Democratic Debate divides


Jessica GuerrucciManaging Editor

Three hours, 12 democratic candidates, and issues ranging from healthcare to impeachment – everything unfolded as candidates took the stage in what political science major Emily Bigl, freshman, called a “messy” debate. “Not too much has changed,” said Bigl. “I mean, it kind of went as well as I expected it to. It was a little bit of a messy debate, but it was informative about where each candidate stands.”

On Oct. 15, the fourth primary democratic debate brought candidates to Westerville, Ohio, a state that moderator Anderson Cooper called “one of the most critical battleground states,” since having it backed all but two presidential winners in every election since 1896.

Eyes fell on Elizabeth Warren, a senator from Massachusetts, as a front runner.

According to a Quinnipiac poll, Warren has a 30 percent approval rating with former Vice President Joe Biden following behind at 27 percent.

“She’s been my candidate since the beginning,” said Bigl, “but I think she really showed how strong she can be with rebuttals and, like, genuine discussion about topics.”

Attacks were directed towards Warren, and while Bigl said she did well, Jonathan Wharton, associate professor of political science, said she needed to be more concise. With only 75 seconds to answer questions, 45 seconds for responses and rebuttals, and 15 seconds for clarifications, he said he noticed her talking over her time and it was not effective.

“She would not stop talking,” said Wharton. “You hear Anderson Cooper saying, over and over again, ‘Okay thank you senator, thank you senator,’ and it had nothing to do with her original point.”

Warren, according to The New York Times article tracking speaking time at the debate, finished with 22 minutes and 47 seconds, the most of of all of the candidates. Behind her was Biden who spoke for 16 minutes and 39 seconds.

Other candidates did not get the chance to speak as much as Warren or Biden, specifically Tom Styer, who only spoke for seven minutes and 13 seconds. David Nichols, secretary for College Republicans, quoted Greg Gutfield in saying the debate was “more of a therapy session.”

He said candidates were repetitive and democrats must be more concise and to decide who is going to be in the polls. With all candidates ready to go, Cooper began with the one topic all candidates stood together on: impeachment.

Since the last debate, Cooper said house Democrats have officially launched an impeachment inquiry against President Trump. However, Nichols said impeachment is not going to happen.

“They’re just going to talk about it,” said Nichols. “I think it’s going to fire up more voters for Donald Trump.”

Several issues were not discussed much at the debate, such as LGBTQIA+ rights and climate change.

The questions that were asked, the last one in particular, “tell us about a friendship that you’ve had that would surprise us and what impact it’s had on you and your beliefs,” resulted in mixed reactions from viewers.

“They asked a question about Ellen [DeGeneres], but not about what are you doing and what’s your plan to help save black trans women who are being murdered at such a high rate?” said Justin Gendron, president of the College Democrats, “and that really shows it’s more so for ratings rather than anything else.”

These issues, Gendron said, are not fun to ask about. However, political science major Nick Alexiades, senior, said Kamala Harris took a step in discussing women’s reproductive rights.

“Kamala Harris sort of went into that a little bit of women’s rights, and sort of, and said, at one point, that it was ridiculous that this hadn’t been discussed at all at this point,” said Alexiades.

Though some candidates had their chance to shine and others did not, Wharton said it is only October and the front runners could switch up.

“When the real primaries come through for a lot of these states, that’s when we’ll know better,” said Wharton. “We are six months out, this is way still too early. It could change any week, any day. We don’t know what will happen.”

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