” Fourth Democratic Presidential Primary Debate – Attempt to redefine Leadership ” – October 15, 2019.
Fourth Democratic Presidential Primary Debate was held tonight.
Venue : Otterbein University, Westerville, (suburb of Columbia) Ohio.
Hosted by : CNN and The New York Times.
Candidates : Former V.P. Joe Biden ; Sen. Elizabeth Warren ; Sen. Bernie Sanders ; Sen. Cory Booker ; Sen. Kamala Harris ; Mayor Pete Buttigieg ; Sen. Amy Klobuchar ; Former US Rep, Beto O’Rourke ; Former US HUD Sec. Julian Castro ; Enterpreuner Andrew Yang; Rep Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard ; and Billionaire activist, Tom Steyer.
Issues Covered : Impeachment ; Healthcare ; Gun Violence ; Foreign Policy ; Job loss ; Income inequality ; Opioid Epidemic; Age ; Breaking Big Tech Giants ; Women’s Reproductive Rights ; and Democrats’ Vision to beat Trump.
Background : 1. Largest Presidential Primary Debate in recorded American Political History. ( 12 Candidates on the same stage in one night event ). Candidate Bernie Sanders returns after health scare on October 1.
2. The debate takes place against – (a) the chorus of agreement on the issue of Impeachment of the President ( about 225 Congressional members and all 19 candidates supporting it ), and (b) President Trump’s decision to withdraw US military forces from Syria leaving the Kurds (SDF) to wage its battle alone.
Moderators : Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett of CNN, and Times National Editor, Marc Lacey.
Salient features that I observed :
1. It occurred to me that Sen. Elizabeth Warren stole the show with acuity, substance, and coherent arguments in this debate. She held her composure with suave replies, her policy proposal on assets more than $ 50 million , reiterating the power of the unions to create dignity of work , receiving less criticism with potential to arrest her smooth journey through the debates , and adding to her strength of impact making performance. On age factor, Sen. Elizabeth Warren emphasized the fact that it is not how old you are but what counts most is the zeal, passion, and the ability to pursue and preserve ‘National Security’ and prestige that will be the ultimate driving force behind her contest.
2. Joe Biden was confident and assertive without being aggressive even while not packing his arguments with responses to lift his position in this debate. He had a steady performance without instances of domination. On the question of age factor, Joe Biden emphasized his past experiences on most issues without a need for “on-the-job training” as the most essential requirement and Quality to shoulder the burden of Presidency.
3. Sen. Bernie Sanders seemed as clear and forceful as before, without any sign of his illness hampering his arguments , holding his position without elevation or sliding. On the question of age factor, Sen. Bernie Sanders while thanking all those who showed their love and prayers for his recovery emphasized that the big rally that will be staged on ‘Queens’, NY, will provide evidence to the citizens how passionate and healthy he is to take on the stresses of Presidency.
4. Sen. Kamala Harris was strong on Gun violence ( 5 million assault weapons are in U.S.A., ban the import of assault weapons … ); Foreign Policy ( her references to the phone call of President Trump to the Turkish President Erdogan raising the consequences in terms of boosts to Vladimir Putin, Assad, Iran, and ISIS ); Women’s access to Reproductive Healthcare (as one of the big issues in America, it is important that women are left to decide about her body ); and Breaking Big Tech Giants ( Corporate responsibility and accountability should be held high … ). She has held her position firmly without any decline. But the expected rise may not have materialised.
5. Mayor, South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, while showing moments of traction specially on Foreign Policy, and Immigration, seemed to send a clear message of generational change. His stand against obliteration of private plans in Healthcare found its echo with some others too. He connected well with the audience and has been successful in elevating his position too.
6. Sen. Cory Booker had a steady and flat performance without much swings up or down. He was a strong supporter of anti trust measures against big tech giants for the fear that their present practices may hold the potential to undermine democracy. He favoured union strength on the question of revival of GM. He added that it would be better to increase minimum wage to $ 15/ hour as this will put more money in their pockets. He has maintained his position without significant rise or decline in this debate.
7. Businessman, Andrew Yang, provided some new ideas like taxation of technology tools, search tool, and the like that can prove to be useful. He also stuck to his Freedom Dividend of $ 1000 / month for every citizen and held the view that automation being the cause of loss of jobs in Ohio is incorrect. He instead pleaded for making the unions strong and to make representations great. He had a flat performance without any breakout moment.
8. Julian Castro, Beto O’Rourke, Tom Steyer, and Tulsi Gabbard – all needed a breakout moment to sustain the standing but failed to deliver. Tulsi Gabbard was in her best while discussing the foreign policy and Strategy to beat Trump. Tom Steyer stayed true to his reputation of Impeachment power head and Corporate activism. Beto O’Rourke had his usual plus points on immigration and gun control but without any new additions. Julian Castro made his presence felt on immigration, and breaking the tech giants but couldn’t capitalise on them fully.
9. Today’s Prize certainly goes to Sen. Amy Klobuchar whose stellar performance must have elevated her standing several notches above. Be it Impeachment ( she drew attention to the President’s phone call to Ukraine President, withdrawal of troops in Syria, how the dangerously polarised nation needs to unify – all within the first 15 minutes of the debate session ) ; be it Healthcare ( need for a better way to take on pharmaceutical companies while she took on Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the issue of cost of healthcare – receiving loud and big applauses twice ) ; be it Income Inequality ( while strongly supporting the Unions that made her father and mother survive and grow amid challenges, she emphasized that unions empathise with the challenge of a difficult work environment and suggest options for employees to empower themselves that shifts the work culture positively. Work is not a chore, but seeks meaning and talents ) ; be it Foreign Policy ( her insistence on a bipartisan Election bill to tackle meddling in elections ) ; be it Opioid Epidemic ( Treatment is better than ban or punishment citing her father’s case strengthening the case for holding the pharmaceutical companies accountable ) ; be it strategy to beat Trump ( she is capable of erecting a “blue wall” around the states that Trump won last time – Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin … ) ; she was soft and spirited in building her case to near perfection. She must have elevated her standing and ranking considerably from this debate.
The last question was about ‘friendship that surprised and had an impact on the candidate’ : Here are the answers :
1. Julian Castro : “We should not feel ashamed of holding anyone accountable in life. Values and ideals should reflect in life”.
2. Tulsi Gabbard : ” Inspired by Abe Lincoln’s malice to none, and charity to all”. Trey Gowdy, Republican, stood in her support in difficult times.
3. Amy Klobuchar : ” Nothing to be afraid of fighting for a cause larger than life “. She talked about John McCain.
4. Tom Steyer : ” When you see something wrong in the Society, you start fighting each day, each day, again.” He talked about a woman fighting for clean water in South Carolina.
5. Beto O’Rourke : ” Working on any contentious issue, do not see differences in affiliation.”
6. Cory Booker :. ” Restore the sacred honour. Part of legacy of a common cause and common struggle. “
7. Andrew Yang : ” Turn the clock forward, accelerate economy, and enhance values. ” He talked about a trucker, a Trump supporter to support his 4th Industrial Revolution.
8. Kamala Harris : ” American ideals, dreams, and values shall always hold. Look for commonalities amongst us to take the lead. Leader should unify the country. “
9. Pete Buttigieg : ” Build a sense of belonging for the country. Learn to trust each other. “
10. Bernie Sanders : ” We have to end the hatred. Our job is to bring people together. Each citizen shall strive for this “.
11. Elizabeth Warren : ” 2020 is a moment in our History. I know what is broken, I know how to fix it. “
12. Joe Biden : ” Restore the soul of the country. It is time we stopped our wranglings. “
Conclusion : Vision, strategic priorities, and innovation opportunities to be accomplished constituted the major part of responses from candidates without actually referring to them explicitly in terms of terminology. Sen. Amy Klobuchar reaped the most in this debate. Atleast 5 candidates added another layer to their reputation that probably can help them overcome any adverse polling.
” Dieu avec nous “
Wednesday, October 16, 2019 – 11.29 a.m. (IST).
Tidbit : ” He said he wants to make America great again ; it actually makes Russia great again. ” – Sen. Amy Klobuchar.