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Takeaways From Democratic Debate

Takeaways From Democratic Debate

On Wednesday we saw the first Democratic debate for the upcoming 2020 Presidental Election with 10 Democrats in Miami. Tonight we will see 10 more, including Vice President Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the current Democratic front runners.

There were stunning clips to present, with ten candidates forced to use a limited time, but there were some technical issues and candidates taking turns attacking President Trump, all while trying to not make him the focus of the debate.

Main Points

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke. (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

1. Spanish used first time in debates

Beto O’Rourke started off the debate by answering in both English and Spanish, the first question asked of him.

This started when he was asked if he would support taxing higher-earners, as has been proposed by his Democratic rivals. “This economy has got to work for everyone and right now we know that it isn’t,” O’Rourke said. “And it’s going to take all of us coming together to make sure that it does.”

The without showing he was going to switch proceeded to reanswer the question briefly in Spanish (Later, he even fielded a question in Spanish from Telemundo’s José Diaz-Balart.)

He was not the only one to do this, Castro and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey also did this as well.

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2. Castro had a strong night

One of the lower-tier candidates who managed to distinguish himself was former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. His greatest time came during his speech on immigration, where he was the first Democrat to lay out a plan for the issue that Gallup had shown to be the most important problem for Americans today. Castro, who aims to be the first Hispanic president, pointed to the photo of Oscar and Valeria Martinez, two migrants who died while crossing into the US, “should piss us all off.” He also had a disagreement with fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke over decriminalizing border crossings, then continued his attacks in the spin room following the debate.

Castro also had a strong response for abortion rights, promoting “reproductive justice” and receiving cheers in the room. Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather inquired via Twitter if anyone thought Castro had a good night, received hundreds of positive replies – including from Castro- while others suggested him as a running mate for Warren.

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3. The health care question is more divided then thought

The most factious issue of the night was health care, as the Democrats assembled compared the merits of a more comprehensive single-payer plan like Medicare For All, which would completely eliminate private health insures, verses a more incremental step of a government-funded public option. The standout moment with this came when Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts gave a impassioned defense of the more expansive position, her first time doing this since the start of her campaign.

“There are a lot of politicians who say it’s just not possible, we just can’t do it, have a lot of political reasons for this,” said Warren of the fight for single payer. “What they’re really telling you is they just won’t fight for it. Well, health care is a basic human right and I will fight for basic human rights.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota presented a strong case for a public option, pointing out it was the same as what Obama had presented in the early stages of creating the Affordable Care Act. She went on to say she was “simply concerned about kicking half of America off their health insurance in four years, which is exactly what this bill says.”

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4. Technical Issues

As reported by Dylan Stableford and Christopher Wilson with Yahoo:

Heading into Wednesday’s debate, NBC executives insisted the event wasn’t about the network or their talent.

“The show is not about the moderators,” NBC News executive Rashida Jones told the Associated Press earlier this week.

But about halfway through it became, for a few awkward moments, exactly that.

A hot-mic issue forced Chuck Todd to abandon a question about gun violence to Elizabeth Warren when Savannah Guthrie, who had just handed off co-moderating duties to Todd and Rachel Maddow, could be heard on the live broadcast from backstage.

“We are hearing our colleague’s audio,” Todd explained. “If the control room could turn off the mics.”

“You know, we prepared for everything,” Maddow said, laughing. “We didn’t prepare for this.” Todd quickly went to a commercial break.

The glitch did not go unnoticed for one viewer aboard Air Force One.

“@NBCNews and @MSNBC should be ashamed of themselves for having such a horrible technical breakdown in the middle of the debate,” President Trump tweeted while en route to the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. “Truly unprofessional and only worthy of a FAKE NEWS Organization, which they are!”

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5. A Historic Night For Women

For the first time ever more than one woman stood on a debate stage for the presidential debates, in addition to Sen. Warren, there was also Klobuchar and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii joined seven men on the stage. It was a event noted by Klobuchar when Washington Gob. Jay Inslee mentioned his record on reproductive rights.

“I just want to say there’s three women up here that have fought pretty hard for a woman’s right to choose,” she said to loud cheers in the room.

On Thursday night, that new record will be tied when Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and author Marianne Williamson take the stage.

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