The field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates has been cut in half, with only ten candidates qualifying for the third round of debates.
Per the Democratic National Committee requirements, candidates were required to hit 130,000 donors and reach 2% support in four qualifying national or early state-approved polls. Candidates who have not qualified for the third debate can still qualify for the fourth debate if they hit the above prerequisites in the coming weeks.
ABC News and Univision will host the third debate on Sept. 12. The new hosts will aim to avoid the criticism MSNBC and CNN faced during the first and second round debates over what was widely seen as a messy affair. Candidates were forced to keep their answers short, and at times even asked to raise their hands to confirm if they supported certain measures.
“It’s hard when candidates are asked to solve climate change and then only given one minute of talk time,” says Anjali Valentine, who is finishing up her social degree at Salt Lake Community College. “My only worry is that [the lesser-known candidates] will not have adequate time to represent themselves.”
Sarah Reale, the director of digital marketing and an adjunct political science instructor at SLCC, says she believes the abundance of candidates is a positive thing.
“The diversity of candidates allows for a diversity of ideas and policies and it can shift the party’s platform,” Reale says. “I think it’s great for our political process.”
This is no more apparent than the idea of “Medicare for All.” Once seen as radical when Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders first championed it during his 2016 bid, the proposal is now a major talking point for Americans and 2020 contenders.
While major polls like USA TODAY/Suffolk University polls show former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Sanders as the 2020 front-runners, some of the newer and more unique ideas in the race so far come from the candidates who started with no name recognition.
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang has amassed a large Internet following and a dedicated group of grassroots supporters known as the “Yang Gang” since running for president.
He believes a universal basic income will be necessary as automation and artificial intelligence displace more and more workers. Through his platform, Yang has proposed the idea of giving every American $1,000 a month, no questions asked. He plans to pay for this by taxing the large corporations such as Amazon and Netflix, who will benefit the most from automation but currently pay zero in taxes.
He also believes GDP should not be the only measurement used to view economic progress and has a proposal to add measurements like health, wellness, and life expectancy, which have declined over the last three years. (The last time this happened was between 1915-1918 during World War I and the flu pandemic.)
Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard runs on a unique anti-war platform after serving two tours in the Middle East opened her eyes to the atrocities and wastefulness of war.
She plans to take on the Military-Industrial Complex, who Gabbard says is more interested in making money from arms and oil deals with other countries rather than employing diplomacy.
Specifically, Gabbard says our attempts to topple dictators and regimes only make the situations in these countries worse, and the loss of American and civilian life is far from worth the $45 billion price tag currently being spent in Afghanistan. For reference, Forbes reported that the United States spends more on its military than any other nation, three times as much as the next country, China.
Julian Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), wants to make huge changes to the immigration system, arguing for the decriminalization of border crossing from a federal crime to a civil offense.
Castro also wants to overhaul the criminal justice system with strict and standardized policies on the use of force and creating incentives for state and local prisons to avoid long-term incarceration. The Prison Policy Initiative found that mass incarceration currently costs taxpayers $180 billion per year.
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