The fourth democratic debate of the 2020 presidential campaign was held in Westerville, Ohio at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Oct. 15. The debate was hosted by CNN and the New York Times, and featured the largest number of candidates in a primary debate in political history. Below are five of the main topics discussed in the debate.
1. Impeachment of President Trump
It was a common opinion among the candidates that Trump should be impeached because he has repeatedly broken the law, and has proven to be corrupt. An argument made by Sen. Kamala Harris stated that the president has been working against the wishes of the American people. Sen. Amy Klobuchar argued that Trump has been working for himself, and not doing his job of representing Americans. Concerns were also raised about impeachment being a distraction that could possibly backfire on Democrats, but the candidates said that it is a necessary action that will not cause distraction.
Healthcare accessibility was another issue addressed by all participants. Sen. Elizabeth Warren pointed out that to ensure the “Medicare for All” plan, taxes will rise for the wealthy families and corporations, but not for poor and middle-class families. Some candidates partially agreed with this and suggested that Medicare should be available for those who want it, but should not be a requirement for every citizen. Candidates such as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Klobuchar said that the best way to ensure that every American gets healthcare is to raise taxes and voices against the pharmaceutical industry that has made it difficult for people to get vital medication. While other candidates acknowledged that Warren’s ideas of affordable healthcare for all are appealing, they are unrealistic.
3. Job Loss and Taxation
A compelling argument was made regarding the threat that large corporations pose to workers, as they work only for the profit of their own wallets, and not for the benefit of the employees. States in the midwest, especially Ohio, have experienced extreme job loss since the election of Trump. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang suggested universal basic income to bring people out of poverty, while Sen. Cory Booker supports raising the minimum wage to bring low-income families above the poverty line. Multiple candidates proposed a wealth tax to try and close the income gap. Former Vice President Joe Biden said that the solution should not be to raise taxes on the wealthy but to lower taxes for the poor. Warren related this back to education and highlighted the fact that a rise in taxes could be invested in the education of an entire generation of children. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke said that the main goal here should be lifting people up and not attacking a certain group of people.
4. Withdrawing Troops from Syria Vs. Remaining
Candidates such as Gabbard disagree with the way that Trump withdrew troops from Syria, saying that it caused an increase in the bloodshed of the Kurdish, who previously aided the United States in the fight against ISIS. There was, mainly, disagreement between the candidates as to whether or not there should be an American presence in Syria at all. Some said that is was up to America to help protect the lives of the Kurds from the Turkish, while others said that withdrawing from Syria was the right thing to do to prevent the continuation of a regime change war. The issue was tied back to the effects of Trump’s poor leadership that has hurt foreign policy with Turkey, led to the release of ISIS prisoners and helped enable Russia’s Syrian ally, Bashar al-Assad.
5. Gun Violence
The consensus on stage was that the preservation of human life in the presence of dangerous weapons should be the height of concern. O’Rourke emphasized the importance of reg flag laws and universal background checks. Warren also brought up the proposal of a voluntary gun buy-back, and there was clear disagreement on stage about whether or not this should be mandatory. Biden pointed out that registered guns are less likely to be used, because of the accountability associated with it, and said that that is how to reduce gun violence. Candidates also briefly brought up the problem of police brutality and said that they should also be held accountable for the gun violence inflicted by them.