Joshua Burrell, Features Editor
During the fifth Democratic National Debate, ten candidates discussed health care, foreign relations, and climate change reality, among a plethora of topics that will influence America’s future. Although the 2020 presidential race is a year off, these debates measure changing tides in society, and it’s time Black voters dive in.
Last night’s debate at Tyler Perry Studios began with Senator Elizabeth Warren proposing revenue tax increase on wealthy Americans. Her plan entails redistributing funds to childcare and early education. As a first generation college student, her platforms include making education accessible by advocating federal and private student loan debt be cancelled. Senator Cory Booker challenged her proposal and suggested other taxes raise revenue, yet echoed her childcare sentiments.
Medicare for all, contemporary to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), was a major topic discussed and championed by Senator Bernie Sanders. Most candidates agree with changing America’s healthcare system, yet the decision is weighed when considering long term funding for either plan. The mass of women candidates, in relation to previous years, push that women’s bodily autonomy be respected by passing new abortion laws. Senator Amy Klobuchar proposed codifying Roe v. Wade — the 1973 case that gave pregnant women national abortion freedom.
“Seventy percent of Americans support Roe v Wade and ninety percent of Americans support funding for Planned Parenthood.” Klobuchar said.
Warren echoed how abortion rights are economic rights considering how abortion regulations impact young women, working class and working-poor women disproportionately compared with other groups.
Women’s rights were focused through reproductive rights and reshaping American culture to end violence against women.
“No man has a right to raise a hand against women,” Former Vice President Joe Biden said.
Candidates like Senator Kamala Harris, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg pitched general acceptance for all to attract voters. Even their closing statements used their social intersections — race, gender and sex — as an attempt to stand above other candidates by generating support for multiple groups.
Candidates Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer received minimal attention throughout the debate. Yang’s platforms propose leveling civilian economics with Medicare For All and universal income while Steyer, more than anyone else, approached climate change as his number one priority.
“We need to apply resources and policies to build new units for shelterless communities in a sustainable way,” Steyer said. “It has a dramatic impact on climate and sustainability.”
Education accessibility, housing equality, environmental justice and women’s rights are key issues in Black, but not exclusively urban, communities. These topics were touched on, yet candidates addressing them doesn’t necessitate automatic support from African-Americans.
Understanding political rhetoric is comprehending what candidates mean from what they say. Listen to how passionately and often candidates touch on an issues and statistics used to support their position.
Candidate’s closing thoughts centered on their key platforms, thereby sharing priorities they may take if elected. Beating President Trump in 2020, challenging wealthy Americans, changing America’s political structure and prioritizing climate all took closing’s major focus. Ultimately a candidates relationship to race, sex or gender is diversionary, because they share their intentions at debates through proposals and platforms.