From overt Trump-bashing to little talk on health, here are the five key takeaways from the Democratic debate in Atlanta
Ten candidates locked horns at the fifth Democratic debate in Atlanta and everyone, especially those without high numbers, put in a strong effort to remain relevant.
The fifth debate in the Democratic presidential primaries took place in Atlanta on Wednesday and there were some key takeaways from the latest round between 10 candidates. The candidates responded on a number of issues ranging from Trump’s impeachment to foreign policy and everyone, especially those who still don’t have high numbers, put in strong efforts to remain relevant in the race which is gaining momentum.
Here are five takeaways from the Atlanta debate:
Too much attack on Trump
The fifth debate saw the Democrats agreeing to find their biggest enemy in Trump and used strong terms against him. California Senator Kamala Harris, for instance, called the president a criminal in the White House while her Vermont counterpart Bernie Sanders called him a pathological liar and likely the most corrupt president in the modern history of the US. The relentless attacks on Trump even saw the latter’s camp responding. Kayleigh McEnany, national press secretary for Trump’s re-election campaign, pointed it out and said in a statement: "Tonight, 2020 Democrats were short on solutions and heavy on their unhealthy obsession with taking down President Trump via an illegitimate coup.” He said the Democrats know they cannot beat Trump on the economy, criminal justice reform, health care, and trade deals and hence were ready to defeat him in the halls of the Congress and not at the ballot box.
Little talk on health care
Health care, like gun laws, remains one of the most debated topics in American elections. The race for the White House in 2020 has been no exception but till Wednesday. The four frontrunners in the Democratic camp - Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg - have disagreed over the idea often in the past. It was surprising for the observers that one of the prime differences among the Democratic hopefuls - “Medicare for All” remained largely ignored in Atlanta. Is it because of impeachment fever?
Candidates wooing black voters
For the Democratic candidates who aspire to beat Trump next year, it is very essential that they bag the black votes and counter the white supremacists. It was no surprise to see the Democrats saying words or coming up with gestures to woo that particular community. And among them, Joe Biden was particularly impressive. Although the former vice president had his moments of ‘ups’ (when he spoke authoritatively on international issues) and ‘downs’ (when he looked shaky at the very beginning), former Missouri senator Claire McKaskill said Biden was enjoying a strong support among the black communities at the moment, far eclipsing that of Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. Journalist Eugene Robinson agreed, saying many of the candidates were doing the same on the day.
All-woman moderation panel
The Atlanta debate was only the third primary debate in history that was moderated by a panel occupied entirely by women. It was also the first Democratic debate of the year when the first two questions went to two women candidates. Talks on abortion rights, childcare expenses, separation of children from mothers at borders and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar’s bombastic assertion that Nancy Pelosi is beating Trump every day pointed to the fact that women-centric issues made an impact in this debate.
This is the first Democratic debate of the year where the first questions went to female candidates.— Michael M. Grynbaum (@grynbaum) November 21, 2019
Amy Klobuchar’s performance
More than Elizabeth Warren, it was Amy Klobuchar who stole the show in this debate, for a change. The Minnesota senator has not been among the frontrunners and was hunting for that special moment and it came on Wednesday night. Klobuchar took on Pete Buttigieg and her assertion that “if you think a woman can’t beat Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi does it every day” struck some chord. It is still difficult for Klobuchar to topple the frontrunners but at least she showed some hope to her supporters that it can still be done.