Daniel Halliday
Feb 17 · Last update 15 days ago.

Who’s the best candidate to run against Trump in 2020?

Trump remains one of the most divisive presidents in US history, with the lowest average ‘highest approval’ rating and the smallest margin between approval and disapproval (according to the Gallup polls). This indicates a divided opinion in the United States and not very much change in favour of his presidency so far. Considering his involvement in destabilising trade wars, brutal migration policy-making and a hasty and unpopular Middle East withdrawal, it would arguably be a lot better internally and internationally for Trump to be beaten at re-election. Trumps presidency has also encouraged an interesting new wave of businessmen and entrepreneurial candidates to enter the race. With this in mind who is the best candidate to run for president at the next US election? youtu.be/vJ6MrDO0kgY youtu.be/cX7hni-zGD8 youtube.com/watch?v=BxWfs8zVfQ4 youtu.be/2UWVO0Trd1c youtube.com/watch?v=6w8OSXD5_q4
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Kamala Harris
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Kamala Harris

California Senator Kamala Harris announced her run for president on 27th January 2019, supporting progressive policies such as national healthcare, federal cannabis legalisation, emigration reform and tax policy reforms. Her tax policy is a big part of her campaign; Harris has stated her intention to raise taxes on the largest corporations to fund large tax cuts for middle class Americans. Senator Harris has a strong history in politics and law, previously serving as District Attorney for San Francisco, and Attorney General for California. However Harris has also faced strong criticism as a result of this history, the fact that she didn’t prosecute some guilty banks despite evidence of misconduct prior the 2008 financial crisis, and her efforts to pursue minor crimes that effect America’s poorest are often cited by those that disapprove of her campaign.

Harris delivered a good performance in the first democratic debate however, silencing the debate when it descended into a shouting match and managed to talk extensively on climate, immigration, economic and gun policy, gaining large applause from the audience. However it was her holding to account of the political history of Joe Biden that really allowed Harris to shine in this debate criticising his handling of school integration issues in the 1970s, which she was personally involved in as a child. This really solidified the opinion that Harris would be a good candidate to hold Donald Trump to account for many people, and allowed Harris to ascend to third place in approval ratings after the debates, according to a Morning Consult survey.

The second debate proved more difficult for Harris however, she attempted to reiterate similar points to the first debate and even successfully pulled Joe Biden up on his attempted dodge of Kirsten Gillibrand’s questions about Biden’s stance on pay equality for women, but she ultimately fell-prey to attacks on her record as a prosecutor in California. Joe Biden was the first to attack Harris’ healthcare plan, but following a question on desegregation, something Harris accused Biden of failing on in the last debate, Biden turned the argument around to Harris’ failures, even encouraging viewers to Google them. This opened the door for others, most notably Tulsi Gabbard, who listed many scandals surrounding Harris’ time as the District Attorney for San Francisco, one of which involved Harris withholding evidence that could have freed an innocent man from death row. Kamala Harris' ratings in opinion polls subsequently dropped, with some organisations, such as Quinnipiac, reporting a loss of 7%, Harris' performance being widely recognised as the worst of the night.

Harris is also thought to have been unable to turn around this slump in support for her campaign into the next debate. During the third debate Harris had a clear strategy to target Trump over the other democratic candidates, possibly in an effort to steer away from exchanges with other candidates. Harris mentioned Trump more than any other candidate, only briefly mentioning climate change, criminal justice reform and gender equality policy ideas. Former Democratic presidential strategist, Bob Strum, has commented that Harris’ heavy use of scripted one liners, although sometimes gaining applause, is “not effective and it doesn’t feel authentic or natural.” [1]

As a former state prosecutor Harris spoke strongly for the need to impeach Trump in the fourth Democratic Debate, insisting he must be held accountable and the right checks and balances need to be in place. Harris then quickly turned the conversation on healthcare to women’s reproductive rights and continued to discuss gender inequality and women's rights in the Atlanta debate, while delivering a powerful critique of the incoherent campaigning to black voters that is common in the democratic party. Following this debate however, and another tussle with Tulsi Gabbard, Harris announced an end to her campaign on the 3rd December 2019, citing a shortage of campaign funding as the reason. However there is much speculation, including from Harris' own aides, that it was being on the losing end of various spats with Gabbard that ended her campaign. Numerous aides from Harris' campaign also resigned in weeks prior describing horrible working conditions and a lack of direction.

theintercept.com/2017/01/05/kamala-harris-fails-to-explain-why-she-didnt-prosecute-steven-mnuchins-bank youtube.com/watch?v=DhJwmIPRmYk politico.com/story/2019/06/30/kamala-harris-democratic-debates-1390740 nationalreview.com/2019/08/kamala-harris-stumbles-at-second-democratic-debate vanityfair.com/news/2019/08/polling-second-democratic-debate-harris-warren [1] mercurynews.com/2019/09/12/democratic-debate-kamala-harris-trump breitbart.com/politics/2019/11/20/tulsi-gabbard-and-kamala-harris-brawl-at-democrat-debate usaherald.com/harris-aides-admit-tulsi-gabbard-ended-kamala-2020

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Daniel Halliday
Dec 6
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https://theintercept.com/2017/01/05/kamala-harris-fails-to-explain-why-she-didnt-prosecute-steven-mnuchins-bank/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhJwmIPRmYk https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/30/kamala-harris-democratic-debates-1390740 https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/08/kamala-harris-stumbles-at-second-democratic-debate/ https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/08/polling-second-democratic-debate-harris-warren [1] https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/09/12/democratic-debate-kamala-harris-trump/ https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/11/20/tulsi-gabbard-and-kamala-harris-brawl-at-democrat-debate/ https://usaherald.com/harris-aides-admit-tulsi-gabbard-ended-kamala-2020/

Michael Bloomberg

After flirting with the possibility of running for president many times before, Michael Bloomberg finally announced his campaign to run for the Democratic nominee on the 24th November 2019. He is the owner, co-founder and sometimes CEO of Bloomberg L.P. a global finance, software and mass media corporation, and has been New York City Mayor as a Republican from 2002-2013, while being described as a Billionaire philanthropist in between jobs. Bloomberg originally said he wouldn’t run unless Joe Biden fell out of the race, but has entered following Biden’s struggle with a multitude of gaffes and failure to maintain first position in polling. He is running on a campaign to rebuild America, marketing himself as a job creator and problem solver with the leadership experience to stand up to Donald Trump.

Bloomberg faces a major difficulty, many candidates in the Democratic Party now embracing more grassroots campaigns, trying to match Bernie Sanders’ small donation style, shying away from big doners. But Bloomberg himself personifies the corporate interests that now split the Democratic Party. Bloomberg has also flip flopped on his political affiliations in the past, running as a Republican and Independent Mayor of New York City, changing party to run against Trump may make his campaign seem insincere and more of a billionaire's grab for power. Bloomberg will be funding his own campaign though; so will not be entering the next Democratic debate in December. He is instead going to put $34 million into his own ad campaign, and is reported not to care about the debates, as he claims he is “already relevant” and would be “better off talking to the public” [1].

cnbc.com/2019/10/14/bloomberg-signals-he-would-run-for-president-if-biden-struggles-against-warren.html vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/11/8/18221878/michael-bloomberg-2020-president-campaign-democrat-policies www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191125_04 [1] politico.com/news/2019/11/25/bloomberg-2020-debates-073640

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Daniel Halliday
Nov 29
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DH edited this paragraph
Bloomberg faces a major difficulty, many candidates in the Democratic Party now embracing more grassroots campaigns, trying to match Bernie Sanders’ small donation style, shying away from big doners. But Bloomberg himself personifies the corporate interests that now split the Democratic Party. Bloomberg has also flip flopped on his political affiliations in the past, running as a Republican and Independent Mayor of New York City, changing party to run against Trump may make his campaign seem insincere and more of a billionaire's grab for power. Bloomberg will be funding his own campaign though; so will not be entering the next Democratic debate in December. He is instead going to put $34 million into his own ad campaign, and is reported not to care about the debates, as he claims he is “already relevant” and would be “better off talking to the public” [1].

Tulsi Gabbard

Tulsi Gabbard is a member of the United States House of Representatives for Hawaii who announced her campaign to run for president on 11th January 2019. Gabbard is an Iraq War veteran that is running as a progressive candidate and is outspoken against US involvement in Iraq, Libya and Syria, having served in Iraq personally. She supports reproductive rights, universal healthcare, drug policy reform, LGBT rights, banking reform, education reform, environment policy reform and has backed a bill to increase minimum wage in the US. Gabbard seems to have earned a harsh response in the media following her opposition to efforts to remove Bashar al-Assad’s government from power in Syria, and an anti-LGBT stance she espoused before 2005, which she later apologised for. Despite this she remains a popular candidate and could become America’s first female and first Hindu president.

According to the Drudge and Washington Examiner polls Tulsi Gabbard came out of her night at the first democratic debates as the clear winner overall by a large margin. Gabbard’s exchange over US foreign policy with Tim Ryan proved a strong point in the debate, where Gabbard corrected Ryan for falsely asserting that the Taliban carried out the September 11th World Trade Centre attacks, and that this justified prolonging the US military presence in Afghanistan. Following the debate Tulsi Gabbard was also the candidate with the largest number of Internet searches, displaying a large growth in interest in Gabbard’s campaign following her debate win.

Gabbard opened the second debate by questioning President Trump’s patriotism but quickly moved on to Kamala Harris, pointing out the failed criminal justice system and expressing concern about Harris’ legacy and the fact that she’s running for president, which was seen as a stand out moment of the evening. She then went on to claim America doesn’t have a healthcare system, but a “sick-care” system that leaves many unable to afford healthcare, and again criticised Harris’ this time on her healthcare plans. The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, Trump’s Chinese trade restrictions, Flint, Michigan’s drinking water scandal, US military spending, and the lack of adequate healthcare received heavy criticism from Gabbard in this debate. Tulsi Gabbard was again the most searched candidate online following the second debate and won this night of the second debate according to various sources.

In spite of this Gabbard failed to meet Democratic National Congress’ (DNC) thresholds for the September debates, although she received at least 130,000 unique donations, she failed to gain at least 2% in four DNC recognised polls. However Gabbard claims to have polled higher than 2% in 26 polls nationally, criticising the transparency of the DNC criteria and calling on them to recognise more national polls. Gabbard is meanwhile taking Google to court over alleged unexplained obfuscation and interference with Tulsi’s online campaign following the first democratic debate, as she awaits the possibility of the DNC recognising her polling in time for the next debate in October.

Tulsi Gabbard met the thresholds for the October debates, again taking a different tone from other democrats when asked about Trump, saying that bipartisan driven impeachment will only stand to divide the country further. She went on to speak up extensively for the need to end the US' international regime change wars in order to better invest taxpayer money back into a system that benefits the US taxpayer, something that dominated her responses in the November debates in Atlanta also. It was this outspoken critique of the Washington status quo that saw Gabbard again exchange harsh words with Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg, but seemingly more significant was her high profile moments outside debates in November. Gabbard and former Green Party nominee Jill Stein were called a "Russian assets" by Hillary Clinton in a clear smear, and Gabbard defended herself on the Joe Rogan podcast, one of the most popular podcasts on the Internet, Gabbard's episode gaining over two million views in one week. Yang and Gabbard's problems with the media and smears may mark a transition campaigning through more independent, less biased, media groups.

rt.com/shows/watching-the-hawks/450666-tulsi-gabbard-kremlin-puppet unionjournalism.com/2019/06/27/tulsi-gabbard-surprisingly-won-the-first-democratic-debate youtube.com/watch?v=WMT5-C3igZ4 breitbart.com/2020-election/2019/07/31/tulsi-gabbard-winner-of-drudge-breitbart-polls-at-second-democrat-debate usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/08/29/tulsi-gabbard-didnt-make-3rd-debate-tells-tucker-carlson-no-transparency/2152483001 thefederalist.com/2019/07/25/tulsi-gabbard-sues-google-for-allegedly-hiding-her-campaign-ads-after-the-first-debate inquisitr.com/5750395/eric-weinstein-joe-rogan-president

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Daniel Halliday
Nov 29
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DH edited this paragraph
Tulsi Gabbard met the thresholds for the October debates, again taking a different tone from other democrats when asked about Trump, saying that bipartisan driven impeachment will only stand to divide the country further. She went on to speak up extensively for the need to end the US' international regime change wars in order to better invest taxpayer money back into a system that benefits the US taxpayer, something that dominated her responses in the November debates in Atlanta also. It was this outspoken critique of the Washington status quo that saw Gabbard again exchange harsh words with Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg, but seemingly more significant was her high profile moments outside debates in November. Gabbard and former Green Party nominee Jill Stein were called a "Russian assets" by Hillary Clinton in a clear smear, and Gabbard defended herself on the Joe Rogan podcast, one of the most popular podcasts on the Internet, Gabbard's episode gaining over two million views in one week. Yang and Gabbard's problems with the media and smears may mark a transition campaigning through more independent, less biased, media groups.

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders is the United States Senator for Vermont and a popular democratic candidate who ran for president in 2016, and has announced he is running again in 2020. Sander has been part of the America’s Socialist Party and several peace and anti-war movements since he was a student. He was heavily involved in the American Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, regularly protesting against, segregation, civil injustice and police brutality. A self-claimed socialist and a progressive, he vowed not to take corporate donations in 2016 and has already raised $10 million in his first week of grassroots fund raising for the 2020 elections. Sanders is running on ideas of a universal healthcare system, boosting the welfare system to easy poverty, revising gun laws and immigration, while advancing LGBT rights, adopting a more progressive foreign policy, and tackling climate change.

Many in the media have pointed out a distinct shift in the talking points of the democratic candidates for 2020, indicating the effect Sanders’ 2016 campaign has had on a left-leaning shift with candidates pushing ambitious reform plans and increasingly progressive rhetoric. However views on Bernie Sanders' performance in the first democratic debate has been mixed and many have pointed out the traction that Sanders stands to lose as a result of his influence on other democratic candidates, as he will have to work harder to stand out amongst the large pool of candidates now mostly towing a more liberal line. Sanders talked about Medicare-for-All, eliminating student debt, gun control, continental American foreign policy, climate change and women’s, LGBT and worker’s rights. He spoke on a large range of points and received a large amount of applause, and despite often being interrupted in the debate and his performance being widely criticised in the mainstream media, Sanders maintains, "I won both debates" [1].

Along with Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sander spent much of the second night of the democratic debated defending his universal healthcare plan. Sanders stated from the beginning of this debate he believes the democrats need to “campaign with energy, excitement and vision” and accused other democrats of being afraid of “big ideas”. He also derailed John Delaney’s harsh criticisms of his policies by simply replying “you’re wrong” to much applause, and quipped back at Tim Ryan accusations that he didn’t know what his healthcare plan would cover with “I wrote the damn bill!.” This fiery performance even led to Sanders to accuse the CNN hosts of presenting “republican talking points” as questions to the democrats, overall a powerful second debate delivered by Sanders.

Bernie Sanders didn’t join in with the arguing or insulting Donald Trump during the third debate, Sanders focussed on his core message of working-class issues, fighting corporate power, and providing better social welfare policies. The fact that Sanders lost his voice is something many media outlets focussed on in this debate, rather than policy, something common throughout Sander’s campaign, in addition to misinforming, misrepresenting, reporting on and framing his support as falling despite polls showing the opposite, what seems to some as a clear smear [2]. On the 1st October 2019 Bernie Sanders was hospitalised after having a heart attack and underwent surgery, making his first public post-surgery appearance at the October debate. This health-scare along with earlier issues about Joe Biden’s cognitive ability due to his age, prompted questions about candidates age and health, which Sanders dismissed saying he felt great.

Sanders went on to deliver a fiery critique of Biden’s constant claims to be the only candidate who can “get things done” in the October debate, pointing out he also got Iraq done and NAFTA done, criticising the foreign and trade policy failures from the Obama administration. Something Sanders echoed in the November debate in Atlanta, as Sanders spoke out for ended the international War on Terror, bringing the Middle East together, ending discrimination and transforming America. Sanders spoke on his record of the largest grassroots fundraising in US history for the first time in this debate, and encouraged viewers to get involved. Despite polls Sanders remains popular, and has time and time again set the tone of the debates, Medicare-For-All, wealth tax, unfettered capitalism, Big Pharma, oil and tech companies being common questions that Sanders has campaigned around for years.

latimes.com/politics/story/2019-10-02/bernie-sanders-treated-chest-pain-cancels-campaign-events nytimes.com/2019/02/25/us/politics/bernie-sanders-10-million.html?pgtype=Homepage [1] washingtonexaminer.com/news/bernie-sanders-i-won-both-debates thepavlovictoday.com/in-depth-analysis-of-the-second-democratic-debate-night-one youtube.com/watch?v=YYQT66fjl8I [2] youtube.com/watch?v=pXRRB__V3Qg reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-poll-idUSKCN1TY1AM rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/bernie-sanders-debate-interview-exclusive-884254

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Daniel Halliday
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https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-10-02/bernie-sanders-treated-chest-pain-cancels-campaign-events https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/25/us/politics/bernie-sanders-10-million.html?pgtype=Homepage [1] https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/bernie-sanders-i-won-both-debates https://www.thepavlovictoday.com/in-depth-analysis-of-the-second-democratic-debate-night-one/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYQT66fjl8I [2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXRRB__V3Qg https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-poll-idUSKCN1TY1AM https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/bernie-sanders-debate-interview-exclusive-884254/

Andrew Yang

Yang represents something of a wild card in the 2020 election, as an outsider with bold policy ideas. Coming from a background as an entrepreneur Yang believes that the United States is on the brink of monumental job losses due to the growing sophistication of automation and new technologies. He predicts this will cause catastrophic levels of permanent unemployment and aims to address this with the introduction of a Universal Basic Income system, a payment to all Americans of $1000 per month for contributing to the US economy, a scheme which Yang has dubbed his 'Freedom Dividend'. Yang remains an outsider and is not a career politician, but the range of policies and amount of support behind him make his progressive position influential, even if he does prove too much of an outsider to gain enough support.

Many in the media and on social media have pointed out that Andrew Yang’s microphone seem to be cut off while he was talking or attempting to interject during the first democratic debates, gaining the hosts MSNBC criticism and accusations of trying to side-line Andrew Yang and his vibrant campaign. Yang was only asked two questions and spoke for two and a half minutes during the two-hour debate, where he spoke about Universal Basic Income, the trade war with China and the effects that has had on American citizens. Despite the very small amount of exposure gained from the debate some have pointed out that Yang stood out amongst a bunch of career politicians potentially playing the losing game of insults, especially against a final opponent of Trump.

Andrew Yang was posed many more questions during the second debate, and was one of the few candidates to try and avoid attacks on other democrats by saying "I would trust anyone on this stage more than I would trust our current president on matters of criminal justice” [1]. He then went on to describe problems with healthcare, immigration, crime and punishment, racial disparity, climate change, social and mental health problems, the gender pay gap, and job losses due to innovation, and argued that a universal basic income system could help give people the economic freedom to alleviate most of these issues. When asked about his views on foreign policy, Yang talked about ceasing his country's seemingly endless involvement in war and investing the money saved into problems at home, by deescalating tensions with Iran and bringing troops home Yang argued that more could be done to address American problems. Yang reference his position as 4th in national polling during his closing statement, but seems to have at least won this debate according to a Drudge Report poll.

Prior to the third debate Yang mentioned he would announce a surprise during the debate, and during his opening statement he announced his intention to give away a $1000 every month for a year to 10 American families, as a sort of policy trial/game-show giveaway for his Freedom Dividend. This announcement left Mayor Pete Buttigieg, whose opening statement followed Yang’s, lost for words and is thought to have earned Yang the most post-debate Twitter followers. Yang again gave a entrepreneur’s perspective on policy reforms that could benefit average working Americans. In the October Democratic Debates Andrew Yang continued with thoughtful responses, turning the fairly meaningless question of Trump’s impeachment around to talk about the underlying reasons why Trump was elected in 2016 and bigger trends in American politics. Yang also touched on the need for online companies to pay users for profiting from their data, to address tech monopolies while protecting innovation, and to decriminalise opium in favour of rehabilitation, and the need to stay ahead of the curve technologically in matters of security.

Yang continued to make poignant points at the next debate and echoed his analysis of the larger trend in politics and technology, delivering a stand out closing statement. Following the November debate though Yang has been involved in a dispute with the MSNBC news network, after the network failed to put questions to the candidate for over half an hour for the second debate they have hosted. MSNBC has also broadcast biased reporting on Yangs campaign even getting Yang's name wrong in their coverage, Andrew Yang finally spoke out about this and announced he will be boycotting the network until they apologise. He remains an outlier but for some, but is steadily climbing in the polls as Yang is a open and honest breath of fresh air for many.

bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-03-12/andrew-yang-s-presidential-campaign-could-shape-democratic-party bipartisanreport.com/2019/06/28/people-go-nuts-on-twitter-after-andrew-yang-says-mic-cut-off-during-debate breitbart.com/politics/2019/06/28/andrew-yang-msnbc-cut-off-my-mic-during-debate-let-other-dems-interject youtube.com/watch?v=eA-69bxpWfs [1] youtube.com/watch?v=sSbou44OUHg dailycaller.com/2019/06/27/drudge-poll-williamson-yang-winner washingtonexaminer.com/news/yang-leads-on-new-twitter-follows-during-thursday-night-debate forbes.com/sites/danabrownlee/2019/11/24/why-andrew-yangs-democratic-debate-closing-statement-was-a-mic-drop-performance/#3869768533c6

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Daniel Halliday
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Yang continued to make poignant points at the next debate and echoed his analysis of the larger trend in politics and technology, delivering a stand out closing statement. Following the November debate though Yang has been involved in a dispute with the MSNBC news network, after the network failed to put questions to the candidate for over half an hour for the second debate they have hosted. MSNBC has also broadcast biased reporting on Yangs campaign even getting Yang's name wrong in their coverage, Andrew Yang finally spoke out about this and announced he will be boycotting the network until they apologise. He remains an outlier but for some, but is steadily climbing in the polls as Yang is a open and honest breath of fresh air for many.

Elizabeth Warren

Popular democratic senior Senator for Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren announced her run for the 2020 presidency on the 8th February 2019. She is a proponent of massive structural reform of government in the United States, a staunch progressive she has spoken passionately in favour of a US public health care system, a wealth tax and environmental policy. She has also spoken out against US involvement in Syria and Afghanistan, US support of Saudi Arabia in Yemen, and against Trump personally on many occasions, however this has seen Trump retaliate mocking her claims of Native American heritage, which may have hurt her public image somewhat.

Warren had a strong start to the first debate but didn’t contribute much moving on during the second half of this debate. She really came across well talking about the benefits of Sen. Bernie Sander's Medicare-For-All proposal, and pointing out that the business model of American insurance companies is to profit from rising insurance premiums that pressure the majority of Americans and leave many not being able to afford health care at all. Warren came across well clearly stating her intention to make the government work for everyone, not just the top one percent, but her true test will be standing out against other veteran politicians in the next round of debates, as she was solely up against lesser known politicians in the first debate.

Many new agencies reported Warren to have given the best performance at the first night of the second democratic debates, conveying her stance well, as well as defending her ideas against critique and delivering some of the best stand out lines from the entire second debate. On the issue of white supremacy Warren stated “we need to call out white supremacy for what it is: domestic terrorism” [1], a suggestion that already seems to be beginning to stick following the reporting on the latest mass shootings in El Paso, Texas. She also worked well with Sanders, the two seemingly supporting one another’s more progressive stance by criticising the more numerous centrist democrats for focusing on and repeatedly talking about “what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for” [1] rather than stating their intentions.

The press were pushing for a head-to-head exchange between poll front-runners Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, as this was the first debate to have all three top polling candidates on the same stage, with Bernie Sanders sharing the stage also. Warren however sidestepped this clash as she focussed instead on corporate corruption, and Biden’s efforts to engage both Warren and Sanders were vastly overshadowed by Castro’s remark about Joe Biden’s forgetfulness, insinuating his age was affecting his ability to communicate policy. Overall Warren was though to have done well in the press, something supported by polls also, with Warren coming out on top as the candidate people feel most ‘enthusiastic’ about according to Hart Research Associates [2].

Elizabeth Warren stormed ahead to 1st position in the majority of polls following the last debate, but because of this Warren was subject to a greater amount of criticism than in previous debates in the October round. Warren was repeatedly pressed to admit than she would raise taxes to pay for her version of Medicare-For-All and managed to gain the longest speaking time in the debate as a result. Warren managed to secure the most speaking time in the November round of the debates also, but many pundits reported that she may have lost some steam, having the most to say but the least to debate, this time managing to avoid the crossfire these debates have become accustomed to.

businessinsider.com/who-is-elizabeth-warren-bio-age-family-key-positions-2019-3 theslot.jezebel.com/it-was-elizabeth-warrens-night-1835893309 time.com/5607529/democratic-primary-debates-elizabeth-warren [1] thepavlovictoday.com/in-depth-analysis-of-the-second-democratic-debate-night-one youtube.com/watch?v=F1jgx2hTJ2E [2] documentcloud.org/documents/6417332-FINAL19357-NBCWSJ-September-Democratic-Primary.html patch.com/massachusetts/boston/elizabeth-warren-has-lot-say-nothing-new-debate

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Daniel Halliday
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Elizabeth Warren stormed ahead to 1st position in the majority of polls following the last debate, but because of this Warren was subject to a greater amount of criticism than in previous debates in the October round. Warren was repeatedly pressed to admit than she would raise taxes to pay for her version of Medicare-For-All and managed to gain the longest speaking time in the debate as a result. Warren managed to secure the most speaking time in the November round of the debates also, but many pundits reported that she may have lost some steam, having the most to say but the least to debate, this time managing to avoid the crossfire these debates have become accustomed to.

Joe Biden

As one of the most experienced career politicians in the race for the White House in 2020, Joe Biden is the current front-runner of most US opinion polls. Having first been elected as a United States Senator in 1972, Joe Biden stayed to gain the fourth longest tenure in the Senate before becoming vice president to Barrack Obama in 2009. Biden announced his 2020 presidential campaign on 25th April 2019, and has previously criticised Trump, spoken in favour of Climate Change reforms, in favour of LGBT rights, and spoken out against Trump’s immigration policies. However with such a long history Biden faces memories of previous unpopular decisions such as authorising the Iraq War, and more recent scandals such as unwelcome physical contact complaints, and insulting the latest generation of voters (so called Millennials).

Biden’s performance at the first democratic debate saw much of this unpopular history brought up, as he was challenged on his legacy of failing on school desegregation legislation in the 70s, Kamala Harris personally calling out his part in supporting racist legislation. Likewise Sanders brought up Biden’s support of the Iraq War and even his age was raised as an issue by Eric Swalwell, who directly called on Biden to “pass the torch” to a new generation [1]. Despite being the leading candidate going into the first debate according to approval ratings, Biden is widely seen as having a bad performance in this debate, giving some unclear answers, and leading to a 10% drop in his rating [2].

Biden however seemed more prepared for the second debate, as even though more of the evening was spent going over similar ground with various democrats bringing up Biden’s record on healthcare, race and crime, Biden seemed more prepared to hit back this time and mention their historical blunders. Despite this Joe Biden stumbled on some issues and failed to deliver some comments correctly, including his closing statement in which he asked viewers to visit a non-existent website. Biden's bumbling answers continued into the next debate, where his performance was widely criticised. He was interrupted by immigration protestors, gave bad answers that many viewed as racially offensive, made exaggerated and false statements and delivered rambling answers that didn’t seem to address the actual question at times, or make sense at others.

Since September 2019 impeachment proceedings began against Donald Trump for a conversation with the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump attempted to persuade Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, for alleged corruption. Trump and his attorney Rudolf Giuliani have since mounted a campaign against Biden, accusing him of corruption when in office under Obama, which has seen Biden fall to second in the majority of polls for the first time in this run up to the 2020 presidential election. Despite this Biden delivered some passionate responses to a lot of applause in the 4th debate, denying there was a conflict of interest when his son was on the board of a Ukrainian company at the time of Biden’s vice presidency and saying he would beat Trump "like a drum” if he was nominated as democratic presidential candidate.

Biden continued to point out his experience throughout the debate and the next, claiming he was the only one on stage to get things done in the White House before and he would do the same if president, raising the capital gains tax, protecting troops and Kurds, dealing with Putin and Erdogan, beating the NRA and making reproductive rights constitutional rights. By the 5th debate however the pressure from Joe Biden's involvement in Trump's impeachment seem to be effecting his performance, as Biden again stumbled on his words and made obvious mistakes during his opening questions and various times during the debate. Biden is looking tired and unfocussed as he becomes the butt of other candidates jokes, his campaign seems to be slowing as the race for 2020 becomes increasingly complex.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationwide_opinion_polling_for_the_2020_Democratic_Party_presidential_primaries nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/biden-set-announce-presidential-run-thursday-video-n997596 [1] nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/front-running-biden-trips-first-2020-democratic-debate-n1024386 [2] washingtonexaminer.com/news/battered-biden-drops-10-points-after-first-debate thedailybeast.com/joe-biden-and-cory-booker-draw-battle-lines-over-criminal-justice-reform-ahead-of-second-debate slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/09/joe-biden-debate-answer.html youtube.com/watch?v=bWpV1j5Oo10 nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/fact-check-september-democratic-debate-n1053311 msn.com/en-us/news/politics/elizabeth-warren-leads-joe-biden-in-recent-presidential-national-polls/ar-AAIvC1F

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Biden however seemed more prepared for the second debate, as even though more of the evening was spent going over similar ground with various democrats bringing up Biden’s record on healthcare, race and crime, Biden seemed more prepared to hit back this time and mention their historical blunders. Despite this Joe Biden stumbled on some issues and failed to deliver some comments correctly, including his closing statement in which he asked viewers to visit a non-existent website. Biden's bumbling answers continued into the next debate, where his performance was widely criticised. He was interrupted by immigration protestors, gave bad answers that many viewed as racially offensive, made exaggerated and false statements and delivered rambling answers that didn’t seem to address the actual question at times, or make sense at others.

Julian Castro

As the former Housing Secretary to Barack Obama, Castro was considered as a potential nominee for Democratic Party vice president in the 2016 presidential campaign, and announced his candidacy for the 2020 presidential election in January 2019, despite being the first Democratic nominee to not have previously served as vice president, governor or senator since 1924. Castro is emphasising his support for Medicare-for-all, reforming education, and comprehensive immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship for illegal migrants. Generally regarded as a strong candidate Castro can be noted for a strong support of abortion rights despite being a Catholic, and has been a strong advocate of LGBT rights, however he has also been criticised for focusing strongly on campaigning in southern states, something which may alienate voters in other parts of the country.

Some political commentators have likewise mentioned the possibility of Castro alienating majority white voters if he goes after the Latin American vote too intensely. Castro therefore had a lot to prove at the First Democratic Debates in June 2019, but is thought to have performed well with NBC and CNN applauding his interruption and exchange with Beto O’Rourke regarding section 1325 of the US Immigration Act. Castro also managed to occupy as much speaking time a veteran politicians such as Elizabeth Warren, gaining greater exposure as he raised issues surround pay gender gap and an equal rights amendment, climate change and police reforms. Castro was also the first to bring up major social injustices mentioning cases in New York, such as Eric Garner and Daniel Pantaleo, to challenge Mayor de Blasio on police reform.

During the second democratic debate Castro again had much to prove as he had yet to make the polling threshold to qualify for the third debates in September. Building on his previous points on reforming immigration Castro called out Biden’s stance on immigration as a “right-wing talking point”, and delivered a strong response to Biden’s accusation that he had never spoken about immigration reform when working with Biden in the Obama administration. Castro accused Biden of not learning from his past, being one of many Democrats to question Biden’s record on race and immigration policies, but possibly the most personal as he also accused his Biden of not having the guts to deal with immigration. He went on to criticise Trump as a racist and discussed his belief that impeachment should be sought in light of all the scandals surrounding the current president.

Castro really stood out in the third debate in a seemingly desperate attempt to boost his polling, having reached the polling threshold last of all candidates. After criticising Biden’s health care proposal, pointing out it would leave 10 million people not covered at all, Castro then attempted to embarrass Biden pointing out that his answer was didn't make sense and asking if he had forgotten what he said two moments ago. While the comments gained immediate backlash from other candidates, his attack on Biden was divisive, some claiming ageism while others have expressed a concern for Biden’s incoherence, meanwhile Castro has at least gained some exposure from the exchange.

During the 4th debate Castro delivered a few stand out moments, first pointing out the idiocy of locking up Central American Children at the border while allowing ISIS fighters in Syria to escape, while also criticising Trump for pulling out form the Iran nuclear deal. But Castro received more applause and again demonstrated he has his finger on the pulse of police violence issues in the country, addressing the tragic recent police shooting of Atatiana Jefferson. Castro failed to qualify for the 5th debate in November but flew to Atlanta to host an event at a famous restaurant important in the civil rights movement.

wfaa.com/article/news/crime/atatiana-jefferson-killed-by-fort-worth-police-officer-in-her-home/287-ec24b710-4f01-46b6-83fb-9ec63fd658bd edition.cnn.com/2019/06/26/politics/who-won-democratic-debate/index.html youtube.com/watch?v=hi8rYKKvXgw texastribune.org/2019/07/31/julian-castro-joe-biden-spar-immigration-during-democratic-debate youtube.com/watch?time_continue=168&v=68r_-84IG-A youtube.com/watch?v=P11wilPZPFk nypost.com/2019/09/13/the-winners-losers-and-snoozers-of-the-third-democratic-debate ajc.com/news/despite-not-qualifying-for-debate-julian-castro-appears-atlanta/syzoFolt5bWx65Q5tClgrJ

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https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/crime/atatiana-jefferson-killed-by-fort-worth-police-officer-in-her-home/287-ec24b710-4f01-46b6-83fb-9ec63fd658bd https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/26/politics/who-won-democratic-debate/index.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hi8rYKKvXgw https://www.texastribune.org/2019/07/31/julian-castro-joe-biden-spar-immigration-during-democratic-debate/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=168&v=68r_-84IG-A https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P11wilPZPFk https://nypost.com/2019/09/13/the-winners-losers-and-snoozers-of-the-third-democratic-debate/ https://www.ajc.com/news/despite-not-qualifying-for-debate-julian-castro-appears-atlanta/syzoFolt5bWx65Q5tClgrJ/

Senator Cory Booker

Cory Anthony Booker has been the United States Senator for New Jersey since 2013 and announced his running for the 2020 presidential election in February 2019. During his time as Major of Newark he doubled the affordable housing in the city and reduced the city’s budget deficit by more than half. As a vegan, Booker is outspoken on animal rights issues, as well as focusing on long-term deficit reduction, taxation to combat climate change, educational reform, racial and social justice, abortion rights, Medicare-for-all, criminal justice reform, plus supporting an end to the War on Drugs and US military involvement overseas. However Booker has also been seen to have damaged his long-term relationship with Jewish supporters by backing the Iran nuclear deal, but likewise has also been criticised for his involvement with Israeli lobby group AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).

During the first democratic debated Booker managed to engage in the debate more than anyone, having the most speaking time out of all candidates, and while this may not necessarily be all that useful, for someone like Booker who needs to raise their profile it may have been a positive strategy for him. Booker repeated his popular talking points of in depth personal knowledge of the country’s gun problems as former-Mayor and resident of Newark. He spoke with similar passion about LGBT rights and healthcare, but some have pointed out his lack of clarity on issues such as the Iran Nuclear Deal. Regardless of this he is thought to have performed well and gained positive exposure overall.

Booker was another candidate who took on front-runner in opinion polls - Joe Biden, but arguably Booker's comments were the strongest and most memorable. During the exchange over race and law enforcement policy Joe Biden mistakenly referred to Booker as President instead of Senator, and then backtracked by jokingly calling him the “future President”, a comment to which Booker replied that he was grateful for Biden's support to his presidency. During this argument Booker also used a colloquialism to retort against Biden’s summation of his time as Major of Newark, which became the most tweeted exchange from the whole debate. Booker's support has however stayed the same despite his performance being widely regarded as the strongest of this debate.

During the September debates Booker called for more to be done for Veterans living in America and to address problems with gun violence, delivering a powerful response and critique of Beto O’Rourke's just waking up to the reality of gun violence after a mass shooting in his home town of El-Paso, Texas. But Booker also made some statements in the debate that were proven to be false, claiming there were “more African Americans under criminal supervision today than all the slaves in 1850” [1]. The Washington Post however pointed out there were 3.6 million slaves according to the 1850 census, and currently 2.3 million African American in correctional facilities in 2014. Regardless of this Booker is thought to have delivered another strong performance.

Cory Booker stressed the need to build consensus and stop dividing the country throughout the evening of the fourth Democratic debates, while criticising democrats for talking about the same issues in the same way that lost the 2016 elections. Booker went further in the fifth debate in Atlanta and stated that more than defeat Trump voters need to recognise the current climate as a struggle for freedom and civil liberties akin to the American civil rights movement in a closing statement that inspired a subsequent $650K funding boost. He is widely thought to have delivered one of the best performances again treading a fine line between amicability and brazen critique, even going so far as to joke that Joe Biden was high when he spoke out against federal cannabis legalisation, Booker remains a strong contender.

freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2019/04/03/in-private-meeting-with-aipac-cory-booker-fawns-over-israel insidernj.com/new-jerseys-cory-booker-first-prez-debate msn.com/en-us/news/politics/a-kool-aid-clapback-cory-booker-gets-spicy-at-the-second-night-of-the-democratic-debate/ar-AAFa7xb thehill.com/homenews/campaign/455685-booker-bidens-kool-aid-exchange-was-second-debates-top-tweeted-moment inquirer.com/news/cory-booker-2020-democratic-presidential-primary-debate-poll-no-bump-20190806.html [1] youtube.com/watch?v=bWpV1j5Oo10 youtube.com/watch?v=gYjNZR-BkNg

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https://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2019/04/03/in-private-meeting-with-aipac-cory-booker-fawns-over-israel/ https://www.insidernj.com/new-jerseys-cory-booker-first-prez-debate/ https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/a-kool-aid-clapback-cory-booker-gets-spicy-at-the-second-night-of-the-democratic-debate/ar-AAFa7xb https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/455685-booker-bidens-kool-aid-exchange-was-second-debates-top-tweeted-moment https://www.inquirer.com/news/cory-booker-2020-democratic-presidential-primary-debate-poll-no-bump-20190806.html [1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWpV1j5Oo10 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYjNZR-BkNg

Amy Klobuchar

As United States Senator for Minnesota since 2006 Amy Klobuchar is the State’s first female Senator, she was a lawyer prior to a career in politics and announced her intention to run as democratic candidate for the next presidential election in February 2019. Klobuchar enjoys a lot of support in the Democratic Party being named the party’s rising star for two consecutive years in 2009/10 and has a modern liberal political outlook, pro-choice, pro-LGBT rights, and has been supportive of Obamacare. However Amy Klobuchar’s career has not been without controversy, with many of her former staff claiming they were mistreated while working for Klobuchar, likewise her centrist views on some issues have been divisive with some seeing Klobuchar as tough on healthcare and education, while being seen as immoral by others.

During the first democratic debate Amy Klobuchar differentiated herself from Elizabeth Warren on education, responding to Warren’s call for free college education in the country by proposing to instead make community college free and make it easier for college graduates to be able to pay off their student loans. Likewise she conveyed her support for public healthcare but expressed concern about losing private healthcare under Medicare-For-All, and said that pharmaceuticals were more dangerous than insurance companies. Klobuchar also weighed in on immigration and foreign policy arguing that a president shouldn’t be conducting foreign policy in his bathrobe, a clear reference to Trump’s twitter use. Furthermore her biting reply to Jay Inslee’s claim to be the only candidate to have fought for women’s rights is thought to be a stand out response of the night, overall a strong performance.

Klobuchar was another candidate to avoid the mass confrontation of the second night of the democratic debates, despite being asked a leading question by CNN host Jake Tapper to try and get her involved, Klobuchar sidestepped the question simply replying “everyone wants to get elected” [1]. Klobuchar went on to talk about healthcare, bringing up personal stories of Minnesotans, some in her friend’s family, that have died from rationing medicines as they are so expensive and unaffordable privately. She also spoke extensively about the need for an assault weapon ban and background checks on gun owners, adding her intention to take on the powerful lobbyists of the National Rifle Association.

Being late to gain the polling and donor support needed to meet the September debate thresholds Klobuchar faced an uphill battle to stand out in the third democratic debate. She again focussed mainly on critiques of Trump in this debate claiming, “what unites us [democrats] is stronger than what divides us” [2], but also doubled down on her previous critique of Sander’s Medicare-For-All bill saying, “While Bernie wrote the bill, I read the bill… I don’t think that’s a bold idea, I think it’s a bad idea” [3]. Klobuchar continues to portray herself as a moderate centrist candidate in an attempt to appeal to the widest set of democratic voters, and those who feel alienated by the “big ideas” of the more progressive candidates.

Klobuchar had a fiery start to the fourth debate, answering the opening question by asking how probing Ukraine to become involved in US presidential election, allowing Turkey to slaughter Kurds, and cozying up to Putin made America great again? She then pointed out that Warren has still not answered clearly how she will pay for her healthcare bill, and advocated for protecting Obamacare, expanding on it, and taking on pharmaceutical companies to reform healthcare. A line of attack she reconvened in the next debate in Atlanta, by questioning Pete Buttigieg's level of experience, using it to demonstrate her own, Amy Klobuchar seems on a path to differentiate herself from other candidates.

thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/450334-senate-gop-blocks-election-security-bill m.startribune.com/huffington-post-names-klobuchar-the-smartest-u-s-senator/87658327/?section=politics/blogs vox.com/2019/6/26/18760661/democratic-debate-june-2019-2020-klobuchar-inslee youtube.com/watch?v=Vl7qVFpA5Uk [1] minnpost.com/politics-policy/2019/07/in-second-democratic-debate-klobuchar-outlines-agenda-15-seconds-at-a-time [2] breitbart.com/2020-election/2019/09/12/amy-klobuchar-portrays-herself-moderate-democrat-debate [3] usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2019/09/12/democratic-debate-klobuchar-slams-sanders-medicare-all-plan/2306601001

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Klobuchar was another candidate to avoid the mass confrontation of the second night of the democratic debates, despite being asked a leading question by CNN host Jake Tapper to try and get her involved, Klobuchar sidestepped the question simply replying “everyone wants to get elected” [1]. Klobuchar went on to talk about healthcare, bringing up personal stories of Minnesotans, some in her friend’s family, that have died from rationing medicines as they are so expensive and unaffordable privately. She also spoke extensively about the need for an assault weapon ban and background checks on gun owners, adding her intention to take on the powerful lobbyists of the National Rifle Association.

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor of South Bend Indiana Pete Buttigieg announced his campaign for democratic nominee in April 2019 after forming an exploratory committee three months earlier. Buttigieg is a former US Navy lieutenant serving in Afghanistan in 2014; he was elected as mayor of South Bend twice and is the first openly gay candidate to run for president. During his campaign he has advocated for single-player healthcare, better gun ownership regulations, immigration reform, labour union formation, environmental protection, laws against LGBT discrimination and abolishing the US Electoral College system. Despite this strong platform Buttigieg has received some criticism for his failure to carry out any grassroots fundraising, instead courting rich corporate donors.

During the first debate Pete Buttigieg is thought to have delivered one of the stand out answers of the night when he was asked about a racially charged police shooting in his own city of South Bend, Indiana. Despite having to admit his failing to do enough about this very difficult problem, he delivered an encouraging and genuine response describing the hurt caused by such issues and setting himself apart from other candidates for his honesty. When asked about the first thing he would do in office Buttigieg replied “democracy reform” to wide applause, a strong start for one of the more obscure candidates.

Amidst the very impassioned debate of the July democratic debates Buttigieg managed to largely avoid the pitfalls of the many progressive-centrist clashed that many viewers condemned the evening for. Buttigieg instead focussed on Trump and delivered arguably one of the most rational moments of the evening saying: “It is time to stop worrying about what the Republicans will say, if we embrace a far-left agenda, they’re going to say we’re a bunch of crazy socialists. If we embrace a conservative agenda … they’re going to say we’re a bunch of crazy socialists. So let’s just stand up for the right policy, go out there and defend it” [1]. This very different approach is helping set Buttigieg apart from the argumentative majority, and this may be a winning strategy as he has been subsequently steadily climbing in the polls.

Buttigieg was thought to have delivered another one of the stand out answers of the evening when asked about resilience and having to overcome setbacks in his career. He gave a very personal impression of what it was like to come out as a gay man as a politician and a veteran, and managed to tie his story into the bigger picture of the challenges currently facing the United States political landscape, such as gun violence and climate change. Some have pointed out that this answer made history as the first time a candidate in a presidential debate has ever discussed their experience as a member of the LGBTQ community. Buttigieg has performed well consistently, despite some pushback by NBC on the truth of some of the claims, especially when comparing the wages of teachers in America and Japan, which seems to be misleading at best [2].

Mayor Pete Buttigieg spent much of the fourth debate stressing the importance of getting past Trump’s legacy. Buttigieg didn't hold back his criticism for Warren and Medicare-For-All and advocated for “Medicare for all who want it”, saying Americans need a choice. On foreign policy Buttigieg directly contradicted Tulsi Gabbard’s take and accused her of embracing Trump’s policies, Buttigieg argued for a middle ground between endless wars and a sharp withdrawal of American troops. The confrontation between Buttigieg and Gabbard continued into the next debate in November, with Gabbard questioning Buttigieg's ideas on Mexican foreign policy and Buttigieg questioning Gabbard's diplomatic history of meeting Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Despite or because of this Buttigieg is thought to have been a clear winner of the debate and has been surging to the top of polls in Iowa, an important Sing State, according to RealClearPolitics.

nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/inside-pete-buttigieg-s-plan-overhaul-supreme-court-n1012491 pbs.org/newshour/amp/politics/what-does-pete-buttigieg-believe-where-the-candidate-stands-on-7-issues [1] southbendtribune.com/news/elections/buttigieg-targets-trump-rather-than-democratic-polling-leaders-in-debate/article_c6c6baed-2941-5a5d-8b0c-7347206e9e83.html realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latest_polls/democratic_nomination_polls/#! out.com/politics/2019/9/13/pete-buttigieg-made-history-big-way-during-presidential-debate [2] nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/fact-check-september-democratic-debate-n1053311 vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/11/21/20975298/who-won-the-democratic-debate

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Mayor Pete Buttigieg spent much of the fourth debate stressing the importance of getting past Trump’s legacy. Buttigieg didn't hold back his criticism for Warren and Medicare-For-All and advocated for “Medicare for all who want it”, saying Americans need a choice. On foreign policy Buttigieg directly contradicted Tulsi Gabbard’s take and accused her of embracing Trump’s policies, Buttigieg argued for a middle ground between endless wars and a sharp withdrawal of American troops. The confrontation between Buttigieg and Gabbard continued into the next debate in November, with Gabbard questioning Buttigieg's ideas on Mexican foreign policy and Buttigieg questioning Gabbard's diplomatic history of meeting Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Despite or because of this Buttigieg is thought to have been a clear winner of the debate and has been surging to the top of polls in Iowa, an important Sing State, according to RealClearPolitics.

Tom Steyer

Tom Steyer is a billionaire hedge fund manager and an environmental and liberal activist. Steyer has a history also as a fundraiser for the Democratic Party having backed Obama 2012 and was key to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 raising $87 million dollars. He went on to run a $10 million ad campaign in 2017 calling for Donald Trump to be impeached, and then announced his intention to run for president in 2020 on July 9th 2019 with an online campaign on Twitter, he has claimed to be committing $100 million to his campaign. Steyer runs on a platform that mainly focusses on climate change and environmental issues, he is for gun control, against Medicare-For-All and allowing unlimited corporate donations to campaign organisations.

Although he failed to reach the polling threshold for the September debates, Steyer met both the polling and donor thresholds for the October debates and entered into his first debate. Steyer opened the debates by stating he was the first person to call for Trump’s impeachment, and pointed out that all candidates are more decent, patriotic and coherent than the criminal in the white house, to wide applause. Agreeing with Sanders, Steyer called for a wealth tax and pointed out that, under republican tax cuts, wages against inflation have failed to increase leaving people less comfortable than there parents. Steyer went on to speak about investing in working people, reforming a broken government that has been bought by corporations, and working together with allies and “frenemies” to get passed climate change issues, adding he would love to take on Trump as a real businessman, because he could highlight trumps failures in business and in office.

In the November elections in Atlanta Steyer focussed heavily on reforming term limits on government offices, often comparing his policies and campaigning record with NextGen America, his progressive policy advocacy group, to other candidates on the stage. He then differentiated himself from other candidates again while stressing his commitment of tackling climate change, saying he would make it his number one domestic and foreign policy, while creating new jobs and strengthening worker's unions. Despite being one of the richest Democratic candidates Steyer seems determined to push progressive policies to the front of his campaign for Democrat nominee, distancing himself from the corporate backed centrist candidates.

time.com/5623149/tom-steyer-presidential-campaign bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-18/billionaire-steyer-says-no-limit-on-his-spending-against-trump edition.cnn.com/2019/07/09/politics/tom-steyer-presidential-campaign/index.html villaricanews.com/2019/10/15/billionaire-tom-steyer-says-u-s-must-work-with-frenemies-to-combat-climate-change youtube.com/watch?v=DI32Lqg1DNQ youtube.com/watch?v=FbeToW1XXTs

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In the November elections in Atlanta Steyer focussed heavily on reforming term limits on government offices, often comparing his policies and campaigning record with NextGen America, his progressive policy advocacy group, to other candidates on the stage. He then differentiated himself from other candidates again while stressing his commitment of tackling climate change, saying he would make it his number one domestic and foreign policy, while creating new jobs and strengthening worker's unions. Despite being one of the richest Democratic candidates Steyer seems determined to push progressive policies to the front of his campaign for Democrat nominee, distancing himself from the corporate backed centrist candidates.

Beto O'Rourke

When Beto O’Rourke lost to Ted Cruz in his 2018 run for United States Senate there were immediate calls for him to run for president in 2020, which he answered in his March 14th announcement. He remains a popular candidate in debates and has broken records with his small donation style fundraising, raising $38 million in a three month period. O’Rourke is widely recognised as a progressive or centrist, campaigning for tougher anti-monopoly laws, an end to the privatised prison industry, nationwide legalisation of cannabis, federal aid to low-income family to access the public school system, climate change reform, assisting a two state solution between Palestine and Israel, and reforming immigration and gun policy. O’Rourke remains a popular choice, but judging by his losing a US senate position to Ted Cruz, he remains an outsider choice that some have speculated may only make it as far as vice president.

Despite this in the first Democratic Party Debates O’Rourke is thought to have delivered one of the worst performances, not quite answering the questions he was asked in two languages. O’Rourke’s use of Spanish in the debate has been mocked and divided many in the media, with some seeing it as pandering and predicting it may alienate even Spanish speaking voters rather than attract them. O’Rourke is seen to have lost in a confrontation over immigration policy with Julian Castro, something that gave Castro a boost but shattered O’Rourke’s fundraising efforts.

O’Rourke delivered a more subdued performance in the second debate instead presenting himself as the middle ground candidate, talking on his support for Medicare for America, a not so radical version of the Sander’s single-payer national healthcare system. O’Rourke also reiterated his stance on immigration that was criticised in the last debate, and spoke of the negative influence of money in politics in the country. Following the debate Pete Buttigieg advertised a “grassroots fundraiser” at $1000 a ticket casting a bad light on his campaign, one of the few to be funded by Washington lobbyists, O’Rourke’s staff were quick to capitalise and reiterate O’Rourke’s grassroots fundraising efforts.

A racist terror attack occurred in Beto O’Rourke’s hometown of El Paso on August 3rd 2019, the mass shooting had a deep effect of O’Rourke as his policy direction became increasingly tough on gun ownership, with O’Rourke mentioning a new policy of assault rifle confiscation before the debate. In the debate O’Rourke then outright accused Trump of inspiring the attack through his normalisation of racist rhetoric, before confirming his confiscation policy by saying “Hell Yes, We're Going to Take Your AR-15's, your AK47, we’re not going to allow them to be used against our fellow Americans anymore” [1]. Some have speculated that O’Rourke’s heart felt attack on firearm possession will not only cost him his race for democratic presidential candidate but may also have wider implications. Some have suggested gun advocates could possibly use O’Rourke’s hard-line anti-assault-rifle policy as evidence that democratic politicians are after American’s guns, strengthening their position on the Second Amendment, and harming realistic gun reform.

This seems to have been the case as although O'Rourke made it to the next debates he subsequently announced he would be ending his campaign for democratic nominee on the 1st November 2019. When O’Rourke entered into the fourth democratic debates he again had tough gun legislation in mind, and his outspoken call for needing to do more to address the gun violence problem in America seems to have been somewhat influential, with many more candidates supporting force assault weapon buyback systems in this debate. However this may also be what led O'Rourke to fail to poll or gain enough donations to fund his campaign, and may be significant moving forward as gun legislation remains a popular but divisive issue.

texastribune.org/2018/10/12/beto-orourke-raised-more-38-million-race-against-ted-cruz dailydot.com/layer8/beto-o-rourke-2020 huffpost.com/entry/beto-o-rourke-spanish-debate-meme_n_5d141b26e4b0e455603741ff cbsnews.com/news/despite-a-tumble-in-polls-and-fundraising-orourke-campaign-betting-it-all-on-beto msn.com/en-us/news/politics/beto-o-e2-80-99rourke-is-smooth-collected-in-second-democratic-debate/ar-AAF7skj news.yahoo.com/looking-for-a-boost-beto-o-rourke-will-try-new-strategy-in-second-debate-213608851.html slate.com/business/2019/03/beto-orourke-health-plan-medicare-for-all-america.html [1] youtube.com/watch?v=7vEnTjs2RV0

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Daniel Halliday
Nov 26
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DH edited this paragraph
This seems to have been the case as although O'Rourke made it to the next debates he subsequently announced he would be ending his campaign for democratic nominee on the 1st November 2019. When O’Rourke entered into the fourth democratic debates he again had tough gun legislation in mind, and his outspoken call for needing to do more to address the gun violence problem in America seems to have been somewhat influential, with many more candidates supporting force assault weapon buyback systems in this debate. However this may also be what led O'Rourke to fail to poll or gain enough donations to fund his campaign, and may be significant moving forward as gun legislation remains a popular but divisive issue.

Trump Himself

Donald Trump is a divisive person and a divisive president, but his personality and opportunism, for better or worse, have made him extremely popular amongst certain groups of voters, furthermore his willingness to indulge in character assassination and hyperbole give him a clear edge over his more reserved career politician opponents. Through holding support rallies constantly throughout his presidency (effectively non-stop continuous campaigning) Trump has only made his support base stronger, and despite wide spread disapproval of his policies Trump’s approval ratings are not much worse than many other presidents during the third year of their presidency. Trump’s latest Gallup poll approval rating was the same as Barack Obama’s at the same time during his presidency, 41%. In this way Trump is in a unique position in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, he is already ahead of the competition and has carved a space where he has free reign to say anything and claim anything, leaving his second term as President squarely in his own hands.

The sheer number of candidates have made the first two debates seem disorganised and ramshackled. Whereas Trump has already been using his time in office to start his campaign and firmly convey himself as someone that is strong and in control, in stark contrast to these noisy and disjointed Democrats who seem to mostly insult each other and argue over different healthcare alternatives. Most media sources have at some point pegged 'republican talking points' or Trump himself as the winner of the democratic debates, as the democrats were too fiercely divided on even basic issues. This schism in the Democratic Party already gives Trump all the ammunition he needs in dealing with who ever ends up being the candidate to take him on in 2020.

So far that candidate seems to be front-runner Joe Biden, who has lost the Presidential race many times and seems a similar candidate to Hilary Clinton, divisive and full of controversial faux pas, often getting tongue-tied or saying the wrong thing, if polls are anything to go by 2020 is looking like a 2016 rerun. Meanwhile many other popular candidates are running on what are considered to be far-left leaning policies in the States, and that many in America seem to be heavily critical of. Arguably the two party system in the United States seems to be failing Americans and dividing the Democratic Party, Republicans seem on the whole to be on the same page, but Democrats on the other hand are deeply divided to the point of accusing each other of using the other party’s talking points and being too similar to Republicans.

This may also be a justified cause to push for democratic reform and question the United States "first past the post" electoral system, as big issues such a climate change, healthcare, and gun legislation seems to be a lot more complex than just 'for' or 'against'. However so far democratic candidates seem to be either pushing specific issues they are known for or vying for more of the same, relying on the reputation of past presidencies. These paths seem either not far enough or a massive underestimation of what voters want and is essentially the same problem that allowed Trump win in 2016, making any chance of the strongest Democratic candidate dislodging Donald Trump increasingly seem more miracle than matter-of-fact. If he wins it or not, it will probably be due to Trump’s words more than anyone else’s, Trump will probably be the only candidate strong enough to even put an end to his own presidency.

As the October debates focussed heavily on the impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, the democratic candidates failed to defend Trump’s accusations of corruption in the Biden family, and instead either spent much of the debate attacking each other, or criticising each other for those attacks. Democrats again looked divided, putting Trump in a different league altogether from these career politicians who are in essence competing on a different set of rules. Trump now enjoys the full backing of his party, impeachment is not likely to lead to his removal and will instead see Trump supporters double down on their support for him. Meanwhile democrats and democratic voters remain as divided as ever, with Elizabeth Warren recently taking the lead in polls. These over-saturated, divided democratic debates are not going to inspire enough Americas who don’t normally vote to get off the couch and vote for democrats under this overwhelming barrage of disagreeing candidates.

edition.cnn.com/2019/09/21/politics/iowa-poll-2020-democrats/index.html news.gallup.com/poll/203198/presidential-approval-ratings-donald-trump.aspx vox.com/2019/7/30/20747889/2020-democratic-debates-presidential-election-winners-losers-night-one realclearpolitics.com/2019/07/11/donald_trump_will_win_the_democratic_party_civil_war_480053.html#! huffpost.com/entry/barack-obama-legacy-2020-democratic-presidential-primary-divide_n_5d1bd794e4b082e553718d9d thedailybeast.com/americans-are-clear-obamacare-just-isnt-liberal-enough

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Daniel Halliday
Oct 17
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DH edited this paragraph
This may also be a justified cause to push for democratic reform and question the United States "first past the post" electoral system, as big issues such a climate change, healthcare, and gun legislation seems to be a lot more complex than just 'for' or 'against'. However so far democratic candidates seem to be either pushing specific issues they are known for or vying for more of the same, relying on the reputation of past presidencies. These paths seem either not far enough or a massive underestimation of what voters want and is essentially the same problem that allowed Trump win in 2016, making any chance of the strongest Democratic candidate dislodging Donald Trump increasingly seem more miracle than matter-of-fact. If he wins it or not, it will probably be due to Trump’s words more than anyone else’s, Trump will probably be the only candidate strong enough to even put an end to his own presidency.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Gillibrand is an attorney and United State Senator for New York since 2009; she announced her interest in running for the next presidential election in March 2019. As a democratic “centrist” Gillibrand was the first sitting senator to propose immigration reform by abolishing ICE (the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement), but has also voted to limit funding for immigrant sanctuary cities. Likewise she has previously supported gun rights and slowly moved to being an advocate of gun control. Gillibrand has supported abortion rights, women's rights and been a proponent of a national healthcare system in “Medicare-for-all” since 2006. Gillibrand has been criticised however for keeping on a male member of staff despite multiple sexual harassment complaints, something that has contrasted her stance on the MeToo movement and her outspoken criticism of Bill Clinton’s conduct while in office.

From the first democratic debate Gillibrand made it clear that she was by far the fiercest defender of women’s rights in the debate, questioning her opponent’s commitment to fighting for abortion rights and how urgently would seek to amend abortion rights legislatively. Nearly all democratic candidates seek to repeal the anti federal abortion “Hyde Amendment” while codifying pro-choice “Roe v. Wade” in statute, making it harder for Republicans to rollback. However Gillibrand risks falling out of the race for democratic candidacy as she lacks donors, which led to Sen. Cory Booker calling for donor support for Gillibrand based on her strong points on women’s rights, arguing that she needs to play an much needed active role in democratic debates moving forward.

Kirsten Gillibrand started the next debate by delivering one of the most memorable one-liners of the night, stating that the first thing she would do if elected president would be to “Clorox the Oval Office”, in reference to the dirty administration of President Trump. She then personally held Joe Biden accountable for past beliefs he had expressed regarding women in the workplace contributing to the deterioration of family, and kept pressing on the issue despite Biden’s obvious dodge of the question by accusing Gillibrand of only attacking him as she’s running for President. However, despite holding her own on the debate stage Gillibrand now faces the very real possibility of falling out of the race, as it is looking likely that she will not make the polling or donor thresholds for the next round of debates in September.

Kirsten Gillibrand failed to meet the polling or donor thresholds for the third democratic debate, failing to hit 2% in four approved public opinion polls and failing to gain 130,000 unique donors. Gillibrand’s campaign was based around women’s issues following her notoriety for being outspoken about sexual harassment allegations surrounding former and current politicians. However with an unprecedented number of women candidates in the race for Democratic nominee, Gillibrand may simply not have done enough to raise her profile much beyond this. She announced her withdrawal from the race on 21st August 2019.

vox.com/2018/6/1/17417222/bill-clinton-lewinsky-kirsten-gillibrand-me-too-movement vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/6/28/18942612/democratic-debate-june-2019-2020-kirsten-gillibrand theresurgent.com/2019/05/16/kirsten-gillibrand-damsel-in-debate-distress youtube.com/watch?v=DF_h_JEAsWU nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/who-won-second-democratic-debate-night-2-n1038041 fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-running-to-win-women-didnt-work-for-gillibrand

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Daniel Halliday
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DH edited this paragraph
Kirsten Gillibrand failed to meet the polling or donor thresholds for the third democratic debate, failing to hit 2% in four approved public opinion polls and failing to gain 130,000 unique donors. Gillibrand’s campaign was based around women’s issues following her notoriety for being outspoken about sexual harassment allegations surrounding former and current politicians. However with an unprecedented number of women candidates in the race for Democratic nominee, Gillibrand may simply not have done enough to raise her profile much beyond this. She announced her withdrawal from the race on 21st August 2019.

John Delaney

John Kevin Delaney is an attorney, award winning entrepreneur and businessman and a former Maryland Congressman, a position he did not seek re-election for in 2018 as he had already announced his intention to run for president in the next election in July 2017. Delaney has been described as a moderate democrat being mostly focused on job creation in his campaign; however he has also been commended for his support of human rights by LGBT advocacy and lobbying groups. Despite this he has also received some condemnation for his criticism of the “Medicare for all” bill proposed by Bernie Sanders et al, despite claiming to be a proponent of a universal healthcare system in general.

Despite not being very well known comparatively, Delaney went into the first debate strong and performed well, defending his centrist critique of the more radical policies and reforms proposed by some democrats, saying “we need real solutions, not impossible promises” [1]. Delaney justified his stance by covering his history as an entrepreneur before he entered congress, saying he helped thousands of small and medium sized businesses, and used this as justification to reject Medicare-For-All, arguing they should not be limiting options and instead reforming the current system. He also expressed his interest in finding a middle ground and supporting bipartisanship when dealing with large divisive issues such as gun control, as such changes require “huge majorities of the American people [to] get behind them, which is why we need real solutions, not impossible promises” [1]. Using a considerably different approach from the rest of the democratic candidates Delaney came across as breath of fresh air for moderate or business minded democrat supporters.

The second debate however took a more heated turn as Bernie Sanders was directly asked to respond to Delaney’s critique of his healthcare proposal. It became intense as both Warren and Sanders interjected Delaney’s answers, Bernie shouting “its not a business” when Delaney claimed he knew the healthcare business better than his colleagues, and Warren countered Delaney say she didn't understand why people run for president to “just to talk about what we can’t do and shouldn’t fight for” [2]. Despite this Delaney continued to make his case on healthcare, trade, climate change, and taxation, and even rebuked Warren’s accusation, saying “I don’t understand why anyone goes through the trouble of running for President if they either can’t explain how their plans work or can’t honestly debate their ideas without reverting to accusing people who disagree with them of reciting Republican talking points” [3], albeit a little too late, after the debate.

Delaney failed to reach the threshold in polls or donors to make the third democratic debate in September 2019, making his chances of being democratic nominee infinitesimal. Many journalists have put forward theories as to why Delaney failed to secure a large enough backing, his outspoken critique of Medicare-For-All is thought to have earned him the contempt of left leaning progressives, while his own history of involvement in health care financing businesses made such a critique seem disingenuous. However it may have been Elizabeth Warren's memorable rebuke mentioned above that stood out more than Delaney's outspokenness, jeapardising his moderate rhetoric and shattering his chances.

freebeacon.com/politics/democrat-presidential-candidate-john-delaney-booed-by-california-democrats-after-criticizing-medicare-for-all [1] caffeinatedthoughts.com/2019/06/john-delaney-stood-out-in-first-debate-because-of-his-sanity [2] thelily.com/who-won-and-who-lost-on-night-1-of-the-second-democratic-debate [3] johndelaney.com/2019/07/31/delaney-statement-ahead-of-second-debate-night slate.com/business/2019/07/john-delaney-medicare-for-all-plan-chances.html

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Daniel Halliday
Sep 17
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DH edited this paragraph
Despite not being very well known comparatively, Delaney went into the first debate strong and performed well, defending his centrist critique of the more radical policies and reforms proposed by some democrats, saying “we need real solutions, not impossible promises” [1]. Delaney justified his stance by covering his history as an entrepreneur before he entered congress, saying he helped thousands of small and medium sized businesses, and used this as justification to reject Medicare-For-All, arguing they should not be limiting options and instead reforming the current system. He also expressed his interest in finding a middle ground and supporting bipartisanship when dealing with large divisive issues such as gun control, as such changes require “huge majorities of the American people [to] get behind them, which is why we need real solutions, not impossible promises” [1]. Using a considerably different approach from the rest of the democratic candidates Delaney came across as breath of fresh air for moderate or business minded democrat supporters.
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