Castro agreed, and talked about his immigration plan, which involves removing Section 1325 of the Immigration Nationality Act. This made coming to the US illegally a criminal offense. Biden argued that if someone crosses the border illegally, they should be able to be sent back unless they are seeking asylum. One controversial comment Biden made was “anybody that crosses the border with a PHD should get a green card for seven years.” Booker responded saying this is will pit immigrants against each other, which is what Republicans want.
The next topic was criminal justice. Biden starters off by saying that people who are convicted of drug crimes should go to rehab rather than prison, and when they finish should have access to housing and education. Booker responded by saying that Biden is responsible for many major and minor crime bills, and he is now trying to cover this up. Castro agreed with Booker’s comments on Biden, and points out that we need to end immunity for police officers so we can hold them accountable for using excessive force.
Each candidate was supposed to get one minute to answer questions, thirty seconds for responses, and fifteen seconds if a moderator needs clarification. These limits were often disrespected, and the candidates frequently interrupted the moderator to get their last thought in. Biden finished the debate having the most speaking time, with over twenty-one minutes, while Yang ended with the least, only 9 minutes of speaking time.
Joe Biden currently stands the highest in the polls, with roughly 28% support from voters, while the runner up Elizabeth Warren has almost 20%. There are only a few more debates left before the Democratic Primary which starts February 2020.