With the primary drawing closer, the stakes are rising for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. The recent debates are some of the most tense examples.
In the past few weeks, two Democratic primary debates were held, one in New Hampshire on February 7th and one in Nevada on February 19th. The candidates – Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Michael Bloomberg, and Tom Steyer – are all vastly different in terms of policy and partisanship. The past few polls show Bernie in the lead with Buttigieg as a close second and Warren third. However, as the primary draws closer and the candidates move on to states with different demographics, this could easily change.
Both debates were characterized by a large amount of aggression, and with seven candidates still on the ballot, an unusual high this late in the election process, there was definite chaos.
The main focus of the New Hampshire debates seemed to be Michael Bloomberg, who made his first ever debate appearance after campaigning solely through digital and television advertisements. Bloomberg has spent an estimated $132 million on producing and running television ads alone.
Bloomberg was subject to attacks by almost all the other candidates. His past accusations, his racist policies in New York, and his billionaire status all came up. Warren even attempted to get him to agree, onstage, to release all parties from nondisclosure agreements in order to hear from those with sexual harassment claims against the candidate.
Many candidates critiqued Sander’s healthcare plans as too expensive, and his views too radical. Bloomberg went as far as to call his democratic socialist views as those of communism, to which Bernie responded “that was a cheap shot.”
While occasionally getting slightly personal, the Nevada debates remained somewhat civil. In New Hampshire however, there was a complete shift to what many have deemed completely unprofessional chaos.
The stakes were higher and the candidates certainly felt the pressure. The last debate was widely publicized and the next was eagerly awaited. New Hampshire marked Steyer’s first television debate appearance, making him subject to new attention. Bernie had made an appearance on the television program 60 Minutes in which he stated that he was tired of answering questions about how his healthcare plan would be paid for.
What resulted was a tense debate filled with. Candidates constantly talked over each other, Joe Biden and Tom Steyer got in a shouting match, and Elizabeth Warren accused Michael Bloomberg of telling a female employee to get an abortion if she wanted to keep her job. It was so bad that the news station, CBS, was criticized for not appropriately moderating the debate.
However there is still a lot left to go in the primaries, and now is the time for the candidates to narrow down. The next few weeks will undoubtedly show major occurences in the Democratic polls.
This article was written in mid February and may not accurately reflect recent developments in the Democratic race.