Drake university hosts seventh democratic debate


Photos by Seth Howard

by Jessica Wood, Staff Reporter

On Jan. 14, six candidates took the stage for the seventh Democratic Debate at Drake University. 

The candidates who qualified for this debate were Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Tom Steyer. 

This debate was the first debate without a candidate of color being represented on the stage.

Tatum Clayburn, the secretary for the Simpson Democrats and a sophomore who was the president for Simpson for Booker, explained her concerns about that in an email. 

“I was very upset to see the lack of communication from all of the candidates regarding health care and how it affects low-income communities that are high in black and brown individuals,” Clayburn wrote. “This one is the first debate without a person of color. It was very disappointing to see the lack of acknowledgment towards these communities that are the most affected by these big insurance and healthcare corporations. This last debate was a perfect opportunity for these candidates to hit home, unfortunately, not many of them touched on the topics that minorities care about.”

In the debate about healthcare, Sanders defended his stance on Medicare for All, and still did not explain how much it would cost, even after he was directly asked. Biden explained that Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) is a foundation for Medicare and just needs to be reformed. Klobuchar agrees with Biden on building on to the Affordable Care Act while Buttigieg has his own plan, which he calls Medicare for All Who Want It. Warren explains that she will have the top 1% pay more in taxes to provide health care for all people.

The debates being held in Iowa are going to show impact when it comes to the Iowa Caucuses on Feb. 3. The Iowa Caucuses are the first caucus in the nation, and it is used as a baseline in predicting what will happen in the other caucuses. 

To qualify for this debate, the candidates had to meet the Four Poll Threshold or the Early State Poll Threshold. 

According to Ballotpedia.org, the Four Poll Threshold requires candidates to meet a minimum of 5% support in four national or early poll states. While the Early State Poll Threshold requires candidates to meet a minimum of 7% in two single state polls. Ballotpedia is a nonprofit encyclopedia of election information and has been cited by over 14,000 media outlets. 

Candidates were also asked why they would be best for acting as commander in chief. These questions lead to additional questions about Iran and nuclear weapons, if they would leave troops in the Middle East and if not, how would they prevent ISIS from attacking in those areas and also the clearing of war actions with Congress. 

Candidates agreed about negotiations needing to start with Iran to bring back the Iran Nuclear Agreement formerly set in place. There were disagreements across the board on whether troops need to stay in the Middle East. Warren wanted to bring the troops home. She would also like to reduce the defense budget, in which Steyer agrees with her. Biden feels there needs to be a small number of troops in the Middle East. 

Trade was also a large topic of discussion in the first half of the debate.

Trade was a topic that seemed to split the stage. Sanders and Steyer seemed to agree they would not support United States Mexico-Canada Agreement due to the lack of an environmental plan. Candidates Warren and Klobuchar said that they support the USMCA because they provide some relief to farmers and workers. Warren says it is not perfect, but they should accept the relief and work to make it better as time goes on. 

At the end of the first half of the debate, Sanders was asked about a statement he said to Warren in 2018. According to Warren, Sanders told her a woman could never be president. Sander denied saying anything along those lines. 

This disagreement on stage caused the two to accuse one another of calling each other liars on national television at the end of the debate. 

The debate turned the focus on climate change where Buttigieg spoke about historic flooding that has happened across the Midwest and tornadoes made from the fire happening in Australia. Steyer also reminded the people watching, he was the only candidate who says climate change is his number one priority. 

“Warren and Sanders have fairly comprehensive environment plans. However, climate change is just Tom’s number one priority because he doesn’t have any other priorities,” Kylie Doupnik, a Political Science and Accounting major, said.  

Other topics spoken about were the impeachment trial and the removal of President Trump from office.

In closing, the candidates spoke about how important they felt it was to get President Trump out of the office and their plan to do so.