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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

Democrats Face-Off in Fifth Presidential Debate

Democrat donkey in red white and blue. Isolated on a white background with a clipping path.

This past Wednesday, 10 democratic candidates faced off in another debate, this one held in Atlanta, Georgia. The debate was moderated by a panel of 4 women, making it only the third debate in history to be moderated entirely by women.

This debate had two fewer candidates than the previous month’s. Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, for he did not qualify to participate, and former Representative Beto O’Rourke who dropped out of the race on Nov. 1 were not present.

One of the first topics discussed was Elizabeth Warren’s proposed “wealth tax.” Warren proposes increased taxes on those with over 50 million dollars in assets. In response to this, Senator Cory Booker stated that giving citizens more opportunities to grow their wealth is also important. On the other hand, former Vice President Joe Biden stated that Warren’s plan is, “cumbersome and hard to evaluate.” 

As usual, health care was discussed in length as well. This seems to be the biggest dividing factor among candidates. Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and others propose what Buttigieg calls a “Medicare for all Who Want it” plan, in opposition to the complete removal of private insurance suggested by Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders. 

Another major talking point, and one that has not previously been discussed in detail, was paid parental leave. The biggest difference among candidates when it came to family leave was how long each candidate believed was an appropriate amount of time to give parents. While Klobuchar stated three months was the appropriate amount of time, Senator Kamala Harris argued that six months would be more beneficial. 

Also discussed was the impact of minorities in elections, as well as their treatment from candidates. Harris asserted that in the past, candidates have often overlooked minorities and used them for votes, but have never really been there when these groups needed help.

Booker went on from there to mention Biden’s recent statements on the legalization of marijuana. According to Politico, Biden had demonstrated his reluctance to legalize marijuana, and had called it a “gateway drug.” In response, Booker stated that marijuana is, “already legal for privileged people,” and that “the war on drugs has been a war on black and brown people.” (CNN)

Warren also discussed the intersection of race and student debt, and stated that people of color have been shown to have more debt that takes longer to pay off. 

The next debate will be held on Dec. 19 at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs in Los Angeles. Only six candidates have qualified for this debate as of Wednesday. (Vox)

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