Eighth Democratic Debate


(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Musa Jabbour

Following the Iowa caucuses and the acquittal of President Trump, the eighth Democratic debate took place on February 7 in New Hampshire. The candidates who qualified were former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer, and Andrew Yang.

As per usual, the candidates clashed on many topics, but Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar dominated the stage. Additionally, Buttigieg’s major victory at the Iowa caucuses made him a target throughout the debate. For instance, Amy Klobuchar came for Buttigieg’s experience: “We have a new incomer in the White House and look where it got us,” referencing President Trump. Although Buttigieg was questioned on his past experience in politics, he defended himself saying that he would offer a new perspective that would bring change in Washington.

The Issue of Climate Change 

When talking about climate change, billionaire Tom Steyer argued that the assassination of Qassem Soleimani “threatened the United States’ place in the world as a potential coalition.” He then stated that “Climate change cannot be solved with guns and tanks and planes, it can only be solved with diplomacy, and allies, and interactions with other countries.” Bernie Sanders joined in by saying that instead of spending money on military weapons, the United States’ should invest in helping stop global warming. “This is not an American issue, it’s a global issue,” added Sanders. “Maybe, just maybe, given the crisis of climate change, the world can understand that instead of spending $1.8 trillion a year collectively on weapons of destruction designed to kill each other, maybe we pool our resources and fight our common enemy, which is climate change.” As for the rest of the candidates, they all agreed that in order to make a difference in climate change, the U.S. should rejoin the Paris agreement. As seen in past debates, the issue of climate change has only been given a little screen time; however, candidates have continued to talk about this issue more frequently as time has goes on.

Michael Bloomberg 

Although it is said to be a four-way race between Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg, it is possible that other candidates like Michael Bloomberg and Amy Klobuchar could change this. Michael Bloomberg hasn’t participated in past debates due to a party rule that shuts out self-funders. However, the Democratic Party has recently dropped this requirement, opening the door for Michael Bloomberg to participate in the next debate scheduled for later this month. Additionally, the moderators of this debate asked the candidates how Bloomberg is affecting the race, to which Elizabeth Warren said, “I don’t think anyone ought to be able to buy their way into a nomination to be President of the United States,” which was followed by a round of applause from the audience.

Winners of the Debate

(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

According to CNN, one of the candidates who had the strongest talking points was Amy Klobuchar. In past debates, she struggle to stand out from the other candidates. However, many consider this debate to be her best one yet. She called out Buttigieg and told him that it might be easy to criticize the government, but it is far more different to lead it. Additionally, Klobuchar added that a settlement against opioid manufacturers and an opioid tax could fund treatment programs. After the debate, she reportedly raised 2 million dollars. Unlike previous debates, Klobuchar was able to let the public know where she stood on the issues discussed and how she would achieve her plans.

Another winner of this debate was Bernie Sanders. Although he didn’t win the Iowa Caucuses, he is counting on winning the New Hampshire primary, as he had won during the 2016 presidential race. A shocking moment that came during the debate was when Sanders said that he had changed his views on gun control. Although times have changed, Sanders continues to receive questions about his past. “In the 90s, when you were in Congress, you voted against background checks and you also voted against a waiting period to purchase a firearm,” said panelist Adam Sexton. “Can you explain why you opposed these things that you now support?” Sanders responded by saying that “The world has changed, and many views have changed. And my view right now, we need universal background checks. We end the gun show loophole. We end the so-called strawman provision. We make certain that we end the sale and distribution of assault weapons in this country.” His response garnered a round of applause from the audience.

With the New Hampshire primary coming up in a few days, tensions have risen between the candidates. As seen in recent polls, Bernie Sanders has led the pack. However, we still have to wait and see whether these results are going to be as shocking as those of the Iowa caucuses.